This historically rich enclave is known by local Chinese as “niu che shui” (bullock cart water), named after the common sight of oxen-drawn wagons on its streets in the 19th century. Today, the well-preserved shophouses that once held coolie houses, opium dens, brothels and factories have been replaced with modern bars and restaurants. Though it has evolved significantly over the years, Chinatown continues to boast a unique blend of heritage sites and new buildings with strong cultural influences.


One fascinating heritage site here is the sacred  Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum (288 South Bridge Rd., 6220-0220), where daily opening ceremonies involving the board bell and drum rituals take place as early as 4:30am. Another landmark is the  Thian Hock Keng Temple (158 Telok Ayer St., 6423-4616), one of the oldest Hokkien temples in Singapore. Built back in 1839, it is a traditional architectural masterpiece entirely assembled without nails. National monument  Sri Mariamman Temple (244 South Bridge Rd., 6223-4064) is the oldest Hindu place of worship here, with history dating back to 1827. To learn more about the culture and history of the area, go for Chinatown Visitor Centre’s (2 Banda St., 6221-5115) daily walking tours.


Besides traditional street markets that serve local delights, there is  Maxwell Food Centre (1 Kadayanallur St.), home to a variety of Singaporean food. To sample Russian fare, pay a visit to Buyan (10 Duxton Hill, 6223-0027) at  Duxton Hill or head nearby to Lucha Loco (15 Duxton Hill, 6226-3938) for Mexican street food and cocktails. Michelin-starred Britishchef Jason Atherton has also left his mark here with tapas joint Esquina (16 Jiak Chuan Rd., 6222-1616) and casual eatery Keong Saik Snacks (49 Keong Saik Rd., 6221-8338). Right next door is a speakeasy-style secret bar, which you need a password to enter (tip: ask the waiters at Keong Saik Snacks). Other great spots for drinks are cocktail bar The Cufflink Club (6 Jiak Chuan Rd., 9694-9623) and The Vault (237 South Bridge Rd., 6222-5001). 

Over at Club Street, you’ll find conserved shophouses occupied by restaurants, bars and galleries such as 83 (83 Club St., 6220-4083) and wine bar Ô Batignolles (2 Gemmill Lane, 6438-3913). Head to Luke’s Oyster Bar & Chophouse (20 Gemmill Lane, 6221-4468) for American food and Ding Dong (23 Ann Siang Rd., 6557-0189) for modern Southeast Asian dishess.


Located nearby is  Red Dot Traffic (28 Maxwell Rd., 6534-7001), which was formerly a traffic police headquarters. Now it is home to the Red Dot Design Museum and other creative services. Many contemporary art exhibitions such as the monthly MAAD (Market of Artists And Designers) also take place here.


At hip Duxton Hill is two-storey bookstore Littered with Books (20 Duxton Rd., 6220-6824), great for browsing. In another part of Chinatown, there’s Ann Siang Hill, populated by cafés and vintage shops like The Little Dröm Store (7 Ann Siang Hill, 6225-5541), which shares store space with Kki (7 Ann Siang Hill, 6225-6650), a quaint spot selling delectable handmade cakes. 

Venue Details
Address: Chinatown, 151, Singapore, 059443 Singapore
Nearest trainChinatown
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