Singapore’s Chinatown is different than a typical Chinatown area in other world’s cities. Usually Chinatown exists in a city where the Chinese community is the minority. In Singapore, that’s not the case; the Chinese ethnic group is among the major ethnic groups in Singapore. The Chinatown area near the CBD (known to locals as Kreta Ayer) is historically the area for the Chinese to live designated by the ruling government when Singapore was a British colony (similar areas were designated for other ethnic groups like the Malays, Indians, and Arabs). Today the Chinese live throughout the island of Singapore, but the Chinatown area remains to be the centre of Chinese culture activities. It is also a popular place to visit in Singapore for foreign tourists who want to experience and learn about Singapore’s Chinese heritage.
We walked around the streets of Chinatown after breakfast at the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. It was still pretty early in a weekend morning, so many of the stores were still closed and the foot traffic was still pretty light. But we did get a glimpse of what the area was like — many buildings built in old architectural style, juxtaposed against tall skyscrapers in the background. Aside from the obvious tourists like us, there were also many locals who went about their normal weekend morning.
The photo below was taken from the corner section of the neighborhood. The big building in front is a Buddhist temple, and next to it is the start of the Chinatown neighborhood with its distinct architectural style. The neighborhood consists of several blocks with narrow streets and alleys that you can explore by foot.