On a limited budget and with only enthusiasm and a game plan to spend more time & lots of fun with my family in my pocket, I brought Tina and Gabby to Singapore.  On our second day in the Lion City, we headed to Chinatown ! 🙂


After checking out at 12 noon from Quincy Hotel where we stayed the first day, we hopped on the bus along Orchard Road and alighted at Bencoolen Street. We transferred to a more affordable hotel (which deserves a separate post) and more accessible to our itineraries. And like what we did the first day, we just left our luggage to the hotel room and utilized the rest of the day in exploring Singapore.

I am grateful that former colleagues and online buddies (credits at the end of this post) suggested one of Singapore’s most helpful websites particularly for tourists and first timers on the island like us (read: without gadgets with GPS). The site gives you details on your trip from point A to point B from mode/s of transportation (either by bus, train, taxi cab), estimated total  travel time(including waiting and walk time), to total fare (click the link and be enlightened!).

The Lion City’s transport system is impressively efficient.

I googled and lifted details of our itineraries for the remaining days of our stay. We walked through the train station from our hotel,  purchased MRT cards from the touch-screen machines (with refundable deposit of S$1 on top of our fares) in the subway.

Subways of Singapore are clearly wider than Tokyo or it might be just me. But creativity is present at every turn in Singapore, so apparent in the mosaics and murals in the train stations…

We told him but I’m not sure if Gabby realized the thought that we were literally underground when we boarded the train. 

The Dhoby Ghaught MRT station bound to Harbourfront was just few minutes-and-one-train-ride away to Pagoda Street, Chinatown.

Upon getting off the subway, we were in awe and together we uttered, “WOW” in amazement! Our eyes feasted on a burst of colors…

I read from online reviews of tourists that Singapore has the cleanest Chinatown in the globe, knowing the city implements strictest rules on fines and penalties (read : thousands of dollars), everyone is disciplined regardless of the place in Sg.

One doesn’t need to be Chinese to expect to see mostly reds in any Chinatown…

or Oriental lanterns that doesn’t fail to fascinate…

Souvenir items cost usually 3 for S$10… I got a nod from Tina in purchasing fridge magnets we bought for 6 for S$10. 🙂

Of all the things being sold in the stalls of Chinatown, I found these glass balls most interesting. Agree?  Do you know what they call these?

Few steps more and another surprise (well, not actually, I included it in our itinerary) caught our eyes…

“The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at No. 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves mainly South Indian Tamil Hindu Singaporeans in the city-state. Due to its architectural and historical significance, the temple has been gazetted a National Monument and is a major tourist attraction.”  —Wiki

A lion and holy cow guard the roofs of Sri Mariamman Temple…

Fantastic sight amidst the high noon…

The doors to this Hindu temple…

We opted not to go inside the Sri Mariamman Temple, we continued walking in Chinatown.  We spotted the famous Ann Siang Hill…

Vivid colors paint the structures built in Ann Siang Hill. Unfortunately, my wife and kid didn’t want to explore it so we went on walking to Sago Street and reached the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. After a Hindu temple comes a Buddhist temple… both equally stunning!

If the exteriors of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is magnificent, the inside’s trully awesome! I’m almost lost of superlatives to describe its interiors,haha! 🙂

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”–Buddha.

I’m left speechless.

Almost right across the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a famous hawker food place, Maxwell.

When in Singapore, must try Singaporean foods! Our late snack-early dinner were made  of noodles….

Maxwell’s Tian Tian Chicken House became a word of mouth when Anthony Bourdain gave it a thumbs up.  It’s famous for one of my favorite chicken dish –Hainanese Chicken Rice…(believe me, this plate tasted so much better than it looks on photo)

The rice was cooked with chicken broth and seasoning, it’s delicious sans ulam.

