Bugis Street is one of Singapore’s most colorful areas; following a major government initiative during the 1980’s to clean up the area raunchy image it has been transformed in to an exciting shopping area. During the 1950’s the area was crammed full of traders and small retail outlets making it one of the country’s busiest economic zones. According to legend the area was named after the Buginese people who made a name for themselves as blood thirsty pirates.

A number of small commercial establishments were set up, including a number of outdoor bars; subsequent to this droves of transvestites were seen seemingly to attract the Western tourists. Business blossomed here in Bugis and it fast became the most popular tourist attraction in Singapore during the 60’s and 70’s and the nightly parade of brightly attired transvestite women used to draw in huge crowds.

What remains today in Bugis Street is the great street shopping experience, strict government controls have virtually wiped out the shady businesses. The original Bugis street is now a picturesque cobble stoned avenue squashed in between the buildings of Bugis Junction. Also found in this area is the Bugis Square which is an elegantly paved central square, with a dancing water fountain and a collection of shopping outlets and restaurants surrounding it.

New Bugis Street which can be seen bordering Bugis Street, is a newly created shopping street that was actually developed based on the old Bugis Street. It features a number of narrow alleys lined with stalls selling “pasar malam” or night market goods. This is in fact the only area in Singapore where tourists can experience a bazaar style shopping expedition, bargaining is commonplace here and a number of specialty goods such as traditional clothing, souvenirs and culinary delights can be found.

For visitors looking for a serviced apartment in Singapore, a comfortable accommodation option is the Somerset Bencoolen.

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