In Depth: Chinatown

 

Whilst we’ve already written a basic overview of the main ethnic parts of Singapore, here you can read in more detail about the vibrant and interesting Chinatown. A popular part of the city for visitors and locals alike, there are many things to do and see, as well as good, and often inexpensive, shopping and tasty cuisine.

Some of the different ways to enjoy Chinatown include:

Have Your Own Foodie Trip

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/jiathwee
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/jiathwee

As you wander around Chinatown you will notice plenty of restaurants and smaller eateries, perfect for refuelling whilst on the go. There are also many street stalls selling delicious snacks to keep you going … eat little and often when exploring to avoid disappointment when you can’t fit anything else in! The hawker centres are also great for varied dining options, especially for groups who can order several different dishes to share. Smith Street and the Maxwell Centre are great for food lovers. Just try and resist the tempting smells that constantly attempt to entice you!

Browse the Markets

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/fungleo
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/fungleo

Both by day and by night, Chinatown’s streets reveal some fantastic street markets that are bursting with goodies. The market at Trengganu is home to a variety of electronics as well as traditional souvenirs and gifts. You’ll find even more terrific bargains at Pagoda Street. Clothing, accessories, calligraphy, art, crafts, jade, books, trinkets, music, nik-naks, and more await you!

Pop into Shop Houses

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielgm
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielgm

There are numerous traditional shop houses that sell an array of items. Even if you don’t initially intent to buy anything, browsing the shops and window shopping can still offer a fabulous insight into the culture. It is, however, likely that you will make at least a few small purchases! Gold shops glitter and shine, traditional Chinese medicines and herbs are available for assorted complaints and illnesses, dried foods can make great gifts for people back at home, and more.

Enjoy the Night Life

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/indi
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/indi

Chinatown boasts many lively bars and clubs, great for a fun night out. Many places offer a slightly more offbeat and alternative vibe than other places around the country. At the weekends check out the appropriately-named Club Street – the roads are closed to vehicles to fully allow revellers to enjoy their night out.

Learn More at the Chinatown Heritage Centre

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/12394349@N06
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/12394349@N06

A fantastic place to learn more about the Chinese migration to Singapore, the lives of early Chinese migrants, and the struggles that many members of the early community faced, the Chinatown Heritage Centre has a number of interesting displays and exhibits. It really will help you to gain a greater insight into the area. The museum is inside carefully restored shop houses allowing visitors to see how people lived in the past.

Feel the Serenity at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/34371745@N05
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/34371745@N05

Although this is quite a new temple, it still occupies an important place within the Chinese Buddhist community. A multi-levelled red and gold pagoda, it is one of the area’s top sights. It attracts both tourists and followers of the Buddhist faith who go to pray and make merit. You can see ornate and detailed Buddhist art work and statues, and the temple is also home to important spiritual relics. The tooth relic is contained within a large gleaming pagoda that was made from precious gold. You can learn more about the Buddhist faith at the Buddhist Culture Museum, and on the rooftop you will find a peaceful garden.

See Singapore’s Oldest Hokkien Temple

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/vincrosbie
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/vincrosbie

A beautiful, colourful, and very photogenic temple, Thian Hock Keng Temple is well-worth a visit when in Chinatown. Traditional dragons adorn the mighty pillars and there are many fascinating designs and details to catch your eye.

Soak up the Views from Pinnacle

Image By www.flickr.com/photos/amaknow
Image By www.flickr.com/photos/amaknow

Pinnacle at Duxton Skybridge provides some of the best city views … and, for a really cheap price! Head to the observation point on the 50th floor and spot many of Singapore’s famous attractions below.

Other great things to do in Chinatown include visiting the impressive Masjid Jamae Mosque and the highly decorative Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, admiring the work that went into the city’s planning at the Singapore City Gallery, being awed by design at the Red Dot Museum, and sampling a session of reflexology.

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