Stepping back into time, Bugis Street was originally named after the Bugis people from Sulawesi, an Indonesian island who were known for their prowess in sailing and seafaring. In the mid-20th century, the street was famous as a gathering area for Singapore’s transgender community.
This vibrant locale was later immortalized in Peter Bogdanovich’s 1978 movie, “Saint Jack”. However, in the 1980s, in an effort to clean up the image of the area, the original Bugis Street underwent major urban redevelopment into a retail complex of modern shopping malls, nightspots, and food outlets.
Despite these changes, the street managed to retain its unique character, continuing to be a crowd-pleaser with its extensive selection of merchandise at affordable prices and mouthwatering street food that leave shoppers spoilt for choice.
History Of Bugis Street
Bugis Street’s reputation soared from the 1950s through the 1980s, gaining global fame for its bustling nightlife, particularly its vibrant transgender community. This unique atmosphere attracted swathes of Western travelers, making Bugis Street one of Singapore’s most popular tourist destinations and a significant revenue generator. However, as the 80s drew to a close, a wave of moral protest and growing concerns over HIV spread began to dampen its allure.
In response, the original Bugis Street was demolished, and its notorious nightlife was replaced with a sweeping urban makeover. Today’s Bugis Street stands as a symbol of modern Singapore, with its array of shopping malls, eateries, cafes, and nightclubs. This transformation was designed to erase the flamboyant and colorful past of this area.
Despite the monumental changes, the spirit of the past lingers in the name, Bugis Street. Now completely revamped and updated to reflect contemporary aesthetics, it serves as a testament to the transformative power of time and the enduring legacy of cultural history.
Bugis Street market opening hours: 11 AM – 10 PM
Things To Do in Bugis Street, Singapore
While Bugis Street is undoubtedly a shopper’s paradise, it also plays host to a number of delightful attractions worth exploring. Feast your senses at the Bugis Street Market, open from 11:00 am till 10:00 pm, where you will find an astonishing array of goods, from clothing to souvenirs and electronics, all at bargain prices.
Also, don’t forget to dive into the culinary delights here. There are numerous food stalls and eateries scattered throughout the street, serving a smorgasbord of local and international cuisines. Most eateries open early, around 11:00 am, and continue serving mouthwatering dishes until 10:00 pm.
Additionally, be sure to check out the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, a renowned Chinese temple that attracts devotees from around the world. The temple is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, offering you ample time to immerse in its calm and spiritual atmosphere.
Finally, if you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife, the street doesn’t disappoint. The nearby bars and clubs, which open around 5:00 pm and party till early morning, offer a range of entertainment options.
Remember, while Bugis Street is brimming with activities, it’s also a place to relax, soak in the local culture, and watch the world go by. Whether you’re a shopaholic, foodie, or cultural enthusiast, Bugis Street has something for everyone.
Bugis Street Shopping Market, one of the largest and most affordable markets in Singapore, beckons shoppers with its vast array of offerings and competitive prices. From fashion-forward clothing and unique accessories to cutting-edge electronics and charming souvenirs, its 800 stalls are a treasure trove of delights waiting to be discovered. You could pick up a stylish pair of jeans for as little as INR 520 or a trendy T-shirt starting at just INR 250. What’s more, accessories start at a staggeringly low price of INR 110.
The market has recently been revamped and is now protected by a sprawling roof, allowing you to shop to your heart’s content, rain or shine. Adding to the allure of Bugis Street are two urban malls: Bugis+ and Bugis Junction. Bugis+, a swanky 10-story mall, is home to all the top fashion, accessories, and food brands. A convenient link bridge directly connects it to Bugis Junction.
Bugis Junction, located right above the Bugis MRT station, hosts a mix of global chain stores and small pushcart stalls peddling interesting souvenirs and trinkets. It proudly offers Singapore’s first-ever sky-lit shopping experience. As you navigate through its bustling lanes, each turn reveals something new and exciting, ensuring that every visit is a unique and satisfying experience. So, remember to check out Bugis Street for a shopping experience like no other during your next Singapore tour.
2. Food Tour
Beyond the shopping extravaganza, Bugis Street Market also emerges as a culinary paradise, offering an array of diverse cuisines that are both delectable and budget friendly. An endless selection of Asian delights awaits you – Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and more. Sample the irresistibly delicious crepes, pancakes, chicken chops, noodle soup, Hakka yam cake, and Kaya balls that are sure to tickle your taste buds.
After a gratifying day of retail therapy, nothing refreshes quite like the Thai Ice Milk Tea and Thai Ice Lemongrass drink. These food stalls on Bugis Street promise a gastronomic adventure that will undoubtedly be a significant highlight of your visit to this bustling locale. Bugis Street’s restaurants, with their distinctive vibe, invite you to partake in an utterly unique dining experience.
3. Kuan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple
Just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant Bugis Street is the tranquil sanctuary of the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. This Buddhist temple, dating back to 1884, showcases typical Chinese architectural grandeur and is one of the most frequented religious sites in the city. Devotees believe that their wishes are granted after offering prayers to the main deity – the Cundi Bodhisattva, symbolizing the God of Mercy.
Every Chinese New Year, the temple remains open throughout the night, drawing a long line of worshippers eager to start the new year on a positive and auspicious note. You can find this spiritual haven at 178 Waterloo St, Singapore 187964, operating from 6 AM to 6 PM daily. The serene atmosphere of the temple contrasts sharply with the bustling market streets nearby, making it an essential stop on your Singapore visit.
4. Haji Lane
Tucked away in a corner of Bugis Street is a narrow, yet vibrant strip known as Haji Lane. This hidden gem may be easily overlooked, but once discovered, it offers a feast for the senses. Adorned with vivid murals and housing a myriad of boutiques, cafes, bars, and eateries, Haji Lane is a colorful tapestry of culture and creativity. Scrumptious local and innovative cuisines can be savored here, with each establishment offering its unique culinary surprises.
Boutique stores overflow with one-of-a-kind gift items, the latest fashion trends, and a range of accessories including shoes, bags, and purses. This hip, artsy enclave is an absolute visual delight and a testament to Singapore’s thriving street culture. A stroll down Haji Lane is a must during your visit to Bugis Street, promising an unforgettable immersion in Singapore’s urban appeal. You can find this charming hideaway at 21A Haji Lane, Singapore 189214.
5. Malay Heritage Centre
Just a stone’s throw away from Haji Lane, you’ll find the Malay Heritage Centre, a museum dedicated to preserving and presenting the history and cultural heritage of the Malay community in Singapore. This comprehensive center spans over 8000 sq. ft and houses six permanent galleries that delve into the rich tapestry of life, trade, and customs of the community’s past. The outdoor grounds display intriguing information about the Bugis people and their distinctive trading styles. You’ll also find a replica of a prahu boat, emblematic of the Bugis seafaring heritage, and native Gelam trees.
The Malay Heritage Centre is not only a museum but an educational hub. It frequently organizes educational programs beneficial for students, history buffs, and anyone curious about the fascinating chronicles of Singapore’s Malay community. The centre is conveniently accessible via the Bugis MRT station, adding an enriching dimension to your visit to the Bugis area. You can find this historical treasure at 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501.
The centre operates from 10 AM to 6 PM, with Mondays off. The entry fee is INR 550 for adults, INR 1500 for a family of a maximum of 5 members, and INR 400 for older people. Your visit to the Malay Heritage Centre promises a captivating journey into the heart of Malay history and culture.
6. Hajjah Fatimah Mosque
Just a short distance away from the Malay Heritage Centre, you will find the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque. Established in 1846, this religious sanctuary is named after the woman who funded its construction. A unique blend of European and Islamic architectural styles gives the mosque an unequivocal charm.
The complex includes a prayer hall, an ablution area, and a garden that offers a serene escape from the bustling city. In an interesting twist, one of the mosque’s minarets is tilted due to a sandy foundation, leading locals and tourists to affectionately refer to it as ‘The Leaning Tower of Singapore’. It’s a must-visit spot for those interested in architectural design and cultural heritage. The mosque, located at 4001 Beach Road, Singapore 199584, welcomes visitors from 9 AM to 9 PM.
A: Bugis Street is open from 11 AM to 10 PM daily.
A: Yes, Bugis Street is conveniently located and can be easily reached via the Bugis MRT station.
A: No, there are no entry fees for Bugis Street.
A: Bugis Street offers a vibrant shopping and dining experience, featuring a wide variety of stalls selling clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and local food.
A: Yes, the Malay Heritage Centre and the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque are both within walking distance from Bugis Street.