One of the most exciting aspects of Singapore is the diversity of its neighborhoods. Yes, the country is a savvy shoppers’ paradise, but you’ll also find rich traditions, delicious foods and local character in its older quarters. Nowhere is this truer than in Little India and Arab Street (also known as the Arab Quarter). The Indian community has a rich history in Singapore, and this enclave dates back more than 200 years. Singapore’s name actually derives from the Sanskrit words for Lion City, according to Little India’s official website. Today, the neighborhood is a thriving, colorful place where traditional holidays are celebrated, and visitors can observe worship and activity at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple or purchase saris while mingling with local vendors.
In the Arab Quarter, you’ll want to visit the historic Sultan Mosque, originally built in 1825. Non-Muslims are not permitted in the prayer hall, though you can appreciate the distinctive golden domes and craftsmanship of the exterior structure. Haji and Bali lanes are especially good spots to shop for something a little more unique than a designer handbag, and you’ll also find yourself surrounded by music and food, as there are countless restaurants.