Kampong Gelam Cycling Trail: An Artsy Tour of This Heritage District on Two Wheels

June 1, 2021

While Kampong Gelam can be explored on foot (or even in sidecars!), also consider enjoying Singapore’s street arts hub by bicycle. The newly launched Hall of Fame is the icing on top of Kampong Gelam’s agglomeration of mural art, resulting in an even larger visual feast for urban explorers. This cycling route will zip you through the major landmarks, as well as some pitstops for refreshments in the locality.

Momolato Cafe

If you start your ride from home, consider taking a break in the heart of the precinct - Haji Lane -  at Momolato Cafe. Grab a revitalising Popsicle Spritzer before you head out in the heat! Alternatively, owner Sharon Tay also presents keto-friendly, all-natural ice cream flavours such as Kochi Yuzu Shiso, and Chocolate Arabica Coffee.

Momolato Cafe is located at 34 Haji Lane Singapore 189227. Open Sun-Thu from 12pm-11pm, and Fri-Sat from 12pm-2am.

Gelam Gallery

Courtesy of The Admin

Turn the corner at Muscat Street and find a renovated back alley adorned with the artworks of 30 different artists, as well as NAFA and LASALLE students. Once a nondescript passageway for delivery and refute disposal, art has breathed life back into another corner of Kampong Gelam.

Gelam Gallery is located at Muscat St, Singapore 198833.

Bussorah Street

Lined with palm trees and Mediterranean-themed Middle Eastern eateries, Bussorah Street's red-brick pavement leads your gaze to the awe-inspiring Sultan Mosque at the end of the road. You just might be tempted to dismount your bike and take a nice stroll.

Jamal Kazura Aromatics

While at Bussorah Street, stop by this store. Established in 1933, Jamal Kazura Aromatics is a heritage business steeped in the art of olfactory concoctions. Regulars still frequent this store for its pure and natural essential oils, as well as its well-preserved culture of perfumery. Bring home the scent of Kampong Gelam.

Jamal Kazura Aromatics is located at 21 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199439. Open daily from 9.30am-7.30pm.

Malay Heritage Centre

Courtesy of Malay Heritage Centre

Previously home to the Malay sultans of Singapore, the Malay Heritage Centre, refurbished since its construction in 1840. For a deep dive into the local Malay community, this is a fantastic starting point to learn more about the culture and traditions that still continue to course through Kampong Gelam today. If you’re cycling at night, check out the neon light installations inspired by the architectural landscape of Kampong Gelam at Lap Lip 2021.

Malay Heritage Centre is located at 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501. Open Tue-Sun from 10am-6pm.

Cuturi Gallery Mural

Fresh out of this year’s Singapore Art Week, this mural emblazoning the Cuturi Gallery was painted by artist Didier “Jaba” Mathieu. Here, his artwork depicts futuristic flying ships anchored in Kampong Gelam’s rich history as a shipyard, as well as nuggets of Singapore’s native wildlife.

Aliwal Arts Centre

The walls around the Aliwal Arts Centre are decked out with eye-catching murals, including works by veteran artist Slacsatu, known for his vibrant batik style, and the RSCLS crew. A spot for art jamming by the artists in the precinct, the art here changes often enough, making it an unusual spot to appreciate street art in Singapore.

Jalan Klapa (AMC Asia)

The renowned children in trolley artwork you may recognise (by Penang based Ernest Zacharevict) has been given a fresh look and is now situated amongst an action-packed mural filled with scenes of an urban fantasy. Additionally, the back alley behind the AMC Asia building is a great spot for photo opportunities.

Zam Zam Restaurant

Zam Zam Restaurant is no stranger to any night owl, and its murtabak and biryani are just some of the things we crave when the name comes to mind. Or if you’re looking for a cold drink mid-ride, go with their iced teh tarik.

Zam Zam Restaurant is located at 697-699 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198675, p. +65 6298 6320. Open daily from 7am-11pm.

Hall of Fame

Southeast Asia’s first official Hall of Fame has made the construction noise barriers in Kampong Gelam its canvas, and standing at five-metres tall, it’s pretty hard to miss. Zip down Ophir Road to see some of the collaborative pieces like Boon Baked’s time travelling camels, before turning back to the neighbourhood to view over 130metres of murals  along Bali Lane. Highlights include Didier Jaba Mathieu’s ‘The Gathering’ inspired by indegenous clay sculptures and located near Blu Jaz Cafe   and Yi Shu (‘Art’), a playful work by ANTZ that features a monkey playing amidst the lane’s shrubbery. At any time, you may pause and stop along the walls to scan the QR codes and find out more about the artist’s statements.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

This rustic watering hole on Haji Lane is the perfect spot to take away your post-ride tipple. Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall deftly infuses local flavours into their creations, served alongside 14 choices of local craft beer. Hungry? Their boneless prawn paste chicken is one of the best on the island, alongside favourites like Hokkien prawn mee and XO carrot cake.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall is located at 12 Haji Ln, Singapore 189205, p. +65 6391 9942. Open daily from 12pm-10.30pm.

Top photo by Thyla Jane on Unsplash.

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