Award Trips

3 Days In Singapore: Chinese New Year Walking Tour

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Having pampered ourselves the day before at the spa in Sentosa, we decided our last full day would be spent with more “authentic” experiences. Walking the historic downtown and then lunch at hawker stalls.

We had the cab drop us off in Chinatown and happily meandered the streets (Smith St  to Trengganu St to Pagoda St) enjoying the new year decorations and the unusual food offerings.

Singapore Chinatown decorations

Smith St Singapore Fishhead Soup


At the corner of Pagoda St and South Bridge Road we headed south, enjoying the (almost coquettish) bovine statues on the Sri Mariamann Temple,  my friend delighting in stepping out into the middle of the 3 lane road to take pictures in spite of my anxiety 😛



A few blocks south we took in the beauties of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple decorated for the New Year, making friends with an elderly Singaporean who had apparently spent a lot of time visiting friends in Florida and was enthusiastic about talking to us.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Decorations

A little further south we passed the Maxwell Hawker Food Center and encountered the hilarious little patch of land known as “Stateland”

Stateland Sinagpore


We felt like we’d seen the best representation of Chinatown at this point and headed north up South Bridge Road. Along the way we passed a group of men who had evidentally taken part in the parade and were now returning to stow their dragon costume. We had smiled a greeting when we first saw them, which served us well. My friend wanted to take a picture of the dragon head and was hurrying to catch up with the person carrying it. The rest of the group started yelling for him to stop and put it down, and then offered us the chance to pose with it, and them (we declined). 🙂


Feeling rather pleased with our international appeal we continued up South Bridge Street till we crossed the river and took in the skyline, Parliment building, etc. Next was the New Supreme Court Building, beautiful construction!

St Andrews Cathedral was next and in startling contrast two blocks later was the Raffles City Shopping Center which sits at the edge of the historic district. We weren’t really sure where to go, but we wound up making a circuit around, heading to Victoria St to see the modest St. Joseph’s church, the very modern national library, and an unusually decorated mall.

Singapore Mall

We were getting tired and thirsty at this point so we popped into a 7 Eleven where my ignorance/fear of Singapore laws came out full force. My friend grabbed a slurpee while I was trying to figure out what bottled soda to get, and started sipping it. Suddenly fears of laws against consuming items that have not been purchased yet popped in my head and I almost grabbed it away “you haven’t paid for it yet, what if you get arrested!”

Ah, such fun. She did not get arrested fortunately, so we continued our tour, passing the British colonial looking Raffles hotel and heading down to the Esplanade.  At this point I was starting to drag and it was so hot I was feeling a little ill, so I was not as delighted with the crowds and brightly colored displays as I should have been. I’d even had to ditch my heeled sandals a few blocks earlier in favor of flip flops.



The displays were quite pretty but at this point we were both hot and hungry. We walked a little further on to the Singapore Flyer and from there caught a cab to the East Lagoon Food Village to try out our first real hawker stalls.

All in all it was a great morning and we felt like we got to see a range in Singapore architecture and history. And at only 3 1/2 miles in 2 hours, it was quite leisurely!

Singapore Walking Tour

Next Post: East Lagoon Food Village In A Downpour


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