South East Asia Travel Guide Travels

A quick glimpse into Singapore’s Chinatown

When going back to meet my family, there are no direct flights from Perth to Mumbai, and I have to suffice with flight options with at least one layover. And so, planning a trip to India always involves planning a really good connection. As a globetrotter, this always presents me with the exciting possibility of exploring a country other than India itself. Having taken the Singapore route countless number of times, I have explored every nook and cranny of Changi airport to death. This time I decided to venture out to the city itself to spend my 7 hour layover. Hopefully, you will be able to draw some inspiration from this itinerary and it will help you create your own special stopover! 😊

In a snapshot

  • Stopover: Singapore City
  • Airport: Changi International Airport
  • Places of interest covered: Singapore Chinatown (Chinatown point shopping centre, Segar restaurant, Buddha Tooth Relic temple and some wall murals by Yip Yew Chong)
Click on the map above to view the interactive version
  • Stopover time: 7 hours
  • Immigration information: Australian citizens qualify for 96- hour free transit visa. We just need to go to the immigration, fill out the necessary forms, present our filled immigration forms, passport and next flight ticket to the immigration officer, who will then stamp our passport with a transit visa. If you are not from Australia, click here to get more information.
  • Luggage storage: It’s a smart option to consider storing your carry-on if it is on the heavier side. Remember that you will be walking around quite a bit. Get more information here.
  • Transport used: Singapore metro, also known as MRT, offers the best value for money option. It costs between $2-$3 and takes about 45 minutes one-way to Chinatown. Taxi costs $30 and upwards and roughly the same time to get to Chinatown.
    • Changi Airport’s metro station, CG2, is located in the basement of Terminal 2 and 3.
    • Take the metro from the airport to Expo station (next stop). From here, jump onto the Downtown (DT) blue line going to the city centre and get off at Chinatown station (16 stops away).
    • There are plenty of information centres spread throughout Changi airport and metro stations, so if you’re confused- just ask someone.
    • Here is an MRT map clarifying it all.

In details

Pictured above: Pandan Leaf Chicken, Seafood Fried Rice and Rose Bandung at Segar Restaurant, Chinatown Point. Authentic Singaporean Chinese food in a shopping arcade for all those who also want to shop till they drop and also eat to their heart’s content. FYI, this is one of the few authentic Chinese restaurants in Chinatown that serve halal meat.
Cross street: Beautiful façade of colourful buildings
Post Chinese New Year hangover, as seen on South Bridge Road.
Welcome to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Built quite recently in 2007, this temple derives its name from Buddha’s left canine which was recovered from India and is now on display in the temple’s museum on the third floor.
Also on display are Buddha’s tongue and bone relics.
There is a free tour on Saturdays that guides you through this beautiful temple and its museum.
This temple also offers really cheap vegetarian food everyday from 9am- 3pm.
The temple courtyard
The stunning interior
The temple is decorated with gold weighing up to 320 kilograms.
Sago Street market
The famous mural ‘Letter Writer’ by celebrated graffiti artist Yip Yew Chong.
Letter writers were seen as important members of the traditional Singaporean Chinese community, whose job involved writing letters for the Chinese immigrants addressed to their families back home. As communication technology became more common and efficient, these letter writers became history. Their contribution to the rich culture of Singapore is immortalised in this beautiful mural.
Address: Chinatown Market Complex & Food Centre, 336 Smith Street
The mural is seen on the side wall of New Bridge Centre.
For exact location, check the map in this post.
More graffiti by Yip Yew Chong. Somewhere between Chinatown Complex Food Centre and New Bridge Street.

Cover photo: Chinese New Year celebrations on the intersection of Upper Cross Street and New Bridge Road

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