Singapore’s historic Chinatown is a bustling mix of old and new, filled with traditional shops and markets as well as cool stores and cafes.
The cramped five-foot-ways, dingy alleys and raucous street hawkers are relics of Chinatown’s past.
Yet pockets of history remain in Chinatown, along with more modern sights. You could easily spend a few days wandering through these still-narrow streets.
Family-run goldsmiths, medicinal halls and tea houses ply their trades next to sleeker neighbors such as hipster bars and lifestyle shops.
Eat, drink and be very merry
Go for local fare at Chinatown Food Street or check out the trendier eateries and bars along Neil Road, Duxton Road and Keong Saik Road.
If you’re a foodie, try ‘char kway teow’ (stir-fried noodles) and ‘satay’ (barbecued meat skewers) at Chinatown Food Street, a row of hawker stalls, shophouse restaurants and kiosks along Smith Street.
For trendier tastes, chic restaurants and bars are in Neil Road, Duxton Road and Keong Saik Road. The vibe is electric in Club Street and Ann Siang Road on Friday and Saturday nights, when locals and expats head down for dinner and drinks.
Chinatown is where Hindu temples and mosques sit right next to Chinese temples. Sri Mariamman Temple and Jamae Mosque are on South Bridge Road, as is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
To rest that weary head, stay at a boutique hotel in Duxton Road, Keong Saik Road and Ann Siang Road. For budget stays, try Trengganu Street, Mosque Street and Temple Street.
Best of all, there’s free Wi-Fi throughout the Chinatown area so you can continue to be plugged in while you sightsee, shop and eat.
How to get there:
North-East Line – Chinatown Station (NE4)
Downtown Line – Chinatown Station (DT19)
Last MRT service: 11.50pm
Bus stop at South Bridge Road: C2, 166, 197, NR5
Bus stop at Maxwell Road: 80, 145
Bus stop at Eu Tong Sen Street (People’s Park Centre): 2, 12, 33, 54, 143, 147, 190, 520
Bus stop at New Bridge Road (Chinatown Complex): 2, 12, 33, 54, 63, 124, 143, 147, 190, 520, 851, 961, 961C
Bus stop at Eu Tong Sen Street (People’s Park Complex): 2, 12, 33, 61, 63, 80, 143, 197, 961, 970, CT8, CT18, CT28