Chinatown Heritage Centre

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Timings : 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Last entry at 7:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Chinatown Heritage Centre, Singapore Overview

Serving as a gateway into the rich history of the bustling neighbourhood of Singapore's Chinatown, Chinatown Heritage Centre is a group of restored shophouses that exhibits the furniture, artefacts and living arrangements of early Chinese settlers. Spread across six galleries, the heritage centre houses an extensive collection of photographs and paraphernalia dating as far back as 1819, depicting the daily lives of early Chinese immigrants who risked their lives to arrive in a new city, in search of a better life, after a long and perilous journey.

The interactive exhibits at Chinatown Heritage Centre is a fully-immersive experience with whisps of opium and fragrant species and larger-than-life photography props which are best explored through the daily guided tours. Apart from this, regular workshops and story-telling sessions are also organised. For the artistic souls, the centre has on sale a range of postcards, books and prints. A visit to the Chinatown Heritage Centre is like taking a time-machine into the past, tracing footpaths of the pioneers of Chinatown. The colourful history of Chinatown comes alive within the walls of these three beautifully-restored shophouses.

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Chinatown Heritage Centre Ticket Price

Adults: SGD 18
Children: SGD 14
Senior Citizens and Permanent Residents (above the age of 60): Free

For admission with multimedia guide:

Adult: SGD 15
Child (aged 7-12): SGD 11
Senior: Free entry. SGD 3 for Multimedia Guide

For admission with guided tours as well as multimedia guides:
Adult: SGD 20
Child (aged 7-12): SGD 16

For admission with a character guided tour:
Adult: SGD 20
Child (aged 7-12): SGD 16

Guided Tours

The visitors can choose a multimedia guide by making use of their admission ticket. One can thus explore the various galleries at length with the sights, sounds and images of the long bygone era being revived with descriptive commentaries, images and videos.
 
English Tours

Monday to Friday: 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM & 4:30 PM
Saturday: 1:30 PM
Sunday: 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM & 4:30 PM

Mandarin Tours
Saturday: 11:30 AM

Character Guided Tour
Join the iconic Chinatown characters and learn about this colourful district through their personal stories. Tour is limited to 16 people per group.
Saturday: 4:30 PM

Chinatown Heritage Centre Singapore
One of the displays at Chinatown Heritage Centre (Source)

Exploring Chinatown Heritage Centre

The different floors of Chinatown Heritage Centre tell different stories, from the life of a working family to the secrets of the mafia and prostitution, find everything from the recreation of an old shophouse to relics from the '50s golden age.

First Floor
This level displays the business quarters, the interior of the shops, and the living quarters of the early Chinese immigrants. These shops were often also turned into dormitories at night. A tailor's workspace is also demonstrated here.

A tailorshop at Chinatown Heritage Centre Singapore
A tailorshop at the Heritage Centre (Source)
Second Floor
On the second floor, the many rooms were divided into “eight by eight” sized small cubicles, which were rented cheaply to tradespeople such as a clog maker, hawker and Sansui woman. The kitchen/pantry was often shared with the toilets with a narrow corridor. Usually, this corridor was also used to lay a bed and sleep. Their living quarters were simply furnished, and one could tell that living conditions were harsh. While some of the rooms housed a family of 6, others stockpiled opium, while others were used for prostitution or illegal gambling. 

Third Floor
On the third floor of Chinatown Heritage Centre, visitors are provided with an overview of the situation including smells, sights, and environmental condition of the immigrants when they first step foot onto Singapore. There are printed excerpts about the different racial clashes, the red light district, the secret societies and also information on the various Chinese clans designed to help the new immigrants.

How to Reach Chinatown Heritage Centre

MRT: The closest MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station is Chinatown. Take Exit A to Pagoda Street. It's a 4-5 minute walk.

Bus: The following buses also take make a stop at Chinatown: 2,12, 33, 54, 63, 124, 143, 147, 190, 851, 961, 961C, 970, CT8, CT18, CT28.

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