For many Visitors to Singapore, I am pretty sure that Chinatown is one of the must visit places of interest. I have a suggested itinerary for any visitors out there. My personal preference is to visit a place to see and feel the local culture and the day to day activities besides the touristy places, so that’s what I will incorporate in the itinerary.
I would suggest that if you are an early bird, be at Chinatown as early as 8am. Otherwise, start your day, if possible, no later than 11pm.
The first stop in the itinerary is to have breakfast a Chinatown Complex, to have a hearty breakfast before the start of your day. I strongly encourage you to skip your hotel breakfast. Proceed to the second level, some may called it first floor (above the ground floor). Anyway. The second level is a food centre, you may hear the words “Hawker Centre” from the local at times.
This is a huge food centre, unfortunately, there is no air-conditioned, so it may be a bit warm but it is worthwhile as the food is very local and yummy too. This is where the local usually dine. I dine there too, especially for breakfast on weekends. If you have no idea of what to eat, read my post on “My Five Usual Breakfast Haunt at Chinatown Food Center, Singapore” for some suggestions.
Next, visit the wet market which is located at the basement of Chinatown Complex Food Centre. There are various staircase leading to basement. Use anyone of them. On the weekdays, it is usually not very crowded. The crowd exist mainly on weekends. So it really depends on your preference. Have a look at what’s in store, the design, the feel in the wet market and see the activities. And of course, don’t forget to take photos.
After the visit to market, it should be still pretty early, most of the shops were probably not opened yet. You may want to spend some time at the Buddha Tooth Relics Temple and Museum, Sri Mariamman Temple and/or Jamae Mosque (Chulia Mosque). All are within walking distance.
If you are still very early, you may want to pop by Nanyang Old Coffee for a cup of the traditional local kopi (means coffee). It was voted the best kopi in 2013. There is a mini museum on the traditional kopi too. You can read my post on traditional local kopi to have a better understanding of this kopi drinking tradition here. And on how to order, click here.
Alternatively, you may want to visit Chinatown Heritage Centre at Pagoda Street. It is a museum recreating the look and feel of the 1950s interior shophouse tenants, giving visitor a view of a piece of Singapore history.
I would think it is almost time for some shopping and since you are at Pagoda Street, you may want to start shopping along Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street for some Singapore souvenirs for family and friends. On ya, before I forget, there is a Tin Tin Shop and a Singapore Coins and Notes Museum along Pagoda Street, a few shophouses to the right of Chinatown Heritage Centre, in case you are interested.
When you are done with your shopping, lunch time. There are a few Dim Sum Restaurant in Chinatown. There are Yum Cha Teahouse and Tak Po Restaurant. All are serving delicious Dim Sum.
After lunch, I would suggest that you dropped by the Chinese Traditional Pastry shop in Chinatown. If you like visit them all. The three famous one are Tai Chong Kok (大中国), Tai Thong Cake Shop (大同饼家) and Tong Heng (东兴精制饼食). Each has its speciality. Find out more from my post here.
Another must try is the Barbecue Pork or Pork Jerky. The local will call it Bak Kwa. The most famous is Lim Chee Guan (林志源), followed by Bee Cheng Hiang (美珍香). There is another shop known as Fragrance, not as popular but as good and cheaper.
If you have sweet tooth, have some Chinese desserts at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert (味香园甜品). Alternate dessert locations are Sugar Granny and … They serve similar desserts. Try the walnut, almond or sesame paste. Alternatively, milk pudding, herbal jelly, red bean lotus, Glutinous Rice Ball in Ginger Soup (Sesame & Peanut), Cheng Tng or Almond Black Glutinous Rice. These are very local desserts. If you are not that adventurous, I would suggest Mango with Pomelo & Sago or Mango Pudding.
You may prefer a cup of the western cafe coffee, head for the Aterial which is at the heart of Chinatown, along Temple Street or The Lokal.
After the break, time for more exploration, the next destination on my suggested itinerary is dropped by People’s Park Complex. People’s Park (Block 32) and OG departmental store. These are the oldest serving shopping mall and departmental store in Singapore where the local shop at.
Should you need more dose of local fare, dine at the People’s Park Food Centre. Try some of the local fare such as Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee, Chicken Rice, Fried Oyster Omelette, Ngoh Hiang Mee Hoon, Fried Kuey Tiao, Fried Carrot Cake … many many more. These are some suggestions. You can read my must post on “Must Eat Food for Visitors in Singapore“.
And it is time to part with Chinatown and proceed to next your destination.
A Bonus suggestion, if you are an early bird, drop by Pearl’s Hill City Park before breakfast. This park has rich history which is not known by many. I will be doing a post on this park soon.
