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6 Best Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore

No trip to Singapore would be complete without a visit to Chinatown. So here’s a full guide of things to do in Chinatown Singapore.

1. Chinatown Street Market

Probably the most obvious of the things to do in Chinatown Singapore, the Chinatown Street Market is a fast paced row of pop-up stalls, where you can find almost anything you desire.

From dragon candles, to street opera masks, and traditional clothing, servers will be shouting, just like in most Chinatown’s, but they seem to be a little friendlier here in Singapore.

The market usually gets going about 9.30 in the morning and is open every day of the week until about 8 in the evening.

During lunchtimes, the market fills up with lots of local office workers as well as tourists looking for some of the tasty street food available.

Throughout the year the market hosts many traditional Chinese festivals. The largest being the Chinese New Year when the market becomes the centre of celebrations for all Singaporeans.

If you’re unsure of visiting alone, or simply want a more in-depth tour of the area there is a Chinatown and Little India Guided Walking Tour available to book in advance.

The locals pride themselves on their salesman tactics, it’s almost a challenge – not to get the most money from you, but to not be ‘beaten’ by the tourist.

We had a lot of fun bartering for camera lenses on Pagoda street, and having a laugh with the locals in the Chinatown markets.

The atmosphere is great, with plenty of stalls to browse through and the food is delicious. It’s also open until late so it’s possible to visit in the evening once it gets a little cooler.

Either way, have your negotiating skills at the ready when you head to Chinatown and embrace the madness in this small section of Singapore.

Check out my 2 Days In Singapore Itinerary or 4 Days In Singapore Itinerary for great guides on the best way to see the city.

Pagoda Street Singapore Chinatown Singapore Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore
Exploring Pagoda Street in Chinatown Singapore.

2. Eat Traditional Chinese Cuisine

Who doesn’t like Chinese food? So of course, one of the main things to do in Chinatown Singapore is eat!

Chinatown’s maze of narrow roads includes Chinatown Food Street. Located in the heart of Chinatown this street seeks to create an authentic Singaporean dining experience for locals and tourists alike.

Here you will find restaurants as well as food kiosks, street hawkers and al-fresco dining. All serving a variety of tasty traditional Chinese foods like Hainanese chicken rice, noodles and satays.

Another popular dish is Dim Sum, originally a snack served with tea. Dim Sum items include pork/shrimp dumplings, pork ribs, turnip cakes and rice flour rolls served with sweet and savoury sauce.

Whilst exploring the Chinatown suburb of Singapore, why not grab yourself a typical steamed pumpkin cake, or some oriental treats, at one of the many stalls located around the streets.

There are also many daily food tours available in Chinatown, such as the Singapore 3.5-Hour Chinatown Food Adventure or the Little India Hawker Food Tasting Tour that takes you to try 8 of the best Singapore dishes that the locals love.

Just whatever you do, don’t leave without trying some of the best food in Singapore.

Steamed Buns Chinatown Singapore Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore
The pumpkin cake didn’t last long once we got our hands on one.

3. Visit People’s Park

Built between 1970 and 1973, People’s Park Complex is both a commercial and residential property located within the heart of Chinatown Singapore.

Standing at 103 metres high, this was the first shopping centre of its kind in the whole of Southeast Asia.

The design of People’s Park Complex went on to be used for subsequent retail buildings in Singapore.

Inside, the shopping mall has more of a local feel, compared to that of the touristy streets of Chinatown and is a great place to pick up souvenirs.

Located directly opposite Chinatown MRT, at People’s Park Complex you will find cheaper items, an amazing food court at the back, and great opportunities for Asian massages.

Also if you have kids that aren’t into Asian food, there’s a McDonald’s located in People’s Park too.

Up on the rooftop of the complex, well the carpark on level six, you can see the huge yellow building that’s fast becoming one of the most Instagrammable places in Singapore.

This block of office/apartments makes for a great photograph spot. If you head to the corner of the car park you also get a beautiful view of the city skyline.

This was of our favourite spots in the city because not only were we the only ones up there, but we were surrounded by complete silence.

People's Park Complex Singapore Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore
Taking photos at People’s Park was one of our favourite things to do in Chinatown Singapore.
People's Park Complex Singapore Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore
The roof also makes for a great spot to photograph the Singapore skyline.

4. Eat At Maxwell Food Centre

After all this exploring you’re definitely going to want some good Singapore street food.

Maxwell Food Centre is definitely one of the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore, as well as one of the Best Hawker Centres In Singapore. It’s full of delicious local cuisines as well as other worldly delights at cheap prices!

