Home to the Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre, this heritage enclave, which now also houses various unique boutiques and hip cafés, was once home to the Arab, Boyanese, Bugis and Javanese communities.
In Malay, kampung means “compound" and gelam is the name of a particular tree that grew in abundance in the area in early Singapore. The area is well known for two major landmarks: the impressive Sultan Mosque and the Istana Kampung Gelam, which used to be a sultan’s palace but has now been restored as the Malay Heritage Centre. Aside from Malays, the area was once home to Arab, Boyanese, Bugis and Javanese people.
Today, the area has an eclectic blend of history, culture and a super-trendy lifestyle scene. Shopaholics should head to colourful Haji Lane for clothes and accessories shopping, and Arab Street and Bussorah Street where they can pick up traditional wares. Kampong Gelam truly comes alive during Ramadan (the Muslim fasting month) leading up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri where a pasar malam near the Sultan Mosque lures locals and visitors with delicious Malay food.
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