Malay sultans once reigned Kampong Glam, but those days are long gone. What stands now is the historic Istana Kampong Gelam, one of the finest examples of traditional vernacular Malay architecture still found in Singapore. Built between 1836 and 1843, it combines traditional Malay motifs with the Palladian style – a style popular in England in the 18th and 19th. It has since been converted into a museum that traces the history of the Malay community – from the days of the earliest settlers and the seafaring might of the Bugis villagers to the golden years of the Malay entertainment industry.
Bugis has gone through an overhaul over the years – transforming from a port for pirates and quarters for prostitution to the classy (and artsy) precinct it is today which includes new developments like Andaz, the National Design Centre and the modern National Library branch. Not to mention a smorgasbord of food options from all over the world – whether it's Michelin-star hawker fare, Malay cuisine or Peruvian plates. While the area is evolving into a mini CBD, it hasn’t gone all business-like just yet. The colourful neighbourhood is a place of contrasts, with the historical monuments of Kampong Glam contrasting against state-of-the-art buildings like Parkview Square and Duo Tower. Bugis has also recently been named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, according to a Time Out global survey. So check out all these venues that make the heritage enclave so great.
RECOMMENDED: The ultimate guide to Kampong Glam and the ultimate guide to Tanjong Pagar