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Things to do in Little India Singapore

13 Things To Do In Little India – Free Exhibitions, Affordable Henna & Hidden Gems To Explore

Things to do in Little India

Step out of Little India MRT and you’ll wonder if you’ve been transported to a city in India. In every sense of the word, the neighbourhood is a true representation of the Indian community in Singapore. You’ll find beautiful temples, restaurants serving authentic Indian food, and shops selling colourful Indian garb as well as jewellery. Here are some things to do in Little India.

– Activities & attractions –

1. Indian Heritage Centre

Learn more about the Indian community through free events & exhibitions

Things to do in Little India - Indian Heritage Centre exhibit

If you’ve always been intrigued by the sight of kavadi-bearers having multiple piercings during Thaipusam or the ritual of Theemithi AKA firewalking, here’s your chance to find out more. The Indian Heritage Centre offers a glimpse into the history of the Indian community in Singapore.

Permanent galleries at the centre feature ancient sculptures, ceremonial artefacts, and plenty of stories of early migrants. One of the highlights is a wooden frame of a Chettinad residence with intricate carvings of figures and motifs. There are also free guided tours daily from Tuesdays to Sundays.

Things to do in Little India - Pongal open house
Image credit: @hazel_magahis via Instagram

Occasionally, the centre holds various workshops ($10-$25) such as miniature painting, jewellery making, and saree tying. There are also free live cooking demonstrations and cultural performances during festivals such as Deepavali and Pongal.

Head to their website to find out when such workshops and open houses take place. You won’t want to miss the food tasting session of special snacks and sweets or the festive decor.

Admission: Free for Singaporeans & PRs | $8/pax for foreigners
Address: 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: Indian Heritage Centre website

2. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Admire the detailed architecture of one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples

Things to do in Little India - Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Image credit: @ellama_5168 via Instagram

As you walk along Serangoon Road, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple with its colourful tower structure is hard to miss. Built in 1881, it is one of the oldest and most beautiful Hindu temples in Singapore. Spend a few minutes at the entrance to take a good look at the detailed carvings on the tower – it is truly a work of art.

Here’s a fun fact: the temple was a refuge for people trying to stay safe from air raids during WW2. What’s more remarkable is that the temple survived the bombings without any harm.

Things to do in Little India - Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple prayers
Image credit: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Singapore via Facebook

Prayers are conducted in the mornings and evenings, so if you want to observe the ceremony, go around 7am or 7pm. Make sure to dress modestly with bottoms covering your knees.

Admission: Free
Address: 141 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218042
Opening hours: 5.30am-12pm & 5pm-9pm, Daily
Contact: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple website

3. Little India Arcade

Get henna, try Indian sweets & buy costume jewellery

Things to do in Little India - Henna

Preserved in a building known as Little India Arcade is a cluster of shophouses selling handicrafts, jewellery, and Indian sweets amongst other things. You’ll find a number of beauty salons where you can get henna (from $6/hand) as well as services such as eyebrow threading.

Things to do in Little India - Little India Arcade shops
Image adapted from: @tamkokseng, @herroyaldukeness via Instagram

For Indian sweets and snacks, make a beeline for Moghul Sweet Shop or Ganesan Villas Sweets & Savouries. The former is well-known for their gulab jamun dessert and savoury samosas with potato fillings. If you’re looking for accessories like bangles and dangling earrings to complete an Indian outfit, you can find them here for an affordable price too.

While you’re there, check out neighbouring Campbell Lane which is lined with stores that are seemingly an extension of the arcade. In particular, Jothi Flower Store is the go-to for flowers and garlands.

Address: 48 Serangoon Road, #02-07, Singapore 217959
Opening hours: 9am-10pm, Daily
Contact: Little India Arcade website 

4. Mustafa Centre

Buy anything & everything for cheap at this 6-storey shopping centre

Things to do in Little India - Mustafa Centre

Everyone knows Mustafa Centre, but that won’t stop us from talking about it once again. After all, the 6 floors hold over 300,000 items and most things are on a budget too. The stuff here spans multiple categories including groceries, luggage, household items, tech gadgets, clothes, jewellery, and we could go on.

In the food and groceries section especially, you will notice a lot of brands from India. Here’s where you can find unique snacks and flavoured items like Maggi Masala. If you need anything before a trip, it’s worth checking out the shopping haven for last-minute travel items.

