No trip to Singapore would be complete without a visit to Chinatown. So here’s a full guide of things to do in Chinatown Singapore.
Before we start, if you’re looking for transfers from the airport to your hotel, you can secure a cheap and easy Singapore Airport Shuttle 1-Way Hotel Transfer here.
For exploring the city, here are a few good ways to get around Singapore:
By MRT (Subway):
The best way to get around Singapore is via the MRT subway system.
Simply grab a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP), a special card which will allow you unlimited travel for one day (S$10), two days (S$16) or three days (S$20).
The Pass can be bought at the TransitLink Ticket Office at most MRT stations.
This underground network has lines that stretch across the entire city. However, once you’re in the desired neighbourhood, walking is your best option.
If you’re visiting the main city centre, Singapore can easily be discovered by foot.
MRT also operates bus routes that can get you just about anywhere on the island.
However, there is also of course the famous Singapore Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour.
This is always popular among tourists, and a is great way to see many famous landmarks around the capital at ease.
Another option would be to bike everywhere.
A great way to explore the city by bicycles is by using SG Bikes. They are Singapore’s local bike sharing operator!
Simply download the app, scan, unlock and ride! You will easily spot their signature red and white bicycles scattered around the city.
Singapore is a super eco-friendly city so SG Bikes is not the only scan and go bike app. There are lots of other different branded bikes like ‘Mobike’ and ‘Anywhere’, and they are all easily identifiable.
If you’re not so tech-savvy you could even book onto a Singapore Small Group Bike Tour with a Local Guide.
Some of the best activities we’ve had in Singapore have been on private tours.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
From food tours, to river cruises and pub crawls, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the Lion City!
Book your Singapore Tours: Singapore: Top Tours & Activities
WHAT TO PACK
DSLR Camera: Canon EOS 90D
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Day Bag: Manfrotto Manhattan Mover-50
Sunscreen: Banana Boat Sunscreen SPF-50
Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Water Bottle
Rain Jacket: Columbia Lightweight Rain Jacket
Probably the most obvious of the things to do in Chinatown Singapore, the Chinatown Street Market is a fast paced row of pop up stalls, where you can find almost anything you desire.
From dragon candles, to street opera masks, and traditional clothing, servers will be shouting, just like in most Chinatown’s, but they seem to be a little friendlier here in Singapore.
If you’re unsure of visiting alone, or simply want a more in depth tour of the area, there is also a Chinatown Singapore: Guided Walking Tour available to book in advance.
The locals pride themselves on their salesman tactics, it’s almost a challenge – not to get the most money from you, but to not be ‘beaten’ by the tourist.
We had a lot of fun bartering for camera lenses on Pagoda street, and having a laugh with the locals in the Chinatown markets.
The atmosphere is great, with plenty of stalls to browse through and the food is delicious. It’s also open until late so it’s possible to visit in the evening once it gets a little cooler.
Either way, have your negotiating skills at the ready when you head to Chinatown and embrace the madness in this small section of Singapore.
Book your Chinatown Walking Tour: Chinatown Singapore: Guided Walking Tour
Who doesn’t like Chinese food? So of course, one of the main things to do in Chinatown Singapore is eat!
Chinatown’s maze of narrow roads includes Chinatown Food Street, with its restaurants serving traditional dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice, noodles and satay.
Whilst exploring the Chinatown suburb of Singapore, why not grab yourself a typical steamed pumpkin cake, or some oriental treats, at one of the many stalls located around the streets.
There are also many daily food tours available in Chinatown, such as the Singapore 3.5-Hour Chinatown Food Adventure.
Just whatever you do, don’t leave without trying some of the best food in Singapore.
Book your Chinatown Food Tour: Singapore 3.5-Hour Chinatown Food Adventure
People’s Park Complex is both a commercial and residential property located within the heart of Chinatown Singapore.
Inside, the shopping mall has more of a local feel, compared to that of the touristy streets of Chinatown.
Located directly opposite Chinatown MRT, at People’s Park Complex you will find cheaper items, an amazing food court at the back, and great opportunities for Asian massages.
Also something to note if you have kids that aren’t into Asian food, there’s a McDonald’s located in People’s Park too.
