Singapore is a destination steeped in diverse Asian heritage. Though the country is a magnificent insignia of contemporary living, traces of the country’s humble beginnings and multicultural upwelling can be found deep beneath its outer crust of avant-gardism. All you need to do is explore their charming little townships such as Little India and Chinatown to gain a magnificent insight into their cultural essences.
Chinatown is one section of Singapore where you can catch a glimpse of the influence from early Chinese settlers. If you have a Singapore visa and are planning to visit the country in near future, head to Chinatown and stroll the streets and alleyways to experience the fun, flavors, and sights of a rich heritage that dates back centuries. The following are some important points of interest.
Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore
Explore Singapore’s Chinese Temples and Buddhist shrines
Wondering what to do in Chinatown? Why don’t you start with a spiritual shrine? In Chinatown, you will come across a couple of Buddhist shrines and Chinese Temples which are worth visiting. The most famous temple in the area is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple located at 288 South Bridge. This temple is home to an extensive collection of Buddhist relics. Wander around and immerse yourself in Chinese spirituality at Singapore’s oldest Chinese shrine: Thian Hock Keng Temple, which is also known as the Temple of Heavenly Happiness. Constructed by Chinese immigrants in 1840 as a worship place to pray for safe passage across the South China Sea, the temple is a prominent worship place for Singapore’s sizeable Chinese community.
Visit the bustling Chinatown Street Market
Delve into some amazing Asian cuisine at Chinatown Food Street. This stretch of lanes lined with food hawkers and shophouses is a great spot to sample some Chinese, Indian and Singaporean specialties under one roof at cheap prices. Set at Smith Street, the whiff of aromas fused with lip-smacking flavors is sure to tempt you to try some delectable delights such as satays, oyster omelets, noodle soups and a variety of Indian curries and seafood. Some food stalls to check out are Katong Keah Kee, Joo Chiat Ang Moh Noodle House, Boon Tat Street BBQ Seafood and Newton Circus Ahmad Ibrahim Satay. Keep an eye out for the Singapore Food Festival which offers wonderful themed events and food feasts that showcase the amalgam of rich flavors from different cultures and celebrate the ethnic diversity of Singapore through epicureanism.
Enjoy Singapore’s breathtaking city view at The Pinnacle @ Duxton
In a country brimming with state of the art architecture, the Pinnacle @ Duxton doesn’t seem like a prominent feature. However, in Chinatown, these soaring residential buildings come as a welcome change from the usual ethnic vistas. The 25th and 50th levels of the towers are linked to each other by a sky bridge which is designed as lush verdant sky gardens. These sky bridge gardens are the longest in the world. An evening stroll on the 50th level sky bridge offers you a refreshing perspective of Singapore’s famous skyline. It’s an ideal spot to watch fireworks from during festivals (and especially on New Year’s Eve) as the spot is away from the overwhelmingly crowded, iconic landmark towers of Singapore. Only the 50th level sky bridge is accessible to the public at a nominal fee of 5 dollars. It is open for 200 visitors at a time.
Witness the Peranakan culture at Nus Baba House
The Peranakans are a cultural mix of Malay and Chinese and are common in Malaysia and Singapore. Turn around at Neil Road and you would find yourself marveling at a charming, ancestral Peranakan house carefully preserved and restored. Take a guided heritage tour to get a glimpse into the architectural wonders, relics and heritage treasures of traditional Peranakan lifestyle from the 19th century.
Enjoy brunch at Everton Park
Everton Park, a favorite weekend spot among Singaporeans, is a cluster of six residential blocks set next to The Pinnacle @ Duxton. The major attraction is that it has a plethora of places to hang out and lounge and is considered one amongst the fun places in all of Singapore. The precinct is famous for its coffee culture and freshly brewed blends. This fascinating stretch is teeming with cafes and bistros and is an ideal spot to grab a light snack and enjoy coffee. Some of the famous hubs for coffee and assorted snacks are Cozy Corner Coffee, Nylon Coffee Roasters and Just Want Coffee. Don’t forget to take a stroll around Everton Park to explore the stunning street art in the winding lanes of Chinatown.
Visit Sri Mariamman Temple
One of the most unique and ironic facts about Singapore is the fact that they have a magnificent Indian temple in a Chinese precinct. Located at 244 South Bridge in Chinatown, Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. It was built back in the 18th century. It is one of the iconic places to visit in Singapore as well as a popular place of worship for Singapore’s Hindu community. The Dravidian style temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman and is adorned in multihued murals and sculptures. Its ornate designs are fascinating to watch. The grand entrance tower itself is covered in a variety of sculptures depicting mythological characters as well as elements of British colonial rule. Due to its cultural significance, the Sri Mariamman Temple is acknowledged as a National Monument of Singapore.