When I said Chinatown shophouses, I didn't mean the merchandise, but the architecture. There are also a number that have been overhauled and showcase outstanding modern design, blending Asian and Western architectural traditions, although some of this may be inaccessible as the redesigns are mostly interior. Chinatown is one of the very rare areas in Singapore that are architecturally protected, and still has much of its late 19th/early 20th century feel. For something a bit different and a bit of cognitive dissonance, take the bus or the MRT out to Holland Village - it is what it sounds like to great degree. A bit of Northern European architecture plonked down in the middle of a tropical rainforest. And pass the US Embassy to get a bit of a feel for how the rest of the world percieves it - it's a massive fortress on the top of a hill, screaming arrogance tinged with paranoia. It's no wonder the rest of the world has mixed feelings about the country.