Little India is one of the most interesting and attractive tourist destinations for travelers. Especially, this place is perfect for those who want to learn more about the rich history and unique characteristics of the Indian settlers. They are the first immigrants of the world in the 19th century from the Southern state of Tamil Nadu, currently living and working in this country. So, What to do in Little India Singapore (Little India Singapore what to do)? Let’s check out our suggested top 10 Little India Singapore things to do and Little India Singapore what to see to help you have best experiences in this vibrant neighborhood!
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Coming to Little India in Singapore, you can visit historical worship landmarks, learn more about famous figures as well as see the daily life of the Indian people. In fact, this location is the most vibrant and colorful area in Singapore. With narrow streets and a friendly and welcoming community, Little India is a completely separate zone from the rest of Singapore. Today, we will reveal to you the top 10 must-try experiences in Little India, Singapore that surely make you satisfied.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (#little india singapore things to do)
The first experience you cannot miss if you visit Little India in Singapore is to stop by the famous and remarkable temple here – Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. The temple is located on Serangoon Road, right in the heart of Little India. Perhaps, that’s why people regard it as the center of Indian cultural heritage in Singapore. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is one of the first and oldest Hindu temples built in Singapore (the first temple is located on North Bridge Road in Chinatown). It is also the first Indian temple to appear on Serangoon Road in the central area of Little India, Singapore.
The temple was built by the first Indian immigrants and settlers in Singapore in the 19th century. At the time, people called it Sonambu Kambam Kovil, which translates in Tamil as the ‘temple in the lime village’. The reason is there are many documents that this area used to have many operating lime kilns back in the day.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was constructed for the purpose of worshiping the Goddess of Power, also known as the Evil Destroyer – Veeramakaliamman. The Indians also refer to Veeramakaliamman as Kaliamman or Kali. The first Indian immigrants in Singapore chose to build a temple for Goddess Kali because they felt that they should have a sacred place for security and fearlessness when they arrived in a new land. Thus, they believed that the Goddess would protect them adequately.
At first, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was quite small, but it gradually developed and expanded thanks to the donations of the people. Now, it has a larger capacity and worships more gods following the Indian beliefs. In addition, the temple’s design and scale today are under the latest renovation, restoration, and construction after the Japanese army’s air raids during World War II. Therefore, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is one of the places you should check out if you have the opportunity to visit Little India, Singapore.
You can enter the temple to take a look, but note that you should take off your shoes and leave them outside. You have to cover your feet and shoulders as well. Also, you can borrow clothes from the temple right at the entrance area. You can take pictures; however, out of privacy and out of respect for others, do not take pictures of worshipers at the temple.
And if you have a chance, come to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple during the Pooja and Diwali celebrations – the two major Hindu festivals. You will be able to participate in the colorful and unique festivals here. We believe that you will have unforgettable moments at this place.
Address: 141 Serangoon Road, Rochor, Singapore
Phone: +65 6293 4634
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (#little india singapore what to do)
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple is a Hindu temple built along Serangoon Road between 1855 and 1885. The architecture is located on land formerly owned by the East India Company, following the idea of a group of immigrants from India. The people wanted a temple dedicated to Narasinga, an incarnation of the protector Vishnu.
In 1914, the temple expanded at the request of the Chettiar community, who brought a number of god statues from India. Originally, there was a pond on the temple grounds that was fed from the Rochor River, but it was later discontinued due to environmental reasons.
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple was renovated, restored, and rebuilt in the 1950s with the addition of many decorations and paintings. In addition, they constructed a wedding hall here in 1965 under the sponsorship of the famous local businessman P. Govindasamy Pillai (PGP). Upon completion, the temple was officially renamed Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and the deity worshiped became Sri Srinivasa.
A special thing that makes Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Little India, Singapore is the spacious, comfortable, and ventilated interior with worshiping altar and exhibition area. This has made the temple a famous religious tourist attraction in the area and throughout Singapore.
One more thing, Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple is the location where the famous Thaipusam festival takes place, so pay a visit if you have the opportunity.
