What to do in Singapore: 18 things to do in Bugis

If you like artsy, cultural things, or if you wanna do budget shopping, you need to visit Bugis.

Bugis is a neighbourhood in downtown Singapore, which you should visit if you like artsy, cultural things, or if you wanna do budget shopping! As a local, I love hanging out here simply because I like the vibes there and there are sometimes new night markets or events happening.

This guide will bring you in a loop around Bugis and it includes lunch and dinner options too. You can also check out this map I made so you don’t get lost.

Okay, now let’s jump right in!

0) Go to Bugis

Bugis is super accessible! Bugis station (EW12/DT14) is on the green and blue lines of the MRT, and is pretty close to the city centre.

I recommend taking public transport (both bus and train are fine) as it’s waaaay cheaper than a cab (only a few dollars).

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1) Go to Bugis Street

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You can start your day at the most iconic place in Bugis. Bugis Street. This multi-story bazaar/flea market has apparel, souvenirs, small gadgets and food. Not everything is cheap here, but if you hunt a little, you’ll find a couple of good deals.

Address: 3 New Bugis Street, Singapore 188867
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 10pm

2) LUNCH: Albert Centre Market & Food Centre

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Next, once you’re ready for lunch, walk straight down the main path on Bugis Street, you’ll find Albert Food Centre opposite the road, on the left.

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Here’s where you can get plenty of cheap and authentic local food.

I recommend checking out this local website for recommendations on what to order! It’s called Burpple and I love it cause regular people like you and me can upload honest reviews, and the community votes on the best dishes to try.

Address: 270 Queen Street Singapore 180270
Opening times: It varies from stall to stall, and it gets pretty crowded during lunch and dinner hours, so do head there  a little earlier if you can!

3) Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

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After you leave the hawker centre, (if you’re facing Bugis Street) turn right and head down Waterloo St to see the neighbourhood’s Buddhist temple!

Address: 178 Waterloo Street Singapore 187964
Opening times: Daily, 6am – 6.30pm

4) Sri Krishnan Temple

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Right next to it is a Hindu temple. You can enter, just be sure to remove your shoes. And before you enter, check out the roof, it’s full of colourful sculptures that show the various idols.

Address: 152 Waterloo Street
Opening times: Daily, 6am – 2.30pm & 5.30pm – 9pm

5) Objectifs

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After you’ve seen the temples, keep walking down Waterloo St and cross a couple of roads till you see a little yellow house. This is where Objectifs, a photography and film centre is.

I haven’t had the chance to check it out myself (I went too early and it wasn’t open yet.) However, I do know that you can check out local creative work in the exhibits there.

Address: 155 Middle Road, Singapore 188977
Opening hours: 12pm – 7pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12pm – 4pm on Sundays, Closed on Mondays.

6) New2u Thrift Shop

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A little behind Objectifs, nestled in the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO), is the New2u Thrift Shop. The prices are cheap, like legit. Like I found this good quality work dress for just $6 SGD ($4.40 USD).

I’ve been to a couple of other thrift shops in Singapore and it’s hard to find prices this low.

Pro-tip: Head there on the last Thursday and Friday of the month as all clothes and shoes will have a 50% discount!

Address: 96 Waterloo St, Singapore 187967
Opening
 hours: 10.30am – 2.30pm on weekdays

7) National Design Centre

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After the thrift shop, cross the road and head to Queen St, where you’ll find The National Design Centre. This place is sooo underrated.

Not many people go there to hang out, and I think it’s worth visiting to see if there are any new exhibits or markets going on!

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There are also a couple of shops that carry locally designed stuff that you can check out.

Address: 111 Middle Road, Singapore 188969
Opening hours: 9am – 9pm

– St Joseph’s Church

The St Joeseph’s Church is right next to the National Design Centre but it’s currently under renovation (as of March 2019). I’m leaving the address here just in case!

Address: 143 Victoria Street Singapore 188020

8) National Library

Now if you have some time to kill, head to the National Library (the actual library is in the basement of the building). There is a shelf full of literature by local authors, and they all have their own distinctive styles.

The book picture is by Catherine Lim, an author I would read as a child. Read her if you want an insight into Singaporean Chinese culture.

Address: 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 9pm (Closed at 5.00pm on eves of Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. Closed on Public Holidays.)

9) Parkview Square / Atlas Bar

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Now make your way to Parkview Square building. This is where Atlas Bar (the 8th best bar in the world) is located. And man, it looks incredible.

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There’s a giant gin tower (the tallest in the world) and you’ll feel a little like you’re in the Great Gatsby.

You don’t need to pay to enter the building either, so why not pop by just to have a look?

Address: Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188778
Opening hours: 
Mon – Thu: 10am – 1am (on Mon – Thu), 10am – 2am (Fri), 3pm – 2am (Sat), Closed on Sundays

10) DETOUR: Go past DUO / Andaz Hotel

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Next you’ll be making your way to Arab Street (number 12), and if you enjoy architecture, you could make a detour to the back of Parkview Square, where you’ll see these honey-comb patterned buildings. They’re residential and office buildings (DUO) as well as a hotel (Andaz).

