Although majority of the Singaporean population is comprised of Chinese residents and many areas of the city are predominantly Chinese, Chinatown in Singapore still exudes a distinct appeal all its own. The existence of the Chinese community in Singapore has been documented as early as 1330, which makes it the most ancient Chinese settlement outside of China recorded in history. It is also the largest.
The area is very accessible and has its own MRT station. One of the reasons people love to go to this place is the abundance of affordable spas. You can get a relaxing traditional Chinese massage or choose from many other massage treatments you prefer. There are also spas offering Balinese treatments and foot massage and therapy.
Shopping in this place can be done both along the stall-lined streets near the Pagoda and in malls. There are lots of stalls along the major streets surrounding the pagoda. Here, you can buy accessories and Chinese ornaments. Most items displayed in the stalls are targeted toward tourist buyers. There are shops in Chinatown that were built before the war, and until now many of them are still operating and still selling the products that they sold a long time ago, such as jade, silk, jewelry, and handicrafts. If you want to buy antiques, you can head straight to South Bridge Road where a number of antique shops are found. These cater mostly to upscale buyers and sell expensive items.
Looking for tea and food items? How about medicinal herbs? Want to buy Chinese clothes? You can check out Yue Hwa emporium where you can find a wide collection of various Chinese products. It is found on the corner of Upper Cross Street and Eu Tong Sen Street. There are also several malls in the area: Chinatown Point, Pearl’s Centre, People’s Park Complex, and OG People’s Park.
Chinatown Point New Bridge Road sells mostly handicrafts, but some stalls also sell watches and other trinkets. Pearl’s Centre in Eu Tong Sen Street is an old mall that sells unusual items like articles used for Buddhist worship. People’s Park Complex in Park Road sells electronic gadgets, jewelry, clothes, and even Chinese medicine. You can also find travel agencies in People’s Park Complex. OG People’s Park in Upper Cross Street sells popular brand items like Billabong and Adidas. Oddly, its fifth floor is filled with stalls selling Korean products.
What visit to Chinatown would be complete without sampling mouthwatering Chinese delicacies? There are numerous restaurants in the area, with meal prices ranging from as low as $5 to $60. Indulge yourself in hearty servings of dimsum, roast duck, and Szechuan food. If you fancy some cheap but yummy eats, just go to Smith Street or Maxwell Centre. Smith Street is lined up with stalls serving delicious food for just $5 or less. The ambiance is not bad considering the place and the price, although a lot of the stalls are open only for dinner. On the other hand, Maxwell Centre is open for 24 hours. It is just a few steps away from Smith Street and is within walking distance of the MRT Tanjong Pagar station.