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“Center of everything” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Chinatown

Chinatown
Crot | Trengganu, Singapore, Singapore
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Visit Chinatown like an insider
Top Rated
$44*
and up
Singapore at Night: Cultural and Historical Tour...
Ranked #33 of 565 things to do in Singapore
Activities: Shopping, Dining
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: For a fascinating peek into Singapore’s Chinese culture and history, Chinatown is good place to start. Here, you’ll enjoy a mix of heritage visits to museums, shopping as well as a good variety of food options, sure to leave a traveller happy and satisfied at the end of the day.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Bandung,Indonesia
Top Contributor
421 reviews 421 reviews
300 attraction reviews
Reviews in 97 cities Reviews in 97 cities
285 helpful votes 285 helpful votes
“Center of everything”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2013

Numerous times we visited the Chinatown of Singapore , we spend most of our stay in Singapore in hotels in this area.Accessible with every transportation method available in SG ,like MRT ,Buses, Taxis.We prefer to use the MRT to go to this place , the exit of Chinatown MRT is just in front of the Pagoda street.You can find Singapore souveniers like keychain , pillows , shirts etc in the stalls and shophouses along Pagoda street.Some outdoor restaurants also serve Chinese and international cuisine.Look for the Tin Tin shop ,the Chinese Heritage Museum , the Buddha tooth relic temple ,and a big Hindu temple within a short walk.U can find bargain hotel and hostels also near this area , and some shopping complex.Worth to visit and feel the atmosphere.View in the evening was stunning with red lanterns all over, a must see

Visited April 2013
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Townsville, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Myer's Jewellery, Chinatown, Singapore”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

Before we visited Singapore I got a quote from a local jeweller to set a semi precious stone in 9ct gold. I took the stone with me to Singapore and found Myer's Jewellery while we were walking around Chinatown. A tall man named Mike / Moke / Michael served me and gave me a quote to have the stone set in a 14ct gold cast setting. After doing some bargaining the quote was approximately 1/3 of the cost to have the stone set at home. The ring was ready for me to collect 24 hours later. I was given a Certificate of Authenticity and the ring is stamped inside the shank. I enjoy wearing my pretty ring and recommend this shop to other travellers.

Visited July 2013
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Bexley, United Kingdom
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60 reviews 60 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“An interesting place to visit and eat good clean street food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013 via mobile

I would recommend a visit if you want to eat either in a restaurant or in one of the street vendors. As you would expect from Singapore everything is clean. Food is tasty I particularly like the skate and also the sweet and sour fish as well as the crispy baby squid. You can take a look at the many stalls to buy some souvenirs and see a temple and also another market less touristy. There are a few places where you can have reflexology or a massage and also some nice shops where you can buy some Chinese antiques such as coins, pots or some bigger items. Also next to the tube but within walking distance of the quays or get a taxi as they are not expensive. If you want to get a cab ask to go to Temple Street and then you have several parallel roads to explore. Well worth a visit wen if you don't plan to eat there.

Visited August 2013
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Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
30 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
233 helpful votes 233 helpful votes
“What is a real Chinatown to you?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

Interestingly, tourists' impressions of authentic Chinatowns are recollected from memories / visits of Chinatowns around the world: bustling markets, relatively "dirtier"/ less-kept than the rest of the other city, filled with Chinese/Asians and Asian-run shops / restaurants / with original / immigrant occupants etc (eg. a commercial cum residential enclave), older buildings etc. Singapore's Chinatown in fact looks "new" (repainted, conserved, new shops, some un-Asian looking shops). Would this makes Singapore's Chinatown any less-Chinatown than the rest of the world?

Unfortunately, for tourists who have been to Singapore before the mid 1980s before extensive conservation was made to Chinatown, the Chinatown then and now is very very different. Some who lived through those periods would have remember Chinatown as old, bustling, crammed (buildings crammed with occupants), very smelly (food/ poultry / vegs were sometimes thrown down the drain, choked). These old crammed buildings were both fire and structural hazards for their occupants. Some tourists those days would not have venture into Chinatown then - the smell and sights were quite overpowering/overwhelming to some.

A painful but necessary step was made to conserve the beautiful architectures of Chinatown by resettling its many occupants (many families could be staying in one single shophouse unit)! Many structural reinforcement were made (relocating the occupants were the only way) - but the building facades were retained and restored to its former glories to be enjoyed for many more generations to come.

To have a Chinatown conform to certain qualities - pose questions on what "authenticity" truly mean? Is there a certain definition to Chinatown? Its occupants? Its markets? The original "intents" of Chinatowns around the world have evolved to serve different purpose in current context - some are serving new immigrants who are not necessarily Chinese in origins - some are just gathering places of Chinese restaurants and goods in a society that have largely assimilated them. In Singapore - faced with many challenges then - our Chinatown today have also evolved like the rest of the world. The history and culture of our Chinatown are preserved through the conservation of buildings (many beautifully restored), culture (still a meeting place of many Chinese shops including traditional medicinal shops, Chinese jewellers, cuisines, festivals (heart of the festivities during Chinese New Year), place of worships (including Hindu temples/ mosques). In Singapore's context, today's Chinatown is a much more attractive and accessible place to visit for a larger population of tourists and Singaporeans.

To label Singapore's Chinatown as unauthentic / wacky / artificial / amusement park is missing the entire point of what Chinatown really is to its people. Such labeling of Chinatown can also be outright offensive even to the point of becoming or reinforcing "racial" stereotypes of particular quarters. Our entire Chinatown has taken quite a different route from the rest of the world (eg. Bangkok, KL, NYC, Toronto, London) - lovingly restored / preserved so that many can enjoys its beauty for many more generations to come.

For those who wants to know how the Chinatown pre-restoration was like, below are some amazing footages of the "authentic" Chinatown of Singapore then:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2BeLr-sXmo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2V7ZLMU9jk

Visited August 2013
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Trafalgar, Australia
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Not my cup of tea.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

We did the "Night @ Chinatown" tour and I must say Chinatown was quite boring and full of cheap junk that was much the same in every shop. As part of the tour we had a meal at a Chinese restaurant and the food was quite bland and boring but having said that I'm sure you would be ale to get much better food if you went looking for it. When we left Chinatown we were taken down to Clarke Quay by Trishaw which was a lot of fun as our driver/rider was a bit of a comedian! From there we jumped on a Bumboat for a ride down the river and around the Harbour and being night time the trip was fantastic with all the city lit up. All in all a good experience but could have been better.

Visited August 2013
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