Singapore’s Landmarks & Memorials
Singapore certainly has a past worth exploring and it's through the historical buildings of the city-state that you can best glimpse through the prism of time. Beautiful old buildings such as Chijmes, Telok Ayer Market, Istana and Raffles Hotel as well as the Old Parliament House bear witness to their dignified roles of yesteryear. At the same time The Merlion Park and Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay (or better known as 'The Durian') play the modern role in the pageant of Singapore's many attractions and landmarks. And don't forget to visit the statue of the man who started it all off - Sir Stamford Raffles.
All Landmarks & Memorials in Singapore
A beautiful five-building gothic-style complex, Chijmes (pronounced 'chimes') is one of the most popular dining, shopping and lifestyle venues in Singapore. Located on the grounds of a former convent school, Chijmes reopened in 1997 after years of restoration. Nowadays the main chapel (aka Chijmes Hall) is used for musical and art performances as well as for wedding ceremonies. Chijmes is a modern hotspot and fun nightlife venue but many still like to stroll around these charming colonial buildings in the daytime to shop at the boutiques and to admire its beautiful design and architecture.
Such items include beautiful stained-glass panels inside the Chijimes Hall and Caldwell House, (the oldest free-standing house in Singapore, now an art gallery) and the Gate of Hope (a small gate of the old convent where many unwanted babies were left to be cared for by the nuns).
- Location: On Victoria Street, diagonally opposite Raffles Hotel, about five minutes walk from The Padang and St Andrew's Cathedral.
- MRT: Raffles City
- Address: 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996
- Tel: +65 6337 7810
Know by the locals as the Durian because of its spiky roofing, Esplanade is another premiere performing arts venue in Singapore. Esplanade features a 2,000-seat theatre, a 1,600-seat concert hall, two smaller studios, a mall as well as two outdoor theatres and is situated along the promenade. The two spiky looking domes are the large theatre and concert hall and have more than 7,000 pieces of aluminium roofing (resulting in the spiky effect which is supposed to look like microphones). Shows performed here include live music, dance and theatre.
The 8,000sqm Esplanade Mall is a mixture of retail outlets, restaurants and entertainment facilities housed over three levels. Esplanade is also used for lifestyle and arts-related events too. Another part to visit is the library@esplanade, on its third floor – Singapore's first performing arts public library. Library hours are from 11:00 – 21:00 daily) Located just by Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River, it's a well-known meeting point for locals and offers lovely central-city views of the harbour. Also on many occasions live music is played between the Esplanade exit and the river. Read More...
- Location: Between Raffles Avenue and Esplanade Drive, just by Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River.
- Address: 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
- Tour Available: City Tour
Behind the Singapore History Museum at Stamford Road, situated on top of a hill, is Fort Canning. You can get into Fort Canning via several accesses - the Park Mall underpass, the National Library underpass, the Hill Street Food Centre and the River Valley Swimming Complex. Besides being a welcome respite of quiet greenery in the city, it is also a historic area. In ancient times, Fort Canning Hill was known as Forbidden Hill, and archeologists have found Javanese artifacts dating from the 14th century, when Singapore was part of the Majapahit empire. The hill, sacred to the Malays, also contains the shrine of Sultan Iskandar Shah, the last monarch of the old kingdom of Singapura. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily 24 hours
- MRT: City Hall
- Address: 70 River Valley Road, Singapore 179037
Formerly known as Government House, Istana is where the Singaporean President's office is located. It was built from 1867 – 1869 by Sir Harry St George Ord, Singapore's first governor. Constructed in the neo-Palladian Anglo-Indian style, it has beautiful surroundings and landscaping including a 105mm Japanese cannon, a six-foot high statue of Queen Victoria hewn from Sicilian marble, four ponds and an old well. The Istana grounds are open to the public annually in celebration of the following occasions: Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day.
- Opening Hours: 08:30 - 18:00
- Address: Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore Orchard Road, Singapore 238823
Kranji War Memorial
The Kranji War Memorial (9, Woodlands Road 22km), which is situated far away from the city centre in the northern area of Singapore, is where thousands of the Allied soldiers who died in Southeast Asia in World War II are buried. A register of the names of the soldiers who participated in the war is available for inspection. Singapore's presidents are also buried at Kranji.
- Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 - 18:00
- Address: 9 Woodlands Road, Singapore 738656
- Price Range: No admission fee
Built in 1894, Lau Pa Sat, once a wet market, is now a popular hawker centre. This historic building was built with Victorian filigree cast-iron and is located in the heart of Singapore's business area. At lunchtime it is full with office workers. At night, the street is closed and there are many food stalls serving plenty of local favourites such as charcoal-grilled satay (grilled beef, chicken or duck meat serve with peanut sauce), nasi goreng, roti prata, chicken wings and seafood barbecue. Vendors also circulate offering soft drinks, freshly-crushed sugar cane juice, homemade soya and beers. All in all Lau Pa Sat is really the largest supper venue in town. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Most stalls operate from 10:00 – 23:00
- Location: On the corner of Boon Tat Street and Robinson Road, not far from the Raffles Place MRT station.
