Singapore – Chinatown

The idea of having a Chinatown in every major city worldwide has become more and more common and some have become more iconic than others and the history to discover and the beauty to enjoy has made Singapore’s Chinatown one of the most renown in the world.

Singapore’s Chinatown is located in the Outram district in central Singapore and is easily accessible via the MRT as the station is right in the centre of Chinatown. Historically the area has been filled predominantly with the Chinese population but now has become more of a tourist spot than it ever has been before.

Historically this area was where the Chinese residents settled creating a large community and over time the area was very overcrowded until the initiation of the government’s housing development board in the 60s.  When Singapore was forming into the amazing city it is today Raffles has a clear plan of what he wanted to do and how he wanted to see the city develop. However, it was becoming clear that the Chinese were going to be the largest group of the community and so Raffles picked very specific lands for the people and split the classes into different areas and this is how the Chinatown area started to become what it is today.

When the locals in the area started to build their businesses around the Chinatown area the shop houses played home to ‘death houses’ and ‘ brothels’. As more people came to visit these areas the locals started to put on food stalls and traders in the streets. In 1930 the brothels all started to close down as new laws came in place ensure the protection of Women and then in 1961 when death houses were banned and closed down and the shops and food stalls took over the shophouses developing what is Chinatown today.

When you visit the area you will find some amazing shopping. There are 2 sides one side is more touristy and is the perfect spot to buy your souvenirs to take home whereas the other side is where the locals shop and is a little messier but you can find some amazing bargains. If you are looking for things tailor-made there are some amazing tailor shops that will make you suits and dresses for a bargain price.

The best thing about Chinatown is, of course, the amazing food that you can eat there with so many authentic Chinese foods to try and experience and all at a reasonable price it is the perfect place for anyone who is a fan of Asian cuisine. Make sure to take a walk down Smith Street and take in the smells of the open-air food markets.  

At the end of South Bridge Road, you will find Temple Street where you can visit the most beautiful temple that is dripping in amazing architecture and colour and history that is not to be missed. Make sure to cover up before going inside. There are usually shalls to wrap around yourself at the entrance and if you are in shorts or a skirt you are required to wear one around your waist as well as over the shoulders.

A visit to Chinatown in Singapore is really a unique experience that is not to be missed. From the amazing shopping to the exquisite cuisine or the modern street performers to the historical buildings there is so much culture and adventure to be had here.