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a fitting welcome

Chinatown features many attractions and is a popular spot for Singaporeans and tourists alike. This year, the Chinatown Business Association (CBA) will begin construction on a new attraction for visitors – the Chinatown Visitor Centre. Located at Kreta Ayer Square just behind the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the new Visitor Centre will serve as the first and complete stop for visitors looking for information about Chinatown's shops, history, culture and more.

A veritable work of architectural art, the Chinatown Visitor Centre blends the old and new, and the East and West, while keeping true to Chinatown's roots. Upon stepping into the Visitor Centre, visitors will be greeted with nostalgic black and white pictures depicting life back in the early days of Singapore. Moving further into the centre, they will find themselves immersed in another world, surrounded by untreated wooden furniture and authentically recreated displays – check out our exclusive interview with the designers of the Visitor Centre here!

Also available at the Visitor Centre will be a unique line of Chinatown-themed souvenirs and merchandise.

Among the line of products are plush dolls of symbolic Chinatown figures such as the Samsui women and Kopi Uncles; tea leaves sourced from one of Chinatown's oldest tea traders; notebooks, tote bags, gift-wrapping paper and more - all specially designed and only available at the Visitor Centre.

Besides simply providing information, the Visitor Centre will also be working hand in hand with Tour East, a travel agency, to conduct daily themed walking tours that showcase Chinatown's rich and varied culture.

The Clan and Association Walking Tours will bring visitors to the different clans and associations around Chinatown. There, the visitors will learn about the history and significance of these organisations, as well as experience traditional performances like lion dancing and Cantonese opera.

The Chinese Custom Walking Tour will involve visits to the various traditional shops located around Chinatown, some of which have been around since the first days of Chinatown and which do not exist anymore outside of Chinatown – traditional medical halls, tea merchants, shops selling ceremonial items and the like.

For the more gastronomically-minded visitors, there will also be the Food Walking Tour, the highlight of which includes shopping at a traditional wet market and trying out breakfast the local way.

With so many new functions and activities in store, the Chinatown Visitor Centre will be sure to delight any and every visitor to Chinatown, so watch out for it this coming December!

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