Visit Chinatown Or Little India

Visit Chinatown Or Little India?

Little India and Chinatown give tourists and local visitors a glimpse of Singapore's fascinating multicultural heritage and history. These culturally rich locals offer a bustling atmosphere, traditional architecture, colourful temples and delicious street food.

To help you decide the best place to visit, we've put together a little guide to what each has to offer and what you can expect on your visit.

Let's start!

7 Activities To Do In Little India

Little India is a buzzing historic area with many activities for families and visitors. With its fascinating walking tours, local markets and colourful temples, there's something for everyone here.

Here are seven exciting activities to add to your itinerary :

Take a fascinating walking tour

Little India is a cultural and historical district that illuminates the vibrant Indian heritage in Singapore. One of the best ways to explore Little India is to join one of the many walking tours available. These guided tours will take you through the vibrant streets, giving you insights into the local history and culture.

You'll be guided along Campbell Lane, famous for its small businesses and traders, and see the beautiful Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. It's the perfect place to shop for local spices and try out delicious street food like curry puffs and roti prata. During the walking tour, you can also expect to see the colourful Hindu temple, murals, and street art and learn about traditional Indian wedding customs.

 

Colourful windows in Little India

Colourful windows in Little India

 

Visit Singapore's Oldest Hindu Temples

Little India is home to some of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore, such as the Little India Temple of Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and the Sri Veeramakaliamman. These beautiful buildings are fascinating examples of traditional architecture, with intricate carvings and colourful sculptures. Visiting these attractions is a great way to learn about Singapore's fascinating religious history.

 

The exterior facade of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

The exterior facade of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Make sure to walk along Dunlop Street, where you'll walk by the magnificent Abdul Gafoor Mosque. The street, lined with two-story shophouses and decorative houses, offers a reminiscent feel of a bygone era.

 

Browse the Little India Arcade

The Little India Arcade is fantastic for finding unique souvenirs and gifts. The covered market is full of stalls selling everything from traditional Indian spices to handicrafts and jewellery. Thanks to its central location, the Little India Arcade is the perfect place to take a break from exploring and grab a bite to eat.

Those who want to experience local life will love the vibrant streets with winding alleys filled to the brim with jewellery, silverware, silk garments, traditional Indian handicrafts and more. The vibe mirrors that of a bazaar in India, and it's easy to get lost in the sea of vibrant colours and smells.

 

Little India Arcade, image credit: roots.gov.sg

Little India Arcade, image credit: roots.gov.sg

 

Stroll Through Belilios Road

Belilios Road in Singapore's Little India gives visitors a glimpse of the traditional trades and early livelihoods of locals. Here you'll find cuisines and snacks to munch on and beautiful street murals painted on shop walls. Travellers to Belilios Road can also browse the vibrant Jasmine Garlands traditionally used for religious ceremonies and celebrations.

Suppose you're lucky enough to explore the area during the Deepavali celebration in Singapore. In that case, you'll see Jasmin Garlands everywhere, lining the streets and shops for a truly magnificent and colourful celebration.

 

Colourful flower garlands for sales at Little India during Deepavali

Colourful flower garlands for sales at Little India during Deepavali

Belilios Road is also the perfect place to take a walking tour with children. Parents will love the bright alleys and streets while kids can bask in the murals and learn about local culture, history, heritage, and life. 

Experience India On Serangoon Road

Serangoon Road is the main thoroughfare in Little India, and it's a great place to experience the hustle and bustle of Indian culture. This historic street is home to numerous small shops, restaurants, eateries and even a few old-fashioned kopitiams (local coffee shops).

Check out 'Mustafa Centre', a great place to buy traditional Indian items like saris, jewellery and spices. The Mustafa Centre also has a range of restaurants that serve authentic Indian dishes - from succulent chicken tikka masalas to fragrant biryani.

 

Mustafa Center, image credit: roots.gov.sg

Mustafa Center, image credit: roots.gov.sg

 

Tan Teng Niah House

The Tan Teng Niah House is a few minutes walk from the Little India MRT, offering another window into Singapore's history. This two-story shophouse was built in the late 19th century and features intricate details like dragon carvings, carved friezes and woodwork.

 

The house turned into a museum, with exhibitions that tell stories of the Chinese migrant community who once lived there. It's a great way to learn more about the history of Singapore and its diverse culture. The quaint shophouse is also one of the famous photo stops where you can take stunning photos for your social media profiles. The colourful backdrop and historic preservation make it a must-visit spot in Little India.

 

Tan Teng Niah House, image credit: roots.gov.sg

Tan Teng Niah House, image credit: roots.gov.sg

 

Satisfy Your Cravings With Little India Food

Like Bugis Street and Chinatown, Little India has great food choices that offer local cuisine that will tantalise your taste buds. From masala dosas to biryani and curries, there's a variety of delicious street food that you can try in Little India. 

 

Flaky roti prata with curry sauce

Flaky roti prata with curry sauce

 

Check out the eateries along Serangoon Road, which are always bustling with hungry locals. You'll find all street food here, from Indian snacks to traditional desserts. Remember to order a masala or cutting chai (tea) to accompany your meal.

Aside from local Indian cuisine, tourists and local visitors can enjoy a taste of western flavours at Chimichanga Little India. Chimichanga is a Mexican-Sing combination restaurant that serves up some of the best tacos and burritos in town, made unique with local Indian flavours and spices. These recipes are a must-try for those looking to try fusion cuisine.

 

Chinatown Or Little India?

So, which one should you visit, Chinatown or Little India? Ultimately, it's up to you, but both places offer something special — a unique cultural experience where you'll experience why Singapore is considered a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions. Whether looking for street food, shopping, or historical sites, Chinatown and Little India will leave you with an unforgettable experience.

 

Chinatown Visitor Centre

Chinatown Visitor Centre

On top of that, why not visit Kampong Gelam too, where you can stroll Arab Street and Haji Lane and learn more about Singapore's Muslim culture? The best way to experience it all is on a guided walking tour. You'll be sure to get an in-depth look at the history and culture of each district through stories from your guide. Experience Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Little India and beyond.

 

Tantalising Cultural Districts Worth Exploring

Singapore city is full of vibrant and exciting places to visit. Little India offers a unique cultural experience with its traditional temples, murals, and street art — not to mention the delicious Indian food. On the other hand, Chinatown offers up a trove of traditional foods and cuisines that you can't find anywhere else. Ultimately, it's up to you which one you'd like to visit first! And don't forget about Arab Street at Kampong Glam — it's always worth a visit.

Explore Chinatown, Little India, or Kampong Glam. No matter which district you decide to explore, your trip to Singapore will surely be an unforgettable experience! Be ready for this fantastic city's sights, sounds and smells as you journey through its many unique neighbourhoods.

 

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