Friendly to meat lovers, vegetarians and especially juice drinkers. Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is situated just a walking distance from Chinatown and is always highly recommended amongst tourists and locals.

Pick and choose your cuisine and sit in the canteen style dining area. Grab any drink from the separate beverage section and relax!

There are over 100 stalls, with seating through the middle. Due to it’s popularity, it may be hard to grab a seat a peak times straight away, (during lunch times on weekdays). 

However, the turnover is fast. So you’ll catch locals in and out on their lunch break, or tourists wanting to grab a quick and cheap bite to eat so they can off out exploring again. 

For those true foodies, there are some great Chinatown Tours & Activities that take you deep into the heart of Asian cuisines.

Maxwell Food Centre Singapore Best Hawker Centres In Singapore
Maxwell Food Centre Singapore – one of the busiest hawkers in Singapore

5. Visit Michelin Star Hawker Chan

Hawker Chan was first noticed as the tastiest slow cooked chicken in Singapore. He now owns the very first Michelin Star Hawker.

In 2016, it became one of the first two street food locations in the world to be awarded a star in the Michelin Guide, and it has since become internationally franchised under the English name Hawker Chan.

From starting as a small stall at his local market, to now having branched into an indoor restaurant, his current plans involve opening another chain in Melbourne, Australia.

The foundation of Chef Chan’s culinary passion was based strongly on the belief that good food should be made simple and affordable.

At a tender age of 15, he left school and his hometown to go to Singapore in search of work and so the story began.

We swung by to check out his official restaurant, and it’s impossible to knock the hustle of this now famous Singapore chef.

His next mission is to travel all the way to London, so the British can try the good stuff too.

Hawker Chan Michelin Star Hawker Singapore Best Hawker Centres In Singapore
Charlie outside the famous Chinatown Singapore food spot Hawker Chan

6. Take In The Culture

If all else fails, one of the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore is to simply walk the streets and take in the culture.

Being one of the closest Chinatown’s to China itself, Singapore’s version is a delightful mix of old and new within the city’s central area.

It’s a gold mine of Chinese heritage and culture, with its old temples, historic shophouses, and traditional wet markets.

Chinatown is actually home to the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, the Sri Mariamman Temple. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure illnesses and diseases.

Also, highly recommended is a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Built in 2002, this highly ornate Buddhist temple and museum complex sits in the heart of the Chinatown. 

Family-run stores and teahouses can also be found here, giving visitors a glimpse of the old Chinatown.

From the floating lanterns, to the inflatable dogs, we had a great time taking in the culture of Chinatown, whilst spending a day strolling round the streets of Singapore.

In the evenings the bars and restaurants really come alive, and are one of the most popular dining areas in the country.

The quaint little restaurants will certainly finish any Singapore itinerary off nicely.

In addition, if you really want to see what makes this multi-cultural city so unique the 4-Hour Guided Walking Tour Across the Heartland visits each cultural hub in the City.

Chinatown Singapore Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore
Large inflatable dogs in Chinatown Singapore = Happy Chinese New Year

Where To Stay In Singapore

Luxury

Marina Bay Sands

Towering over the bay, this iconic hotel offers the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, 20 dining options and a world-class casino. 

It has direct access to Singapore’s premier shopping mall and the ArtScience Museum, which features the permanent exhibition, Future World. 

All rooms at Marina Bay Sands come with a flat-screen cable TV. Furnished with contemporary-style dark wood decor and carpeted floors, free WiFi is also available. 

Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to panoramic views of the Singapore skyline.

Mid-Budget

Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay

Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay is centrally located in Singapore. It’s located just 750 yards from the Clarke Quay MRT Station and 0.6 miles from Chinatown. 

It offers a 24-hour rooftop fitness centre, 2 whirlpools and a 40 yards swimming pool overlooking Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. 

Each air-conditioned hotel room comes with a 32-inch LED TV, an iPod dock and free Wi-Fi access.

Backpacker

Blue Jazz Hostel

Strategically located in Jalan Besar, Blue Jazz Hostel offers budget accommodation in Singapore. 

Just 450 yards from City Square Mall, Blue Jazz Hostel is a 5-minute walk from Farrer Park MRT Station. 

Guests can also take a stroll through the interlocking streets to cultural heritage sites such as Little India and Arab Street. 

Blue Jazz provides air-conditioned dormitories with a personal reading light, power socket and personal locker. Shared bathrooms include hot/cold shower facilities. 

Guests can also enjoy meals at the in-house cafe or have a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

For more places to stay in Singapore you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

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6 Best Things To Do In Chinatown Singapore

Ankita pandey

Thursday 1st of February 2024

You have really mentioned the great things to do in Singapore, loved your blog