Little India in Singapore is a #mustsee area where you are sure to get amazed with bright colors and numerous flavors. This neighborhood is the most vibrant area of the city and attracts both locals and tourists. The former visit fruit and vegetable markets to upload fridges with fresh and tasty, the latter are curious to see how such a super modern place as Singapore can preserve old traditions and way of life. Believe me and the photos below, that every minute spent in Little India will bring you new experience, joy, knowledge and inspiration.
1What to do and where to go?
The first question people usually ask before going to such areas as Little India in Singapore is why and what for to go there. Partially the question is reasonable, because a short trip to the neighborhood will be quite a contrastive to the views of Marina Bay Sands hotel or the Gardens by the Bay. The area of Little India is something unique and very authentic. One can see the true old school way of life, with traditional barber shops, bars, fast and slow food restaurants, flea market and dirty back streets.
For me personally an opportunity to visit Little India was a chance to see local people, their faces and to try to read their thoughts in the eyes and faces.
If in city centre you will never see a person crossing the street on red light, in Little India it happens. The best place to see this kind of extreme (the fine for crossing the street is about 500 dollars) is Serangoon Road. This is the main road in the area and to the left and right go tiny streets with so attractive shops and restaurants.
There are many temples in Little India, where all the people are very welcome. Find the list of them below:
- Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple;
- Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple;
- Leong San Temple;
- Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple;
The entrance fee is free, but be polite and read the restriction signs at the entrance. In some of them you people allowed only barefoot and no photography is possible.
There are quite a big number of small shops with various things to buy. For example I saw a postcard with the face of Vladimir Lenin and some Chinese characters below. It was quite a surprising image to see in Singapore, but quite a usual item to get in Little India. There is also a fruit and vegetable market, where I saw a lot of products which I saw for the first time in my life.
5Sim Lim Square
If you would like to buy electronic devices in Singapore, the best place to go is located just on the boarder of Little India. This is Sim Lim Square — huge shopping moll with amazing variety of photo cameras, mobile phones, lap-tops and accessories of all kinds. The prices for some items are 15-30% lower than in Europe. Moreover there are exchange offices with a higher rate, than in the city centre of Singapore. And don’t forget about tax free for tourists. Bargain is ok as well, so do you best to negotiate the price.
The neighborhood is also very popular with food bloggers and people with passion to food. There are lots of restaurants or better to say food courts, where one can taste amazing combinations of spicy food cooked according old traditions. This part of discovery I felt for the next visit to Singapore, because the day before we had an amazing dinner in the East Park and the breakfast in Holiday Inn Express was so attractive, that I had to much of food. The list of restaurants in Little India:
- Khansama tandoori Restaurant;
- Jaggis North Indian Cuisine;
- Jungle Tandoor Restaurant;
- Banana Leaf Apolo;
- Delhi Restaurant;
- Chinese Druggists Association;
- Old Hen Coffee Bar;
Frankly speaking it was my first experience in street photography in Asia and I was quite excited, because I didn’t know how the locals would react on a person pointing at them with a camera. As a result it turned to be not so easy, because here and there I could feel the eyes looking at me with some attitude, but no one would ever be aggressive or angry.
I was observing and capturing people involved into their daily routine, therefore they look so easy and natural.
In 2013 in Little India in Singapore happened a riot. It happened after a 33-year-old Indian construction worker, was run over by a bus and killed. When the police arrived there were about 100 people around. They wanted to get the driver of the bus, therefore the conflict appeared. It lasted for some 2-3 hours with about 400 in a crowd and special forces on the other side. Many people were arrested. After that certain measures were taken and today Little India is a calm and safe place during day and night.
9How to get to little India
The best way to get to Little India from the city centre of Singapore is metro (MRT). The purple and the blue lines go there. Leaving the station you immediately get to the first tents of fruit market and can charge the eyes with bride colors and smell quite unusual flavors of a different Singapore. Another way to discover the neighborhood is to take a taxi. To my mind the best time to go to Little India is morning, when there are not so many tourists.
10Hotels and hostels
I looked at booking.com being curious if there are any cheap hotels in the are for budget travelers and found some very good offers, starting from 30-40$. According to the reviews they seem to be nice and cosy. But choosing this way of stay in Singapore you should take into account the area and culture. Have a look at the list below, pick up what you like and carefully study the reviews: