The buzzing district of Little India is a must-see destination during a trip to Singapore. The busy streets are lined with a variety of stores, making it a necessary stop for shopaholics and anyone wanting a few souvenirs.
The area is gritty and frenetic and fun, with spice traders still showing off their wares in narrow walkways.
The ethnic neighbourhood features a large collection of traditional Indian restaurants, shops, markets, and Hindu temples. In fact, there are so many things to do in Little India that you may overlook some of the best sights.
Start planning your visit with this guide to the best Little India attractions…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Little India, Singapore: Top attractions and places to visit
- View the intricate designs on top of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
- Gaze at the gold décor covering the interior of Leong San See Temple
- Work your way through the crowded aisles in the Mustafa Center
- Shop for Indian street food and cheap goods at Tekka Centre
- Get lost in the narrow alleys in the Little India Arcade
- Examine the interesting architectural designs at Abdul Gafoor Mosque
- Stand before the tall Buddha statue inside the Temple of 1000 Lights
- Grab a snack in front of the House of Tan Teng Niah
- Where to stay: The best hotels in Little India for sightseeing
What to do in Little India, Singapore: Top attractions and places to visit
View the intricate designs on top of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
As one of the oldest Hindu temples in the region, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple attracts throngs of visitors each day. It’s a highlight of your Little India sightseeing journey, thanks to the interesting façade.
The top of the temple features a pagoda-like structure lined with dozens of detailed statuettes. While this is a common sight for Hindu temples, this location stands out for its colourful designs. The interior is equally impressive. The inside of the temple is covered in bright statues and décor.
Throughout the day, the crowds visiting the temple grow larger. Luckily, it opens at 5:30 am. Start your trip here before checking out the other top points of interest in Little India.
Gaze at the gold décor covering the interior of Leong San See Temple
The most popular Little India points of interest are the temples, including Leong San See Temple. Built to honour the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, this temple has a grand main hall that resembles an opulent Chinese palace. It’s covered in gold décor and bright red tapestries.
If you visit during a Chinese calendar holiday, you’ll get to experience a traditional vegan meal. As with many of the temples in the district, this location is an active place of worship. Always dress modestly and respect the locals coming to pray at the temple. It’s also cramped inside so you may need to wait to view the interior.
Work your way through the crowded aisles in the Mustafa Center
If you’re wondering what to do in Little India, shopping is the main attraction. This district is known for its wide range of markets and malls, including the Mustafa Center. It’s a 24-hour shopping mall that resembles an indoor market. The crowded corridors are packed with small stores featuring narrow aisles and all types of products.
Mustafa Center covers over 6500 square metres and claims to have more than 75,000 items for sale. Many of the stores are a little unorganised and messy, mostly due to the cramped space. If you can handle the mess, you can find almost anything inside the sprawling mall.
Shop for Indian street food and cheap goods at Tekka Centre
Singapore has several markets, including the Tekka Centre. It’s among the best places to visit in Little India for authentic Indian street food and one of the top-rated hawker centres in Singapore. Outside of this area, you’re more likely to find Chinese cuisine.
During a hot and humid day, the air-conditioned market helps you beat the heat. The market is indoors and lined with vendors selling a variety of delicious Singaporean dishes. You’ll also find plenty of fresh produce and a wide selection of stalls selling just about everything.
Shop for souvenirs, trinkets, religious paraphernalia, and cheap household goods. You can also shop for inexpensive clothing across from premium tailors offering affordable alterations.
Get lost in the narrow alleys in the Little India Arcade
For those wanting to know where to go in Little India for an authentic henna tattoo, visit the Little India Arcade. The arcade includes a large collection of small shops and stalls forming narrow alleyways. It was originally established in 1920 and retains a nostalgic atmosphere, thanks to the preserved buildings.
If you can’t find what you want at the Tekka Centre, you may find it at the arcade. It’s a massive area full of food stalls and shops selling textiles and clothing.
Compared to the other markets and malls, the arcade isn’t the cleanest spot in Little India. The ground is often littered with debris. However, it’s an authentic shopping experience that you’re not likely to find elsewhere in the city.
Examine the interesting architectural designs at Abdul Gafoor Mosque
While the Hindu temples are some of the top tourist attractions in Little India, the district also has several impressive mosques. The Abdul Gafoor Mosque was originally built in 1859 and has undergone many renovations over the years. You’ll notice a mixture of architectural styles, giving the location a unique look.
The exterior features Victorian, Moorish, Roman, and Southern Indian influences. It has Roman pillars and an Arabic-style cupola. Other interesting details include multiple minarets on the roof deck and an onion dome.
On your way into the mosque, stop and check out the sundial at the entrance. The interesting display has 25 rays featuring Arabic calligraphy to represent the 25 chosen prophets.
Stand before the tall Buddha statue inside the Temple of 1000 Lights
The 15-metre-tall Buddha inside the Temple of 1000 Lights is one of the top things to see in Little India. The name of the temple comes from the series of lamps surrounding the statue.
Along with the large central statue, the interior has many smaller Buddha statues and murals. However, the temple isn’t heavily decorated.
The interior is rather plain, drawing the eye immediately toward the enormous statue in the centre. You can also pay a small fee to spin a wheel to discover your fate.
The exterior has more to explore. Walk around the building and check out the tiger statues and carvings covering the building.
Grab a snack in front of the House of Tan Teng Niah
The House of Tan Teng Niah frequently appears in lists of the top things to do & see in Little India despite its small size.
It’s an authentic two-storey villa featuring Chinese architecture built in 1900 but the local community has preserved the building and covered the exterior in bright colours.
It’s the last remaining historic Chinese building in Little India. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside.
The house is a good meeting point, as it’s easy to find due to its bright colours and a great spot to grab a snack. It’s closed to visitors but the front of the building typically has a small collection of food stalls.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Little India for sightseeing
Despite being one of the most interesting choices for where to stay in Singapore, there’s a far smaller selection of places to stay in Little India than you’d expect. Most of the best hotels in Little India fall within the budget and mid-range with the luxury segment of the market noticeably absent. Here are few of the best accommodations options…
- Hilton Garden Inn Singapore Serangoon: Perhaps one best value mid-range picks in all of Singapore, this 4-star hotel is conveniently located beside the Mustafa Centre for all your shopping needs. Cooling off in the outdoor pool to views of Singapore is a fantastic way to end a day of checking out the top points of interest in Little India.
- Park Hotel Farrer Park: Another popular mid-range Little India hotel, this hotel features rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that glean spectacular views of the Singapore cityscape. The relaxing Farrer Park is a quick walk away.
- Village Hotel Albert Court by Far East Hospitality: Located just south of Little India proper, this modern boutique-style hotel is one of the most charming picks in the area. If all the nearby restaurants and hawker centres don’t do the trick, there’s 4 excellent dining options on-site including the popular Shish Mahal Restaurant, serving up yummy Northern Indian cuisine.