Is Chinatown in Singapore Worth Visiting? 7 Things to Know First

Chinatown in Singapore

If you’re planning a trip to Singapore make sure to spend some time in Chinatown! This exciting part of the city is filled with delicious food, colorful street art, and a deep history just waiting to be explored. It’s actually one of our favorite areas to stay in because of its great location and amazing food! Here are some of the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore, fun tips, and everything to expect on your visit.

7 Things to Know About Singapore Chinatown

1. How to Get to Chinatown in Singapore

Chinatown is easily accessible by public transport and there are numerous MRT stations in Central Singapore. The official MRT stop is Chinatown Station which will pop you out right next to the popular Chinatown Point shopping center.

Still, the great thing about Singapore is that it’s easily walkable! It’s especially fun to combine a day in Chinatown with Gardens by the Bay and the beautiful Merlion Park. We’ve spent an entire day strolling through the different and unique neighborhoods of the city.

How to Get to Chinatown in Singapore

2. History of Chinatown Singapore

Like many other cities in Southeast Asia, Singapore had a Chinese population from very early on. In fact, Sir Stamford Raffles set up a Chinese settlement when mapping out his vision for the city in 1822. 

They were originally separated by dialects and ethnic groups, making up a diverse Chinese community that’s intertwined with Singapore’s history. However, it should be noted that it wasn’t just Chinese immigrants living in this section of Singapore!

Both Indians and Muslims lived alongside them which can be seen in the mosques and Hindu temples that still stand in Chinatown. As the years went on, Singapore’s Chinatown expanded and developed with the rest of the city. It’s now split into the 5 unique districts you see today.

Chinatown Singapore History

3. Best Hawker Centres in Singapore

Years ago, you would have seen hawker stalls serving up street food throughout the streets of Chinatown. Yet, that all changed in the early 1980’s with the implementation of Hawker Centers.

These large food courts put all the hawkers stalls in one central location which made them easier to regulate. Today, they are some of the best places to eat in the city! You will find several great Hawker Centres in Chinatown Singapore, but there are two we always go to on every visit.

Singapore’s largest Hawker Centre is the Chinatown Complex Food Centre. Here you’ll find over 260+ food stalls, shopping, and a local wet market.

You can even eat at the original Liao Fan Hawker Chan which was the first hawker stand to be awarded the Michelin Star! Also, if you’re overwhelmed then jump on a Chinatown Hawker 8 dish tasting tour

Our 2nd favorite would be Maxwell Food Centre. It’s a bit smaller, but still filled with amazing food from around Southeast Asia. There is another famous stall here to try called Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice.

If you’re not feeling the food court vibe you can always go to one of the many delicious dim sum restaurants. Also, make sure to stop into Chinatown Point for more shopping, and Chinatown food street for a fun outdoor eating experience.

→ 8 Delicious Hawker Centres in Singapore You Absolutely Can’t Miss

Chinatown in Singapore Hawker

4. Singapore Chinatown Street Art

On any visit to Chinatown in Singapore it would be impossible not to notice the colorful murals that adorn the walls. These were painted by Yip Yew Chong and other fantastic Singapore artists. They depict scenes of local life, culture, and the history of Singapore’s Chinatown.

You will see them easily by strolling around Chinatown on your way to other attractions. If you’re looking for something more structured check out this self-guided trail. It will start at Chinatown Point and MRT Station and take you all around the neighborhood.

If you love the street art in Chinatown be sure to stop into the Arab Quarter as well! Here there are amazing murals painted up and down the famous Haji Lane in between the cafes and restaurants.

Singapore Chinatown Street Art

5. Great Area of Singapore to Stay

You can already tell the Chinatown area is great to visit, but did you know it’s also a great place to stay in the city? This can be an awesome spot to base yourself from to see these historic districts, while also being close to more of the city’s best attractions.

It’s an especially convenient area if you only have a 2 day itinerary for Singapore. We loved still being within walking distance of Marina Bay, the Central Business District, and Tanjong Pagar. Here are some of our favorite hotels to stay in the heart of Chinatown Singapore.