Up on the rooftop of the complex, well the carpark on level six, you can see the huge yellow building that’s fast becoming one of the most Instagrammable places in Singapore.
This block of office/apartments makes for a great photograph spot, and if you head to the corner of the car park you also get a beautiful view of the city skyline.
This was of our favourite spots in the city because not only were we the only ones up there, but we were surrounded by complete silence.
After all this exploring you’re definitely going to want some good Singapore street food.
Featured in our Best Hawker Centres In Singapore guide, Maxwell Food Centre is definitely one of the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore, and is full of delicious local cuisines as well as other worldly delights at cheap prices!
Friendly to meat lovers, vegetarians and especially juice drinkers. Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is situated just a walking distance from Chinatown and is always highly recommended amongst tourists and locals.
Pick and choose your cuisine and sit in the canteen style dining area. Grab any drink from the separate beverage section and relax!
There are over 100 stalls, with seating through the middle. Due to it’s popularity, it may be hard to grab a seat a peak times straight away, (during lunch times on weekdays). However, the turnover is fast as you’ll catch locals in and out on their lunch break or tourists wanting to grab a quick and cheap bite to eat so they can off out exploring again.
For those true foodies there are even some great Chinatown food tours that take you deep into the heart of Asian cuisines.
For more places to eat in Singapore check out our Best Hawker Centres In Singapore guide.
Book your Singapore Chinatown Tours: Singapore Chinatown: Top Tours & Activities
Hawker Chan was first noticed as the tastiest slow cooked chicken in Singapore, and now he owns the very first Michelin Star Hawker.
In 2016, it became one of the first two street food locations in the world to be awarded a star in the Michelin Guide, and it has since become internationally franchised under the English name Hawker Chan.
From starting as a small stall at his local market, to now having branched into an indoor restaurant, his current plans involve opening another chain in Melbourne, Australia.
The foundation of Chef Chan’s culinary passion was based strongly on the belief that good food should be made simple and affordable. At a tender age of 15, he left school and his hometown to Singapore in search of work and so the story began.
We swung by to check out his official restaurant, and it’s impossible to knock the hustle of this now famous Singapore chef.
His next mission is to travel all the way to London, so the British can try the good stuff too.
If all else fails, one of the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore is to simply walk the streets and take in the culture.
Being one of the closest Chinatown’s to China itself, Singapore’s version is a delightful mix of old and new within the city’s central area.
It’s a gold mine of Chinese heritage and culture, with its old temples, historic shophouses, and traditional wet markets.
Family-run stores and teahouses can also be found here, giving visitors a glimpse of the old Chinatown.
From the floating lanterns, to the inflatable dogs, we had a great time taking in the culture of Chinatown, whilst spending a day strolling round the streets of Singapore.
In the evenings the bars and restaurants really come alive, and are one of the most popular dining areas in the country.
The quaint little restaurants will certainly finish any Singapore itinerary off nicely.
Luxury – Marina Bay Sands – Towering over the , this hotel offers the world’s largest , 20 dining options and a world-class casino. It has to Singapore’s premier and the , which features the permanent exhibition, Future World. All rooms at Marina Bay Sands come with a flat-screen cable TV. Furnished with contemporary-style dark wood decor and carpeted floors, free WiFi is also available. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to panoramic views of the Singapore skyline.
Mid-Budget – Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay – Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay is centrally in Singapore, only 750 yards from the Clarke Quay MRT Station and 0.6 miles from Chinatown. It offers a 24-hour rooftop fitness centre, 2 whirlpools and a 40 yards swimming pool overlooking Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. Each air-conditioned hotel room comes with a 32-inch LED TV, an iPod dock and free Wi-Fi access.
Backpacker – Blue Jazz Hostel – Strategically located in Jalan Besar, Blue Jazz Hostel offers budget accommodation in Singapore. Just 450 yards from City Square Mall, Blue Jazz Hostel is a 5-minute walk from Farrer Park MRT Station. Guests can also take a stroll through the interlocking streets to cultural heritage sites such as Little India and Arab Street. Blue Jazz provides air-conditioned dormitories with a personal reading light, power socket and personal locker. Shared bathrooms include hot/cold shower facilities. Guests can also enjoy meals at the in-house cafe or have a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.
For more places to stay in Singapore you can check the latest prices here.