Singapore Chinatown Walking Tour:
Multi-religious Telok Ayer Street
Technically, you're in Singapore Chinatown. But a walk through the Telok Ayer area will leave you scratching your head. Because apart from Singapore's oldest Chinese temple, you'll also find
- an Indian shrine,
- a mosque,
- a Methodist church, and
- heritage shophouses with European, Chinese and Malay influences.
Add to the above: 2 food centres along the way serving some of the best hawker food in Singapore.
They all make for a fascinating walking tour, and beg the question: why were these incredibly diverse buildings built so close to each other? You see, the emphasis on religious harmony is not a new thing. It started here in Singapore Chinatown more than a century ago!
Singapore Chinatown Map:
Telok Ayer Walking Tour Route & Attractions
Walking Tour Itinerary: The Walk Through Telok Ayer Street & Amoy Street
Take the MRT to Tanjong Pagar MRT Station. Leave the station through Exit G.
Allow 2-3 hours for an unhurried stroll with fuel stop.
The Walking Tour Route (See the blue route on map above):
Out of the MRT Station, walk along Telok Ayer Street. You'll see these heritage buildings in turn:
Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church
A Methodist church, but did you notice the Chinese-style roof?
The famous evangelist, John Sung, preached here in 1935 with an open coffin for effect!
The nickname for the Al Abrar Mosque used to be 'hut mosque'.
It all started in a humble thatched hut.
Thian Hock Kheng Temple
Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore.
Primarily a Taoist temple, but with Buddhist and Confucian influences.
So famous even the Qing emperor Guang Xu wrote a scroll for this temple.
Nagore Durgha Shrine
A shrine originally erected in honour of an Indian holy man.
But now used by Indian Muslims for worship and get-togethers.
Of course, if you get distracted by anything in the shops along the way, don't feel guilty. Just take it easy and enjoy yourself.
At Nagore Durgha Shrine, turn left onto Boon Tat Street. After a few steps, turn onto Amoy Street. Marvel at the shophouses on Amoy Street, which are mostly Second Transitional Style Singapore shophouses. See if you could identify the different architectural influences here:
- Chinese-style roofs
- Malay-style eaves
- Palladian arches
- French windows with timber louvres
- Bas reliefs showing Chinese mythical motif
|2nd Transitional Style Shophouses
(Similar to those on Amoy Street)
|Restored and pretty, they are premium real estate in Singapore.|
At the end of Amoy Street, go up a flight of stairs onto Ang Siang Hill Park. Take it easy at this rare vantage point in Singapore Chinatown. Look over the roofs of shophouses and towards the skyscrapers in the distance. On Ang Siang Road, turn left onto Kadayanallur Street. From here, walk downhill until you reach the Maxwell Road Food Centre, a not-to-be-missed part of Singapore Chinatown. Stop and refuel here.