airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
30 Beautiful Photos of Life in Singapore's Chinatown
Save to wishlist

30 Beautiful Photos of Life in Singapore's Chinatown

Picture of Jaclynn Seah
Singapore Travel Writer
Updated: 21 August 2018
Wander through the lantern-laden streets of Singapore’s Chinatown and discover a world of cultural wonders.

The Chinese form the largest ethnic sub-group in Singapore, and when the British divvied up the land according to ethnic enclaves via the Jackson Town Plan back in 1822, an area southwest of the Singapore River was accorded to the Chinese diaspora. Chinatown remains one of the more colourful districts today – beyond temples, shophouses and classic Chinese architecture, you will find plenty of historic and cultural attractions in this popular tourist hotspot on the edge of the Central Business District.

Heritage business in Singapore’s Chinatown

Chinatown is busy throughout the year, with some roads pedestrianised and lined with little shops to accommodate the increasing number of tourists who throng the streets.

SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-94
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-59
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-61
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip

Chinatown is busiest in January and February as the Lunar New Year approaches, and stalls break out all the red decorations and knick-knacks that tourists and locals alike snap up to adorn their houses for the festivities. Look out for the street light up along the main Eu Tong Sen thoroughfare, and pick up your favourite Chinese New Year snacks during this period.

SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-86
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-85
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip

Singaporean art and cultural treasures

Old traditions thrive against a backdrop of newer, taller office buildings and residential blocks all around Chinatown. The pace picks up as the day passes and the temperatures become less muggy and the lanterns come on.

SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-84
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-83
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-87
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-89
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-91
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-98
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-100
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-103
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-111
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip

Heritage architecture in Singapore’s Chinatown

Architecture lovers will adore the wide variety of conserved shophouses in this district. Singapore shophouses trace back a heritage brought over by Guangdong and Fujian immigrants, and gradually developed their own distinct style thanks to the multicultural influences from the Southeast Asian region. Many shophouses have had their exteriors preserved, but their interiors have been modernised or transformed into offices, residential units or even hotels.

SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-45
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-50
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-51
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip

Religious buildings and temples in Singapore’s Chinatown

The number of religious buildings and temples in this area, especially along Telok Ayer Street is due to the fact that before land reclamation, Chinatown actually sat right along the coastline. The temples were the first port of call for immigrants who wanted to thank their respective deities for helping them survive the long voyage, which is why you can find such a mix of religious structures in what is supposed to be a predominantly Chinese district.

SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-118
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-119
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-64
Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip | Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

The Sri Mariamman Temple dates back to 1827 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, located right in the midst of bustling Chinatown.

SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-62
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-69
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-70
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-79
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-76
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-120
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip
SCTP0100-KOBLITZ-SINGAPORE-SINGAPORE-121
Angela Koblitz / | © Culture Trip