Address: 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704
Opening hours: 9.30am-2am, Daily
Contact: Mustafa website

5. Tekka Place

Go bouldering & shop for Indian handicrafts

Things to do in Little India - Tekka Place handicrafts

Formerly known as The Verge, ​​Tekka Place is the mall at the start of Serangoon Road. Its directory list mainly features restaurants, fashion retailers, and enrichment centres. At Bacos, one can try Indian fusion food with dishes such as Tandoori Chicken Pizza and Lamb Shank Biryani. There’s also a Starbucks for your coffee fix and a spot to work or study from.

Arts & Culture is the store to check out for home decor such as statues and traditional standing lamps. They also have handcrafted jewellery boxes and Indian musical instruments. DALANIE Traditional Massage is where you can get a massage, mani-pedi, facial, and eyelash extensions.

Things to do in Little India - Tekka Place Boulder Movement
Image credit: Boulder Movement via Facebook

Climbing enthusiasts looking for bouldering gyms in Singapore will be pleased to know that level 2 of Tekka Place houses Boulder Movement. This outlet specialises in bouldering walls only and is a cosy little space with fewer crowds on weekdays.

Address: 2 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218227
Opening hours: 8am-10pm, Daily
Contact: Tekka Place website 

6. New World’s End 

Audio tour about the former New World Amusement Park

Things to do in Little India - New World's End
Image credit: @newworlds.end via Instagram

With Singapore’s rapidly changing landscape, iconic landmarks have come and gone. And while you can’t see the New World Amusement Park anymore, you can go on a self-guided walking tour by OH! Stories through the back alleys of Little India to find out more.

New World’s End is an audio tour based on the old theme park that follows the story of fictional characters Kiran and Rosa. The latter is loosely based on the striptease dancer Rose Chan who was considered a celebrity during the glory days of the amusement park.

Things to do in Little India - Exit Left Stage
Image credit: @chunkiefilmhouse via Instagram

You learn more about the history of the park as you follow the lives of the 2 characters. The tour then ends in a hidden bar – Exit Stage Left – where you can get hyper-local cocktails from $22. The menu features drinks made from Singaporean spirits such as Tanglin Singapore Gin and Compendium Dark Rum.

Admission: $35/pax
Address: 85 Desker Road, Singapore 209646
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 5.30pm-9.30pm (Closed from Sundays to Tuesdays)
Contact: OH! Stories website 

7. Tan Teng Niah House

Snap photos for the ‘Gram at the iconic Chinese villa

Things to do in Little India - Tan Teng Niah House
Image credit: @meg_in_sg via Instagram

Think of Little India and the image that is most likely to come up is that of the colourful facade of Tan Teng Niah House. This is the last Chinese villa of its kind in the neighbourhood and its rainbow-coloured exterior in saturated hues makes it one of the most Instagrammable spots in Singapore.

The story goes that the house was the residence of the Chinese businessman Tan Teng Niah who owned sweet shops along Serangoon Road. Eventually, when the area was being redeveloped they moved out. In the 19080s, the house was then restored and conserved as a reminder of its heritage.

Address: 37 Kerbau Road, Singapore 219168

8. Tekka Centre

Dig into local food like biryani & shop for Indian traditional clothes

Things to do in Little India -Tekka Centre hawkers

For most older folks, a trip to Little India most likely means a visit to Tekka Centre. Whether to buy fresh groceries from the wet market or to enjoy a meal at the hawker centre, do drop by this gem.

Some of the more famous Tekka Centre food stalls include 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles, Temasek Indian Rojak, and Allauddin’s Briyani. Yes, there are numerous halal options too.

Things to do in Little India -Tekka Centre fashion stores

Head to the upper floor for fashion retailers that sell Indian clothes, jewellery, and accessories. This is the go-to for locals to get their snazzy new outfits for Deepavali. Nestled within the rows of stores are a few tailors and seamstresses too that can help with alterations from just $5.

Address: 665 Buffalo Road, Singapore 210665
Opening hours: 6.30am-5pm, Daily

9. Alleys with aesthetic street art

Go on a walking tour to see numerous colourful murals

Things to do in Little India - Clive Street art mural
Image credit: @instawasabisabi via Instagram

While walking about the neighbourhood, you might spot several murals. Most of these are on the side of buildings located in the inner streets. The best way to spot all of them is to embark on this Little India art trail. Just follow the map and you’ll be able to see 9 of the artworks, mostly created by local artists.

Things to do in Little India - Desker Road street art
Image credit: @debbieannebayliss via Instagram 

The street art is a tribute to the vibrant Indian community, in particular the migrant workers, and traders and merchants of yesteryear. Don’t miss the whimsical painting of cows along Kerbau Road and the beautiful painting of traditional Indian dancers near Little India MRT.

