Mention Singapore and the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is a futuristic city with efficient public transportation. However, a walk down Haji Lane in Singapore is most likely going to change that perception. With an eclectic mix of historic buildings and modern boutiques along the lane, you can tap into the vibrant culture of the country that you have never thought of experiencing a busy city like Singapore.
Situated in the Kampong Glam neighborhood near the Arab district, this all-hours enclave that is Haji Lane is a hidden street with so much to see and do. It is dubbed “Singapore’s original hipster neighborhood”, and it is not difficult to understand why. This little tucked away street in Singapore is a creative hub peppered with charming boutiques, watering holes, cafes, and restaurants. An influx of fashion boutiques in the area has attracted visitors from abroad to explore, with independent labels offering a welcome alternative to the usual tourist-type shopping in the country.
If you are a foodie, there are plenty of places for you to slowly hop from one to another to satisfy your gastronomic quests. Haji Lane is a great spot to savour the variety of cuisines on offer. Being in a multicultural area, you can easily find cafes with artisan coffee and restaurants with a fusion of Eastern and Western food for you to choose from. To experience a street party vibe, it is wise to slot a visit to Haji Lane in the evening when cafes and bars are in full swing.
Perhaps the most noticeable fact about Haji Lane is the aesthetics, with colourful walls lining the narrow lane. It is a real haven for art and culture lovers, thanks to the vibrant colours of street art coupled with beautiful South Asian architecture in the area. The lively colours amongst the old architecture make the small street a beautiful sight. It provides an invaluable insight into what Singapore looked like before skyscrapers took over and reshaped its skylines. For photography enthusiasts, the best time for photographing the street is in the early to mid-morning where the crowds may be smaller – that way it is less likely for people to walk into your shots.
The narrow alley has gained its reputation in recent years for its quaint, indie and avant-garde shops in the area. Step foot into the area, and you will definitely experience a different vibe – a stark contrast to the modernity of the nearby neighborhoods in Singapore. The offbeat eccentricity at Haji Lane provides a whimsical, rustic charm to the otherwise busy atmosphere of the area outside of the hidden street. With one foot each in two worlds – conservation and urbanization – the allure of the enclave that is Haji Lane is one that is hard to resist. Walking down Haji Lane is truly a walk down memory lane with the merging of its past and present cultural significances, as can be noticeably seen from its distinctive architecture.
The next time you are in Singapore, do remember to drop by Haji Lane. A casual stroll down the narrow lane will no doubt add a unique splash of colour to your visit. You may combine your trip with a walk around the Arab Street nearby to visit the Sultan Mosque, a must-see if you are in the historic Kampong Glam district. With alluring street art, quirky fashion boutiques housed in pre-war buildings and buzzing food places, experience a different atmosphere altogether at this street. Haji Lane is a breath of fresh air from the usual hustle and bustle of the city, an alternative destination to go to in the Lion City.