Since Chinese is the largest ethnic group in Singapore, it naturally follows that the city would have an exciting Chinatown. There are many great things to do in this enclave along with many places that you will want to visit. There is no need to worry about being hungry when playing, shopping or exploring Chinatown because there are many great restaurants and foods to try. Follow this guide to Chinatown so that you do not miss any fantastic opportunities when exploring Chinatown in Singapore.
Top Things to Do in Chinatown Singapore
There are many activities that you will want to do when you visit Chinatown. Some of the top
Take a Guided Tour
While there are many guided tours of Chinatown, one of the best leaves from Chinatown Heritage Center located at 48 Pagoda Street. Your free tour will include stops at wet markets, houses of worship, local restaurants and back alleys. Since you will be accompanied by a heritage expert, you can learn a lot about the history of Chinatown from its beginnings before 1330 to the present day.
Have a Picnic at Pearl’s Hill Park
Pearl’s Hill Park provides a tranquil setting for a picnic. You will want to sit near the pond when the lotus is in bloom to see a vast array of colors. On warmer days, this park has plenty of shade trees making it a great place to relax with your favorite book.
Shop at the Night Market
The night market is a fascinating place to shop because of its vast variety of sounds, colors and images. Many vendors offer the same merchandise, so do not be afraid to try to haggle over price. Be prepared, however, to walk away as there is probably another vendor nearby selling the same thing.
Smoke a Cuban Cigar
It is ironic that the best place to smoke a Cuban cigar is in Chinatown. The Olde Cuban located upstairs over some of Chinatown’s iconic shops offers over 200 types of cigars along with over 100 types of whiskey. Sit in the leather booths and enjoy both while you are visiting Chinatown.
Take a HiPPO Tour
Taking a HiPPO bus tour is a great way to get introduced to Chinatown. Consider sitting on the top of this double-decker bus for the best views of Chinatown. If you are a photographer, then you will want to keep your camera at the ready for the colorful scenery unfolding before your eyes.
Rub the Laughing Buddha’s Stomach
Legend says that if you rub the tummy of the Laughing Buddha, then you will never go hungry. While it is totally up to you whether you believe or not, rubbing the stomach of this jovial Buddha located at 36 Sago Street may make you feel good.
Top Things to See in Chinatown Singapore
There are many things that you may want to see in the Chinatown neighborhood of Singapore. You can visit houses of worship including Buddhist and Hindu temples, shop to your heart’s content at a variety of shops and vendors, and learn about Singapore’s amazing heritage. Here are some places you may want to consider.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Costing over $75 million Singapore dollars to construct in 2007, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is based on universal Buddha principles. Located on the fourth floor, the history museum allows people to understand more about the history of Buddhism over many hundred years. Donated by devotees, the Buddha stupa at this temple weighs over 800 kilograms and contains more than 320 kilograms of gold. Go all the way to the rooftop to see a gorgeous prayer wheel and a tranquil garden. End your visit by sipping tea and eating biscuits in the teahouse located on the second floor.
Sri Mariamman Temple
The Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple is one of the oldest in Singapore, and this Dravidian-style temple is also one of the most colorful in the city. It was originally constructed in 1827, and it has been modified many times. This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mariamman who is reported to protect people from diseases. If you are lucky enough to be in Chinatown during Thimithi Festival during October or November, do not miss seeing the firewalking ceremonies held at this location.
Chinatown Heritage Museum
View the recreated homes of people in Chinatown during the 1950s at the Chinatown Heritage Museum. Learn some of the stories of the residents who helped to make this area strong. Each item in the eight foot by eight-foot living areas spread across three floors tells a story of struggles and triumphs experienced by the first settlers in this enclave.
Singapore City Gallery
If you are fascinated with urban development and want to learn more about how Singapore became an urban oasis, then make sure to stop at the Singapore City Gallery on the south end of Chinatown. While you can go on a self-guided tour, the gallery also offers docent-led tours several times a day. The center also offers many workshops throughout the year along with offering resources to study to the public.
Thye Shan Medical Hall
One of the best stocked Chinese traditional medicine shops in Singapore is the Thye Shan Medical Hall. Perouse their collection to see an amazing assortment of items used to cure the sick. The friendly staff will be glad to assist you.
Telok Ayer Green Statues
Over time, Singaporeans have made their livelihood in a variety of ways. Reflect on some of those ways by seeing the statues at Telok Ayer Green. Finish by climbing up the two hills to see the former clan houses.
Food to Try in Chinatown Singapore
You may want to eat a variety of foods while you are in Singapore’s Chinatown. The restaurateurs and vendors located there often do a beautiful job of preparing family recipes passed down for generations, but giving them a modern flair. Large hawker centers allow you to try a variety of food at moderate prices without having to move from one place to another.
Maxwell Road Hawker Center
You have the option of buying food from more than 100 different vendors at the Maxwell Road Hawker Center. You will find many barbecue options including barbecue ray, barbecue pork intestines, and barbecue beef brisket. A variety of other foods are available as well. Look for the longest lines as these are normally what the local residents are eating.
While you will not find any meat served at Eight Treasures, you will not miss it. Chefs concentrate on recreating dishes like vegetarian pork ribs and vegetarian Peking duck without any meat.
Tippling Club Chinese restaurant has a set five-course meal that changes every month. You can also order off the cocktail menu. Ask to sample the gummy bears and the professional bartender will make you a drink tasting like your favorite. This restaurant that also has an extensive wine list has received numerous international awards.
With so many things to do, places to see and foods to sample in Singapore’s Chinatown, you will want to visit very soon. Make sure to share the information in this guide with people who might be interested in traveling to Chinatown with you.