HISTorical & Heritage sites
Chinatown Heritage Centre
Chinatown Heritage Centre is where visitors can trace the footsteps of Singapore’s early pioneers and discover the personal stories of people who made Chinatown (see Neighbourhoods, Ethnic Districts, p61) their home. Housed in three adjacent restored shophouses along Pagoda Street, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is a museum that offers insights into the lives of early migrants
from China, who left their villages and travelled to Singapore in hopes of a better life. Visitors can step into the shoes of these pioneers who settled in the Chinatown district and experience how they lived by exploring the authentic recreations of the cramped ‘eight by eight’ living quarters and a tailor shop that once existed in the area. Guided tours are conducted three times a day.
Address: 48 Pagoda Street, Tel: +65 6224 3928, Opening Hours: Mon–Sun 9.30am–6.30pm;
Nearest MRT: Chinatown Station
Malay Heritage Centre
Visitors to the Malay Heritage Centre can find out what the Kampong Glam district was like before the British arrived in Singapore in 1819. Guests will also learn about the rich heritage and culture of Singapore’s Malay community through artefacts and interactive displays. The centre occupies the grounds of the original Istana Kampong Gelam—‘Istana’ in Malay stands for ‘palace’—which was built in 1819 by Sultan Hussein Mohamed Shah (the then Sultan of Johor), and home to Malay royalty for more than 50 years. The centre organises a variety of programmes such as workshops and theatre programmes for children and adults throughout the year. Free guided tours of the centre’s museum are offered in English and Mandarin on selected days. Purchase 20 or more adult tickets to receive 20% off the admission fee.
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, Tel: +65 6391 0450, Opening Hours: (Museum) Tue–Sun 10am–6pm;(Compound) Tue–Sun 8am–9pm; Closed on Mon Nearest MRT: Bugis Station
Indian Heritage Centre
The four-storey Indian Heritage Centre fuses traditional and modern architectural elements. Inspired by stepwells in India, the unique glass façade is a large mirror by day and turns transparent at night to reveal a ‘glowing lantern’ of the facade’s colourful mural. The centre showcases Indian culture and history. It houses one permanent exhibition, ‘Indians in Singapore—Past & Present’ and special exhibitions such as ‘Chetti Melaka of the Straits–Rediscovering Peranakan Indian Communities’, which will be open till May 2019. Through the displays and with the help of audio guides and augmented reality technology, visitors will discover connections between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and gain a better understanding of the Indian community in Singapore. Free guided tours (min 15 pax) are available in English, Tamil and Mandarin on selected days. Prior booking of at least four weeks is required for tour groups larger than 15 pax.
Address: 5 Campbell Lane, Tel: +65 6291 1601, Opening Hours: Tue–Thu 10am–7pm; Fri–Sat 10am–8pm; Sun & Public Holidays 10am–4pm; Closed on Mon Nearest MRT: Little India Station /
The Fullerton Heritage
Located along the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, the Fullerton Heritage District comprises The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, as well as lifestyle and dining destinations The Fullerton Waterboat House, One Fullerton, The Fullerton Pavilion, The Clifford Pier and Customs House. On the lobby level of the Fullerton Hotel is The Fullerton Heritage Gallery,
which displays decades-old photographs, maps, stamps and philatelic materials that showcase the precinct’s rich history. The precinct is within walking distance to the Merlion Park and is also a popular spot to watch the Marina Bay fireworks display on occasions like National Day and New Year’s Eve. On the guided Fullerton Monument Tour, visitors will discover the rich history of the Fullerton Building, where Singapore’s General Post Office was once located. The tour can be booked up to one month in advance and is open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays at 11.15am and Saturdays at 3.45pm (max 20 pax on a first-come, first-served basis). Participants will meet at The Fullerton Hotel’s concierge. Admission is free, but private guided tours can also be arranged at a fee.
Address: 1 Fullerton Road, Tel: +65 6557 2590, Opening Hours: Varies by establishment,
see website for more details Nearest MRT: Raffles Place Station
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
One of the major Buddhist temples in Singapore, this is a fine example of the Chinese Tang dynasty style of architecture in the heart of Chinatown. As its name suggests, the museum houses a tooth relic of Buddha, as well as other revered artifacts. Built in 2007, the temple takes up the complex’s ground floor, and visitors will marvel at the rich interiors comprising paintings, statues, tapestries and
other exhibits related to Buddha and Buddhism. The building also has a roof garden, a library, a vegetarian restaurant in the basement and a bookstore. Visitors can gain more insight into the Buddhist way of life during the ‘Discovering Buddhism’ class, led by resident monks. Admission to the temple is free, and complimentary tours are conducted every Saturday in English at 2pm and Mandarin at 10am.
Address: 288 South Bridge Road, Tel: +65 6220 0220, Opening Hours: Mon–Sun 7am–7pm
Nearest MRT: Chinatown Station
Images of Singapore Live
Images of Singapore LIVE employs actors and special effects to construct a narrative of Singapore’s history from 1819 to the present day. During the 30-minute character-guided tour, visitors can interact with the guide and gain insights into Singapore’s history through 11 immersive themed areas. The tour ends with the Spirit of Singapore Boat Ride, during which iconic landmarks and
the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, make an appearance. Photography is not allowed. Tickets include admission to Madame Tussauds Singapore, which houses 60 life-sized wax figures, including Singapore’s first prime minister, the late Lee Kuan
Yew, who is depicted with his wife Kwa Geok Choo. Also featured are international personalities such as Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton, martial artist Bruce Lee and actor Shah Rukh Khan. Group deals are available.
