Top three pictures: Little India; the rest: Haji Lane. Second from bottom: A Thousand Tales. Bottom picture: Piedra Negra.
First, sorry for the lack of posts. I've been waylaid by deadlines, illness, parties, etc, etc. You know how it goes. But I have managed to do a little exploring, and have just the thing if you're feeling the itch to experience more than obscenely-priced restaurants (I'm talking to you, Marina Bay Sands) and slick shopping malls. A great way to absorb Singapore's famous multi-ethnic culture is to walk around Little India and Haji Lane, which both harken back to Old Singapore with their narrow lanes and shophouses in atmospheric decay. In Little India, jewelry, saris, and knick-knack shops sit chock-a-block on the neighborhood's bustling streets. And in the Arab Quarter, the quaint Haji Lane has become host to lots of little boutiques. Though mostly stocked with dime-a-dozen "vintage" goods, there are some gems among them, like mid-century inspired furniture atelier A Thousand Tales.
Start your day with lunch in Little India and then head over to Haji Lane for some browsing and an afternoon margarita.
1. Lunch is first on the agenda: Head to the fittingly-named Banana Leaf Apolo at 54 Racecourse Rd, one of Little India's most famous restaurants, for an Indian feast served on banana leaves. If vegetarian is your thing, head instead to Kailash Parbat at the corner of Belilios and Serangoon roads. This cool and inviting gem of a restaurant was introduced to me by none other than the lovely Notabilia, knower of all things interesting in Singapore, whose mother has been a fan for years. Opt for the buffet.
2. Next , wander over to Serangoon Rd and walk against traffic to the corner of Dalhousie Lane, peeping into gold shops and sweet stalls as you go. At Dalhousie you'll find the Little India Arcade, a maze of Indian goodies, from crafts to medicine. Done with the arcade? Walk around the surrounding lanes until you've had your fill.
3. Now you're off to Haji Lane. Hop in a cab and have the driver drop you directly there. The little street doesn't span more than a couple of blocks, so pick an end and start exploring. Keep an eye out for hipster-ready clothes at K.I.N. and covetable furniture at A Thousand Tales.
4. If you're not totally exhausted after all the browsing, wander around the neighborhood a little more for a look at carpet shops and shisha spots and over to Singapore's oldest mosque, Masjid Sultan.
5. But if you're ready for a break, then trot on over to Piedra Negra for one of Singapore's best margaritas. You've earned it!