Mention 'Chinatown' and certain stereotypes come to mind. But you will be surprised to find that it is one of Singapore's most interesting neighbourhoods, with fascinating cultural juxtapositions and home to Thian Hock Keng, a temple built without the use of nails.
While traditional Chinese businesses like medicinal halls, tea merchants and vendors hawking antique wares continue to thrive, the historic district has also welcomed young startups such as boutique spas and independent local stores like egg3, which features quirky home decor and more.
Chinatown's most unique feature is that it is a beautiful testament to Singapore's multicultural make-up - where different places of worship such as a Buddhist temple, a Muslim mosque and a Hindu-Indian temple co-exist harmoniously within steps of one another.
How its heritage came to be
It is by no accident that Chinatown is nestled close to the city's bustling business hub. When Sir Stamford Raffles founded modern Singapore in 1819, many Chinese communities from across China flocked to the island in search for a better life and grew to encompass 65% of the entire population by the end of the 1860s.
An immersive experience
Take a walk along Chinatown's exotic pre-war shophouses for a glimpse into the underbelly of old Singapore. Discover the secret past lives of its streets, such as how the 'street of the dead' earned its moniker and which street once played host to establishments of vice.See reviews at