Address: Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa Island. 40 Imbiah Road, Tel: +65 6715 4000,
Opening Hours: Mon–Fri 11am–6pm; Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 11am–7.30pm
Nearest MRT: HarbourFront Station
Civilian War Memorial
Located at the War Memorial Park along Beach Road, the Civilian War Memorial commemorates civilian victims of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore from 1942 to 1945. It was unveiled by Singapore’s first prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, on 15 February 1967, exactly 25 years after Singapore fell to Japanese forces. The memorial is built over a burial chamber that contains exhumed remains of civilian war victims. Today, the memorial is an important landmark in Singapore’s Civic District and walking tours often make a stop here. Locals and visitors alike enjoy taking photos in this beautifully landscaped park, which also offers a
quiet spot for reflection amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. Memorial services are held here on 15 February every year to remember the victims of the war. Admission is free.
Address: Intersection of Bras Basah Road and Beach Road, Tel: 1 800 471 7300,
Opening Hours: Mon–Sun 24 hours Nearest MRT: Esplanade Station / City Hall Station
Former Ford Factory
Discover how Singapore survived the Japanese Occupation at the historic Former Ford Factory. Through three intertwining narratives on Japanese aggression, British defenses and how civilians in Singapore were caught up in the larger forces of imperial struggle and war, the exhibition showcases fresh perspectives on the fall of Singapore. Visitors will have the unique experience of being able to walk into the boardroom where the surrender took place on 15 February 1942. Learn about acts of atrocity such as ‘Sook Ching’ where there was mass screening of Chinese men and those suspected of being anti-Japanese were mercilessly killed. Discover other harrowing experiences and the different ways people responded to severe challenges and suffering through the display of personal items from that time and the oral history interviews of eye witnesses to actual events. Join the walk-in tours led by experienced volunteer guides to discover more stories behind the rich collections on display. There are 20 places available daily (except for public holidays). Tour schedules are subject to change, so to avoid disappointment, do check the website for details.
Address: 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Tel: +65 6332 3255, Opening Hours: Tue–Sun & Public Holidays 9am–5:30pm; Closed on Mon & first day of Chinese New Year
Nearest MRT: Hillview Station
Located inside Fort Canning Hill, the Battlebox was once a top-secret bunker that was built to be bombproof and self-sufficient. Constructed in 1936, it served as an underground command centre for British-led troops in Singapore during World War II. It was also inside the Battlebox that the British made the momentous decision on 15 February 1942 to surrender Singapore to the Japanese forces. Visitors can join The Battlebox Tour, which is held three to five times a day. Guides will take participants through the bunker’s historical functions and the events that led to the fall of Malaya and Singapore to the Japanese. Travellers can email to enquire about group deals.
Address: Fort Canning Park. 2 Cox Terrace, Tel: +65 6338 6133,
Opening Hours: Mon–Sun 9.30am–5.30pm Nearest MRT: Dhoby Ghaut Station
Haw Par Villa
Built in 1937, named after the brothers behind the famous Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa is the only Chinese mythological theme park in the world. On display are colourful statues and tableaux that include animals, massive deity heads and scenes from Chinese legends
like Journey to the West and Eight Immortals. Haw Par Villa is also famous for its gruesome depictions of Chinese folklore’s ten stages in the Court of Hell. Admission to the park is free.
Address: 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Tel: +65 6325 1631,
Opening Hours: Mon–Sun 9am–7pm Nearest MRT: Haw Par Villa Station
Singapore Discovery Centre
Visitors to the Singapore Discovery Centre will be able to immerse themselves in Singapore’s past, present and future through interactive and hands-on multi-sensory exhibits. They can, for example, enjoy Singapore stories, hop onto the Singapore Armed
Forces Training Institute (SAFTI) bus tour or try out Singapore’s first immersive Third Generation Singapore Armed Forces game. Guided tours of the permanent exhibits gallery are available in English and Mandarin and are scheduled on a first-come, first-served
basis. The centre also has an on-site movie theatre, pedal-boating facilities and a Crossfire paintball arena (fees apply for all three). Email to enquire about group deals.
Address: 510 Upper Jurong Road, Tel: +65 6792 6188, Opening Hours: Tue–Sun & Public Holidays
9am–6pm; Closed on Mon (except on public and school term holidays)
Nearest MRT: Joo Koon Station
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial hall
The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall is dedicated to Dr Sun Yat Sen, who headed the 1911 Chinese Revolution that eventually led to the downfall of the Qing Dynasty. Not many know that Singapore served as a hub for his revolutionary activities in Southeast
Asia. The two-storey colonial-style villa that currently houses the museum was once the regional headquarters of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance. The museum expands on the connections between Dr Sun and Singapore in five galleries with artefacts, artworks and multimedia exhibits. Free guided tours in English and Mandarin are available on selected days on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a 20% discount for purchases of 20 or more adult tickets. A discounted family package of five tickets is also available.
Address: 12 Tai Gin Road, Tel: +65 6256 7377, Opening Hours: Tue–Sun 10am–5pm; Closed on Mon Nearest MRT: Novena Station / Toa Payoh Station