Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further than Singapore’s Chinatown, one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the country!
A unique neighborhood located within the district of Outram with distinctive Chinese cultural elements and a historically concentrated ethnic population, Chinatown has become one of the hottest spots in Singapore.
Today’s Chinatown is a great mix of old and new – traditional shops and markets mixed in with cafes and hipster boutiques. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t stop by Chinatown.
Here’s Evolve Vacation’s pick of 7of the most awesome things to do in Chinatown:
1) Try some hawker food.
They say you haven’t lived till you’ve tried Hainanese Chicken Rice – and what better place to try it than Maxwell Food Centre, just a few minutes walk from Chinatown. Check out the renowned Tian Tian Chicken Rice (#01-10). If you can’t stand the queue, try the rice congee at Zhen Zhen Porridge (#01-54) or Marina South Delicious Food (#01-35) for some char kway teow, flat rice noodles fried with soy sauce, chili, cockles and eggs.
Alternatively, you can check out the Chinatown Food Street on Smith, where you can have your pick of any Singaporean hawker dish your heart desires.
2) Get a traditional foot massage.
If you’re a sucker for pain or just plain tired from all that shopping, sit down and relax on an easy chair while someone kneads the stress away. Bath Culture Foot Therapy (59 Smith Street) is known for its ambience and their masseuses, who know exactly which spots to hit.
We suggest telling them how much pressure you want beforehand – if you’ve never had a traditional foot massage, you might just get the shock of your life.
3) Catch happy hour at Ann Siang Hill or Club Street.
Across North Bridge Road is Ann Siang Hill and Club Street, an enclave of shop houses and upscale bars, clubs and restaurants. At 7 pm on weekends, the establishments on Ann Siang Hill and Club Street extend their tables out on the street so that their diners have the choice of eating al fresco.
Check out Gem Bar (10 Ann Siang Hill) for their take on traditional cocktails, spicing it up with some local flavor.
4) Go sightseeing.
Chinatown is home to many places of worship, a true representation of the cultural melting pot that is Singapore. Among them are Indian Hindu temples, an Indian Muslim Mosque, a Methodist Church, a Durgha Shrine, a Malaysian Muslim Mosque and several different Chinese Buddhist temples. The most popular picks however are the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum (288 South Bridge Road), Sri Mariamman Temple (244 South Bridge Road), and the Thian Hock Keng Temple (158 Telok Ayer Street). If you’re interested in visiting any of these places, be sure to check protocol first.
To get an idea of how Singapore’s Chinatown came to be, check out the Chinatown Heritage Center (48 Pagoda Street). With thousands of memorabilia dedicated to the history of old Chinatown, you’ll also learn more about Singapore and its development.
If you have time, head on over to Neil Road and check out Baba House (157 Neil Road), a 19th century shipping tycoon’s house turned museum that is dedicated to Peranakan Culture. You can’t miss it – it’s the only blue house in the neighborhood!
5) Take home a Merlion keychain or two.
Located in the expanse of Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street, Sago Lane, Smith Street and Temple Street, Chinatown Street Market is truly a visitor’s delight. Filled to the brim with souvenirs, you can find practically anything in Chinatown Street Market. Remember, always haggle with a smile!
If Merlion keychains and lucky cats aren’t your thing, bring home some traditional snacks such as mooncake from Tai Chong Kok (34 Sago Lane) or bak wa (pork jerky) from Lim Chee Guan (203 New Bridge Road).
6) Try a fish spa.
If you’re concerned about calluses, dry and dead skin, look no further than a fish spa. For a minimum of 15 minutes, you can have the pleasure of Garra Ruffa (doctor fish) nibbling away at all that unwanted skin.
The trickiest part, however, is getting your feet in the tank – especially if you’re ticklish. As the fish nibble away, you’ll feel a slight vibrating sensation that’s both relaxing and extremely unusual at the same time. Feeling brave enough to try a fish spa? Head on over to Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa (133 New Bridge Road) to satiate your curiosity once and for all!
7) Try something new.
Feeling adventurous? Why not spend an hour training with some of the most decorated World Champions at Evolve Mixed Martial Arts, Asia’s top martial arts organization. Try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling or even Mixed Martial arts – the choice is yours!
With top-notch, state-of-the-art facilities, you won’t find a martial arts gym like Evolve anywhere in the world. And if you’re in the area, you’re in luck – Evolve MMA’s biggest location is in Chinatown (26 China Street) !
So tell us, which of these activities will you try first?