Singapore’s Chinatown

Singapore’s Chinatown

For the individual that focuses on shopping, there is no better location in Singapore than this particular area, especially when it comes to the numerous street markets that are so popular with locals and tourists alike in Chinatown. The Chinatown street markets are colorful, vibrant and interesting for the millions of tourists that are looking for cheap souvenirs in Singapore.

The Chinatown street market is quite huge. The markets are open 7 days a week 11am – 11pm and line Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street and Sago Streets. The easiest way to get to Chinatown is to take the MRT subway train to Chinatown station on the North East Line (purple line).  Once off the train at Chinatown station, head towards Exit A which will bring you right in the heart of Chinatown at Pagoda St.

This is probably the first place most people explore in Chinatown. Pagoda Street in Chinatown was named after the entrance way to Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, which is not actually a Pagoda but a gopuram. The first thing you will see once you get to Pagoda Street is a whole stretch of touristy stalls selling souvenirs.  The street markets surrounding Pagoda St is definitely less lively than the ones you see in Taiwan, Hong Kong, or even Kuala Lumpur.  The souvenir stalls sells your typical “I visited Singapore” goods, plus ”I visited Chinatown” goods, such as Chinese style fans, lanterns, and shirts, and you can find many 3 for $10 shops along Trengganu Street..

From Pagoda Street, make a right onto Trengganu Street where you will find more street markets.  Electronics shops and numerous souvenir stalls dot the landscape on this street. As a heads up, you might actually find better values on electronics in other areas of the city. However, if you look above the shops, you will notice the colorful, quaint and gentle colonial buildings, a reminder of its beautiful past.

As you walk to the intersection of Trengganu St and Temple St, on the left you will see the financial district marked by the skyscrappers in the background, and on the right you will see the strikingly lime green People’s Park Complex. The People’s Park Complex and the skyscrapers are worth viewing but you’ll only want to take a break from the action here.  Get back on Trengganu Street until you reach the Chinatown Food Street.

Chinatown Food Street is a street that is lined up with street food serving some of Singapore’s most popular local dishes. Located along the left of Smith Street, it becomes a street for pedestrians only, no vehicular traffic allowed even bicycles.  The street is lined on both sides with one food stall after another selling some of Singapore’s most popular local dishes. Try some of the cheap and yummy Hawker Food that is being offered at the Maxwell Food Centre and the Chinatown Complex, including the renowned Tian Tian Chicken Rice and Sichuan Hot Pot. However, as it is geared towards the tourist crowd, the prices are slightly higher.

Finally, end the Chinatown trail with a bit of shopping at Ann Siang Hill. The elegantly restored shophouses on Ann Siang Road are now home to chic boutiques such as Asylum, as well as wine bars and eateries.