Among the sleek and shiny streets of Singapore, Chinatown sparkles at night and during the day have that clean grime along its busy streets which makes it one of my favorite spots in the country. The food there is also worth a bite for those with adventurous taste buds and the few temples nearby makes for an interesting cultural side trip. Yes, Chinatown is one of my favorite places in Singapore. And here’s more reasons why.
Chinatown’s history goes way back in 1821, when the first Chinese junk from Xiamen arrived from China. The passengers who are all men made the area around Telok Ayer River their home. It is now where Chinatown is. My visit to the Chinatown Heritage Center deepened my appreciation of the place’s history and heritage. I saw their cramped living conditions before, during and after the war and how they adapted throughout the years.
Food tripping is one of my favorite activities there as well. I wrote something about Smith Street or popularly known as Food Street where I tasted Sichuan food close to what I had to Sichuan, China. And definitely there are lots more to try out aside from what I mentioned. And it’s not limited to Chinese food.
Interestingly, not everything here is about Chinese. Aside from the new and impressive Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the old Sri Mariamman Temple at Pagoda Street is still picturesque. There’s also the Thian Hock Keng Temple along Telok Ayer St. It’s a Taoist temple built by seamen in 1821, one of the oldest places of worship in the area.
Of course shopping will not be missed here. There is so much to see and buy here, from Souvenirs to gadgets and other Chinese (and non Chinese) related items. But you know what I like more about Chinatown? It’s when the night starts to come in and all those bright lights color up the numerous shophouses along the streets.
Maybe if you’re done with all that shopping, eating and probably picture taking, you can cross South Bridge Road. Head to the back streets, past the pubs and go on a moderate hill climb. You’ll find Ann Siang Hill. This is where the old Chinese Migrants used to have wells for drinking water. Now it’s a small park hidden among modern shophouses. It’s a nice place to take some air in and view more of the city skyline with a foreground of a bunch of airconditioner exhaust fans clumped together. Yep that’s Singapore Chinatown for you.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.