– Restaurants, cafes & bars –

10. The Banana Leaf Apolo

Taste their famous fish head curry

Things to do in Little India - Banana Leaf Apolo
Image credit: @birdbrainfarter via Instagram

Much like is the tradition in South India, meals at The Banana Leaf Apolo are served on a banana leaf. A typical meal here consists of biryani, cabbage, eggplant, and papadum. To add on, the Signature Fish Head Curry (from $33) is a must-try. If you aren’t able to take a lot of spice, order a side of cooling yoghurt and lime juice to appease your palate.

While they are more well-known for their South Indian food, the menu also features North Indian dishes such as Tandoori Chicken ($36.72) and Butter Naan ($5.94). And if you’re wondering whether the name was inspired by Apollo 11, yes, it was. The founder was spurred on by the mission to start his very own business.

Address: 54 Race Course Road, Singapore 218564
Opening hours: 10.30am-10.30pm, Daily
Contact: The Banana Leaf Apolo website 

11. Komala Vilas

Chow down on authentic vegetarian South Indian food

Things to do in Little India - Komala Vilas dosai
Image credit: @chowingchandra via Instagram

Having been around since 1947, Komala Vilas is an institution. OGs will know that for the best dosai in town, it is the place to go. Despite its fully vegetarian menu, the place is always packed with locals and tourists. There are a couple of outlets in Little India but for the authentic experience, head straight to the original outlet along Serangoon Road.

Things to do in Little India - Komala Vilas
Image credit: Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant via Facebook

They only accept walk-ins, so expect to queue for around 20 minutes during lunch and dinner hours. Choose from 15 varieties of dosai ($2.90-$6.50) including masala with potato filling, cheese, and onion. Also popular are their thali or set meals (from $10) for those who want to try a little bit of everything.

Address: 76-78 Serangoon Road, Singapore 217981
Opening hours: 7am-10.30pm, Daily
Contact: Komala Vilas website 

12. Three’s A Crowd

Cool down with ice cream & waffles

Things to do in Little India - Three's A Crowd
The cafe also serves brownies ($8.30), choco lava cake ($8.30), and banana bread ($8.80).
Image credit: @threesacrowdcafe via Instagram

Given the sheer amount of things to do in Little India, it’s easy to plan a day out hopping around the neighbourhood. And if you’re looking to make it a place for date night, make your way to Three’s A Crowd for desserts after a meal.

This cosy little halal ice cream cafe offers interesting flavours like masala chai, salted yolk lotus, and Kaya n Speculoos. Each scoop of ice cream (from $4.30) can be had on its own or paired with a waffle of your choice – classic ($6), ondeh ($9), or f’rrero ($9.80).

Address: 50 Race Course Road, Singapore 218562
Opening hours: Mon-Tue & Sat 11am-10.30pm | Sun 11am-4.30pm (Closed from Wednesdays to Fridays)
Contact: Three’s A Crowd website 

13. The Wired Monkey Singapore

Grab a cuppa joe & work from this hole-in-the-wall cafe with power plugs

Things to do in Little India - The Wired Monkey cafe
There are also a number of power plugs to charge your laptop or phone.
Image credit: @galkasss via Instagram

Looking for a quiet working spot in town? The Wired Monkey Singapore is a cute little cafe in Little India perfect for a solo work or study sesh. Although the space is relatively small, there are steps with movable individual tables, enough to fit your laptop or a book, plus a drink.

Things to do in Little India -The Wired Monkey coffee and tea7 spiced chai ($6) and iced latte ($6).
Image adapted from: @thewiredmonkeysg via Instagram

The baristas brew the coffee fresh daily and offer the standard – long black ($4.50), latte ($5), flat white ($5), and cappuccino ($5). Non-coffee drinkers, there are options for you too including hot chocolate ($6) and matcha ($6). Aside from the drinks, check out their small section of fresh bakes to accompany your drink.

Address:  5 Dunlop Street, #01-00, Singapore 209335
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-3.30pm | Sat-Sun 8.30am-5pm
Contact: The Wired Monkey SG website 

Plan a day out in Little India with meals, shopping & sightseeing

Things to do in Little India - Deepavali lights
Drop by during the festive season to check out the pop-up bazaars and light-ups.
Image adapted from: @call_me_king_ram_46 via Instagram

Now you know; Little India isn’t just a place to buy Deepavali snacks, there’s so much more to explore. Plus, the street art and exhibitions at Indian Heritage Centre are absolutely free. So, plan a day out to shop, eat, and walk the lanes of Little India.

More neighbourhood guides:

Cover image adapted from: @chowingchandra, @instawasabisabi & @chunkiefilmhouse via Instagram