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Tuesday Small-Group Discovery Walks: The Hills & Plains of Chinatown, from Blair to Duxton

Date: Tuesday 4 September

Time: 9am - 1230pm

Price: $70

Singapore is no Mount Everest, but there used to be more hills than we see today, many having been leveled as Singapore has developed, with the earth moved and used in Singapore's ongoing land reclamation.

Chinatown in particular used to be quite hilly back in the day, comprised of a handful of hillocks as well as flatter areas called "plains." Our journey will start at Blair Plain, a conservation area gazetted in 1991. Instead of luxurious meadows, you will find a beautiful pastel sea of predominantly Peranakan shophouses built in early 20th century for wealthy merchants escaping overcrowded and unsanitary Chinatown.

We will also walk through one of the oldest HDB estates to climb up to 50th floor of The Pinnacle complex — the pride of Singapore’s public housing — for a bird eye's view of the area. After a short coffee break, it's onward to explore the rich tapestry of Duxton Plain, which comprises the Bukit Pasoh area and Keong Saik Road.

Well known as a culinary destination for its great restaurants, we'll show you the fascinating heritage side of it — from its traditional clan associations to Chinese and Hindu temples. From Blair Road, we'll head over to Spottiswoode Park Road, then Everton Road – crossing over to have a look at Everton Park, an old HDB estate.

We'll continue over Cantonment Road to the Pinnacle to get a sweeping view of the entire island from the top viewing deck. After a coffee stop, we cross over Neil Road to explore Bukit Pasoh Rd (Jar Hill in Malay, so named for the giant Ali Baba style "tongs" or jars that used to dot the street there) and stroll along New Bridge Rd to visit a Clan Association (Kong Chow Wui Koon) and watch a Lion Dance and have a look at some Chinese opera costumes on display.

We'll return via Keong Saik Road to visit Hindu Sri Layan Vinayagar Temple and Chinese Cundhi Gong Temple. Our Tuesday Small-Group Discovery Walks are aimed at visitors and new Singapore residents, but we find even “old timers” learn a lot.

We keep to a maximum of 10 participants and pace the walk to take our sultry climate into account — lots of water and air-con stops are included.

Please note confirmation of this tour including the exact meeting place etc will be sent via email to all those registered about 24-hours in advance; this will be preceded by a Peatix or Verlocal message to all registered.

We do need a minimum number of 6 to run these; occasionally we have to cancel due to insufficient numbers — but we try not to! (If we must, we’ll of course refund your payment.) Please note that the cost of these tours is a little higher because we are keeping the group size small.

The quality, however, will be very high.

And don’t just take it from us, here are comments from a recent Tuesday Small-Group Discovery tour:

"I would like to thank you for the tour yesterday, it’s been a wonderful morning! Your guide is amazing and so expert about history."

"I just wanted to let you know that my aunt had a brilliant time yesterday. She couldn't say enough about the tour and how great your guide was. Thanks so much! I will certainly recommend you."

"Your guide was WONDERFUL! We all enjoyed her. I'm looking forward to the next tour.”