One of several districts within the cosmopolitan Singapore city, Bugis is famous for its shopping arcades, rich cultural and religious influences that define the area, making it a ‘must go’ for all first-time visitors.
Also know as the Sultan Mosque, this building stands in stark contrast to the modern Singapore skyline and is the premier feature of Bugis. Open to members of all faiths (except during scheduled prayer times), visitors are warmly welcomed to view the interior of this mosque which was completed in its present form in 1928. Additionally, there are a number of information panels inside on the Islamic faith, challenging and explaining a number of common misconceptions, in a non-patronising and insightful way. If you are fortunate to pass at night you will see the mosque lit up against the dark night sky and throughout the day you can also hear the melodic call to prayer.
Top Tip: Please ensure that you are in suitable attire (knees and shoulders covered) to show respect to this place of worship. However, do not let this put you off visiting as you can don a garment for free from the mosque to allow you to proceed inside.
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
This traditional Chinese temple sits on Waterloo Street and was alive with worshipers and visitors alike. Many worshipers lit incense which was held up to the forehead in prayer. Once inside, worshipers continued on their knees, practising Kau Cim whereby they shook a cylinder filled with numbered sticks. When a stick fell out, it would correspond to a written oracle, providing an answer to their private question asked of the deity being worshiped. This temple is exquisitely constructed in an ornate but classically Chinese fashion.
Top Tip: this temple is very busy, especially at times around Chinese New Year but don’t let this put you off entering and respectfully observing the temple in use.
Sri Krishnan Temple
Adjacent to the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, it is the only South Indian Hindu Temple in Singapore dedicated to Sri Krishnan. It’s large size is needed for the growing Singapore Hindu population. Whilst we didn’t enter inside, it was clear even to an outside observer that this temple is ornate and traditional in style.
Top Tip: If planning to enter this (or any other) temple, don’t forget to remove your shoes at the appropriate points which are normally clearly indicated.
This narrow and busy arcade near to the Bugis MRT Station boasts a range of food stalls and small shops serving a wide range of goods to visiting shoppers (locals and tourists). At the Queen Street end, we were fortunate to come across a bustling flower festival and market to explore, linked to preparations for Chinese New Year.
Bugis boasts a number of other attractions if you have additional time and although we didn’t visit there is a list below of places recommended:
- National Library Singapore
- Mint Museum of Toys
- Singapore Art Museum
- National Museum of Singapore
- A number of other shopping arcades to suit all tastes