Chinatown is one of the most popular areas of Singapore with visitors. Come here to admire the beautifully preserved heritage shophouses, shop for souvenirs amongst the street stalls and tiny boutiques and explore the many temples dedicated to Singapore’s different religious groups. A plethora of hawker stalls, restaurants and wine bars give plenty of options for eating and entertainment.
See & Do
The cultural melting pot of Singapore means that the number and variety of religious sights to visit is staggering, and nowhere is this more evident than in Chinatown. South Bridge Road typifies this, with a Hindu Temple, a Mosque and a Buddhist Temple all within a few hundred yards of each other. A visit to one of these many varied places of worship is an excellent way to learn about the religion, culture and background of the devotees who worship there, and they are architecturally worth a visit too.
There’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to eating out in Chinatown. Join the locals for hawker fare at the Maxwell Road Food Centre, or head to Smith Street after dark when traffic is re-directed and tables spill out into the road, filled with people taking their choice from the many street stalls. The heritage shophouses here are brimming with fine-dining restaurants and casual eateries. Head to Club Street, Far East Square, Bukit Pasoh Road or Duxton Hill and take your pick.
Chinatown is a great place to head to if you’re looking for a few quiet drinks or even a more raucous night out. Club Street/Ann Siang Hill is a good bet, its sidewalks lined with busy wine bars and restaurants, while nearby Far East Square is also popular with the after-work drinks crowd from the city. The heritage shophouses in which these bars are set makes for a cosy ambience, or if you prefer al-fresco then check out the roof bars Ying Yang and the Screening Room.
The heritage architecture and rich cultural surroundings have attracted many boutique hotels to Chinatown. So if you’re bored of international chain business hotels, then check out the offerings here. The seductive Scarlet Hotel was one of Chinatown's original boutique hotels, and still impresses with its rich velvet upholstery and sensuous surroundings, while its newer neighbor the Club Hotel offers a stark contrast with its monochrome features. For something really unique, check out the New Majestic Hotel with its 30 unique rooms featuring art installations from local artists and quirky personalized rooms.
Chinatown is one of the best spots in Singapore for souvenir shopping. Don't be put off by the abundance of ‘Singapore is a FINE city’ t-shirts, Merlion paper weights or Chinese dragon puppets; if you dig a little deeper, there are some great deals to be had. The street stalls on Pagoda Street, Sago Street and Trengannu Street are brimming with ideas, from silk cushion covers to Chinese calligraphy and silk clothing. Behind the markets, you’ll find tiny crowded shops housing attractive ranges of antique furniture, lacquer ware, Chinese tea and Traditional Chinese Medicine.