Singapore’s Chinatown (map) is the traditional Chinese quarters of town, and while the entire city is largely Chinese these days, the area does retain some of its own charm. The area is also known as Niu Che Shui (牛车水) in Chinese and Kreta Ayer.
Chinatown’s primary attraction is the town itself, composed as it is of restored shophouses full of strange little shops selling everything from plastic Buddhas to dried seahorses. Wander at random and see what you can find!
Chinatown is at its busiest and most colourful in the month preceding the Chinese New Year (Jan-Feb), when the streets are decked with festive decorations. Street markets are thronged with people, shows entertain the crowds and the drums of lion dances echo into the night.
⇒ Also сheck оut мore info: Chinatown (visitsingapore.com)
Tanjong Pagar (map) is the unofficial home of Singapore’s gay community, with many watering holes in restored shophouses, while Club Street (map) and Ann Siang Hill (map) caters more to the expat, yuppie and hipster crowd with small, intimate eateries offering excellent (if pricey) Western and modern Singaporean fare. Hence Chinatown is quite the paradox — simultaneously the gaudiest and trendiest district in Singapore.
Smith Street (map) is a single row of fancy stalls with the nicest ambience of the lot and quite decent food too, although open for dinner only. Connoisseurs may also wish to check out the 2nd floor of the newly renovated Chinatown Complex (map), which hosts one of Singapore’s largest hawker centres with over 200 stalls, but this labyrinthine warren of concrete and fluorescent lighting is both hard to navigate and not exactly a treat to the eyes.
One of Singapore’s best food hawker centres, Maxwell Food Centre (map) is just across the road and a few minutes walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT. It is open 24 hours. Most dishes are less than $5, although seafood can get considerably more expensive.