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Delve into Chinatown's gritty, cacophonous backstory at the immersive Chinatown Heritage Centre. Occupying several levels of a converted shophouse, its interactive exhibitions shed light on numerous historical chapters, from the treacherous journey of Singapore's early Chinese immigrants to the development of local clan associations to the district's notorious opium dens. It's an evocative place, digging well beneath modern Chinatown's touristy veneer.
The museum is physically very small, so aim to arrive just after opening to beat the crowds.
Guided tours are offered daily (for an additional S$5), with either a Samsui woman or a trishaw rider, and are well worth it for the hosts' entertaining stories. Tours begin at the ticket counter at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm Sunday to Thursday and at 1.30pm Saturday.