As the dominant ethnic group in Singapore, the Chinese residents of Singapore have cast an influence over the whole city. But at the heart of the Chinese community sits Singapore’s Chinatown, the first location in the world to be called Chinatown. Since 1330, the area around Pagoda Street has been a hub for the Chinese immigrants in Singapore, and today it remains a fascinating cultural excursion that can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. Chinatown offers some of the best dining in the city and historical and cultural attractions, like the Chinatown Heritage Centre, the many markets and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Feel free to enter the temple and take a look around the lavish gold and red interior. If you are lucky you may get to witness a Buddhist ceremony taking place.
Join a walking tour, or embark on your own following the Chinatown trail, to discover the history of the area. Beginning at the Chinese Heritage Centre, see how life was for early immigrants to the city. Make your way to the oldest Hindu temple in the city, the Sri Mariamman Temple, to admire the South Indian architectural style. The architecture in Chinatown is one of its defining features. Particularly charming are the old style shop-houses which are still in operation.
Eat traditional Chinese cuisine on Smith Street, affectionately known by locals as “Food Street.” Here you can try Bak kut, a variety of pork rib soup that is incredibly popular in the city. Other options are the noodle dishes that have become known around the world as Singapore Noodles.
Chinatown is located in the central downtown precinct of Singapore and can be reached on foot from many downtown hotels. Visitors arriving by car will find parking in the nearby streets. Chinatown is well served by public transportation and the Chinatown MRT station is just a minute’s walk away. Chinatown is open daily and there is no fee to visit.