If you’ve seen one Chinatown, you’ve seen ‘em all right? Uhh, not quite. Once home to the first wave of Chinese immigrants to the city-state, Singapore’s Chinatown today is a colourful mish-mash of old and new; historic houses, magnificent temples and hectic marketplaces sit among hip bars and Michelin star restaurants. The place is particularly special come nightfall, when lights, music, hawkers and revellers give the streets a burst of new energy.
To do Chinatown any sort of justice, you’d be wise to consult the experts. This evening tour, led by a local guide, is the perfect place to start. Across four hours, you’ll explore the evening markets, visit a traditional Chinese medical hall, enjoy a feast at a popular local restaurant and take a trishaw ride through the crazy, colourful alleyways. A bumboat ride along Singapore River - where you can check out the city’s iconic landmarks from the water - tops it all off.
About your guide
If you’ve travelled around the Asia Pacific before, it’s likely you’ll have heard of Tour East. They’re a major player in the travel industry for good reason: the team hires only the most experienced, knowledgeable guides to delve a little deeper on cities major landmarks, unheard of neighbourhoods and other topics of interest (feng shui tour, anyone?).
Here’s the plan…
Once home to the first Chinese immigrants in Singapore, today these parts are a popular place to hang out for peeps looking to connect to a part of the nation’s history; to eat exceptionally well; or to have a great night out. On this evening tour, you’ll tick off all three.
First up is a visit to a local Chinese medical hall. Inside, you’ll come across the medicines used by locals to treat physical ailments and gain spiritual alignment. Your guide will show you round the place, give you some time to pick out any bits you might be interested in and gift you with some citronella balm, a popular ointment used to remedy itchy mosquito bites, aches and pains.
Then, it’s on to one of the area’s most popular local restaurants for dinner. Here, you’ll try the restaurant’s top bites, with chefs dishing up everything from veggie spring rolls, fried rice, pan-fried cod steak in special sauce, black pepper beef, stir fried veg, omelettes and lots more. Dessert and Chinese tea are included, and there’s plenty more veggie options on offer too, if that’s your bag.
Ask any Singaporean, and they’ll tell you that Chinatown is most exciting after dark. You’ll experience this first-hand during your stroll through the Night Market. Here, stallholders sell a range of vintage bits, trinkets and treasures, as well as some general souvenir tat and gadgets.
It’s time for your trishaw ride. Your driver will wind through the scenic alleys of Little India, and taking you through the bustling scenic route of Bugis which hosts the night market and also the Bugis Junction famous for shopping. After the ride, your guide will lead you and the group to your final activity of the tour: a bumboat cruise along Singapore River. The cruise route covers Singapore River and then heads out to the Marina Bay, where you’ll see Singapore’s most famous landmarks (spots like the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Merlion) lit up under the night sky.
The end of your bumboat ride marks the end of the tour. From here, you can choose to either stay out on the town, or get a ride back to your hotel (or the pick-up point) where you started the tour.
Voucher information: No need to print! You can show your voucher on your smartphone or other devices. (But if you’d rather print a copy – that’s fine too!)
The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details. They’re a nice bunch, and will happily answer any logistical questions you may have. Please give them a call at least 24 hours before your organised activity to reconfirm.
Unfortunately, not all hotels are included within the pick-up zone. If your accommodation is one of the few that isn’t, the Tour East team will suggest a convenient meeting point where they can pick you up from.
Tour East requires at least two people to sign up to this tour in order to run it on the day. If there’s not enough people for Tour East to run this tour on your chosen day, you’ll be offered an alternative date to take this tour, or provided a full refund for this experience.