A trip to Singapore’s Chinatown is an unique experience, where past and present meet.  It was once an important enclave for new Chinese immigrants during the colonial times, where it was a centre of trade and commerce within the Chinese community.  However, as Singapore progressed and modernized, much of Chinatown’s old time charm was lost, making way for new shopping malls, and tourist attractions.  That being said, a stroll through its alleyways, there are still pockets that are reminiscent of its marvelous past.  Adding on to Zhu’s post on Singapore’s Chinatown of her first impression of the place, here is a more detailed look around the main market area of Singapore’s Chinatown.

 The Markets Around Pagoda St

The easiest way to get to Chinatown is to take the MRT subway train to Chinatown station on the North East Line (purple line).  Once off the train at Chinatown station, head towards Exit A, which will bring you right in the heart of Chinatown at Pagoda St.  This is probably the first place most people explore in Chinatown.

The first thing you will see once you get out of Chinatown station is a whole stretch of touristy stalls selling souvenirs.  This is the street markets surrounding Pagoda St.  The market is definetly less lively than the ones you see in Taiwan, Hong Kong, or even Kuala Lumpur.  The only time I think it will get rowdy is during Chinese New Year, which is quite an interesting experience where thousands of people will line up the streets to celebrate the Chinese New Year festivities.

The souvenir stalls sells your typical “I visited Singapore” goods, plus your “I visited Chinatown” goods, such as Chinese style fans, lanterns, and shirts, and iPhone cases.   Yes iPhone cases…its not a typo =)

First thing you see once you get out of Chinatown MRT station

Stalls underneath some colourful colonial buildings

Bags and scarf souvenir stall

Flip flops and random stuff stall

Some pretty Chinese fans for sale

iPhone cases - I told you so ;)

More colourful colonial buildings

After browsing the endless stalls of souvenir stands, turn right from Pagoda St on to Trengganu St, a walk that pasts by a few more souvenir stalls, and some electronic shops.  I don’t really recommend stopping by at the electronic shops here; there are better places in Singapore to shop for electronics.  However, if you look above the shops, you will notice the colourful colonial buildings, a quaint and gentle reminder of its beautiful past.

View of Trengganu St

 Finally, as you walk to the intersection of Trengganu St and Temple St, on the left you will see the financial district marked by the skyscrappers in the background, and on the right you will see the strikingly lime green People’s Park Complex (look out for my post on this soon).  Quite a unique contrast just by simply looking at the different ends of Temple St.   Continue forward on Trengganu St, you will end up in at the Chinatown Food Street.

View of the sky scrappers from the financial district in the background

View of the People's Park Complex (intersection of Trengganu St & Temple St)


Chinatown Food Street

At the intersection of  Trengganu St and Smith St, on the left along Smith St, you will see the famous Chinatown Food Street, which becomes a pedestrian only street after 6pm on weekdays, and 12pm on weekends and public holidays.  It is a street that is lined up with street food serving some of Singapore’s most popular local dishes.  However it is quite geared towards the tourist crowd with prices slightly higher, and regrettably over the years seen many of the stalls shut down, probably because of the operator’s struggle to keep up with the increase in rent.  That being said, it is still a nice place to grab a beer, and just do some people watching.

Chinatown Food Street signboard

Chinatown Food Street, just in time for the dinner crowd

As you make your way around the Chinatown Food Street, there are also restaurants in the shophouses serving various cuisines from China, such as Sichuan hot pot.  Also, nearby are the hawker centres where many of the locals frequent, such as the Maxwell Food Centre and the Chinatown Complex, which guarantees the most authenic Singaporean dishes.  So there are plenty of choices when it comes to food in Chinatown!

Exploring the street market and the Chinatown Food Street can probably be covered within 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on how much time you spend on shopping around in the street market area.  So this is quite an easy itineary for everyone to enjoy!

Visitor Information to Singapore Chinatown Street Market, and Chinatown Food Street

Opening hours:  All day until midnight

To get there: Take the MRT to Chinatown Station, and take Exit A

Have you been to Singapore Chinatown before?  How was your experiences there?  Drop us a few lines in the comments to share!

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of AlecTravelGuide.com

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9 Responses to Street Market Guide of Singapore’s Chinatown

  1. Zhu says:

    Thank you for linking to my post!

    Singapore’s Chinatown is one of my favourite districts. You can find all kinds of things, including great food, and it’s a good place for street photography too. Don’t miss the Hindu and the Chinese temples!

    • Alec says:

      Your welcome Zhu! You have a great blog by the way! Yes definitely the Hindu and Chinese temples are worth a visit as well! I will be posting about them shortly! Thanks for your comments!

  2. […] Alec Travel Guide Travel. Eat. Drink. Explore. Skip to content HomeAboutOfferStoreTravel ResourcesContact ← Street Market Guide of Singapore’s Chinatown […]

  3. cecilia chan says:

    very interesting. Definely I will go there next time when in Singapre.
    Looking forward to your introduction to Hindu and Chinese Temples.

  4. […] Alec Travel Guide provides further useful information on the Chinatown Food Street: At the intersection of Trengganu […]

  5. […] the Chinatown Food Street, there are an abundance of other good hawker centres (or food centres) around Singapore’s […]

  6. Fouad says:

    Hi. I’m planning to. Visit Singapore for 3 days but will I my have 6 hours to roam around the cultural areas.
    I wanted to ask
    1) 6 hours enough for Chinatown, little India and maybe Arab street area?
    2) would you recommend to visit these places during the day 12-6pm or the night 6pm-midnight?

    • Alec says:

      Hi Fouad;

      Here’s my replies

      1.) Yes 6 hours should be more than enough for Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street. Visit Chinatown first, and then take the purple line MRT train to Little India station. After that from Little India you can walk down to Bugis area and Arab Street Area

      2.) both timings will be okay. Only thing though from 12 to 6pm it may get alittle hot due to the afternoon sun. From 6pm to midnight there will be lots of people during the peak hours, however take note most of the shops may be closed after 10pm….unless you are looking for night life in which Arab Street and Little India has various pockets of pubs, bars, and late night eating venues.

      Hope this helps


  7. Where is the place you find those Chinese Fan? It is pretty nice and I would like to buy one of them. Can you share with me where it is? Thanks

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