Emerald Hill Road, War Memorial, the Fountain of Wealth and Chinatown

Chinatown Travel Blog

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Emerald Hill Road. These houses are original Peranakan terraced houses from 1903.
After a brief rest (well, read ride on the MRT in the refreshing air conditioning), we headed to Emerald Hill Road, located just off of the main shopping hub Orchard Road. My mate, after rest stop and much devoted study of the traveler's bible (Lonely Planet), solemnly informed us that Orchard Hill Road featured examples of original Peranakan terraced housing. When we looked blank, he further informed us these were houses from 1908 and revealed the "true Singapore." When this also failed to elucidate whoops, cheers and a rush to the hills, he conceded. "And there are a couple of nice bars..." Let it never be said I'm not one for architecture.

Actually, I'm doing Orchard Hill Road a disservice. Being off the beaten track means that it is far more quiet than the rest of the city.
Emerald Hill Road.
Also, the houses, nestled as they are on each side of a gentle hill meandering upwards. They were great, and the bar (only one was open...) served Tetleys! Sweet. Many monkey nuts and a frosty tall one later we headed out again...

A short time later we were stood downtown (near the Esplanade) at the foot of the Civilian War Memorial that commemorates the Japanese occupation at the tail end of World War Two. It's an impressive structure, that evokes suitable feelings of awe and respect.

After this, we sneaked off to see the Fountain of Wealth. Now, if you walk round this three times (giving you some good karma), you get your wish. Oh, and it's the biggest fountain in the world. Sadly, it wasn't on, (it isn't except at night), but we all made our wishes anyway.
The war memorial.
Amusingly, the lower reaches of the fountain is located in the middle of a) a roundabout, and b) a mall seemingly totally made up of restaurants. I know the Singaporeans love their food but this was just a bit silly...

An MRT (and some blessed air-con later), we popped up amid the sky scrapers of the central business district. Much like New York, you can feel over awed and cowed amid such powerful symbols of business, capitalism and general silliness. We headed out and into the traffic choked, road work obscured pedestrian mentalism that was Chinatown. I loved it, a cultural melting pot, a consumer paradise filled with interesting stalls, great architecture and fabulous food. We were on a time budget, as we had to meet a friend at the Night Safari, so our trip was sadly fleeting (something we were able to rectify later in the trip).
Another shot of the war memorial commemorating civilian deaths in the Japanese occupation of 1942-5.


We did however manage to spot the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, an awesome structure that looks old and venerable, but actually hides a multi-story underground car park and the most effective marriage of capitalism and religion I've ever seen (though, more on that later). We also walked past Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore - oddly, outside Little India. As with the previous temples, it was highly decorated, and featured many depictions of the sacred cow.

Chinatown should be a must for all travelers. As we left, I felt annoyed that we'd seen so little. Luckily we had a second chance to see more of the area later on.
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Emerald Hill Road.  These houses a…
Emerald Hill Road. These houses …
Emerald Hill Road.
Emerald Hill Road.
The war memorial.
The war memorial.
Another shot of the war memorial c…
Another shot of the war memorial …
The war memorial.
The war memorial.
Another shot of the war memorial.
Another shot of the war memorial.
The Fountain of Wealth - the world…
The Fountain of Wealth - the worl…
Buildings around the Fountain of W…
Buildings around the Fountain of …
The central business district.
The central business district.
The Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinat…
The Sri Mariamman Temple in China…
The Sri Mariamman Temple.
The Sri Mariamman Temple.
Chinatown.
Chinatown.
Chinatown.
Chinatown.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.  It…
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. I…
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Chinatown
photo by: andytite