Besides being an ethnic enclave for Singapore’s early Chinese settlers, Chinatown has transformed into the country’s largest heritage precinct—filled with an exciting meld of hip haunts, cultural treasures and architectural gems.
Encompassing Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh, Chinatown’s four sub-districts each possess their own unique charms. While Chinatown’s size might seem daunting for the first-time visitor, this comprehensive guide will ensure you don’t miss out any of its star attractions.
1. Chinatown Heritage Centre (100 min) Closed for Renovation
2. Sri Mariamman Temple (15 min)
3. Masjid Jamae (15 min)
Discover Chinatown’s religious diversity as you make your way down South Bridge Road, and observe the distinctive octagonal minarets of Masjid Jamae.
Also known to locals as Chulia Palli (Chulia Mosque), this age-old religious establishment was established by Tamil Muslims from the Coromandel Coast between 1830 to 1835. Its architecture can be traced back to the 19th century, and fuses elements from both Neoclassical and South Indian tradition.
4. Mohamed Ali Lane Murals (10 min)
5. Tong Heng (25 min)
6. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum (40 min)
7. Sago Street (10 min)
8. Souvenir Shopping (>15 min)
9. Chinatown Visitor Centre (10 min)
11. Chinatown Complex (45 min)
Alternatively, make a pit stop for lunch at the island’s largest hawker centre. While you won’t find food vendors touting their dishes along Singapore’s busy street these days, their legacy lives on at Chinatown Complex Food Centre.
Savour sa kae ma (honey crackers) at Pan Ji Cooked Food and knock back a pint of craft beer at Smith Street Taps. For lunch, indulge in the claypot rice from Lian He Ben Ji Claypot, a 2018 Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient.
13. Thian Hock Keng Temple (20 min)
14. My Awesome Café (30 min)