Great backpacker vibe
If you’re in the market for a hostel with a true hostel vibe, it is very difficult to go past The Green Kiwi in the heart of Kampong Glam. With a fabulous location just down from Sultan Mosque facing onto pedestrian only Bussorah Street, this hostel truly delivers the goods.
This is the original of Green Kiwi’s two locations in Singapore; the other, a larger, more spacious setup on Lavender Road, isn’t nearly as charming, nor well located as this spot. Here you have character everywhere, including the walking street out front of the comfortable terrace area. We like it a lot.
Front-desk staff are excellent: a hat tip to Benjamin in particular who couldn’t possibly have been more helpful along with the woman in the morning who tirelessly told every guest what the “green stuff” for breakfast was (kaya spread, in case you were wondering). We found the staff to be top information sources for what to see and do across the city.
The accommodation is all upstairs and with 80 beds all up, sleeping quarters are quite cramped. They’ve made use of every available square metre — if it is physically possible to cram a bunk in, they have. That said, the bunks are well looked after and comfortable with a good duvet, and each with a private bed lamp — though ours didn’t work. There are also nets that hang over the bunks — more for privacy (we think) than mosquitoes.
Bathrooms are medium sized, with a tiled pebble finish, but can get extremely humid — more ventilation would be a great improvement. They’re clean though and fairly well maintained. Unless you’re a very early (or very late) riser, you’ll most likely need to queue for a shower.
Lockers are on the ground floor and are very small — really just for valuables, as you’d not even get a daypack into one. The same room is used for rucksack storage and for a few internet terminals, so it really isn’t that secure. With fewer bunks they could have had lockers in the same areas as the bunks and that would be a superior setup in our opinion.
The ground floor lobby area is the true strength of this hostel. With a long terrace offering both terrace and lounge seating, this is a very social area — one of the best we came across — and it’s also an excellent people-watching area. Iced cold drinks are for sale so it’s easy to while away a few afternoon hours, mingling with other travellers and enjoying the scene. This aspect of Green Kiwi we liked a lot.
A second layabout room adjoins the reception with a couple of decent sized desks where you can set up and suck down the hostel’s great WiFi. In reception you’ll also find voluminous suggestions on what to do in Singapore — the only hostel we saw in all of Singapore that has better information than here is Betel Box, which has long set the standard in this regard. So they’re doing a great job here.
As mentioned, the location is excellent. While the restaurants that face straight onto Bussorah Street in the immediate vicinity of Green Kiwi are not the best value, you’re only a block or so from Arab Street, Haji Lane and Bali Lane, all of which offer a comprehensive dining and boozing scene from Middle Eastern (choice near endless) to more cosmopolitan offerings. This is a very popular area in the evening and the choice of dining options truly is excellent.
Overall, if you’re looking for a backpacker vibe and don’t mind the somewhat cramped sleeping quarters, Green Kiwi is an outstanding choice in the area.
Address: 55 Bussorah Street
T: 9695 9331;
Coordinates (for GPS): 103º51'34.68" E, 1º18'5.78" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under S$30
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
$26 for a bed in a 4 bed dorm
|Dbl air-con share bathroom||S$89||S$89|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Downtown Singapore