Colorfully lit, fabric statues depict the history of Chinese life through the streets in Chinatown. Bright lanterns hang in the street surrounding the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Entering the noisy, bustling Chinatown Food Street, the smell of cigarette smoke, steamed buns, and noodles fill the air. Over 2,000 miles away, we feel as if we just arrived in China.
- The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is 4 stories high with a roof garden, theater for cultural performances and films, and 2 museums.
- Morning offerings outside of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
- Din Tai Fung, dumpling heaven on earth, has several locations in Singapore. Diners order by checking boxes next to the item on a paper menu. Food is brought out as it is ready. There are many vegetarian and non dumpling options.
2. Marina Bay
We also visit Marina Bay, the neighborhood of luxury. Read about our lavish stay at Marina Bay Sands here.
3. Kampong Glam
Haji Lane, tucked away in Kampong Glam, is a narrow, colorful street of handmade boutiques, hipster bars, crafts, and cafes. It reminds us of the many unique streets in Tokyo. This area focusing on Mayan culture has many Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern, and Chinese restaurants surrounding the central Masjid Sultan, Sultan Mosque.
- Elephant Parade displays painted, life size baby elephant statues around the world to cause awareness of the need for elephant conservation. Smaller replicas of the elephants are available for purchase. 20% of all proceeds are donated to elephant conservation efforts. There also also blank elephants available to create your own, unique elephant in store.
- The Malay Heritage Center is a museum of Malaysia and Singapore culture. Free tours are available at 2:00pm Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
4. Little India
Little India was first home to Europeans frequently gathering at the horse races. As cattle trading became more popular, the racetrack was replaced and migrant Indian workers moved into the area. Mosques and Hindu temples were built as the Indians took up permanent residency. Exploring Little India earlier in the day, many shops are still preparing to open, but it is not too early for the streets to smell of incense and spices.
5. Orchard Road
Once an unnamed, single lane road through fruit orchards, nutmeg, and pepper farms, Orchard Road or Shopper’s Paradise, is now Singapore’s luxury shopping central. Singapore’s first department store, Tangs, opened on Orchard Road in 1958. Tangs is among more than 5,000 stores and restaurants found on Orchard Road. The futuristic, 8 story ION Orchard is one of the most impressive shopping malls on the road. Inside the mall is the ION Art Gallery and The Grande Whisky Collection, a museum containing more than 4,500 of the world’s most rare and oldest whiskeys.
Singapore has unique neighborhoods scattered throughout more than 20 districts. These 5 neighborhoods are extremely walkable or can easily be accessed by MRT stations. Be sure to carry a rain jacket or umbrella if traveling in September.