Solo Trip to Johor Bahru & Singapore (Part 5) – Malay Heritage Centre

Previously: Night walk at Downtown

11 January 2015

The next morning, I woke up and texted Daeng, a famous Singaporean blogger who writes at I asked him whether he wanted to have a meet up and he answered in affirmative. He told me to meet up at Bugis MRT station around 11 am. I relaxed in the hotel room before checking-out around 10.00 am and rode the MRT to Bugis station.

The gate to Malay Heritage Centre
The gate to Malay Heritage Centre

I have never met him but I knew how he looks like from his social media account. I waited in front of Guardian until I saw a familiar faces approaching towards me and smiled. Finally, after online exchanges, here we were, meeting face to face for the first time.

Malay Heritage Centre
Malay Heritage Centre

We walked from the MRT station towards the Kampong Glam / Arab Street area, historically a Malay and Arab quarter, for lunch. Kampong Glam Cafe, a Malay restaurant selling a lot of local dishes that would make any customers to drool. Whilst taking my rice and dish on the plate, I realized that despite the same language that both Singaporean and Malaysian Malays used, there are still phrases which are alien to each other.

Istana Kampong Glam before being the Malay Heritage Centre
Istana Kampong Glam before being the Malay Heritage Centre

I listened carefully to what other diners said whilst ordering and one phrase that triggered me was how the Malay Singaporeans called sunny side up egg. In Malaysia, it is called as ‘telur mata kerbau‘ or buffalo’s eyes egg. Whereas in Singapore, it is known as ‘telur mata lembu‘ or bull’s eyes egg. It makes me think, if both countries, so close geographically and historically, can have distinct phrases like this, what would be the situation in countries like North and South Koreas?

With Lonely Travelog
With Lonely Travelog

Anyway, the lunch was tasty and I made a mental note to revisit this place during my next visit to Singapore (which I did, by the way in February 2016).

After lunch, I asked Daeng, where else can we go? “Jom pergi Istana Kampong Glam!” he told me. The Istana (palace) is not far from where we had lunch. We walked together until we reached a yellow mansion with the signboard saying – Malay Heritage Centre. Yes, this is the Istana Kampong Glam, former home to the rulers of Singapore, turned into a museum after the government bought the property in dilapidated condition. It was in a very dire situation until it was reacquired by the state and turned into a museum which tells about the Malay community in Singapore.

Exhibitions inside the Malay Heritage Centre.
Exhibitions inside the Malay Heritage Centre.

The palace is now known as the Malay Heritage Centre and the place is well-maintained. Inside the main building, there are exhibitions showing the family lineage of the Sultan of Singapore. The full-blast air condition inside the building was a good retreat from the scorching hot sun outside. We walked and read the details and I felt like I was transferred to a different era. It was so fascinating to imagine that a Sultan so rich who rule over the island state would lose his power, his title and his influence after a long history of the Sultanate.

After touring the Malay Heritage Centre, it was time to return to Malaysia. I bid Daeng farewell and walked to Queen Street, Bugis to catch a bus to Malaysia.


Buses to Johor / Malaysia are available at Queen Street in Bugis area. Advance purchase is not necessary since buses are regular and tickets are sold on a first come first serve basis.

Kampong Glam Cafe is situated at 17 Bussorah St, Singapore 199438. It opens daily from 8.00 am to 2.00 am. It is withing walking distance from the Sultan Mosque.

Malay Heritage Centre is located at  85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501. It opens daily from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm and closes on Mondays. Admission fees for tourists and foreign citizens:

Category Admission Fee

(20% discount for group of 20 pax and above)

Family Package
(for maximum of 5 members)
(60 years old and above)
(Free for children under 6 years old)
Persons with Disabilities (PWD)
1st caretaker of PWD  Free Admission 

5 thoughts on “Solo Trip to Johor Bahru & Singapore (Part 5) – Malay Heritage Centre

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