What to expect at Geylang Serai bazaar and Hari Raya light-up this Ramadan

From having ethnic clothing and accessories for sale to familiar and new food to try, the scaled-down bazaar still has a lot to offer.

Caleb Lau

Grew up a musician, found a calling in photography and writing. Still in love with all of them.

Published: 14 April 2022, 6:19 PM

After a two-year wait, Ramadan bazaars are back, albeit on a smaller scale than what many of us, muslims and pasar malam lovers alike, remember. 

First made known by Minister of State for National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim in a Facebook post on Mar 15, physical bazaars situated in Kampong Glam and Geylang Serai will take place during the festive period this year.

“I hope that these two events will add festive cheer to this year’s celebrations,” he wrote.

One of the events, coined as Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar or the Bazaar Ramadan at Geylang Serai in the years prior to the pandemic, has been renamed to Geylang Serai Hari Raya Shopping Experience this year. 

Running till May 2, the bazaar is intended to have four zones stretching from the Wisma Geylang Serai building to the open carpark next to Tanjong Katong Complex. 

Zones 1 and 2 of the bazaar have been accessible since the opening day, while zones 3 and 4 will be introduced from Apr 14 onwards. 

At the time of Youthopia’s visit around 10pm on Apr 13, Zones 1 and 2, which contain food, retail and shopping, were bustling with activity.

To enter either zones, safe management measures have been implemented, with entry and exit points watched over by Certis Cisco officers. 


Zone 1, housed within the ground and second levels of Wisma Geylang Serai, was observed to have fewer patrons, which made it easily accessible and more comfortable for a free-and-easy walkthrough. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


In contrast, Zone 2 had heightened crowd control measures, like a large tentage designed for patrons to queue before being let into the zone in controlled numbers.


A signage outside the tentage will provide an estimated waiting time for those considering to join the queue, which help patrons to better plan their time at the bazaar. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


According to the entry point checkers Youthopia spoke to that day, the number of patrons let into the enclosed zone is determined by how many exit the area, so as to maintain a consistent crowd level in the zone.


Patrons are advised to dress lightly as the tentages of the waiting area and bazaar are not well-ventilated, with fans sparsely placed along the ceiling beam. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


Once entering the zone, most patrons flock to the food section, which houses familiar names like The Original Vadai and Ramly as well as first-time vendors Rancho Meat and Ole Ole!.


Certis Cisco officers were on-site to manage the crowds, such as the line for Dendeng House and Ramly, which had to be sectioned on both sides of the walkway. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


The bazaar was an opportunity for newer businesses to showcase their unique menus, such as Ole Ole! which sold Spanish-born seafood paellas. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


Among the plethora of food offerings, large crowds gathered at more innovative creations like the prata waffles from Praffles by Fooditude and Dutch poffertjes from Alley.


Patrons looking forward to crowd favourites like the prata waffles from Praffles by Fooditude are advised to come earlier in the day to avoid the persistently high demand till closing hour of the bazaar. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


Though it is the central location of most popular food brands at the bazaar, Zone 2 is not fitted with a seating area and the 3m-wide walkways are too swamped with patrons to give a suitable space for eating.


Tables with long benches are available in Zone 1, which can be accessed through a side opening in the food section of Zone 2. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


Patrons looking to come down to the bazaar mainly or solely for the food are advised to come down hours earlier before closing, as all food vendors are instructed to stop selling at 10.30pm.

Aside from filling one’s tummy, the bazaar is also a one-stop shop for ethnic clothes and accessories.


Clothing brands like Songkok Kamil and Rayaan Couture are situated in the retail section of Zone 2, which patrons will pass by on their way to the food section. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


The rather tranquil Zone 1 within the main atrium of Wisma Geylang Serai houses most of the retail shops, offering anything from clothes to bags and fabric. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


Aside from visiting the bazaar, a 1.4km long Hari Raya light-up adjacent to Zone 2 is also ongoing, but with a later end date of May 8.

Compared to the bazaar that saw a two-year hiatus, the Hari Raya light-up has remained as a consistent feature during every Ramadan season.

Themed Gotong Royong – Unity and Resilience this year, the festive display commemorates the community spirit of neighbourliness, kindness and mutual helpfulness.


The arches are designed with symbols like the crescent, star and floral nature, all of which are associated with Malay culture and Islam. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU


With the extended bazaar beginning from Apr 14 onwards, the light-up provides an appropriately themed and visually stunning backdrop to any patron’s visit from start to end of the bazaar. 

Zones 1 and 2 of the Geylang Serai Hari Raya Shopping Experience are located in the vicinity of Wisma Geylang Serai. Zones 3 and 4 will be situated a few minutes walk away, at the open field next to Tanjong Katong Complex.  The Hari Raya light-up, happening alongside the bazaar, is displayed over Changi Road, Geylang Road and Sims Avenue. 

The entire bazaar will open from 1pm to 11pm and run till May 2. As for the light-up, lights will switch on daily from 7pm to midnight and longer till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. However on May 2, the eve of Hari Raya Puasa, the lights will be left on till 6 am the following day. 

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