- Address: 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
- Tel: +65 6276 0521
The Merlion is the mythical symbol of Singapore, situated at the Merlion Park at Marina Bay. The statue is a creature that is a cross between a fish and a lion, spouting water out from the mouth into the river. This famous imaginary beast attracts over a million visitors per year. The park itself has a nice setting with terraced seating offering great views of Singapore’s city skyline and landmarks as well as scenic waterfront. Nearby there are lots of shops selling souvenirs, especially of Merlion icons such as refrigerator magnets, T-shirts, key chains and photo frames.
- Opening Hours: All day
- Location: On the waterfront at Marina Bay, not far from Raffles Place MRT Station
- Address: One Fullerton, Singapore 049213
Old Parliament House
This well-run art house and heritage centre was built in 1827 and used as the Parliament House from 1965 to 1999. The famous former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew had his office inside. Nowadays it houses many art exhibitions, dances, films and concerts. One of the most recognizable statues in Singapore is the bronze elephant located at the front of the building, a gift from King Rama V of Siam (or Thailand nowadays) to show his appreciation after a visit in 1871. Also featured inside the compound, are a few dining experiences including a Thai restaurant and a wine bar.
- Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 11:00 – 20:00 (closed on Sun)
- Address: 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429
- Tel: +65 6332 6900
This luxurious colonial-style hotel has a long history dating back to 1887 and has become one of the most important Singapore landmarks. Among famous guests are Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II and the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The Raffles Hotel features 103 suites and 18 distinctive restaurants and bars as well as an arcade with over 40 boutiques and stores (think Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.) A must-stop when visiting the Raffles is its museum presenting the hotel’s rich history, located on the arcade’s third floor. The famous Singapore Sling cocktail is a product of the Raffles’ popular Long Bar. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Raffles Museum: Daily from 10:00 – 19:00.
Shopping Arcade: Opening times depend on each shop but usually 10:30 -19:30 daily.
- Address: 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
- Tel: +65 6337 1886
- Price Range: No Admission charge
- Tour Available: Night Tour
Raffles Place and its environs, situated right outside the entrance of Raffles Place MRT, are now occupied by skyscrapers such as the UOB Plaza and OUB Building. It is Singapore's business and financial centre, and is often known as the Central Business District. From the viewing room on the 28th floor of UOB Plaza One, which is open to the public, you can get a spectacular view of Singapore River, the civic district and its colonial structures and Boat Quay. Still there are some reminders left from when Singapore was a bustling colonial outpost. Read More...
The Singapore River, which cuts through the heart of the city, was for many decades the main artery of trade and commerce for the British. Today, the stately Victorian and neo-classical Roman structures still stand proudly along the river banks, but they jostle for space with the many concrete-and-glass skyscrapers that have shot up in more modern times. The best way to view many of the buildings, statues, monuments and museums that Singapore has inherited from its colonial past is to take a walk along the Singapore River, or a river-boat tour that starts at Clarke Quay.
This half-hour tour costs SG$ 9 per adult and SG$ 4 per child, and leaves at 09:00 - 23:00 daily. You will be brought along the Singapore River on an old bum-boat, the kind that used to navigate up and down the river in colonial times. Read More...
Statues of Sir Stamford Raffles
The city-state has two statues of Sir Stamford Raffles, recognised as Singapore’s founder. Sir Raffles' dark bronze statue stands tall in front of Victoria Theatre. Its replica, made in pure white poly-marble, stands at North Boat Quay to mark the spot where he first landed on the island in 1819. Both areas are popular with locals, especially on cool evenings.
- Location: Victoria Theatre and North Boat Quay
- Tour Available: Night Tour
Supreme Court & City Hall
The Supreme Court building, built in 1939, was one of the last colonial buildings to be constructed in the civic district area. Its handsome Corinthian columns boast murals by Italian artist Cavaliere Rodolfo Nolli. You can pick up a "Guide to the Supreme Court", as well as watch a mulitmedia presentation on the Singapore judiciary system and view the Supreme Court Open House and Exhibition. Next to the Supreme Court, an impressive flight of steps leads up to the City Hall. This is where the Japanese officially surrendered, at the end of World War II.
- Opening Hours: Daily
- Address: 3 Saint Andrew's Road, Singapore 178958
The Padang, which means simply "field" in Malay, was the recreational centrepiece of colonial life. The old colonial civic district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a similar landmark. This open grass field was where the more sports-inclined British played a round of cricket, or where people took a nice stroll in the evenings. The Singapore Cricket Club still exists today, and its members can still be seen playing cricket at the Padang on weekends. Today, the Padang becomes the focus of the whole nation's attention on August 9 - Singapore's National Day, when it became independent from Malaysia. An annual parade of soldiers, the navy, civil servants and students normally ends at this historic venue.
- Opening Hours: Daily