Top Things To Do In Bugis, Singapore
So far we have covered some of the more-popular tourist attractions in Singapore, such as those found in Marina Bay and Orchard Road. But today we will look at a lesser-known Singaporean gem known as Bugis.
Bugis is actually part of Singapore’s Downtown Core, the economic heart of the country. But it is a subzone in that regard. The place was slappin’ amongst foreigners back in the day, as it attracted a certain group of visitors. But in more recent years, Bugis has become more of a hotspot for Singaporeans rather than foreigners.
Bugis Street Market
However, this place is still recognized amongst many international visitors for the same primary reason locals have taking a liking to it – shopping. So whereas Orchard Road may be better known for its retail opportunities, the Bugis Street Market, which boasts in excess of 800 shops, may actually be more-suited for some shoppers. In fact the number of businesses in the area is so vast that there is an online directory to help customers find exactly what they are looking for.
Yet there are other places in the Lion City where vast numbers of stores are concentrated. But the true appeal of the Bugis Street Market is the ability to scope out deals. In other words, items here tend to be less-expensive than elsewhere, which is why Singaporeans themselves dig Bugis. That is to say that when you shop at the Street Market, you stand a better chance of purchasing items at local prices as opposed to perhaps those priced specifically with foreign (i.e. richer) customers in mind.
Food & Nightlife
Also where you find a vast shopping center in Singapore, you’re also going to find a plethora of food portions of both the fast and proper dining varieties. And Bugis is no exception. Indeed one of the best things about getting your eat on in the Lion City is that due to its multinational heritage, there is a vast number of dietary choices. So visiting Bugis would be a good opportunity to perhaps enjoy an alternate version of your favorite dish. For instance, there are a number of burger joints in the vicinity which utilize local techniques in compiling the sandwiches. Or you can partake of delicacies which Singaporeans and people in neighboring countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and of course China, prefer.
In the past Bugis was known primarily as center of socializing, i.e. nightlife. And whereas things may not necessarily be as they once were, the neighborhood still has a history to live up to. This may not necessarily be the best place in Singapore to go looking for a bunch of nightclubs in close proximity. But the area is still jumping due to there being a number of prominent bars around. In other words, you can go bar hopping, enjoying an evening of food and drink with friends while mingling with likeminded people.
And at the top of the list perhaps is a place called Loof. This is a rooftop bar, since as we noted before Singaporeans have a tendency to like to entertain themselves at altitudes above ground level. Loof is like one of those places that you have to go to if you do actually make it down to Bugis.
Another interesting option – for those who prefer a more-conventional dining experience – is a place called Chijmes. If you were to view it from the outside, you would logically think it was a church. However the structure was deconsecrated in 1983 and since then has served as more of an entertainment complex, which includes a number of drinking bars and eateries. Moreover large gatherings can be held there, and the chapel can still be utilized for mass religious functions such as weddings. In fact this is where the wedding scene in the 2018 American film “Crazy Rich Asians” was filmed.
With all that has been said thus far, you probably wouldn’t expect Bugis to also be a center of religious activity. But there are a number of active sites catering to dominant religions in the region.
For example, practitioners of traditional Chinese belief systems can utilize the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. Originally constructed in the late 19th century, it still serves as a religious center for thousands of practitioners. And visitation to the site is at its peak during the Chinese New Year.
And the Masjid Hajjah Fatimah Mosque is an even older house of worship, dating all the way back to 1846. This structure will logically appeal more to practitioners of Islam. But admirers of architecture can find it pleasing in general, as the building has officially been a Singaporean national monument since 1973.
Some visitors to Bugis may be more interested in historic-cultural sites as opposed to retail, social or religious venues. And those with such aspirations are definitely not going to leave Bugis disappointed.
For instance, here is where you will find the Malay Heritage Centre. For those who don’t know, Malaysia is the relatively-large country just north of Singapore. In fact from a physical standpoint, you can actually say that the Lion City is part of the Malay landmass. Thus Malays make up a considerable and influential portion of the Singaporean population. And if you want to learn more about what they have experienced and contributed to Singapore, this is the place where you would want to visit.
The National Museum of Singapore can also be found in Bugis. This is actually the oldest museum in the Lion City, as it began operating in 1849. At this site you will be treated to information concerning the history of Singapore in general. It is also a national monument in and of itself and only one of only four official national museums found within the country. As such, when it comes to studying the history of Singapore itself, this is actually the premiere institution in the nation.
Bugis is a part of Singapore which, considering the number of high-tech attractions in the Lion City, can easily slip under the radar of foreign visitors. But Singaporeans themselves know about it alright, as it is one of the best locations in the country for shopping, food variety and bar hopping. So today we have made you aware of a local secret. If especially you want to enjoy some of the best retail opportunities in the country, head down to the Bugis Street Market. And the general area is also a place you’re likely to become aware of if you’re interested in perusing the history of the nation. Also Bugis is just a hop, skip and jump away from the Marina Bay, Orchard Road and some other major Singaporean international attractions, thus making it easily accessible via public transportation or other land routes. So you thank us later for pointing you in yet another direction where you can enjoy the multitude of experiences which Singapore has to offer.