No visit to Singapore is complete without at least a walkthrough to Chinatown. It’s also a place not to be missed because of the abundance availability of souvenirs. The area is probably Singapore’s most unique besides Little India and Geylang.
A walk in Chinatown is an indulgence of Chinese heritage, going through the rows of historic pre-war houses, traditional arts & craft, and great variety of Chinese cuisine. The best time to visit the place is in the morning after 11 am, when most shops are opened for business and the crowd is thinner. After 2 pm, the streets get crowded and it gets worse after 6 pm, especially on weekends. Be it shopping, sightseeing, searching for authentic souvenirs or simply idling around to indulge in the rich heritage, there are just so many things to do in Chinatown Singapore.
Transportation to Chinatown by MRT is the most convenient, made so with the availabilty of 2 MRT stations, namely Chinatown and Outram Park station. The fact that one attraction stretching less than 2 km in length has 2 MRT stations clearly shows the popularity of this place. (Bold arrow in red indicates the 2 train stations)
Chinatown MRT station is located at the heart of Chinatown itself.
Things to do in Chinatown Singapore- souvenirs shopping.
Travel to Chinatown and you’d see here, there, everywhere, rows of shophouses and stalls retailing souvenirs from the famous statue of Merlion to the very unique Singapore’s T-shirt. One could even get his/her Chinese or English name onto a unique and personalized Chinese Seal or onto a Chinese painting. Getting your English name translated into Chinese immediately can also be done here in Chinatown. There are just so many things to do in Chinatown Singapore , a truly unique tourists attraction.
No place in Singapore retails such a wide variety of souvenirs except Chinatown. There is always something unique for everyone.
In this old heritage, you see a group of tourists in every corner you go.
At Chinatown street vendor offers personalized Chinese seal, with your name or any sentences done immediately. Get one for yourself or friends. Price starts from as low as SGD$10.00 for a simple one. Missed this and you won’t be able to get it anywhere, except in Chinatown.
Fancy having a Chinese name? Translation is done instantly!
Everyday, throngs of tourists arrive at Singapore Chinatown intrigue in seeing things they had never before.
Uniquely Singapore Souvenirs
Chinatown Singapore is a souvenirs shopping paradise, it offers souvenirs uniquely design specially for the tourist. Handbags with Singapore’s motif, always a tourist delight at Chinatown. The most popular, of course, are those with the iconic Merlion. Well, if you had earlier made some souvenir purchase elsewhere in Singapore, you could be in with a surprise to see shocking price difference with those you going to see here.
Rows and rows of shop houses and hundreds of stall in Chinatown retailing tons of very unique Singapore’s souvenir, no tourist would leave here empty-handed.
If you had visited the Merlion, but has some hesitation in getting the iconic souvenir or can’t find that near hidden souvenir shop there, don’t miss the chance at Chinatown, there are a wide variety to choose from.
Do take note that except in Shop houses, most street vendors accept only cash transactions. What? Ran out of Singapore currency already? Don’t worry, in Chinatown Singapore almost every corner you see an Authorised Money Changer.
Things to do in Chinatown Singapore- Eat, Eat, Eat Again
Follow a tour and most likely the guide would bring his group to a posh restaurant, if you had been doing that for the last few days, now is the time to taste the typical local delights in the famous Chinatown Food Street. These are the usual meals most Singaporean had daily.
For tourists who has no time to try the many authentic Chinese cuisine before coming to Chinatown Singapore, this is the best place to sit down and enjoy the many mouth-watering dishes, foror Chinatown has a famous Food Street which is not only a local delight but a tourist’s favourite. Most dishes are offered at affordable prices starting from SGD$4.00, splash SGD $50.00, and the whole table will be filled with plates of delicious food, good enough for a group of 4-5 persons.There are plenty of seats in the day, but its always difficult to get an ideal seat after 6 pm when both local and tourist starts poring into the famous Chinatown Food Street.
It’s not just the food street and traditional tea house or places for sumptuous steamboat, there are modern hip-hop pub and café along the streets as well. Have a drink, get a beer, sip some coffee, any time you want it and anywhere you want it.
Having had a delicious meal at the Food Street and thought it’s time to leave Chinatown for another destination, wait, did you miss out the Buddha Relic Temple nearby? The temple is said to have got it’s name due to the findings of Buddha relic in Myanmar in 1980. The display is housed on the 3rd and 4th level. It is a rare find. So be here. But beware, many visitors who entered are unaware that they can access the upper levels, probably not told by their guide, as a result, they miss the centerpiece exhibits of Buddha Relics.
Take a closer look at the many exhibition halls.
( Above picture) The famous Buddha Prayer Wheel.
Come see the many collections of precious statues.
The temple & museum is open daily from 7am – 7pm. Admission is free.
Chinatown Heritage Centre
Another interesting place is the Chinatown Heritage Centre. The Centre is a showcase of the living condition of the Chinese immigrants and labourers ( or coolies). I had been here once years ago, when I came again this time round, sadly, it was closed for a year long renovation and upgrading works. I would update on this centre once it’s open to the public again.
Singapore Chinatown is huge, but do not be afraid to ask for directions and guide. There is a Visitor’s Information Centre just beside The Buddha Relic Temple and Museum, counter staff are there to help. Brochures and information on all tourist attractions all over the island are readily available free-of-charge.
Things to do in Chinatown Singapore- Shopping for IT products
Chinatown is not just about pre-war houses and traditional heritage. The place has rich Chinese heritage and a mix of contemporary buildings. Besides getting traditional arts & craft from the streets and pre-war houses, there are modern shopping centre around for the purchase of clothing as well as pubs and IT equipment. There are so much things to see, eat and buy at Chinatown Singapore. After the trip visitor might hate themselves for having budget too little time for the place. So, start the day early, and do not stop till moon rises.
Chinatown offers the latest IT gadgets in camera, notebook, tablet, handphone etc.
The many shopping malls available in Chinatown Singapore.
Things to do in Chinatown Singapore- Tour agencies and Money Changers.
Chinatown is a local favourite for booking of tours and holiday. It’s so convenient to book an outbound flight as the place has a wide concentration of almost all the major tour agencies one can find in Singapore. The presence of agencies make price comparison extremely easy, since they are so close to each other. Besides that, plenty of Money Changers offering competitive exchange rates. The 3 most popular shopping centres with tours booking is Chinatown Point, People’s Park Centre and People’s Park Complex. They are mostly opened for business by 11 am and closed by 8 pm.