It was said that the street was so called because the area used to be owned by an Arab and it was the site of an Arab kampong. What I knew about Arab Street is that there is that Queen Street Bus Terminal close by to take you to Johor, Malaysia. Also, there’s a nearby wholesale market for all sorts of spices and stuff. I remember passing through this area few times- jogging or riding the bus to Johor. But wait, there’s the other side of this street! It turned out to be a bargain place like Divisoria in the Philippines- to a lesser degree.
Last year, in search for cheap Christmas garland, my wife discovered that good priced ones were sold in this area. What was sold at SGD 30 elsewhere, was sold here for SGD 15! But that’s old news. We visited the lone store concentrated on selling Christmas stuff and was selling the same garland for SGD 30 plus, the same price elsewhere. They must have discovered the treasure in this item.
Walking through the street is a delight for you do not see too many merchandise displayed beyond the stores- on the sidewalk that is. It is reminiscent of Quiapo, Central Market and Divisoria, what have you. But again, with a higher standard of setting from Singapore’s perspective – cleaner, more organized and safe. Wholesale and retail stores with a huge inventory of items make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for.
There’s a basket shop - nice to see but quality is so-so similar to what you find in some underpass Quiapo stalls.
We only found one Christmas decor and trinkets shop in the middle of the street. Good variety of stuff.
Fabrics is not my thing. In case you rave for this, this is one place to be.
For smokers, there’s a restaurant that has this hookah or shisha pipes in some tables. And they also sell the pipes!
Other stores are found here if you need ribbons, tapes etc.
If you are the adventurer type, it’s worth going to this place and have a look at what’s going on here