Address: 397 Serangoon Road, Kallang, Singapore
Phone: +65 6298 5771
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple (#little india singapore what to see)
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is also known as the temple of a thousand rays of light due to the 15 meters high and 300 tons heavy statue surrounded by thousands of small light bulbs. This Buddhist temple in Little India, Singapore is a harmonious blend of Chinese, Thai, and Indian styles, constructed in 1927.
Initially, the temple was built simply in the shape of a corrugated iron roof house by the Thai monk Vutthisasara. It was later redesigned and restored thanks to donations from Aw Boon Har and Aw Boon Par – two entrepreneur brothers who created Tiger Balm and Haw Par Villa ointments.
If you want to visit Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, we recommend you go during Vesak when devotees gather here to place gold leaves on the Buddha statues in the temple. This will surely be a very positive scene and enjoyable experience.
Address: 366 Race Course Road, Kallang, Singapore
Phone: +65 6294 0714
House of Tan Teng Niah
The House of Tan Teng Niah is often referred to as the symbol of the most colorful houses in Singapore. This is also one of the most popular and top tourist attractions in Little India, Singapore.
The eye-catching and perfect-check-in house is formerly the residence of a rich Chinese merchant named Tan Teng Niah. He was very famous in the early 20th century with his ownership of several pastry shops along Serangoon Road. Rumors say that he built this house for his wife with the original paint being white and green, different from the striking bright colors we see today.
The House of Tan Teng Niah has a total of 8 rooms and a facade. We think that this is one of the places where you should take as many photos as possible when coming to Little India, Singapore.
Address: 37 Kerbau Road, Rochor, Singapore
Mustafa Centre is one of the most attractive places for tourists in Little India, Singapore. A part of this place is a supermarket, another is department stores along with electronics stores and gold shops. All of them scatter along multiple stories of Mustafa Centre like a veritable maze, which is open all day long.
Mustafa Centre began its operations in 1952 when investors from Uttar Pradesh came to Singapore. Partnerships, business models, and continuous expansion helped turn Mustafa Centre from a modest stall located in Little India, Singapore to one of the largest commercial centers as well as Singapore’s most popular tourist attraction.
At Mustafa Centre, you can get from the most unique items to the most basic, regular stuff. The special feature here is the affordable food sold in wholesale quantities. For example, you may get one kilogram of almonds or one kilogram of Nutella from a store here. That’s why Mustafa Centre is one of the best places to visit even if it was established not to attract tourists but only to serve residents around this area.
In the basement of Mustafa Centre, there is an electronics store with budget-friendly prices. You can buy a toaster for as low as S$20. In addition, this place is also very famous for its gold jewelry. You may purchase gold in kilograms. So special, isn’t it?
Address: 145 Syed Alwi Road, Kallang, Singapore
Phone: +65 6295 5855
Tekka Market (#little india singapore what to do)
Little India has one of the most famous wet markets in Singapore – Tekka Market. On the island of the merlion, there are many markets like this, especially those located in Chinatown and Little India. Everything you see here is neat and colorful, very eye-catching, and charming. When you are in Little India, Singapore, we think you cannot miss the Tekka wet market.
Tekka Market was built in 1915, originally called Kangdan Merbau Market in the Malay language. However, the old premises were removed and demolished in 1980 and the stalls were transferred to the current market location. Besides, the market was also officially renamed Zhujiao Market – a traditional Chinese name. But to this day, people often call this market Tekka instead of the previous name.
In its early days, Tekka Market was popular as a place for fresh meat when Little India was home to cattle traders. At the same time, this was also a great place for people to get fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Especially, at present time, people go to Tekka Market for spices and ingredients needed to cook typical Indian dishes, such as fresh coconut, cardamom, and so on.
Address: Tekka Centre, Rochor, Singapore
Indian Heritage Centre (#little india singapore what to do)
The recently opened glass museum in the heart of Little India showcases Singaporean Indian heritage, as well as the roots of the Indian community in the country. We ensure you that the Indian Heritage Centre is one of the most interesting places you can visit when coming to Little India, Singapore.