I personally find these buildings really impressive and beautiful. While you’re there, you could grab some nice photos near the urban gardens on the grounds of the building too.

Address: 5 Fraser St, Singapore 189354

11) DETOUR: Our Lady of Lourdes

If you are interested in checking out the different religious sites in the area, you could make another detour to this church by walking up North Bridge Road then turning left on Ophir Road till you get to the church!

Address: 50 Ophir Rd, Singapore 188690

12) Arab St and Masjid Sultan

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Now if you head down North Bridge Road, you’ll reach Arab St at the intersection.

Arab street is a beautiful part of Singapore where you’ll find plenty of Middle Eastern restaurants. You could stop here for Turkish tea and grab a snap in front of the golden-domed mosque before heading in.

Address: 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833
Opening hours: 10am – 12pm (Mon – Thu), 2pm – 4pm (Friday), 2.30pm – 4pm (Sat), 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm (Sun)

13) Fluff Bakery

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Fluff Bakery is a local bakery that is best known for its cupcakes. I got the Mango Sticky Rice cupcake ($4.20 SGD, $3.10 USD). It comes with a large wedge of sticky rice sitting on the frosting, and man, it’s actually delicious.

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The sticky rice is firm and lends a bit of texture to the moist and crumbly cupcake. And the inside of the cupcake is filled with tart mango sauce. Normally, I’m not happy spending this much on a cupcake, but this one was worth it.

Address: 4 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199071
Opening hours: 12.00pm – 7.30pm (Tue – Sat)

14) Intersections Gallery

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Intersections Gallery is a place that features both Singaporean and Burmese art. It’s worth a visit if you’re an art lover or curious about Asian art!

Address: 34 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198892
Opening hours: 
Wednesday to Sunday: 2pm to 7pm. Closed on public holidays

15) DINNER: Zam Zam

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Now for dinner, one option is Zam Zam which is back at Arab St.

Zam Zam is an affordable Indian-Muslim coffee shop that sells plenty of ethnic food like prata, briyani, and fish head curry.

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My go-to is chicken murtabak ($6 SGD, $4.40 USD), which is an Indian ‘lasagna’ of sorts, layered with mince, onions, eggs and plenty of spices, but in this picture, I’m having prata about $1 SGD per piece ($0.75 USD). By the way, the curry is free. 🙂

Price: $3-$7 SGD ($2.20-$5.15 USD)
Address: 697-699 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198675
Opening hours: Daily, 7am – 11pm

16) DINNER: Xian De Lai

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If you’re okay with spending a bit more, and have a huuuuge appetite, go to Xian De Lai on Liang Seah Street! It’s a hotpot buffet place where you can cook and grill as much food as you want for a set price.

This is great for a group meal, and you get try two different types of soup. We got the mala (extremely spicy and tongue numbing) as well as fish broth (sweet and delicous).

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I really like this place because they are super generous with their portions. We were in a group of five, and when we ordered one serving of quail eggs and they gave like TWENTY eggs in a small tray, and when we got three portions of fish, they gave us a HUGE platter.

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AND the quality is really great. AND they take pride in the presentation (see how they put our vegetables and noodles we chose in a basket!) I’m so happy to have discovered this place and I can’t wait to go back.

Price: Around $25 SGD ($18 USD), though the price varies on which day and time you go. (Weekday lunches are usually the cheapest.)
Address: 18 Liang Seah Street, Singapore 189039
Opening hours: Daily, 11.30am – 2.30pm, 4.30pm – 3am

17) Haji Lane

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Now after dinner, you could take a walk to Haji Lane. There are many local boutiques there, and even a restaurant where you can eat locally sourced fish (for a tiny city like ours with so little nature, this is kind of a big deal).

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What I find most appealing is the vibe there. I like the creativity in the shop displays as well as the colourful murals on the alley walls. It’s a nice place to take a walk.

Opening hours: Operating hours differ, a safe estimate is from 1o.30am – 10.30pm. And on weekends, night-life is bustling so expect the shops to stay open till late then.

18) Selfie Coffee

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And as you walk down Haji Lane, you’ll find Selfie Coffee. Here you can drink hot or iced coffee with your face on it, and it works because the picture is printed on a thick layer of cream.

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I paid around $7 SGD (around $5 USD) for my cinnamon iced latte, which is roughly the price you pay for a drink at Starbucks. Though it’s pricey for coffee, I’m glad I tried it at least once, for the novelty!

Address: 11 Haji Lane
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm


Bugis is really one of my favourite parts of Singapore, and I hope you’ll like it too. The funny thing is I used to think there wasn’t much to do here, would struggle to recommend places to my friends who visited Singapore.

It took a bit of research and exploring for me to realise that sometimes there is more to a place than you think. And that was just my take. 🙂

Read this next: Thrift shops in Singapore