A few stations from our office in Chinatown is the neighborhood of Bugis. The name “Bugis” originated from the people from the South Sulawesi province in Indonesia who stopped by to trade with Singaporean merchants. Prior to the arrival of the British, a large river canal used to run through the area that allowed the...
A few stations from our office in Chinatown is the neighborhood of Bugis. The name “Bugis” originated from the people from the South Sulawesi province in Indonesia who stopped by to trade with Singaporean merchants. Prior to the arrival of the British, a large river canal used to run through the area that allowed the Buginese to moor their boats and trade with Singapore merchants. Eventually, the name stuck, and the area has been called such ever since.
Today, Bugis is a modern and eclectic neighborhood constantly buzzing with activity. The neighborhood hosts the country’s largest library and is surrounded by malls, places of worship, yoga studios and karaoke bars. For this month’s Explore Singapore feature, we bring to you some Bugis’s best and must-dos while in the vicinity.
The National Library
Situated in the middle of town is Singapore’s largest library building. It has achieved several awards since its debut, such as the ASEAN Energy Efficiency Award and the Universal Design Award from the Building and Construction Authority in Singapore for its wide spaces, good lighting and accessibility. The building consists of 16 floors and has two towers that are linked by sky bridges made of glass, allowing natural sunlight to permeate the building. There is also a stunning panoramic view of the Singapore skyline from the Pod on Level 16.
The building occupies a site area of 11,304 square meters, housing the Central Public Library and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, the largest public lending library with over 600,000 reference items. It also houses other facilities for public activities, such as the 615-seat Drama Centre, seminar rooms and exhibition promenade
Address: 100 Victoria St, Singapore 188064
Opening hours: Monday-Sundays, 9am – 10pm
We may be biased but we think it’s safe to say this bar should be awarded the status of monument in itself. Exaggeration, you say? Take a look yourself as you enter the Gotham-like building of Parkview Square as you find yourself suddenly immersed by 1920-inspired classic Art-Deco movement that seems to have transpired out of The Great Gatsby. The bar’s centerpiece is a three-story high tower stacked with over 1,400 gin bottles to the top. Its grandeur is further accentuated by the paintings on the ceilings, creating the atmosphere of both class and cozy.
Beyond the interior, the bar is also well-known for its drinks and food. The bar was recently ranked #5 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2020, and 8th in the world in 2019. Many of its drinks are gin-based, with signatures like the ATLAS Martini, SS Normandie and Gin Tonica. Small plates and appetizers such as the mini croque monsieur with Spanish cheese and pickled shallots also make excellent complements to the drinks.
The combination of a unique ambiance, good food, drinks and service makes ATLAS Bar a perfect location to celebrate any occasion.
Address: 1600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore 188778
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10am-10:30pm, Saturday 12-10:30pm, closed Sunday (*hours may vary due to COVID-19 restrictions)
Haji Lane and Beach Road Prawn Noodles
Haji Lane is a cultural precinct and is a must-do if you’re in the area. The vibes at Haji Lane are vastly different from what you’ll experience throughout the rest of Bugis. It is Singapore’s original Indie district where cool boutiques, bars and cafes reside, along with colorful wall murals both tourists and hipsters love as backgrounds for photos. The lane used to be synonymous with guests smoking Shisha at restaurants, which was since banned in 2016.
Adjacent to the main road of Haji Lane, you’ll find a store selling what is known as “possibly the best prawn noodles in Singapore.” The prawn broth is rich and flavorful, and customers have a choice of yellow mee, bee hoon or a mix of both. Order a plate of ngoh hiang (Chinese Five-Spice Pork Roll) from a neighboring stall in the same shop to complete your prawn noodle combo!
Address: 243 Beach Rd, #01-01, Singapore 189754
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday-Sunday 7am-4pm
Contact: 6396 8464
These are just some highlights that provides a snippet of what Bugis is like. There is a whole plethora of other shops, food, drinks and knick-knacks one can discover after immersing oneself in all that Bugis has to offer.