When Chinese migrants disembarked from the sailing junks which had brought them in search of their fortune, they tended to settle in the area around the present Amoy Street and Telok Ayer Street. In those days, Telok Ayer Street ran close to and parallel to the shoreline and Amoy Street was a busy commercial hub.
The migrants came mostly from South China, particularly Fujian province. Amoy Street was named after the Chinese port from which the earliest settlers set out. (Amoy is the colloquial name for Xiamen.)
Today, there are a number of Korean restaurants in this street.
This is a very ornate modern temple, completed in 2007. It may not be old, but the sheer magnificence makes it worth visiting. The temple was built at great expense to house a relic of the Buddha (which later turned out not to be authentic, according to my guidebook, but then that is a common problem with 'relics'). Notices on site give lots of background information, but I didn’t see any that specifically mentioned the tooth. The architect took the mandala as his inspiration.
Notices inside explain how meritorious it is to give a flower and lamp offering. Lighting a candle before a Buddha 'brings you a bright and smooth journey', whilst offering fresh flowers brings 'good human relationships.'
Pre-booked guided tours are available.
With most of Singapore's population having Chinese roots in the one or other way, it surprised me that something like Chinatown exists at all. But yes, there is a Chinatown. Here, old temples, souvenir shops and food stalls mix with Singaporean cleanliness. From an architectural point of view, it has a good balance between high-rise buildings and old lower ones inspired by traditional Chinese architecture. Good place to wander around in the afternoon.
Chinese philanthropist by the name Eu Tong Sen built The Majestic for his wife who loved Cantonese Opera, he even bought the street. It was built in 1927 and is located in Chinatown along Eu Tong Sen Street. The Majestic originally named Tien Yien Moh Toi Theater. From Cantonese Opera House it became a theater and now shopping centre.
Singapore Chinatown is worth visiting. It's a great place to do some shopping and eating. There are restaurants, food courts, shopping plaza, antique shops, souvenir shops and more shops. Also there’s a Hindus temple, the Majestic historical building to visit. Most of the buildings are Chinese traditional style.
Singapore's Chinatown is an ethnic neighborhood featuring distinctly Chinese cultural elements and a historically concentrated ethnic Chinese population.
Before going there I was thinking of Chinatown in Kuala lumpur or Bangkok but I was shocked it's not like that at all, it's spotlessly clean, quite and no Chinese food smell or cooking in the street! I loved that place and the souvenir shops that sells Chinese related item were so cool. I would have stayed there if the accommodations wasn't very expensive comparing to other neighborhoods.
Surprisingly, in the heart of this diverse Chinese community is the most important temple for Singaporean Indians, the Sri Mariamman Hindu Tamil Temple, and the Indian mosques, Al-Abrar Mosque at Telok Ayer Street and Jamae Mosque at Mosque Street, as well as the Fukien Thian Hock Keng Chinese Temple of 1830 to 1842.
Singapore has a very big chinese population, actually the chinese are the main ethnic group in Singapore and there is also a Chinatown with old chinese houses, a big chinese temple and it is a bustling place full off shops and little restaurants.
The buildings are quite small compared to the rest of Singapore which tend to be highrise buildings and that gives the place a bit of a provinsial feel even if the place is very full of life.
These days it´s also a big tourist attraction and most of the shops in Chinatown are geared towards tourists, but it´s still worth visiting anyway in my opinion.
Having a Chinatown in singapore is a misnomer since according to Wikipedia, a definiton of a chinatown is A Chinatown is a name for an urban region containing a large population of Chinese people and/or a large number of Chinese businesses within a non-Chinese society. Since Singapore is a Chinese Majority Society which 76% of people hawving Chinese ancestry, we can hereby say that Singapore is one whole Chinatown. Singapore 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.
Although it may seem strange to most people to have a Chinatown in a predominantly Chinese city, it isn't strange to me considering where I'm from. The area today is composed of brightly coloured buildings with good restaurants and cool little shops. However, the Chinatown of today doesn't resemble the Chinatown of early Singapore.
Chinatown was formed in the early years of settlement. The British wanted to keep racial tensions minimized and divided the city into districts based on ethnic groups. Three years after Singapore was settled Chinatown had 3,000 inhabitants, most of them penniless and half starving immigrants from mainland China. Over the next decade their numbers would grow to exceed 30,000.
Chinatown is also known as "Niu Che Shui" in Chinese. The literal translation means "bullock carts' water". This name came about in the early days of Singapore when there was no water supply in Chinatown. So the people living and working there relied on bullock carts for the transportation of water. Therefore Chinatown was dubbed "bullock carts' water" by the locals, and the name is still being used by the Singaporeans.
Conditions in the early years were pretty bad. Slophouses, two-story buildings with shops or small factories on the ground floor and living quarters upstairs, were common. Often twenty to thirty lived in a single room. The British did not provide police protection in Chinatown. This was the responsibility of the Chinese guilds, or clan associations, to oversee their own law and order.
Well, I have been to several Chinatown's around the world in various countries and I'm really not a big fan of them, there all the same (except the one in Bangkok)(read my Bangkok travel pages) and the same goes for the Chinatown here in Singapore......Cheap souvenirs and cheap food abound, don't get me wrong if you have never exprienced a Chinatown anywhere in the world then come to the one here in Singapore and you'll experince what I'm talking about and if you ever go to a city with a Chinatown you'll see that there all the same, but I come to Chinatown looking for the odd souvenir's or odd art work and believe me you'll find it !!!!! HIGHLY RECOMMEND it, if you never been in one, if you been in one, SKIP it....and do something else with your time, your not missing much !!!!!
There's really no need for a tour guide. I took the train to Esplanade (Green Line) and made my way around by means of walking. I ended up seeing the Merlion, Raffles Hotel, even the 2 museums I wanted to visit (Singapore art Museum and 8Q SAM
My visit to China town was in afternoon. Once you are here you feel as if you are in China, in one of the shopping lanes of Guangzhou. From China Town you can shop lots of souvenirs, perfumes, etc which are really cheap. You can get good Chinese food here. Few of the stalls also have Thai food to offer. Most of these stalls are road side eateries hence it turns out to be cheaper than having lunch in a restaurant. After a tiring walk through the streets of China Town and doing a lot of shopping, I and my wife took a good authentic Chinese foot massage from the parlor which was managed by old Chinese uncle. It was absolutely relaxing and refreshing at the same time......try it.....
Primary atttraction is town itself, with little shops, open air markets. Nightlife is dynamic (be aware, if I understood correctly, that some gay bars are here, identied by a rainbow flag).
After little india, walking in Chinatown is also a good way to discover an other face of this city. This array is animated, with open air market and street-food everywhere. More tourists also and it could be a little crowed after 8:00 pm
Some good massage parlors also (40S$ for one hour, chinese massages)
Photo to be added
You can probably visit chinatown for less expensive souvenirs which costs normally around SGD$10 and you can have around 6 pieces of keychains, magnets, etc or SGD$1.90 per piece. You can also buy specialty mugs which has drawing of the things prohibited in Singapore. A nice memento.
The owners were really nice. We arrived really late and they were already closing but then again Singaporeans (and Chinese in general) are astute businessmen which will never turn down a customer. They also gave us a SGD$6 discount. We bought mugs, key chains, ref magnets, incense and stuff. All to remind us of Singapore.
Smith street is famous region for food hunting. The food stands are also highly recommended by Singapore government. The price and food are both good. The most dishes are Chinese and Nonya and local styles. Personally I recommend Laksa.