Toeing the line between old and new, the buzzing ethnic enclave is peppered with spice shops, jewellery stores, flower vendors, sari specialists, trendy cafes and hip watering holes; each offering a heady experience like no other. A great time to visit is in November during Deepavali, but even if you’re not here in time for the dazzling Festival of Lights, there’s still plenty to see and do in this lively district.
All venues are near the Little India and Farrer Park MRT stations
1. Wanderlust Hotel
This funky boutique hotel houses 29 rooms, all of which are uniquely-decorated with themes like Spaceman, Pop Art, and Pantone. But 1 Wanderlust Hotel isn’t just a pretty face; look forward to stellar amenities like Shanghai Tang toiletries, monsoon showers, and a rooftop Jacuzzi. Be sure to dine at Cocotte, the casual French bistro within the whimsical property.
2. Zsofi Tapas Bar
This breezy, Spanish-themed rooftop bar serves complimentary plates of tasty nibbles with every drink ordered. Make the first thing on your agenda be their potent sangrias while you’re up the 2 Zsofi Tapas Bar.
3. Prince of Wales
3 Prince of Wales, a no-frills hostel has an adjoining alfresco bar that ticks all the right boxes: cheap craft beers, live indie music, weekly quiz nights, and a laid-back crowd of backpackers and locals to have interesting conversations with.
4. Indian Heritage Centre
For a hefty dose of arts and culture, head to the 4 Indian Heritage Centre for its permanent and temporary exhibitions that trace the history of the Indian and South Asian Communities in the Southeast Asian region.
5. Little India Arcade
Take a walk around the 5 Little India Arcade, a bustling shopping destination to pick up souvenirs like beautiful silk saris, handicrafts, and dazzling jewellery.
6. Tekka Centre
A wet market, food centre, and shopping complex all rolled into one, 6 Tekka Centre is where to get an Indian cuisine fix. The biryani is legendary (choose from stalls Yakader or Allauddin) and the Indian rojak (a salad made up of fried dough fritters, boiled potatoes, cuttlefish, eggs, and more) from Temasek Indian Rojak is a must-try. Finish your meal with a sweet glass of teh tarik (milk tea) from any of the drink stalls!
7. Komala Vilas
This 68-year-old establishment is the closest you’ll get to authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine. 7 Komala Vilas is always packed, thanks to the signature masala dosai (pancake made from rice and lentil batter, filled with mashed potato) served with free-flow sambar (lentil based vegetable stew).
8. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power, the grand, intricately-designed 8 Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple has a South Indian architectural style and was established in 1855 – making it one of the oldest religious sites in Singapore.
9. The Banana Leaf Apolo
An institution in this part of town, 9 The Banana Leaf Apolo has over 40 years of experience under its belt. Though it offers a mix of North and South Indian fare, like chicken masala, mutton curry, and tandoori chicken, its signature is definitely the rich fish head curry.
10. Mustafa Centre
Think shopping in Little India and only one name springs to mind: 10 Mustafa Centre. There’s no place quite like it; a 24-hour shopping behemoth selling just about anything under one roof. This is paradise for bargain-hunters and hardened shopaholics.