Go on an educational excursion with your family, with the help of this one-day itinerary that explores Singapore’s cultural neighbourhoods.
10am: Start with the Malay Heritage Centre, where you can learn more about the local Malay community and the historic neighbourhood. See how the Kampong Glam area has changed in the past 50 years as you explore the museum with the little ones.
When the kids start to get hungry, head over to the EatPlayLove Café located nearby, which serves Asian-Western fusion dishes. The plethora of art and craft materials provided mean plenty of fun for the kids after their meal. Your next stop is just a short walk away at Bussorah Street. The Children Little Museum is centred on retro toys of Southeast Asia that hark as far back as the fifties; these little gems will bring out feelings of nostalgia and that inner kid in you too.
Do visit the perfume shops in the area for fun with fragrances with your little ones. At boutiques such as Jamal Kazura Aromatics, your family will get to personalise and blend fragrance oils to create unique scented souvenirs to bring home with you. Catch a breather after all that walking by visiting one of the Haji Lane cafés, or head straight to the colourful array of indie stores to shop while admiring the street murals with your energetic kids.
2pm: Make the Little India Arcade your first stop, before the evening crowds start filing in. Pick up souvenirs at stores such as Jothi Store & Flower Shop, which offer traditional ornaments and accessories that are available all year-round. If the little ones hanker for something sweet, take them to the Moghul Sweet Shop, where you can find a wide array of traditional treats, such as the mithai (South Asian-style sweets) and adhirasam (sweet doughnuts).
Do keep an eye out for the parrot astrologers to have your fortune read, with the help of a parakeet. The feathered friend picks out a card which is then interpreted by the parrot astrologer. This traditional trade has its roots in South India, though dwindling numbers of practitioners mean that you might need some luck on your side to find an astrologer!
While you’re here, be sure to add a beautiful henna design onto your hands and arms; you can find henna painting services at various shops in Little India Arcade as well as The Verge (formerly known as Tekka Mall). These temporary tattoos last between two to four weeks and are traditionally worn as part of weddings and festive celebrations such as Deepavali.
Then visit Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore in the early evening. Here, you’ll get to see a stunning gopuram (tower with ornate carvings of deities) at the entrance. Speak to the friendly temple volunteers to learn more about the temple traditions.
Hungry for some grub after shopping and exploring? Tuck into South Indian cuisine at Banana Leaf Apolo. Choose from samosas (fried pastries),biryani rice and other dishes. Families with a love for all things spicy should definitely try the chicken masala (chicken with creamy gravy).
6pm: Learn more about Buddhist art and culture with your family at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum. The famed Buddha Tooth Relic, which can be seen at the public viewing area, is made of an impressive 320 kg of gold.
Be sure to visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre, to learn more about the rich history of this heritage district from the early 20th century to present day. Its multi-sensory exhibition will make it a fun and educational journey for your family, as you tour recreations of traditional shops, communal living quarters and other interactive exhibits.
For more local delicacies as souvenirs, head to the Lim Chee Guan Bak Kwa store that’s conveniently located next to the Chinatown MRT station. This specialty store is famous for its barbeque pork which attracts snaking long queues during the festive periods.
Then get camera-obsessed with the little ones at Lomography Embassy Store Singapore, which stocks analog cameras, films, toy cameras and other camera accessories; basically, everything your child may need to get started on a newfound photography hobby.
Wrap up your day with supper time at the bustling Chinatown Food Street where a stunning variety of local hawker favourites are served. Eat like the locals and give chicken rice, fish bee hoon (vermicelli with fish) and char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) a try.