Chinatown in Singapore is one of the main tourist attractions of the island city. Let’s just say, your trip to Singapore is incomplete without visiting Chinatown. The subzone is a sharp contrast to the modern city of Singapore, Chinatown is bustling with bright colors, low rise buildings and an ethnic culture at every step.
The Chinatown Singapore is a must visit and here are the compelling reasons for it.
The famous Shri Mariamman temple
One of the most important place of worship of Hindu Tamilians and amongst the prominent attractions in Chinatown Singapore, Shri Mariamman temple is the oldest shrine in Singapore. This temple was built in the year 1827 by an Indian trader from Penang and has been renovated many times since then. Apart from being the center of Hindu activities and the registry of Hindu marriages, this temple has also served as an asylum for new south Indian Tamil immigrants.
Declared a national monument in 1973, this temple is managed by the Hindu Endowments Board. It is a true representation of the Hindu community in Singapore and is a must visit regardless of your spiritual inclination for its sheer beauty.
A Visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
A beautiful four-storey building, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was built in 2008. Beautifully designed, this temple is said to house the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha. The 420-kilogram golden stupa is a sight to behold in the beautifully designed fourth floor. The third floor of this building holds a Buddhist museum which has over 300 Buddhist artifacts brought here from different parts of the world.
The second floor has a small tea house which serves tea and some vegetarian cuisine; relax and enjoy here after completing the tour. Remember to wear clothes that cover your body properly and avoid shorts and skirts while visiting this temple.
Get a relaxing massage in Bath Culture Foot Therapy
In the heart of China town, the Bath Culture Foot therapy is what you need after a long day of walking. With a soothing ambience that resembles Chinese chambers with silk lanterns, this place offers not only foot massages but also neck and shoulder massages. Dip your leg in wooden tubs with warm water and melt away the stress of your calf and foot muscles.
Choose from a variety of bath salts and crystals that are believed to improve blood circulation and promote sleep. So, ensure that after a long day of touring you take a foot massage and get your foot pampered and ready for touring the next day.
Smoke in style at Olde Cuban
An authentic Cigar bar, this place has a collection of over 200 types of cigars and over 100 types of whiskies. With some of the choicest Cigars of the world such as the Havanas, sink into the couches in the bar and enjoy with Cigar in one hand and an aged Whiskey in the other (ooh, does heaven really exist?). Also, if you are hungry, you can order from the selection of meals they offer at the restaurant below.
Sip Tea at the Tea Chapter
If you want to experience Chinese culture, then visit this tea house, the oldest and the largest in Singapore. Some of the most well-known and prominent figures such as Queen Elizabeth II and President Tony Tan have visited this place. This two-storey tea house promotes the Chinese culture by presenting Chinese tea. This tea center conducts tea appreciation classes by a grand tea master who has garnered experience of 20 years in the art of Chinese tea.
A visit down the memory lane in Chinatown Heritage Center
The Chinatown Heritage Center has a collection of thousands of old photographs and artifacts of Singapore. If you want to know about the history and culture of Singapore, then this is the place to be. Right from the arrival of the Chinese immigrants to the development of Singapore, you travel along the memory lane by looking at the photographs. Opium addiction was rampant in Singapore and this center shows how Singapore fought the battle with Opium and won. This center is a popular place which can take some hours to explore.
Baba House tour
Preserved in the traditional Peranakan style, this bright blue terrace house was once the ancestral home of a 19th century Chinese immigrant Wee Bin. What makes this old house stand out is its bright blue color and the ornate entrance door fully covered in golden leaf. All the furniture inside are preserved as it is and are relics from when the house was inhabited. Although the tour is free, you must make advance booking to visit it.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
What’s wrong if you get a bit more happiness than you already have? Take the blessings in Thian Hock Keng Temple (Temple of Heavenly Happiness) from Ma Cho Po, the Taoist goddess of the sea. This beautiful temple was built in 1842 at the cost of 30 thousand Spanish dollars. It was renovated in 1906 with some western style features. This temple has a beautiful courtyard and is richly decorated with black and fold lacquered wood, figurines of phoenix and dragons, and colored tiles.
From the old shop houses to buy souvenirs to the spiritual peace at the famous temples; Chinatown is your ticket to get away from the routine of the city and get acquainted with the beauty of the Chinese culture and its traditional heritage.