Neighbourhood guide: Bugis

Neighbourhood guide: Bugis
June 23 10:30 2016

The neighbourhood went through major transformations in the last decade – ranging from fabulous shopping possibilities to a cluster of contemporary art and culture. Nowadays modern restaurants and crafty bars have appeared on the scene.

History of Bugis

Named after the Buginese people, these seafarers roamed the Singapore Straits before the arrival of the British. The area was home to both the Buginese and the Hainanese people, bringing along their rich culinary traditions. While Beach Road is a constant reminder of Singapore’s original coastline, it is hard to imagine that Bugis used to be a full-blown red-light district, the second after Geylang, with transvestites and prostitutes after the Second World War. Today, Bugis is becoming the home of the arts.

Fun facts about Bugis

Watch a film about Bugis Street

If you want to get a feel for what Bugis Street was like four decades ago, then you should watch this film about the life of Singaporean transvestites that used to live in the area.

Buginese People

This ethnic group from south Sulawesi were the first to settle in the neighbourhood in the beginning of the 19th century.


The Buginese people were extremely skilled seafarers, using their skills in an occasionally unorthodox way. Forget about Hollywood pirates, the Buginese seafarers were traders with a special attitude.

Boogie Street

The neighbourhood was dubbed as Boogie Street by the British.

12,000 Students

The area of Bugis/ Bras Basah has a total of 12,000 students studying at universities, art schools and the local Starbucks.

We love

We love the fact that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has plans to turn the neighbourhood into an even bigger arts hub.

We recommend

Must Try – Hospoda Microbrewery

Singapore’s only Czech brewery, serving locally brewed beers with character.

180 Albert Street
Open daily from 4pm-12am

Must Eat – Artichoke

The exciting Middle Eastern cuisine by Bjorn Shen is a heaven for local foodies.

161 Middle Road,
Open Tue-Fri 6:30pm-9:45pm, Sat from 1130am -245pm, 630pm-945pm, Sun from 1130am – 245pm

Must Do – Visit the Deck

"deck art space cafe bugis guide singapore neighbourhood"

Deck. By DECK

This independent art space & café is housed in old shipping containers is  probably the coolest place to hang out in neighbourhood.

120A Prinsep Street
Open Tue-Sat from 12pm-7pm, Sun from 12pm-5pm

Where to eat in Bugis

Joo Bar

"joo bar singapore bugis guide neighbourhood korean food bar bistro"

Joo Bar. By Joo Bar

This beautiful hotspot is a modern and creative makgeolli bar, serving the sweet alcoholic and fermented drink made from rice and wheat. Experience some of the most exciting Korean food in Singapore and get excited about seafood rapokki with melted cheese, kimchi shrimp pasta, and Korean-inspired craft cocktails – often including makgeolli.

5 Tan Quee Lan Street
Open daily from 5:30pm-12am

Asia Grand Restaurant

If you are a dim sum aficionado, you need to try their weekend offering (9pm-2pm) including a SGD$38 all-you-can-eat dim sum. The restaurant is also popular for Peking duck which isone of the best in Singapore.

331 North Bridge Road
Open Mon-Sat from 1030am -230pm, 630pm – 1030pm, Open Sun & PH from 10am -2pm, 6pm -1030pm

Curious Palette

"curious palette cafe bugis guide neighbourhood dining food singapore"

Curious Palette. By Curious Palette

The extremely stylish café brings gourmet-like food quality to the table. Being passionate about the art of coffee, the café is perfect for a relaxing afternoon break or a prolonged brunch.

64 Prinsep Street
Open Mon, Wed-Thu & Sun from 9am to 10pm, Fri-Sat from 9am to 12am
Closed on Tuesdays

Gunther’s Modern French Cuisine

Offering the finer things in life, Gunther’s is serving caviar specialities and modern French fare. Highlights on the menu include the 21-days dry aged Côte de Boeuf and the roasted ruck of black pig.

36 Purvis Street
Open Mon-Fri from 12pm to 230pm, 630pm to 10pm, Sat from 630pm to 10pm 

Fortune Centre

The inconspicuous appearance may not evoke a fine dining atmosphere, but the Fortune Centre is a hidden treasure and hot spot for vegetarian cuisine. Try the New Green Pasture Café for veggie burgers, salads, and an organic retail section.

190 Middle Road
Open daily from 11am-8pm

Where to drink in Bugis

Third & Sixth Bistrobar

Third & Sixth is a quaint little place with great vibes, plenty of booze and good food! Perfect place for a drink after work – they have plenty of promotions too!

