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Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore

chinatown singapore

Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore

The Chinatown in Singapore attracts many visitors each year, many are attracted to the nostalgic and colourful life of the old part of the city. For those who love shopping, Chinatown presents a wonderful opportunity to shop for unique souvenirs. Those who are interested to know more about the history and people living in the past years of Chinatown can visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre.

The best place to visit in Chinatown Singapore is the various Chinese restaurants. There is an irresistible charm in visiting old Chinese restaurants serving dim sum, sweet dessert and some authentic Sichuan food.    that dot many Most old Chinese restaurants in Chinatown Singapore have their own character and style. The ambience is quite different from the plush hotels and international chain stores dotting the streets of the country’s capital. The atmosphere of old Chinese restaurants is warm, homely and yet vibrant.  Besides visiting the restaurants, there is also a hawker centre located at Smith Street that serves many local cuisines and one of the hawker stall, Liao Fan Hawker Chan received Michelin Star for its famous soy sauce chicken.

Nightlife is another of the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore. The wide range of ethnic Chinese bars and restaurants scattered around the old part of town are the perfect venues for drinking and dining.

Chinese New Year celebrations are one of the best events in Chinatown Singapore. This colourful and joyous occasion draws tens of thousands of residents out of their homes to celebrate the start of the new year in the Chinese calendar. Chinese people celebrate the beginning of the new year around mid-January every year. There are many pop-up stalls selling traditional Chinese New Year snacks, lanterns showcasing the Chinese zodiac and traditional cultural performances. All designed to bring good fortune and good luck to the residents of Chinatown.

The mid-autumn festival also draws many visitors to Chinatown to view the beautiful display of Chinese lanterns.

While these events are a large draw for visitors because they greatly symbolise the rich history and culture that Chinatown is proud of.

Other popular things to do in Chinatown Singapore include visiting the temples and shrines in the area. Some of the famous temples are  Buddha Tooth Relic Singapore built-in 2007 which is famous for its Tang styled building design.

Thian Hock Keng Temple is one of the oldest and most important Hokkien temples in Singapore. Thian Hock Keng Temple’s magnificent architectural style can be seen throughout the whole temple, whether it’s the main hall or the roof. Visitors will be able to learn about the diversity in Chinese cultural and spiritual beliefs. A 40-metre long colourful mural can also be seen at the back of the temple’s mural.

Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore built in 1827, the temple is best known for its fire walking ceremony.

In Chinatown Singapore, there are many attractive art murals along the streets, the artwork showcased the activities some of the common activities that used to be seen happening around Chinatown. The wall murals are definitely Instagram worthy.

With its culturally rich history and diverse attractions, Chinatown Singapore is a place one should visit.

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Ann Siang Hill, Singapore

Many artists love Ann Siang Hill. The quaintness of the yellow-painted shop houses attracted artists to pick up their palette and paints. Probably the yellow stood out from the paintings or the little steps leading to the front of the shop, the charm is unexplainable. This nostalgic and eye-catching shop house is definitely not a place to be missed by anyone who is looking to paint those historical shop houses of Singapore.

A little background about Ann Siang Hill


Ann Siang Hill is named after Chia Ann Siang, a wealthy Chinese saw-miller in the 1800s. This attraction situates along a small stretch of road in Chinatown, flaunting its array of refurbished shophouses. The street was formerly a place where many locals conjugate and share their cultures into the mix of Singapore’s cultural diversity.

The architectural designs of these shophouses incorporates the use of Chinese porcelain roof tiles, French windows, as well as Malay fretwork, all of which reflects Singapore’s distinct blend of cultural heritage. Quaint and picturesque, this humble place holds a rich history behind the facade of every shophouse.

