Singapore has a fascinating mix of cultures. Additional to the four main ethnic groups of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian/Peranakan, there are numerous minority groups which co-exist in harmony here, each accepting and respecting others’ beliefs, habits and practices. Get a first-hand experience of the various cultures by immersing yourself in the different ethnic enclaves.
Located in the central south-western part of Singapore, Chinatown is an eclectic mix of the old and new, traditional and modern - where ancient temples and mosques sit comfortably with quirky shops and cool cafes. There are five districts each with its distinct characteristics - Telok Ayer, Bukit Pasoh, Tanjong Pagar, Kreta Ayer and Ann Siang Hill. Go on a walking tour of Chinatown with the award-winning The Original Singapore Walks (www.journeys.com.sg/singaporewalks/index.asp) or plan your own journey of discovery (www.chinatown.sg).
Located in the central south-eastern part of Singapore is Kampong Glam. Much of the original architecture and vibrant colours of the conserved shophouses have been retained or restored, giving a good idea of what the area originally looked like. One of the most important mosques in Singapore - The Masjid Sultan, which is Malay for Sultan Mosque - is located on Muscat Street. First built in 1824, and rebuilt in 1928, it has a prayer hall that can accommodate up to 5,000 people in mass prayer. Geylang Serai is also a Malay enclave. www.kampongglam.org.sg/aboutUs_PlacesOfInterest.htm
Also located in the central south-eastern part of Singapore is Little India, one of the most culturally authentic districts in Singapore. Traditional trades are still plied along the main thoroughfares and alleyways, and you can find flower vendors with jasmine garlands, fortune-tellers with their parrots, and pushcarts hawking Ayurvedic oils, incense and textiles. Visitors can observe Hindu rituals at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. The excellent restaurants, and much-loved 24-hour Mustafa Centre, have found favour among people of all races.