36 Seah Street
Open Mon-Thu from 5pm to 1am, Fri-Sat from 5pm to 3am and Sun from 5pm to 12am

Shin Gi Tai

"shin gi tai where to drink bugis guide neighbourhood singapore"

Shin Gi Tai. By Shin Gi Tai

Expect twists on classic cocktail creations, home-infused spirits, and Japanese-inspired bar bites. Don’t be fooled, as Shi Gi Tai is an Australian café by day.

51 Waterloo Street
Open Mon-Sat from 6pm-12am


"loof rooftap bar singapore bugis guide neighbourhood drinks cocktails relax"

Loof. By Loof

Awarded as Singapore’s best rooftop bar, this neighbourhood’s superior rooftop at Odeon Towers invites with cocktails, cold beers, and locally-inspire grub food.

331 North Bridge Road
Open Mon-Thu from 5pm to 1am, Fri & Sat from 5pm to 2am

Tess Bar & Kitchen

A former conservation shophouse now houses a cool, industrial-chic joint that is equally focused on both its drinks and food. With small plates, medium plates and large plates option for sharing, food served is delectable and includes yummy King Prawn Pasta and Angus Prime Rib

38 Seah Street
Open Mon-Thu 1130am to 1am, Fri 1130am to 2am and Sat 430pm to 2am

What to see and do in Bugis

Raffles Hotel

"service the raffles hotel singapore review"

The Raffles Hotel. Photo by Shenghung Lin

This iconic hotel stands strong since 1887 and is home to the Singapore Sling and a floor full of discarded peanut shells to add to the fun. Stroll through its corridors and discover tradition, colonial architecture, and a handful of selected boutique shops alongside Singapore’s original coastline. 

1 Beach Road

Singapore Art Museum

"singapore art museum bugis guide neighbourhood"

Singapore Art Museum. Photo by Guo Qi

Filled with curated art from Southeast Asia, SAM is the go-to contemporary art spot in Singapore.

71 Bras Basah Road
Open from Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun from 10am to 7pm, Fri from 10am to 9pm

Parkview Square

"parkview square bugis guide neighbourhood"

Parkview Square. Photo by Mark

Better known as the Batman building, Park View Square is Singapore’s most beautiful example of Art Deco architecture – although only completed in 2002. Check out the bronze statures on the plaza and the three-storey high wine chiller in the lobby bar.

600 North Bridge Road

Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Filmmaking

Filled with exhibitions, stimulating talks and hands-on workshops, Objectifs is contemporary culture to get involved in.

155 Middle Road
Open Tues-Sat from 12pm to 7pm, Sun from 12pm to 4pm

National Library Singapore

"national library bugis guide things to do neighbourhood singapore"

National Library Singapore

The prestige project of the NLB with over 11,000-square metres has also a stunning view over the neighbourhood. Of course it also has books. Standing tall alongside Victoria Street, the National Library Singapore is also home to the Asian Film Archive and several other reference libraries.

If visiting a library is not exactly your cup of tea, here are 5 exciting activities in Singapore!

100 Victoria Street
Open daily from 10am-9pm

Take a tour on a trishaw

Trishaw Uncle is the only licensed operator that conducts trishaw tours around Singapore. One of the tours offered is one of Bugis and Little India (we did a neighbourhood guide on Little India too!) or another that includes the Singapore Tour too. Proceed to the Trishaw Park at Albert Centre to kickstart your tour!

270 Queen Street

Where to shop in Bugis

Bugis Street

"bugis street shopping bugis guide neighbourhood"

Bugis Street

It’s a heaven for all who love getting lost shopping clothes. The three floors are filled with very affordable fashion and accessory shops. If you are you planning on doing your nails, head straight for the third floor. Ranging from fresh fruits and sweets to cheap fashionable clothes and nail salons – the bustle of Bugis Street is worth fighting through.

3 New Bugis Street
Open daily from 12pm-10pm

Sim Lim Square

Whatever electronic goods you might need, the seven floors of the Sim Lim Square are filled with electronics and repair shops of all kind. Show off your negotiation skills to score a bargain.

1 Rochor Canal Road
Open daily from 10:30am- 9pm

Kapok at National Design Centre

"kapok @ ndc singapore national design centre bugis guide neighbourhood"

Kapok @ NDC. By kapok singapore

The one-stop destination for design enthusiasts comes in the form of café, designer goods-filled shop and design museum.

111 Middle Road
Open daily from 11am to 9pm

Space Furniture

"space furniture shopping bugis guide neighbourhood singapore"

SPACE Furniture

Feed your creative side and gather inspiration in this beautiful interior design and furniture showroom. Combing a modern glass structure with white classical building style, the building alone is already worth the visit. Get inspired!

77 Bencoolen Street
Open daily from 10:30am-8pm

How to get to Bugis

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 Featured photo by: Mark

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Peter Schimke
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