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Located in the iconic Chinatown neighborhood of Singapore, Pagoda Street is a pedestrians-only zone in the island city. Featuring independent stores and vendor stalls on both sides, the place also functions as a popular street-shopping destination. Hundreds of traders sell new and even used curiosities, souvenirs and other collectible items at Pagoda Street. Important attractions like Chinatown Heritage Center and Singapore Coins And Notes Museum are a part of this unique locality. Needless to say, Pagoda Street should make for an unforgettable experience.
Said to be Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman Temple stands gloriously under a resplendent gopuram which bears elaborately crafted Hindu deities. Nestled amid the cultural cacophony of Chinatown, this temple is a magnificent canopy of color and culture. Initially a structure made from wood and attap, the temple bears the finer nuances of the ancient Dravidian architectural style. Built in 1827, the temple has braved many ravages of time, and was rebuilt with brick and plaster in 1843. Guarded by a doorway framed with banana fronds, the temple is replete with many structural nooks and corners, housing an auditorium which is let for events, meetings and functions. Dedicated to the Hindu goddess Mariamman, the goddess revered for her ability to cure epidemic illnesses. The temple is the ground of the annual the Thimithi Festival, a fire-walking ceremony when devotees perform penance by walking on a bed of burning coal, and emerge unhurt. Complete with ornamented dome roofs, frescoes, a magnificent mandala illustration and shrines sheltering Hindu deities, the temple is as much steeped in social history as it is in religious importance. Sri Mariamman Temple is not just cloaked in the profundity of Hinduism, but is also a moving locus of ancient cultures and social benevolence.
Food lovers can rejoice as the Chinatown Food Street in Singapore is back on track with their original and delicious food trucks, stalls, restaurants and street-side vendors. For decades now, this particular street has managed to create a smashing fan following, offering all sorts of cuisines from local and international master chefs. The place has undergone a superb uplift, which totally adds to the modern vibe of this place. There is nothing on the street that is not worth trying and once you taste it, you cannot help but get yourself a second serving.
This small park between Chinatown and the CBD was established in 1885 by a Chinese businessman for whom it has since been named. Like Singapore’s other urban green spaces, its tropical trees and foliage are immaculately groomed and there’s a fountain and park benches for relaxing in the shade. Hong Lim Park is best known as the home of Speakers’ Corner, the one place in Singapore where people can “freely” arrange demonstrations or protests. Keep your eyes open for an ironic sign listing the numerous conditions of free speech. -Tanya Procyshyn
The Sago Street or the Street of Dead as it is known is an old and ancient historical place in the city of Singapore. Once deep rooted in prostitution and factory work, this street now houses food stalls and pushcarts all along the road. The street is called Street of the Dead because it houses many mortuaries with built-in tombs and area for burying. Once dominated by Sago factories, producing flour for cake-making, today it is more of a popular-culture.
China Square Central is a popular hub for shopaholics in the Central Business District. Opened in 2002, this modernized 15-story office structure with rows of shops and restaurants is a true one stop shop for everyone. From a quick bite to a lavish meal, great drinks and good coffee to fabulous shopping, there is a lot one can do in this bustling mall.
Designed and built according to the Chinese concept of geomancy, Far East Square reconstructs Chinatown the way it was in the old days. The streets are lined with shops bearing architecture dating back to 1840. The structural details and motifs reflect traditional Chinese beliefs, superstitions and values. A stroll along the Heritage Trail and a visit to the Fuk Tak Chi Museum offer a glimpse into the lives of early immigrants. Live performances of traditional theater, music and dance can also be seen on the very spot where Chinese street operas were once performed.
Designed by H. Stallwood in 1928, the Old Ministry of Labor Building was constructed chiefly to be the headquarters of the Chinese Protectorate. The architecture reflects a simplified and stylized form of classicism, with a rusticated facade and Corinthian columns on the front. The "Chinese Protectors", as they were known, were British officials proficient in Chinese dialects who protected and controlled Chinese immigrants in Singapore from 1877 to 1955, after which it was eventually disbanded. The Ministry of Layabout was later formed, taking over the building until 1990.