Street food, street clothes, street furniture, street everything but the kitchen sink (they probably sold those too) at the Geylang Sarai Market.
Visiting Chinatown in Singapore is a must. About three out of four Singaporeans are of Chinese ancestry, making them the largest ethnic group in the country. It also makes Chinatown in Singapore far more grand than your average city Chinatown. There are rows upon rows, streets upon streets, alleys upon alleys of mom-and-pop shops, eateries, and street hawkers.
Buddha Tooth Temple
Visiting the Buddha Tooth Temple was a memorable experience. Exploring inside the temple will give you a taste of traditional Chinese architecture, Buddhism, and Chinese culture. Giant red columns decorated intricately with gold line the main temple chamber where a 20 foot Chinese themed Buddha enlightens the room.
On the third floor you will find the Nagapuspa Buddhist Culture Museum. There you will be able to learn about Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment through interactive multimedia touch screens and viewing ancient artifacts, many of them rare and invaluable.
The fourth floor is where the Buddha Tooth relic is housed. The shrine and temple room are made out of pure gold. There are no pictures allowed, which is great because it allows visitors to view the relic in peace. There are two sections on either side of the shrine for meditation, which I highly recommend.
Don’t forget to visit the rooftop garden. It’s manicured in traditional Chinese landscaping. In the center of the garden there is a giant Buddhist prayer wheel, which you can try.
What to Wear
When entering please show your aloha and respect to this holy site by dressing conservatively.
Kane (men): Pants and a shirt that covers the shoulders. No hats.
Waihine (women): Dresses or pants that go past the knees. If you wear a dress bring a shoulder wrap to cover your shoulders if not they have some for you to borrow.
Getting there is easy by MRT. Take the Northeast (purple) or Eastwest (green) and exit at Chinatown.
Try Some Kopi-Singapore’s Traditional Coffee Brew
If you are a coffee lover then you need to try kopi, traditional Singaporean brewed coffee. So what’s the difference between a cup of Kopi and a cup of joe in the States? Let’s start with the coffee bean. Kopi is typically made with the highly caffeinated robusta bean rather than the arabica bean, which is widely used in the States.
The roasting process is pretty cool too. The beans used for kopi are usually roasted with butter or lard and sometimes sugar to obtain that perfect caramel flavor. The fact that it’s roasted with butter should let you know that this is going to be some ono (good) coffee. Coffee plus butter equals “bam!” a fantastic brew.
The coffee grounds are placed into sock-like cotton sacks where they are brewed in long spouted pots before being pulled several times before being served.
The result is pure coffee gold that will jumpstart a day full of sightseeing.