As the name clearly suggests, Chinatown is that part of Singapore which has a distinct Chinese flavor to it. In their native tongue, it is referred to as “Niu che shui” which means bull cart water because that’s how the residents of the area would carry water. It came to be known as “Chinatown” because of the concentration of Chinese immigrants in the region. It has long since been a symbol of hope. Even though it houses non-Chinese residents today, it has retained certain aspects which are unique to China alone. One only has to go to the heart of this famous enclave to be engulfed in a beautiful and colorful cultural experience.
There is a multitude of options available to diners- from cheap street food at the stalls of Smith Street to a fine dining experience at hotels. However, dining alfresco at the Chinese Food Street is something that most tourists opt for because of the charm of the place. It is equivalent to heaven for all the foodies out there. The lit-up streets and lanterns create the right kind of ambiance for family and friends to get together and enjoy their meal. Chinatown Complex and Maxwell Food Center are other viable options too. All sorts of local dishes are available here.
Chinatown Heritage Center:
There are three shop-houses situated along the Pagoda Street of this ethnic district that make up the Chinatown Heritage Center People come here to relive the experiences of the Chinese migrants who moved to Singapore post 1819 in the hope of a better life. It reflects their past and transports you back in time. It is a beautiful cultural journey indeed and anyone who decides to take it will be able to sympathize with the migrants’ lives. Hence, it is much more than just a museum.
One would be surprised to find out that Chinatown is actually home to a number of religious landmarks such as the Sri Mariamman Temple and the Jammae Mosque. They both lie in the South Bridge Road. It is interesting to note that the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple- renowned for containing Buddha’s tooth- too lies in this enclave.
Everyone is compelled to awaken the shopaholic in them at Chinatown! An array of items from fine silk to jewellery to handicraft items can be bought at the Chinese emporium called Yue Hwa. The Chinatown Complex, Chinatown Point and People’s Park Complex are the most popular and noteworthy malls that there are. But, all the ”trend-setters” are advised to visit the chic boutiques in Ann Siang Road and Club Street. It will not fail to impress even the most fashionable people!
Things to do:
There are some things that you one simply cannot afford to miss when in Chinatown. Yes, of course we are talking about the excellent services offered by the spas and massage parlors in the region. The Bath Culture Foot Therapy incorporates a culmination of foot massage using traditional techniques and oriental music to relax the mind and body. Living Wellness, Qimantara and Rustic Nirvana are other forms of treatment meant to rejuvenate oneself. The Toy Factory Theater Ensemble is a theater group which preached free expression in the nation and whose performance is a must see if you want to complete your Chinatown experience!
The most ideal time to visit these Chinese quarters would be during the Chinese New Year, when the entire market-place is bustling with activity. It is at its most colorful at bright self at around that time.
Night Safari is the world’s first Wildlife Park to be visited at night. It is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Singapore. This 40 hectares park was opened on 23rd May 1994 and was built at a cost of S$63 million. The park hosts more than 1040 animals form over 120 endangered and rare species. On an average the park welcomes about 1.1 million visitors per year.
Some Basic Facts about the park:
- The park is run, developed and operated by Singapore Zoological Gardens.
- The natural hilly terrain of the park has not been touched, and areas which has to be replenished has been planted with hundred of trees.
- The 90% of animals present here are in their nocturnal environment (completely natural). Animals are separated from visitors by natural barriers not by cage.
- The animals on display are the majestic seladang or gaur, the Indian rhinoceros, bharal or blue sheep, ghavial or fish-eating crocodile, the African serval and the highly attractive bongo.
- Night animals are illuminated by artificial light that replicate the moonlight.
- The park is divided into eight geographical zones, which can be easily covered by foot or by tram. One can cover 41 exhibits on foot and 18 on tram.
- The 45-minute tram ride convers 3.2 kms. These are stops along the way to admire magnificent panoramic views of the reservoir, tree-studded hillslopes and grassy plains.
- Winding 2.8km through the jungle, walkways allow visitors to get closer to animals not easily seen from the tram, such as smaller cat families and primate like the loris.
- Creatures on the Night Show
- Himalayan Foothills
- Nepalese River Valley
- Indian Subcontinent
- The Thumbuakar cultural show
Things to take care while visiting the Park:
- Carry a raincoat or umbrella with you because the park is situated in Secondary Rainforest where it can get rainy anytime.
- Because of the nocturnal environment, the place is full of parasites and insects so carry Insect repellent with you.
- Also cover your body with full clothes and shoes.
- Wear Light clothes and not the denims while travelling because place in quite hot and humid.
- Always carry drinking water with you to keep your body hydrated.
In all you can afford to miss anything else in Singapore but not the Singapore Night Safari. You will regret for life…!
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road
The fare for a trip starting in the city should be about S$15-25.
Adult, S$32; Child, S$21.
Singapore offers an aesthetic blend of rich heritage and vibrant present day traditions. The lush green city state is well complimented by various parks and nature reserves. With several places to see the south Asian nation is really a tourist’s paradise.
Changi Chapel and Museum: Changi Chapel and Museum brings alive the time spent in the prison by at least 50,000 soldiers and civilians through a commendable collection of letters, drawings, photographs and paintings.
Singapore Zoo: More than 3000 species of mammals, reptiles and birds call Singapore Zoo their home. This zoological marvel was inaugurated during 1973 and is well known for its open environment provided for the inmates.
Jurong Bird Park: Jurong Bird Park has been built on lines similar to the Singapore Zoo. It has at least 8 thousand birds belonging to 600 different species. The visitors to this site can be guaranteed of being able to see rare birds from South America and Africa.
Sentosa: Underwater Island: Located in Sentosa Island Underwater Island houses at least 2,500 marine creatures such as white sharks, giant stingrays, eels and dainty damsel fishes. The best aspect of this facility is that the creatures can be watched from up close.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has an unparalleled collection of trees – it is said that it has more types than the whole of North America put together. From a global perspective it is also one of two rainforests that are located within a city.
Night Safari: Night Safari is finest night zoo of the world. This facility allows visitors to watch the animals in their natural surroundings during the night. Special lighting techniques are used in order to replicate the effect of moonlight.
Following are some of the finest tourist attractions in eastern Singapore:
East Coast Park
Original Singapore Walks
Tourists visiting the northern part of the city can get a glimpse of the following sites of tourist interest:
The major tourist attractions in Orchard Road are Istana Negara Singapura, Singapore Botanical Gardens and Peranakan Place. Following are the leading tourist destinations in Western Singapore:
Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Haw Park Villa/ Tiger Balm Gardens
Royal Selangor Pewter Museum
Jurong Reptile Park
Singapore Discovery Centre
Singapore Science Centre
Mint Coin Gallery