If you have a day trip to explore Little India, we advise you to pick the Indian Heritage Centre as your first destination. It will help you gain some background knowledge to understand many aspects of this area.
The Indian Heritage Centre often holds exhibition events with tour guide services for special exhibition areas. You can check out the general tour of the museum to know more interesting things.
Upon arrival, welcome you is an introductory video in both English and Tamil followed by a two-story exploration of the early migrants and the population development in chronological order.
One fascinating thing is two interactive displays that tell about four areas in Singapore where Indian immigrants live. It informs visitors who the immigrants are and why they chose that specific area to settle down. If you expect to get to know areas other than Little India in Singapore, this is place is perfect for you.
In addition, the Indian Heritage Centre does not seem to be noisy and overcrowded. Thus, it is a great place for you to relax and spend time admiring the Indian cultural heritage.
Address: 5 Campbell Lane, Rochor, Singapore
Phone: +65 6291 1601
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 10 AM – 7 PM/Friday & Saturday: 10 AM – 8 PM/Sunday: 10 AM – 4 PM/Monday: Closed
Little India Arcade
Little India Arcade is a cluster of neoclassical buildings painted in salmon and orange colors, dating back to 1913. However, today, these houses have been utilized as shops, souvenir stalls, and eateries since 1995.
There are small, narrow alleys selling all kinds of miscellaneous items alongside street food stalls and other eateries. That’s why Little India Arcade is considered one of the favorite places for tourists when coming to Little India. They can find souvenirs inspired by Indian cultures, such as intricate textiles or even a traditional henna tattoo.
Today, Little India Arcade still retains its originality. It has been preserved with the purpose of saving a nostalgic space as proof of the time when Singapore was a colony.
Address: #02-07, 48 Serangoon Road, Rochor, Singapore
Phone: +65 6295 5998
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
The Banana Leaf Apolo
Banana Leaf Apolo is a restaurant that has been present in Little India, Singapore since 1974. It specializes in serving South Indian dishes. Besides, the restaurant also offers dishes originating from the Northern region, served on banana leaves. Diners must use their hands to enjoy food in the most proper tradition.
Two famous dishes that you should try when coming here are fish head curry and chicken tikka masala. The specialty at Banana Leaf Apolo is spicy food. So, if you can’t eat spicy food, we recommend not visiting this place. They will not be able to reduce the spiciness of the dish because it will lose its inherent unique flavor. The restaurant has delivery service as well as takeout.
Banana Leaf Apolo has two stores, one at Race Course Road and another at Little India Arcade. You can choose whichever is most convenient.
Address: 54 Race Course Road, Rochor, Singapore
Phone: +65 6293 8682
Hours: 10:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Komala Vilas is another traditional restaurant started in 1946 in Little India, Singapore where visitors would sit on cushioned floors. The food is served on banana leaves and diners will eat with their bare hands. The current owner bought the restaurant he used to work at when the previous owner retired. Then, he changed the name to Komala Vilas as it is today.
The food at Komala Vilas follows the South Indian tradition with vegetarian options such as dosa, uttapam, or vadas. However, you can also opt for North Indian-style dishes with naan made from rice and lentils, then served in a meat broth.
The first restaurant of Komala Vilas is also located along Serangoon Road. There are other restaurants situated on the two main roads in Little India – Race Course Road and Buffalo Road – as a dessert store located on Serangoon Road.
Address: 76-78 Serangoon Road, Rochor, Singapore
Phone: +65 6293 6980
Hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Little India, Singapore is considered a “miniature India” with its unique culture and authentic dishes. If you have the opportunity to visit Singapore and want to explore and learn more about the life of the first Indian migrants here, we highly recommend Little India as your top destination. You will surely have some extraordinary experiences as well as knowledge about this special and exotic country.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Singapore you can refer to
- Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) Private Transfer
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Are you finding more top things to do in Singapore: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Singapore travel blog — The fullest Singapore travel guide blog for a budget trip to Singapore for the first-timers.