The ancient capital of the immigrant Chinese in the formative years of Singapore, Chinatown still sees massive crowds and interesting sights. Situated beside the Central Business District, Chinatown is the proverbial contrast between old world and new; A place in chronological stasis within the everchanging landscape of Singapore.
In Raffles’ town plan, Chinatown was the area gazetted to the burgeoning Chinese population in Singapore. Over the years as the Chinese population rose to about 75%, Chinatown showed a diaspora to the other parts of the Island. However, it remains the centre of what Chinese firmly believe to be their area.
With the many roadside stalls and shops selling various Chinese handicrafts and trinkets, it is not hard to imagine how it was like in the past. The feeling that one is immersed in the culture is simply not hard to find in this sea of everything Chinese. The colour red is also dominant as it is considered auspicious.
Many places of worship are found here including those of many other ethnic groups. These temples often have a long tradition and as a result, a large following. It is not uncommon for the traffic to slow down to a trickle on festival days. While most of these places are deeply entrenched in history, a new temple: Buddha Tooth Temple is relatively new (two years old). The pseudo-ancient architecture is handsome and also impressive. The huge red relic sits in contrast to the shorter shop houses in the area. Surely a must see location for all visitors.
The sheer amount of food available is staggering, with almost 200 restaurants and eateries in the area. One would be spoils for choice in this mecca of Chinese cuisine. Do note that there will be some unscrupulous shop owners that may be out to con despite the generally ‘clean’ environment in Singapore.