With the opening of our newest outlet at DUO Galleria, The Social Space is officially the new kid on the block in the Bugis ‘hood, and we’re more than thrilled to be part of such an exciting space! While you’re visiting us here, why not explore the area a little more? Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start, that’s what this guide is here for 😉
#1 Haji LanePhoto Credits: Expat Living
Fun fact: Haji Lane is named after the ‘Hajj’ - which is the pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims to Mecca and Medina. Well, that's because the street used to be full of centres for pilgrimage services!
Haji Lane is probably one of the few places you’ve come across when searching up where to explore in Singapore - and for good reason. Despite being one of the narrowest streets in Singapore, Haji Lane is packed with cafes, thrift shops, bars, Egyptian eateries, and the iconic hard-to-miss street art murals.
Some of the coluorful street art murals and graffiti at Haji Lane were designed by local artists, while some were by international artists who flew down to complete their masterpieces. These murals don't only spread across the back alley of the various shops along Haji Lane - such as Italian Bakery which boasts a funky pop art themed mural at the shop front!
Did you know? Haji Lane made the top 10 in the “30 coolest streets in the world” released by Time Out Index in 2021! The Time Out editors and experts weren’t the only ones to come to this conclusion - they’d surveyed over 27,000 city dwellers around the world too. Talk about well-deserved 👑
Photo Credits: The Nail Social
Oh, and don’t forget our friends over at The Nail Social too! In between your cafe-hopping and thrifting adventures, why not stop by and get a mani & pedi from their range of non-toxic nail polish? 💅 It’s the perfect way to end a day of fun at Haji Lane!
#2 Kampong GlamPhoto Credits: Singapore Travel Insider
Haji Lane is part of a district called Kampong Glam - and let us tell you - you will never run out of things to do here!
Right next to Haji Lane is Arab Street - a street filled with boutiques shops, Middle Eastern restaurants and tiny vendors selling handicrafts. Whether you’re in for a long day of shopping for fabrics and perfumes, or to just sit down and enjoy a hearty portion of Kunefe, Arab Street is definitely a must-visit.
As you walk along the streets of Kampong Glam, you definitely would’ve caught a glance of the Sultan Mosque’s golden domes. The Sultan Mosque you see now was built in 1932, but its initial construction dates back more than a century earlier. It was built for Sultan Hussein Shah, the first sultan of Singapore. Give the mosque a visit, and appreciate its beautiful interior while you’re at it - it’s all free!
Photo Credits: Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering
🍽 Kampong Glam is known as the Muslim centre of Singapore, so don’t miss out on a delicious halal Malay meal at Hjh Maimunah while you’re there! Hjh Maimunah is a Michelin Bib gourmand-listed eatery that is known for its exceptional nasi padang (white rice served with various side dishes). Hjh Maimunah first started out as a Middle Eastern-based catering service for Hajj travelers and slowly evolved into the cozy restaurant locals love today. Their labour-intensive dishes are cooked with locally sourced seafood and lots and lots of love, so give it a try!
#3 Arts DistrictPhoto Credits: Venkat Gunasellan
Bugis is part of the Bras Basah.Bugis (BBB) district which is famously known as Singapore’s arts and heritage district. It is now home to a large number of museums, galleries and cultural collectives. If you’d like to learn more about the local arts scene, this is the perfect place for you!
First up, The Aliwal Arts centre is a multidisciplinary arts space that aims to be the bridge between the world of traditional and urban arts. It provides performance-ready event spaces for exhibitions, theatre performances, and more. Their annual Aliwal Urban Art Festival features local artists from different urban art practices like graffiti painting, dance, music and even a pop-up artists’ market! 💃
Only a few streets away, The Stamford Arts Centre now focuses on traditional art after its reopening in 2018. Similarly to Aliwal Arts Centre, it provides spaces such as a multi-purpose hall, a shared studio and an artist-in-residency space. They may house various art groups now, but the Stamford Arts Centre was originally a Japanese school in the 1920s and moved on to be a site for several schools until 1986.