These shophouses were once owned by Chinese clans as well as associations. You can hardly discover any location as unique as Ann Siang Hill in Singapore.  Ann Siang Hill is a place where the city’s modernity and tradition converges as well. It presents itself as a pretty piece of Singapore’s heritage in the day while transforming into a place for fun and buzz during the night with its rows of shops and bars to satisfy any customer. Ann Siang Hill is a great spot to unwind after a long day, catch up with buddies or to have a family outing. If you are a tourist or visitor venturing around Singapore, Ann Siang Hill is highly recommended. 

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Singapore River

A stroll along Singapore River and one will be enchanted by the beauty and rich history of the river. This is another favourite place frequently visited by an artist to capture the bumboats cruising along the river and under the sunray filtered through the old trees along the bank of the river.

Since 1960 Singapore watercolour artist Loy Chye Chuan has been capturing the scenes at Singapore River and painting it passionately through the decades, he loves the allure of Singapore river and it remains one of his favourite scenes to paint.

Some of the historical buildings like Fullerton Hotel (previously the General Post Office Building) and National Gallery are located within a short walking distance from Singapore River.

Singapore River is the heart of the city.

Originally, the entrance to the river was once the Port of Singapore. Throughout the history of Singapore, the river is where all the hustle and bustle of the city revolves around. The port was the centre of the city’s main trade, commerce as well as finance, which resulted in growth around the port as well. Like the heart of the city, the river pumps and transports in trades and finance needed for the developing country to grow and flourish. In the past, the river was always chocked full of sampans, lighters, tongkangs as well as bumboats. Hawkers and vegetable sellers would squat by the river to carry out their daily barters. However, the river got polluted from the build-up of waste produced by these daily businesses. As a result, the government had to issue a massive clean-up of the river from 1977 to 1987. Presently, the river is a prominent landmark that helps with the sustainability of Singapore’s water supply while providing the citizens with a spot for sports leisure.  


 Singapore river bears the witness of how Singapore went under British colonial ruling as well as the Japanese occupation before gaining their rightful independence in 1965. It now narrates the great tale of Singapore’s history and development over the years, from a tiny fishing port to a prosperous bustling city. 

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Chinatown Singapore

Many local artist love to find a spot in Chinatown Singapore to sketch, draw and paint. The nostalgic shophouses and bustling street scene bring in fond memories and nothing is more fulfiling than seeing the vibrant colours of the street come alive in paintings. The streets of Chinatown are especially beautiful with bright lanterns and colourful displays of Chinese harmonic characters during the festive season like Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival.

Veteran watercolour artist Loy Chye Chuan has painted many of the Chinatown Street scenes from Smith Street, Trengganu Street, the alley between the shophouses, morning market scene of hawker selling vegetables and other fresh produce are some of the pictures that he had captured and painted.

Here’s a brief history a Chinatown Singapore

Chinatown, Singapore is likewise known as Niu Che Shui in Mandarin is located within the Outram Park district in Singapore. Niu Che Shui directly translates to “bull-cart-water” since Chinatown’s supply of water was mainly transported by animals back in the 1800s. This term is still commonly used among the ethnic Chinese in Singapore and links back to the fact that Chinatown was once an ethnic Chinese enclave. Chinatown is the incorporation of 4 prominent sub-zones such as Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar as well as Bukit Pasoh. Many immigrants from China resided in this area due to the Raffles Town Plan in the 1800s.
Now, Chinatown has many temples and mosques for worship. These religious sites are placed beside one another such as the Sri Mariamman temple, Buddha tooth relic temple and the more well known Thian Hock Kheng temple. Visitors of these temples often pay their respect to other religions as well. This act signifies Singapore’s religious harmony and the fact that they were placed together shows that the different races and religions in Singapore had no qualms.


All across the streets of Chinatown, are rows of quaint shophouses. The architectural designs of these shophouses are a mixture of Baroque as well as Victorian style of architecture and have been restored in the style of painted ladies. It is evident from the addition of fanlights and pilasters which were Italian styled. These architectural designs are brought in by the Chinese immigrants inspired by similar architecture in Macau.