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Chinatown is one of Singapore most popular tourist destinations. It overflows with souvenir markets and affordable restaurants and karaoke bars that stay open late. It doubles as a genuine community of Chinese residents, many of whom live in colonial-era shophouses. Some of the most interesting hotels in Chinatown are housed in these same heritage buildings.
To gain a better understanding of how the Chinese community helped to build Singapore, guests can visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre between South Bridge and New Bridge roads. It occupies three shophouses, with each floor dedicated to a period in Chinatown history. Another interesting attraction is Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. It housed in a modern, pagoda-like building and features dozens of exhibits on Buddhism and Chinese culture.
Away from the museums, the real cultural attractions in Chinatown are right on the street. Merchant stalls on Temple Street and Pagoda Street are brimming with trinkets and souvenirs, while the antique markets on South Bridge Road have more to offer serious collectors. Head over to Smith Street for an enticing selection of food stalls serving Chinese noodles and other fast meals.
The only business-oriented hotels in Chinatown are next to the Ministry of Manpower office building northeast of Pearl Hill City Park. Otherwise, Chinatown caters mostly to budget travelers who favor cultural activities and affordable nightlife over posh amenities.
Information by Agoda
Want to shop? Buy souvenirs in Pagoda Street, 'bak kwa' (barbecued meat) in New Bridge Road or traditional Chinese medicine in South Bridge Road.
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.
In the early years, clan groups lived in different areas: The Hokkiens in Telok Ayer and the waterfront, the Teochews along Singapore River (Clarke Quay) and around Fort Canning, and the Cantonese and Hakka in Kreta Ayer.