Friday, November 23, 2007

early start in little india and kampong glam

friday morning, pats and i were out the door at 8am. we took the green line towards boon lay, but i got off at raffles place for the red line interchange, then changed trains at dhoby ghaut for the purple line.

in a matter of minutes, i found myself walking out of the little india mrt station, taking out my little india walking tour guide, and checking where i should be headed. i was to start at serangoon road, which was a short walk away.

i can no longer trace how i strolled around little india, but i was amazed at how well they have maintained the shophouses of old, which are still in use today. i was attracted to a certain, colorful shophouse, which, i soon found out, was the residence of a chinese confectionery merchant called tan teng niah. he was one of the few chinese residents of little india. i guess his chocolate must be really good.

after strolling further through little india's arts belt, i decided to have breakfast at a vegetarian restaurant called ananda bhavan, where i ordered a simple roti prata with warm horlicks. i really really missed horlicks, and took every chance i got to have it. i was surprised to find that roti was really heavy in the tummy, and it kept me going til way after lunch.

around little india, i spied flower garland sellers, shops selling figurines, and a number of hostels. but what made my little india walk memorable is definitely my first trip to a mosque. i saw the masjid abdul gafoor mosque, which was a highly photogenic place of worship. i took my shoes off by the yellow line and gaped at the yellow, white, and green wonder in front of me.

after that, i decided to just walk through serangoon road, where i spotted the sri veeramakaliamman (whew! i was able to type that without checking travel sites!) temple. it was pretty busy, which meant it must have been time for worship when i walked by.

i walked a little further until i reached syed alwi road, where the famous mustafa centre is located. i exchanged a few dollars for singapore dollars and decided to check out the legendary shopping centre, which is said to have EVERYTHING. from my stroll, the darned place did contain a lot of stuff--DVDs, women's bags, luggage, baby products, gadgets, toys, clothes, curtains, linen--i can believe that it does have everything. and what's more, the mustafa centre is open 24 hours!

a bit pooped, i decided to pamper myself a bit and took a cab to arab street in kampong glam, another quaint little area of singapore. its landmark is the sultan mosque, which i got to take a few photos of. quite majestic, but pretty hard to take pictures of if you're on the street.

i walked down arab street, where you can find store after store of fabrics. apparently, it's where you go if you need to find cloth or textile for a dress. and as in chinatown and little india, kampong glam has made use of the old shophouses too.

as pats recommended, i turned onto bussorah street, a brick-lined street dotted with shops, mostly of souvenirs and some cloth. sleepy sam's, a backpacker's hostel, is also on this street. the place is quite cozy, and they serve some food and drinks as well. i decided to just some souvenirs for some folks back home.

i walked further and found myself on haji lane. tired and thirsty, i stopped by altazzag, an egyptian restaurant, for a drink. i decided to have a karkade, a cool, tea-like drink made from petals of hibiscus (gumamela to us pinoys). it was refreshing, and tasted like sweet, sweet wine, and it really refreshed an exhausted soul.

that break marked the end of my trip in little india and kampong glam. the rest of my day was spent in the singapore art museum and the river, which you can read about next.

more photos of my little india and kampong glam adventure here.

ananda bhavan vegetarian restaurant
address: 58 serangoon road, little india

altazzag egyptian restaurant
address: 24 haji lane, arab street

1 comment:

kegler747 said...

If I may add... whenever I'm in Singapore I try to stay in hotels in the Little India district because its cheaper there and with a good location which is close to everywhere.