Bugis Singapore
Image © Azphotography

Bugis Singapore is in the Central Business District (CBD) and is lively with activity. It is a district filled with hotels, shops and offices. Compared to other parts of the city central, Bugis is low-rise, comprising mostly shop-houses and low-rise shopping centres. There are three quarters in Bugis: Bugis, Bras Basah and Arab Street.

Besides being the name of this district, “Bugis” is also the term for a race of people originating from Macassar, Celebes, in the Malay Archipelago. The district came to be known as such because it was the enclave of Bugis migrants who settled in Singapore after its founding in 1819. At that time, the area was known as Kampong Bugis. These migrants were mostly traders who laid the foundation of the bustle that characterizes Bugis today.

Bras Basah, which is in between City Hall and Bugis proper, literally translates into “wet rice”. Its original spelling was Brass Bassa, after Sungei Brass Bassa or “wet rice river”. Today, the river is known as Stamford Canal. Sungei Brass Bassa was occupied mainly by Indian immigrants who were dhobis, or laundrymen, who washed clothes in the river.

Arab Street stands on the other side of Bugis and is traditionally the Arab enclave in Singapore. This was where Arab traders, most of who originated from Yemen in the Middle East, settled. Many of them were cloth traders. Even today, you see many clothing and cloth shops on the ground floor of Arab Street 's shop-houses.

Lodging and Offices
Bugis District offers tourists a wide range of choices, from the five-star Hotel Intercontinental to the budget Bugis Backpacker's Lodge. In addition, Bras Basah is where Singapore 's most famous hotel, Raffles Hotel, is located. This hotel is posh with colonial regality. There are, of course, many hotels with prices in between these extremes.

Most offices in the area are located on the 2 nd floor of the many shop-houses. There are, in addition, some old office buildings located along Bras Basah Road, Victoria Street and Bugis. One of the more striking office buildings is Parkview Square, an art-deco structure with statues of philosophers on its top and in its compounds. Parkview Square also contains a posh 20s-style coffee shop and a wine bar, matter-of-factly called The Bar.

Where To Go

    • Bugis
      There are two prominent shopping areas in Bugis, namely Bugis Junction and Bugis Village. Bugis Junction is a large, modern shopping centre with a cinema, which connects to Hotel Intercontinental. Bugis Village, just across the street, is a pasar malam -styled (night market) shopping space that has dark, narrow corridors and is crammed with small stalls selling cheap clothes, bags, watches and food. There are also tattoo parlors within Bugis Village.
  • Bras Basah
    Visit Bras Basah Complex, where you can find books of every kind. Easily available are textbooks, reference books, non-fiction books and literature. You can get them cheaply at one of the many 2 nd hand bookstores, or you can buy them brand new. Bras Basah Complex also provides art supplies for professional artists and art students, who shop at ArtFriend or any one of the smaller art supply shops. Beside Bras Basah Complex is the newly-opened National Library. Near Bras Basah is Merchant Road, where you can find many pubs such as Gashaus, which has a small stage where budding musicians can perform gothic, experimental and other kinds of alternative music.
  • Arab Street
    Arab Street has become a popular tourist site. In the centre of the area, you can see Sultan Mosque, a grand mosque with a golden dome. Take a walk down the street and admire the beautiful cloth, non-alcoholic perfumes, and handmade carpets. Step into the quaint Wardah Books where you can find books on Islamic philosophy, poetry and politics, all in English. You can also find all kinds of food in Arab Street - Malay cuisine, Indian cuisine, Arab cuisine and even Russian cuisine. Try some Egyptian falafel at Al Majlis Café, and then go for dessert and sheesha (water pipe) at Samra Café.

Other Informations in Bugis: Singapore’s Charming Mix of Hotels, Shops, Books, Bars and Restaurants
  • Singapore Hotels : Hotels in Bugis (13)

  • Shopping Malls : Shopping Malls (7)

  • Supermarkets : Supermarkets (9)

  • Educational Institutions : Universities (3)

  • Emergency : Hospitals (2)

  • Restaurants : Reviewed Restaurants (3)

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