The heart of Singapore's Indian community is vibrant, packed with shopping opportunities and has some fantastic food on offer.
Singaporean Indians make up 9% of the country's population, and their cultural home is Little India, to the east of the Singapore River. A busy mix of spice stores, cheap and cheerful restaurants, backpacker hostels, galleries, sari shops and Bollywood record stores blaring out music all day and night, peaceful it isn't. But you shouldn't miss a visit here as the vibrancy and liveliness make for a great day or night out, as well as an insight into the history of the Indian population of Singapore.
The area is centred upon Serangoon Road and has been home to Tamil Indians since the 19th century. The famous Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was built in 1855, as was the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, giving local Indians a place to worship. Many of the trades that flourished back then are still in existence today down the alleys and back lanes. Look out for fortune-tellers, often with a parrot in tow, and flower vendors who thread together gajra, or garlands of jasmine. You can also find shops selling Ayurvedic massage oils and sari fabrics galore: be prepared to haggle to get a bargain. Another good place for souvenir hunting is at the Tekka Market. It's not the place for the claustrophobic though as the market is usually filled to capacity.
Many foodies visit Little India regularly for the classic Indian curries available, or a local variation of chai, known as tarik. There are lots of South Indian restaurants here so vegetarians are well catered for.
Little India is located on the east side of the Singapore River and is served by the Little India MRT station. There is also limited free parking in the area, but there are plentiful spaces if you pay.