Photo Credits: VisitSingapore.com
What about the night owls among us, is there anything the BBB district has to offer? 👀 Well, the Singapore Night Festival is your perfect match! The Singapore Night Festival is one of the biggest arts festival that takes place every August along the BBB district, illuminating the night with their iconic interactive light installations. This year, the Singapore Night Festival is in its 13th edition and will be hosting street performances, cultural showcases in addition to the luminous installations we all know and love.
#4 Bugis StreetPhoto Credits: Angela Koblitz
When you think of the Bugis District, you’d most likely think of the maze-like Bugis Street with cheap food and clothes. However, did you know that Bugis Street actually has a long and rich history behind it?
The old Bugis Street now lies within Bugis Junction itself, where it is integrated into the mall, an office tower, and a hotel. Before the 1950s, that is where you would find the Bugis - one of the first few groups to arrive in Singapore. They were known as Singapore’s pirates! Over time, Bugis Street was increasingly known for its bustling nightlife and attracted tourists from all over the world - thus putting Singapore on the world map 🌍
Well, the Bugis Street we know today may be different, but it is just as impressive. It is now a shopping paradise for anyone - but especially so if you are on a budget! You can get delicious snacks like kaya balls and crepes to munch on as you shop for cheap yet stylish clothes along the street. Oh, and don’t forget the wide range of souvenirs you can bring home at a low price! While the three-storey complex may take a while to navigate, it is most definitely worth the time.
Additionally, if you’d like to have some fun with some furry friends - do give The Cat Cafe a visit! They're just a 5-minute walk away.
Photo Credits: Rockwool
Last but not least, DUO! Standing tall next to Parkview Square (or as the locals say - the ‘Gotham Building’), DUO’s hexagonal plated towers is hard to miss when you’re in Bugis. In fact, DUO Twin Towers has been awarded the CTBUH’s Urban Habitat Award in 2021. This award acknowledges the design’s significant contribution to DUO’s urban context and affirms DUO’s socially and environmentally responsible approach to design.
DUO is an integrated development that comprises of the DUO Tower (the office space), DUO Galleria (the retail plaza where TSS is), DUO Residences, and Andaz Singapore!
Photo Credits: Travellermade
Andaz Singapore is one of the two Hyatt hotels in Singapore, the other one being the 5-star Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel. Andaz opened its doors in 2017 and has since been known for the spectacular interior design that integrates the local culture into their aesthetics and the top-notch customer service by the staff members. Aside from their facilities, Andaz is often the top choice for both locals and tourists due to the convenience of its location. After all, Kampong Glam and Bugis Street is only a stone’s throw away.
We’ve got a ton of neighbours here at DUO Galleria - so there’s definitely something for you at this 56,000 square feet wide retail plaza! Aside from the familiar Joe & Dough and Saladstop, you might also spot a restaurant called Seroja. Seroja was founded by Kevin Wong, former head chef at one-Michelin starred restaurant Meta, and boasts a unique menu that combines the food from the variety of cultures in the Malay Archipelago region.
DUO Galleria is the perfect stop for your health and wellness needs 💪 - with several salons like The Sloane Salon and HAIR DE Max, as well as Virgin Active! Virgin Active is a fitness gym that’s not like the other gyms you’re used to - here at DUO Galleria, they’ve got the largest Pilates reformer studio in Singapore and ‘Fight Camp’ (for you to punch all that sweat out!)
Phew! Exploring the Bugis neighbourhood can get taxing since there's just so much to do. If you need a break, The Social Space will always welcome you with open arms (and a refreshing smoothie bowl 😉)! We're the perfect stop to get your coffee fix, and you can even shop some socially conscious products while you're at it. See you around 👋
Written by Insyirah, Retail & Marketing Intern 2023