Colourful Chinatown in Singapore

On August 23, 2014 by Novita Karana

If you are not into shopping, then you should take a “Chinatown not shopping “walking tour. :)) In the end, i realized that Chinatown is not really “China” in Singapore. There’re colourful differences stuff that wrapped into one harmony.
I could say that because i found 3 (YES, 3!) different places of worship in one street. I conclude, the interesting poin is the top of building. Their “tower” will steal your attention, don’t you agree with me?

Places of Worship

This is my journey when i explored the “Chinatown no Shop Walking Tour”, it takes around 3-4 hours (You can click to enlarge the map). The best time to start the tour is around 8.30AM from your hostel in Chinatown. Why have to go so early? Because i found out, you can take picture of the places of worship without crowded people infront of them.

Chinatown Map


The Jamae Mosque Chulia
Address: 218 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058767

From the capsule hostel, i did walking around to explore the area and the first place of worship i found is The Jamae Mosque Chulia. Jamae Mosque Chulia has two octagonal tower that will attract you to stop by. Built in 1826, the Jamae Mosque was the first of three mosques in Chinatown built by the Chulias, who were Tamil Muslims from Southern India. The light turqouise colour gives peace to everyone that passed. I read that every day at 7PM during Ramadan month, all visitors are welcomed to join the breaking of the fast, for which food is served and shared graciously.Together with its neighbour, Sri Mariamman Temple, the mosque stands out in Chinese location.

Sri Mariaman Temple

Sri Mariamman Hindunese Temple
Address: 244 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840
Open :
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 9AM – 5PM
Wednesday : 9.45 – 5PM
Sunday : 9AM – 1.30PM

And 30 steps from the mosque, i found Sri Mariamman Hindunese Temple. The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore oldest’s Hindunese temple that dates back to 1827.  I read that the temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure epidemic illnesses and diseases. When you get here, observe the majestic gopuram (gate tower), which is covered with figurative sculptures of gods and goddesses and mythological beasts. he Theemithi (fire walking ceremony), one of the main festivals celebrated at the temple, is held annually around October and November each year.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Address: 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840
Open daily from 7AM – 7PM

After being fascinated with the Sri Mariamman’s Gate Tower, i continued walking straight, and i found the Stunning Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum! Buddha Tooth Relic was founded in 2002 by Venerable Shi Fazhao and has the biggest building than two before.  The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is a Tang-Styled Chinese Buddhist Temple in the heart of Chinatown. There’re red lantern alley at left and right side of the temple.

the red lantern

Enter the temple and you will greet by 3 big scultures. I read, Buddha Tooth Relic also houses what the Buddhists regard as the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic in a stupa weighing 3.5 tonnes and composed of 320 kg of gold donated by devotees. I also saw there’re some people sat in front of Buddha Sculture. They  did reading and writing at some big book.
3 Sculptures

Do you see the ceiling? The ceiling based on the brief, have ‘light but we did not want to see lights’, to ‘hear sounds but not to see sound’. And i walked to the back of the building, and find the temple is surrounded by little Buddha sculture like the picture below (right).  I saw a Buddhist was kneeling and praying. I also observe another Buddhist were walking with incense in their hand.
If you want to visit, take a look at Buddha Tooth Relic opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 7AM – 7:00PM, including public holidays (free admission)
And don’t forget to follow the rules when entering the temple:
1)   Wear appropriate attire to show respect; no bare backs, off-shoulders, shorts, mini-skirts, etc
2)   Strictly no non-vegetarian food and pets inside the Temple

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
Open daily from 8AM – 10PM
After visit 3 places of worship, you can drop by for lunch at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre across the Buddha Tooth Relic. Maxwell open from 8AM to 10PM. The hawker will invite you to experience with authentically Singaporean dining. Located in the heart of Chinatown, Maxwell Road Hawker Centre has over 100 stalls. For me, the have to eat is the Oily Singaporean Hainan Chicken Rice. So i had my lunch with Oily Hainan Chicken rice from one of the stall.Red Dot Museum

Red Dot Design Museum
Ground Floor, 28 Maxwell Road, Red Dot Traffic Building. Singapore 069120.
Weekdays > 11AM to 6.00PM
Weekends > 11AM to 8.00PM
Please check “closed days” for days the museum is closed for private events here.

After lunch, you can continue your journey to Red Dot Design Museum. Walking for 3 minutes, and you will find the the shocking red colonial style building, located in the Red Dot Traffic. When i dropped here, the museum was closed because they did some art installation. If you are into art, you have to visit this museum!

So, are you ready to explore Chinatown in “no shopping walking tour”?

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