Formerly the seat of Malay royalty in Singapore, Kampong Glam has been a Malay-Muslim quarter since that 1800s. Thankfully, centuries later, the shophouses still maintain their facades with brightly-coloured walls and carved windows. Landmarked by the shimmering dome of Masjid Sultan, this neighbourhood is bustling with street vendors trying to lure you into their textile shops during the day, and shisha bar-owners eagerly inviting you into their establishments after dusk.
Arab Quarter, and particularly Haji and Bali lanes, are one of my favourite hangouts in Singapore for the irresistible Middle-Eastern vibe (and food!) coupled with a variety of live music venues to chose from on this small stretch. One can spot the local trendsetters window-shopping at one of the fashion-forward boutiques along Haji Lane. Plus, it’s Disneyland for shisha smokers with the sweet smell of flavoured tobacco permanently enveloping the area.