For drinks, a fellow blogger, Dyan and former colleague Gina who’s based in Singapore never failed to remind us not to forget to try water chestnut. We’re obedient. I bought a cup, it tasted like sweet pandan; refreshingly good!  I took a photo on a whim…

Then we felt it’s time to bid Chinatown goodbye…

but can’t pass the chance without a photo-ops with this Buddha statue…

We finally found our way back to the subway and rode the MRT again.  We had Starbucks Coffee break in a mall on way to our hotel (not in photo) and called it one fine day. 🙂


Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Singapore.


Beyond Toxicity’s Singapore Blog series includes:


*Thank you to fellow bloggers, Dyanie (she did my initial itinerary!), Cza (recommended the other hotel we stayed in), Chyng, Sards , Dom/Dong Ho, Annevdns, Bambi (all of their blog posts about Singapore and replies to my queries served helpful references for this trip) and former colleagues, Ms. Gina (who provided useful links online about her work place), Dr. D. and former student, Lea for replying to my questions about the city we all like.

22 thoughts on “CHINATOWN, SINGAPORE

    1. thanks, marian! i’ve only posted orchard road and chinatown, wait till you see the succeeding entries, hehe… 🙂 honestly, four days (and our budget) were not enough to explore and enjoy the lion city.

  1. Very colorful in Chinatown, this is the place we missed when we went to Singapore. I think China Town will always be look the same anywhere kaya di ako pumupunta sa China Town everywhere we go hehehe but I’m very impressed it’s really clean 😉 and my Kuya did not even let me taste their water chestnut (kakainis)…’re very resourceful before going there, you know where to go 😉 we had stayed there only for 2 days kaya bitin looks like na bitin nga ang pasyal nyo sa SG e 2 days pa kaya di ba, wait did you go to Universal Studios?

    1. sards, you have the time in the world to revisit singapore and enjoy chinatown.
      i’m guessing you’ll enjoy the haggling and shopping there, hehehe…
      kaya lang mahal ang airfare pag galing US syempre.

      universal studios post next…

    1. i agree. you need not spend a lot to enjoy but singapore is really expensive city; i think even costly than tokyo (or just because my 14-day-tokyo trip last year was sponsored, hehe!)

      balik ka sa singapore, maria. i’m sure you will enjoy superstar cruise within southeast asia!

    1. dito ba kayo pumunta ni dyanie? i had to go back in your sg post later…

      ano sabi ni gabby sa hindu statues ? “daddy, matagal ka pa bang magpipicture? mainit e!” hehehe 🙂

  2. Of all the subways I’ve used, I always remember Singapore (and the other one being Rome in Italy) as the easiest to navigate (with only a few lines), not to mention the cleanest of all public mode of transport anywhere in the world. I’m so glad to hear at very supportive ang mga blogger friends on giving you tips on this trip – patunay lamang na kahit di kayo nagkikita palagi, they’re always there!

    1. and you’ll be my blogger-authority (and please do not refuse when that time comes, hehe!) when we get the chance to travel the places you’ve been to, or at least a bit fraction of it.

      i am just fortunate to have a circle of blogger-friends who, despite of distance and anonymity to some, have been so generous to share their thoughts, their info and whatnot; they’re at time awe-inspiring. and dennis, that includes you. 🙂

  3. .. had a dose of seeing a beautiful temple again! i visited six of them when i went to thailand, naalala ko tuloy yung temple-hopping natin nila tina and gab sa penang!

    .. hainanese chicken! i forgot to tell you, i’ve started eating chicken again (gradually) but still no to red meat! goodbye pescetarianism, hello chickenjoy! 😀

    1. there’ll be a constant fascination with those places of worship, rob. i think we’ll never get tire of seeing them. kasama lagi sa itinerary.

      good for you that you decided to reform. tara, kain tayo ng chickenjoy at max’s fried chicken kapag nagpang-abot ang bakasyon natin sa pinas sa pasko. let’s go! 🙂

  4. Interesting post! We will be in Singapore in August 2012 medyo malayo pa but I have lots fun reading articles about Singapore. I’m surely included Chinatown in my IT.

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