From its humble beginnings as an enclave for Singapore’s Chinese immigrant population to its present-day status as Singapore’s largest historical district, Chinatown has always been a location where potential and possibility merge seamlessly with the past.
Join us for a walk around this vibrant neighbourhood, and experience the sights, sounds and heritage that Chinatown has to offer.
All venues are near the Chinatown MRT Station
1. Adler Hostel
Spend the night at 1 Adler Hostel, and start the day fresh in the heart of Chinatown. This 'poshtel ’ (a portmanteau of ‘posh’ and ‘hostel’) affords ample opportunity to socialise with fellow travellers in a luxuriously curated environment.
Founded in 2012, the establishment has since been featured in numerous international publications, and its founder, Adler Poh is more than happy to swap travel stories with his guests.
2. Sri Mariamman Temple
Take a stroll over to 2 Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu Temple. Built in 1827 and dedicated to the goddess Mariamman—the Hindu Goddess who presides over health, medicine and fertility—this temple’s beautiful architecture makes it an iconic landmark as well as a place of worship for generations of Hindu devotees.
3. Chinatown Heritage Centre
For an immersive journey into the past, pay a visit to the 3 Chinatown Heritage Centre. Explorers will get to acquaint themselves with the neighbourhood’s rich culture and heritage, and get a glimpse into the lives of Chinatown’s earliest residents through historical replicas of 1950s interiors and living spaces.
4. Virtual Room Singapore
Socialisers who are up for an adventure can team up in groups of two to four players and collaborate to solve a variety of puzzles and obstacles in an immersive virtual reality experience. Along with satisfying all your thrill-seeking needs, 4 Virtual Room Singapore is the perfect place for exploration and interaction between groups.
5. Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle
Lovers of local delicacies should definitely make a pit-stop at 5 Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle, one of the most affordable Michelin-starred meals in the world. A hearty plate of soya sauce chicken–served with fragrant rice–costs under S$3.
6. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
With a richly designed interior and an array of exhibits that showcase Buddhist art and history, the 6 Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is a great location for culture lovers who’d like to deepen their understanding of Eastern religion and philosophy.
Those looking to explore their more introspective side should consider joining the meditation classes and mindfulness retreats that the temple holds on a regular basis.
7. Thian Hock Keng Temple
Urban explorers looking to marvel at traditional Chinese architecture should pay a visit to 7 Thian Hock Keng Temple, a national monument and Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temple.
Constructed in 1840 by Chinese migrants giving thanks to Mazu (the goddess of the sea) for their safe voyage to Singapore, the temple is a living piece of Singapore’s heritage. This place of worship was built in the south Chinese architectural tradition, and the entire temple was constructed without a single nail, while the rear wall of the temple is painted with a mural depicting the struggles and aspirations of Singapore’s early migrants.
8. Peranakan Tiles Gallery
Occupying the second floor of the building that once housed Singapore’s first Chinese school, the 8 Peranakan Tiles Gallery is a perfect place for history aficionados and culture lovers alike to gain insight into traditional Peranakan* design. Museum owner Victor Lim has collected more than 20,000 tiles over the last three decades, and is hoping to get UNESCO to recognise them as part of Singapore’s heritage.
The building is also home to the Singapore Musical Box Museum, and Chong Wen Ge—a café on the ground floor that serves both kopi (local coffee) and traditional nonya dishes.
*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
9. Kok Sen Restaurant
With over three decades of experience in serving up traditional Chinese zhi char (dishes influenced by home-cooked Chinese food, meant for sharing), 9 Kok Sen Restaurant offers up old-school fare that will delight your taste buds and fill your belly. The restaurant won a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation in 2016 and 2017, and is famous for its black pepper beef and prawn hor fun (flat rice noodles).
10. Potato Head Singapore
Round the evening off with drinks at 10 Potato Head Singapore, housed within a four-storey heritage building along Keong Saik Road. The space consists of a sophisticated cocktail lounge, a burger joint, a dining area and a rooftop bar.
Guest DJs play an eclectic range of soundtracks including world, reggae and dance, making this an easy place for socialisers to dance the night away with new friends.