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Shop at Sampeng Lane - Chinatown | by Jorge Lascar
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Shop at Sampeng Lane - Chinatown

A hundred years ago, Sampeng Lane was at the heart of a maze of alleys inhabited by Chinese and other merchants, and was notorious for its opium dens, gambling parlours and whorehouses. Today, it's mostly a traders' laneway, but fascinating nevertheless. The main laneway is barely four metres wide, but it stretches for about two kilometres lined on both sides with all manner of shops. A stroll from one end to the other will take about an hour or more. On the way you'll pass shops selling jewellery and silver, textiles, clothing, shoes, kitchenware, religious supplies, perfumes, Chinese lanterns and Christmas decorations. There's a few old Chinese herbal shops, with elaborately carved decorations and shelves and numerous drawers stocked with all manner of herbs and spices - great smells. Most of the shops here sell wholesale, so if you want to buy anything you will probably be given the price for a dozen. If Sampeng lane is narrow, the side alleys are even narrower. A stroll down these will take you away from the shops and past homes, businesses and temples of Chinatown []

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Uploaded on April 11, 2010