Chinatown Singapore Hotels

Fun VacationParkroyal on Pickering– It doesn’t get much more green and lush then Parkroyal on Pickering! This fun holiday spot is literally one of the greenest hotels in the world. Plant life covers the entire property to make for a unique stay in Singapore Chinatown.

Boutique – KēSa House – Located in the heart of Chinatown, this fantastic hotel was built in 1920’s. Enjoy the incredible setting in a traditional building on Keong Saik Road.  

Hostel Atelier – Singapore has a great range of hostels for those traveling on a budget. Atelier offers a variety of dorm rooms and beds and is close to the Chinatown Heritage Center. 

Where to Stay in Chinatown Singapore

6. Spectacular Temples & Architecture

Singapore has become famous for its innovative and futuristic looking architecture. This can be seen in impressive buildings like the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. Even so, Chinatown in Singapore has a whole different atmosphere to it!

The old Chinese shophouses perfectly blend together with new age infrastructure, pagodas, and beautiful temples. One of the most breathtaking buildings is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

Unlike the more historic Thian Hock Keng Temple (Built in 1839), the Buddha Tooth Relic was constructed more recently in 2007 on South Bridge Road.

Remember when we mentioned that Chinatown in Singapore has always been super diverse? Well, the Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest hindu temple in Singapore at almost 200 years old!

You can also visit the Jamae Mosque which is one of the earliest of its kind Singapore. Wherever you go in Chinatown, you’re sure to be in awe at these incredible places of worship.

Chinatown in Singapore Temples

7. Chinatown Singapore Walking Trail

Before your visit you should know there are dozens of ways to see Chinatown in Singapore! You can take a guided walking tour of Chinatown and Little India, or simply find your own way around this magnificent part of the city.

Visit Singapore put together this awesome Chinatown Walking trail for everyone to enjoy, too! It takes you through many of the most interesting things to do in Chinatown Singapore.

Chinatown Singapore Walking Trail

Is Chinatown in Singapore Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! It may not be as hectic as the wild streets of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Yet, the culture and history of this section of Singapore is unbelievable to see in person. Whether you are looking for temples and street art or hungry for a Hawker Centre meal, every traveler is sure to love Chinatown in Singapore!

Have any questions about this article or want to share more of your favorite things to do in Chinatown Singapore? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

More Singapore Hotels

Luxury – Marina Bay Sands  – We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands for Jake’s 30th birthday and it blew away our expectations. Aside from the luxury amenities, swimming in the rooftop infinity pool will be the highlight of your visit! 

IconicRaffles Hotel – As one of the most historic hotels Southeast Asia, staying at the Raffles Hotel will be an experience like no other. Enjoy a Singapore Sling and take in the amazing architecture of this landmark built in 1887.

Hostel Hipstercity hostel – Fun hostel in downtown Singapore with both private and dorm rooms. Great place to meet other travelers to explore the city with.

PIN FOR LATER 

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Travel Planning 

Activities: 23 Fun Things to DoButterfly Garden – Supertree GroveGardens by the Bay – Singapore Sling at Raffles HotelSingapore JewelMarina Bay Sands Infinity Pool 

Hawker Centers: Old Airport RoadTekka Centre – Lau Pa Sat 

Light Shows: Gardens by the BayMarina Bay2 Best in Singapore

Travel Tips: Singapore Airlines Review – 15 Wild Laws Changi Airport 

 Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Athens to Singapore for $230 USD, and Singapore to Thailand for less than $50! 

 Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Singapore. You can book everything from a Singapore Highlights Bike Tour to a Gardens by the Bay E-Ticket, and even a private food tour with 10 tastings

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists! Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Singapore Travel

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2 Comments

  1. Shelby
    October 11, 2023 / 5:59 am

    I’d love to go to Chinatown just for the hawkers! This is such a great breakdown on how to map out my trip, thanks!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      October 11, 2023 / 6:01 am

      Anytime! Chinatown is such a fun area of Singapore to explore 😀

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