Singapore, known as the Lion City, is a vibrant and modern metropolis that is rich in history, culture and heritage sites. The city is a melting pot of various cultures, with a wide array of ethnicities living together in harmony. This harmonization results in the creation of a unique and diverse culture that is rich in tradition, art, music and food.
If you are planning a visit to Singapore and want to experience the city’s true culture, then you cannot miss out on the cultural gems that the city has to offer. In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover some of the best attractions in Singapore’s cultural gems, along with some tips and maps to help you make the most of your visit.
Chinatown Heritage Centre
Chinatown is one of the oldest and most colourful districts in Singapore. It is also the hub of Chinese culture and heritage in the city. The Chinatown Heritage Centre is a museum that is housed in three restored shophouses that date back to the 19th century. The centre offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of the early Chinese immigrants who settled in Singapore. You can explore the recreated rooms and see how the families lived in cramped spaces. You can also view artefacts that were used during that time, including traditional clothes, cooking utensils and furniture.
Tip: The museum is open from 9 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 5 pm on weekends. The entrance fee is SGD $15 for adults, SGD $11 for children, and SGD $13 for seniors.
Little India is a vibrant and colourful district that is a melting pot of Indian culture, tradition and food. The district is home to many historical landmarks, temples, and shops selling traditional Indian goods. A must-visit is the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which is one of the oldest and most significant Hindu temples in Singapore. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali and is famous for its intricate carvings and colourful murals.
Another attraction in Little India is the Mustafa Centre, which is a 24-hour department store and shopping mall that sells a wide range of products at affordable prices. Here, you can find anything from electronics, clothes and jewellery to traditional Indian spices and food.
Tip: A visit to Little India is best done in the evening. You can take the MRT to Little India Station and explore the district on foot. Don’t forget to try some traditional Indian food like roti prata and dosa.
Kampong Glam is a Malay-Arabic neighbourhood that is rich in culture and history. The district is home to several restored shophouses and historic buildings, including the Sultan Mosque. This mosque is one of the most important mosques in Singapore and has a unique architecture that combines traditional Islamic and Western influences.
Another attraction in Kampong Glam is the Malay Heritage Centre, which is housed in a restored palace that was once the home of a Malay prince. The museum tells the story of the Malay culture and heritage in Singapore and showcases artefacts and exhibits that reflect the rich history of the Malay community.
Tip: You can take the MRT to Bugis Station and walk to Kampong Glam. Don’t forget to try some traditional Malay food like nasi lemang and satay.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 160-year-old tropical garden that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens are home to over 10,000 species of plants, including the famous orchids. The gardens are also home to several historic buildings, including the National Orchid Garden, which features over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.
The gardens are a great place to relax and enjoy nature. You can take a stroll along the well-manicured paths, have a picnic or simply enjoy the serene surroundings.
Tip: The gardens are open from 5 am to 12 midnight daily. There is no entrance fee for the gardens, but the National Orchid Garden has an entrance fee of SGD $5 for adults, SGD $1 for students and free for children below 12 years old.
Singapore’s cultural gems offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage and history. From the colourful district of Chinatown to the vibrant neighbourhood of Kampong Glam, there is something for everyone. Make sure to plan your visit well and use the tips and maps provided in this article to make the most of your time in the Lion City. Happy exploring!