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January 28, 2009

Ann Siang Hill, Singapore

Ann Siang Hill, Singapore

If you happen to be visiting relatives and friends living around Chinatown during Chinese New Year, this festive period is an appropriate time to detour to Ann Siang Hill in Singapore's Chinatown.

While most workers at shophouses and eating places around Ann Siang Hill will be away to 'bai nian', Ann Siang Hill will remain open 24/7 to receive visitors. In the process of climbing up the tallest hill in Chinatown, you will be rewarded with tranquil scenes filled with greenery at Chinese-themed pavilions and look-out corners.

If you go back in history, when the sea reached Telok Ayer, the Ann Siang Hill scene would have consisted of nutmeg and clove plantations. Now if you wander around the nooks and crannies of Ann Siang Hill, the rear views of shophouses and the facades of distant highrise offices will greet you.

The contrast between the two-level five-foot-way shophouses of ancient times and the tall Central Business District skyscrapers of modern times could not be more stark.

Chinese opera shows and dragon dances used to feature during festive seasons at Ann Siang Hill, the focus of Chinatown's commercial and social scenes. Now the centre of social activities has shifted elsewhere.

I have never seen Ann Siang Hill before its face-lift of wooden pathways and covered walkways. But from looking at its old map, yellowed photographs and type written notes placed along Ann Siang Hill, the spirit of this place remains to stir thoughts of what a hub of a hill it must have been.

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Map: Park is located next to Ann Siang Road. You can access from Amoy Street too. (Google Map)

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Other related posts to tour:
1. History of Ann Siang Hill Part 1 of 4
2. History of Ann Siang Hill Part 2 of 4
3. History of Ann Siang Hill Part 3 of 4
4. History of Ann Siang Hill Part 4 of 4

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