Block 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: Daily 0700 till around 2100 (varies from stalls)
Tak Po Dim Sum (德宝)
42 Smith St Singapore 058954
Tel: +65 6226 3683
Opening Hours: Daily 0700 to 2230
Jamae Mosque (Chulia Mosque)
218 South Bridge Road Singapore 058767
Tel: +65 6221 4165
Opening Hours: Unknown
For more information: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_520_2004-12-16.html
Sri Mariamman Temple
244 South Bridge Rd Singapore 058793
Tel: +65 6223 4064
Opening Hours: Daily 0700 to 1200, 1800 to 2100
For more information: http://www.heb.gov.sg/our-subsidiaries/temples/8-sri-mariamman-temple
Nanyang Old Coffee (南洋老咖啡)
268 South Bridge Road Singapore 058817
Tel: +65 6100 3450
Opening Hours: Daily 0700 to 1800
Tong Heng Pastry Shop (东兴精制饼食)
285 South Bridge Road Singapore 058833
Tel: +65 6223 3649
Opening Hours: Daily 0900 to 2200
For more informaiont: http://tonghengpastries.com/about-us.html
Buddha Tooth Relics Temple and Museum (新加坡佛牙寺龙华园)
288 South Bridge Rd Singapore 058840
Tel: +65 6220 0220
Opening Hours: Daily (including Public Holiday) 0700 to 1900
For more information: http://www.btrts.org.sg/english-home
Tai Thong Cake Shop (大同饼家)
35 Mosque Street Singapore 059513
Tel: +65 6223 2905
Opening Hours: Daily 0900 to 1830
Singapore Coins and Notes Museum
40 Pagoda St Singapore 059199
Tel: +65 6222 2486
Opening Hours: Daily 1000 to 2000
Admission: Adults S$10; *Children (3-12 yrs) S$6; *NSF & Students S$6; *Senior Citizens (60 yrs & above) S$6; Family S$25 (2 Adults + 2 Children)
For more information: http://www.singaporecoinsandnotesmuseum.com/index1.php
Chinatown Heritage Centre (牛车水原貌馆)
48 Pagoda Street Singapore 059207
Tel: +65 6221 9556
Opening Hours: Daily 0900 to 2000
Admission: Adult $10; Child (3-12years) $6
For more information: http://www.singaporechinatown.com.sg/
Tin Tin Shop
56 Pagoda Street Singapore 059215
Tel: +65 8183 2210
Opening Hours: Daily 1000 to 2100
For more information: http://www.tintin.sgstore.com.sg
Yum Cha Teahouse (Chinatown)
#02-01, 20 Trengganu Street
Tel: +65 63721717
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 1100 – 2300; Saturday – Sunday & Public Holiday 0900 – 2300
For more information: http://www.yumcha.com.sg/index.php
Mei Heong Yuan Desserts
67 Temple Street Singapore 058611
Tel: +65 6221 1156
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 1200 to 2130; Closed on Mondau
For more information: http://www.meiheongyuendessert.com.sg/
Tai Chong Kok Cake Shop (大中国)
34 Sago St Singapore 059026
Tel: +65 6227 5701
Opening Hours: Monday 0930 to 1800; Tuesday – Sunday 0930 to 2000
For more information: http://taichongkok.com
Bee Cheng Hiang (美珍香)
189 New Bridge Road, S(059422)
Tel: +65 6223 7059
Opening Hours: Daily 1000 to 2130
For more information: http://www.beechenghiang.com.sg/
Lim Chee Guan (林志源)
203 New Bridge Road Singapore 059429
Tel: +65 6227 8302
Opening Hours: Daily 1100 till sold out
For more information: http://www.limcheeguan.com.sg/
Fragrance Foodstuff Pte Ltd
205 & 207 New Bridge Road Singapore 059431
Tel : +65 6327 1961
Opening Hours: Daily 1100 to 2130
For more information: http://www.fragrance.com.sg/index.php
Sugar Granny Cafe
5 Teo Hong Road Singapore 088323
Tel: +65 6224 9368
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 1200 to 2300; Closed on Sundays
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/sugargrannycafe
24 Temple Street Singapore 058569
Tel: +65 6222 8589
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 0800 to 1800
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/arterial.sg
136 Neil Road Singapore 088865
Tel: +65 6423 9918
Opening Hours: Daily 0800 to 1530
For more information: http://www.thelokalsingapore.com/
OG People’s Park Departmental Store
100 Upper Cross Street OG Building Singapore 058360
Tel: +65 6535 8888
Opening Hours: Daily 1100 to 2130
For more information: http://www.og.com.sg/
People’s Park Food Centre
32 New Market Road, Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: Daily 1130 till around 2100 (opening hours varies from stores)
By MRT: Northeast line at Chinatown station or East West line at Outram Park station
By Bus: alight at New Bridge Road bus stop 2, 12, 33, 54, 63, 80, 124, 143, 147, 190, 851, 961, 970, CT8, CT18, CT28;
alight at South Bridge Road bus stop 61, 80, 145, 166, 197;
alight at Eu Tong Seng bus stop, outside People’s Park Complex 2, 12, 33, 61, 63, 143, 197, 961, 970, CT8, CT18, CT28;
alight at Eu Tong Seng, outside People’s Park Center 54, 124, 145, 147, 166, 190, 851
Link to check out before you go:
SBS Transit Transport Guide
*Updated on 3 September 2014