The Lunar New Year (25-26 Jan) is celebrated city-wide in Singapore, but Chinatown is where the party’s at. Head to the terracotta-roofed neighbourhood during January and you won’t fail to be dazzled by colourful street decorations and festive atmos to welcome the Year of the Rat. This gentle amble plants you right amid the illuminations of South Bridge Road, but sidesteps the touristy Street Market and takes you instead to the atmospheric enclave Duxton Hill and nearby hip-strip Keong Saik Road. Keep in mind most businesses will close over the holiday.
A. Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic
The original branch of the swish chain of medi centres providing expert TCM and acupuncture looks pretty darn good for its 135+ years. You too will be revived after one of the therapies on offer, including Chinese herbal remedies, cupping and intensive Tui Na.
273 South Bridge Road, +6562251887, 8.30am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-7.30pm Sat, sg.euyansangclinic.com
B. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Chinatown is home to a clutch of temples and the large, bold red and marvellously monikered Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a place of worship and museum housing Buddhist art and artefacts. They also serve simple veggie fare in the basement.
288 South Bridge Road, 7am-7pm daily, the museum opens 9am-6pm daily
C. The Social Space
Rack up the karma points as you shop for Fair Trade jewellery, candles and artisan ceramics; stock up on beauty and cleaning essentials at the ‘refillery’, then reward yourself with a smoothie bowl and an eco-mani at the social enterprise salon.
D. OD Wellness
Relieve shopper’s shoulder or tired feet with a nifty rub down at this cheap n’ cheerful massage haunt. Ask for a heated rice pillow while having your tootsies tended, ahhh!
49 Neil Road, +65 6220 9989, 11am-1am daily, odwellness.sg
E. Duxton Hill
Continue up Southbridge until you hit Craig Rd, here skip left and continue until you spy a stairwell in Craig Place car park on your left. Up you hop to exit amid the pic-pretty enclave Duxton Hill, where shophouses now house offices, boutiques and fashionable eateries like Lucha Loco and Kilo Kitchen.
F. Littered with Books
Located smack-dab in the middle of Duxton Hill, this cute little bookshop is a literary powerhouse, packed to the rafters with local and international fiction, poetry and classics, occasional rare editions and a top selection of Singaporean lit.
20 Duxton Road, +65 6220 6824, 12am-8pm Mon-Thu, till 9pm Fri, 11am-9pm Sat, till 8pm Sun, facebook.com/lwbsg
G. Monument Lifestyle
Stock up on Cali surfwear, grooming, decor and gifty bits n’ bobs at this laidback dude’s den. The petite cafe out back pours a decent cup of Joe, a strapping Samovar tea, and an impeccably appointed artisanal toast.
H. Tong Mern Sern Antiques
Back on Craig Rd, this ramshackle treasure trove of colonial whatnot is guarded by the fearsome Mr Keng. He’s well up on prices, but it’s still worth a good rummage.
51 Craig Road, +65 6223 1037, 9.30am-5.30pm Mon-Sat, 1.30-5.30pm Sun, facebook.com/tongmernsern
I. Olivia Restaurant and Lounge
Part of Keong Saik’s co-working space meets upscale hostel KẽSa House, this relaxed, rustic terracotta and raw-brick restaurant showcases el Bulli alum Alain Devahive’s nuanced take on Catalan cuisine. Particularly good set lunches. Agung Prabowo’s Hemingway-riffing bar The Old Man is next door for a cheeky post-prandial.
55 Keong Saik Road #01-03, 11.30am-2pm, 6-10pm Tue-Sat, +65 6221 0522, olivia.com.sg
The Old Man: 55 Keong Saik Road#01-04, +65 6909 5505, 5pm-midnight Mon-Sat, theoldmanhk.com
Hero image: Melvin Tan/unsplash
ManulifeMOVE has no association with any of the landmarks, dining venues, galleries or retailers included within this walking guide, selected by LUXE, and disclaims any liability as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.