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Geylang Serai

The Malays had been living in Singapore long before any of the other races. Geylang became their enclave in the 1840s after the British dispersed the Malay-floating village at the mouth of Singapore River. Together with the large influx of Malaysians and Indonesians, many wealthy Arabs then congregated in Geylang. Malay influence is still strong in Geylang Serai as reflected in the restaurants and shops specializing in Malay cuisine, ethnic goods, and art and crafts. In the heart of Geylang Serai is the Malay Village, a vibrant cultural showcase of the Malay community. Spectacular entertainment and live shows await the curious visitor. This includes Lagenda Fantasi, a unique 25-minute multi-sensory presentation on ancient Arabian Nights' folklore. Kampong Days, a walk-through showcase, depicts the traditional lifestyle of Malays in the 1950s and 60s. You can also experience traditional Malay art and crafts like batik painting, kite-making, and kampong (village) games such as top spinning. Other highlights in Geylang Serai include the Geylang Serai Market, the Chinese Baroque terrace houses, and the Malay bungalows complete with woodcarvings and European tiles.

Getting there : Walk towards Geylang Road from Payar Lebar MRT Station.

Kampong Glam

The name Kampong Glam comes from the Glam tree, which grew in the area. Medicinal oil was extracted from the tree and the Buginese and Malays used its bark to caulk their ships. Kampong Glam was the historic seat of the Malay royalty in Singapore. It was originally a fishing village at the mouth of the Rochor River. Today, the area sits between new terrace houses and old shophouses. Highlights of Kampong Glam include the Sultan Mosque, the biggest mosque in Singapore with the capacity to accommodate up to 5,000 Muslims in congregational prayers. Other highlights include the old Malay Cemetery and Rumah Panjang. Also, look out for the Arab cloth merchants with their delicate silks and velvets, as well as food stores selling traditional Arab-Muslim foodstuff and merchandise of all kinds.

Getting there : Walk toward Arab Street from Bugis MRT Station.

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