Singapore Chinatown with TravelBuddee (Tour Blog Part 3)
After completing our tour in Singapore’s business district, the next stop of the tour was Singapore Chinatown. Janice led us there through the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) which is highly accessible throughout Singapore.
The telltale sign that you are in Singapore’s heritage district is the rows of colourful shophouses. Unlike the business district where modern skyscrapers fill the landscape, the heritage area contains traditional shophouses preserved since the early years of Singapore.
Thian Hock Keng
Thian Hock Keng is the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore, believed to be built back in 1842.
The Chinese immigrants who had just completed their voyage to Singapore safely had decided to build a temple in honour of Mazu, the protector of seafarers and navigators. Therefore, the design of the temple was heavily influenced by traditional Chinese architecture. No nails had been used in the construction of the temple. According to Chinese customs, nails are associated with death as nails are used to secure the coffin lids in place. Hence it is often as an inauspicious item.
There is a smaller temple section located behind the main temple building where visitors can get their fortune read. Approach the uncles sitting at the table and request for a fortune reading. They will pass you a shaker full of lots which you will have to shake it. The first lot that drops on the floor is your predicted fortune, but we would highly suggest for you to read your fortune with a pinch of salt.
Michelin Star Chicken Rice
By the time we finish exploring Thian Hock Keng, it was about lunchtime. Janice gave the options of eating at the Chinatown food court or the local Michelin Star Restaurant. Our guests decided on the Michelin Star Restaurant, the cheapest 1* Michelin Restaurant – Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle.
The cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant has two stalls in Chinatown, one with air-conditioner and the other in a non-airconditioned hawker centre – local style. The most popular dish is their Soya Sauce Chicken Rice which we had in the picture above. Other alternatives for rice are also available- Eg. Hor Fan & Noodle.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
After lunch, the next temple that we visited was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, a majestic building towering over the surrounding shophouses.
On the 4th floor is where the sacred Buddha tooth lies in a dome-shaped shrine (stupa) within a sacred chamber which is only accessible for monks. All visitors can get a glimpse of the relic from the viewing platform. Visitors can also visit the other levels of the temple to check out the library, gallery and exhibits for Buddhists teachings and historical artefacts.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was the last stop of our Chinatown. Our next stop in the Heritage District is Kampong Glam, the Malay district of Singapore.
*This is a private and customised Singapore tour that was discussed between our Local Buddee and her travellers.*