Landmarks and Memorials

Before Singapore assumed self-government in 1959 and became a fully independent Republic in 1965, the island was a British colony and traces of its colonial heritage can still be seen today. Indeed, beneath the futuristic skyscrapers which embody modern Singapore, much of the grand colonial charm still remains, about which Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham waxed lyrical. The heart of colonial Singapore straddles the mouth of the Singapore River, where Raffles first landed. A cluster of architectural legacies such as the Parliament House, Victoria Theatre, Singapore Cricket Club, Supreme Court and City Hall surrounds an open expanse of green, named the Padang ("playing field" in Malay). Not too far away, The Fullerton Hotel and the Raffles Hotel on Beach Road are landmark hotels which epitomise this grand old era. Explore this interesting district on foot with the help of the Civic District Trail walking tour map which is available at the Raffles Hotel Museum, National Museum Shops and Visitor Information Centres.

The distinctive history of Singapore has given rise to a number of landmarks and memorials - each a poignant reminder of a chapter of Singapore's past. They date back as far as the British colonial period to the Japanese Occupation of World War II.

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As a national heritage site, CHIJMES (pronounced "chimes") is an attraction offering an exciting dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment experience. CHIJMES Hall, the restored chapel, provides a spectacular backdrop for musicals, recitals and other theatrical performances. Formerly one of the last few cloistered convents in the world, the fine gothic architecture offers great photographic opportunities.

Food and beverage outlets: 11am till late (daily)
Shops and boutiques: 11am - 10pm (daily)
Location: 30 Victoria Street Singapore 187996
Tel: (65) 6336 1818
(65) 6334 3801
Getting There:
Take the MRT to City Hall Station (EW13/NS25). Walk along Stamford Road and turn right at the junction of Stamford Road and Victoria Street. Click here to view MRT route map.

Accessibility for the physically disabled:
The following information is obtained from Access Singapore.

  • Entrance facing Victoria Street - Accessible to wheelchair and ambulant-disabled.

  • Entrance facing Raffles City - Access by kerb ramp. Accessible to wheelchair and ambulant-disabled.

  • Entrance facing Bras Basah Road - Accessible to ambulant-disabled. Steps/Kerb (No ramp provided).

  • Reserved disabled car park lot - Basement 2. Accessible to wheelchair and ambulant-disabled.

  • Accessibility within the premises - Access to wheelchair is limited and assistance may be required.

  • Lifts - Located at the Gallery with access to Basement 1, Level 1 and 2. However, the Gallery is not accessible to the disabled. Access to wheelchair is limited and assistance may be required. Accessible to ambulant-disabled.

  • Public toilets for the disabled located at Level 1 (East Manor) - Accessible to wheelchair and ambulant-disabled.

  • Public toilets for the disabled located at Level 1 (West Manor) - Accessible to ambulant-disabled.

  • Public toilets for the disabled located at Basement 1 (West Manor) - Accessible to ambulant-disabled.

  • Eating outlets - Kerb at the entrance is found at most restaurants. Access to wheelchair is limited and assistance may be required. Accessible to ambulant-disabled.

  • Public telephone - Access to wheelchair is limited and assistance may be required. Accessible to ambulant-disabled.

  • Taxi stand - Nil

Web sites :

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Dalhousie Obelisk

Situated on the banks of the Singapore River near Empress Place, the memorial commemorates the visit to Singapore in 1850 by Marquis Dalhousie, Governor-General of India.

Empress Place
Getting There: Take the MRT to Raffles Place Station (EW14/NS26) and walk across Cavenagh Bridge.

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The Istana (or "palace" in Malay) is built on an old nutmeg plantation and was the former official residence of the representative of the British Crown. Today, the Istana is the official residence of the President of Singapore, and the public gets to walk its expansive grounds only five times a year.

Classical in style, ranging from the ornate Victorian Renaissance to the simpler Roman Classical with touches of Gothic, Chinese, Malay and other influences, the Istana is indeed an imposing building. Walk the stately grounds and be impressed by the gardens where the superintendents of the Singapore Botanic Gardens have personally planted most of the rare plants. Lay your picnic mat, listen to the marching rhythm of the brass bands and soak up the lively atmosphere.

Open: Accessible to the public only on selected dates of the year.
Location: Orchard Road
Getting there: Take the MRT to Dhoby Ghaut Station (NS24) and walk across Orchard Road.

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Lau Pa Sat

Lau Pa Sat is the largest remaining Victorian filigree cast-iron structure in Southeast Asia. Located in the heart of Singapore's business district, it is a favourite meeting place of the locals. Built in 1894, Lau Pa Sat was a wet market and has now been restored and converted into a food centre offering a wide variety of local food.

Boon Tat Street
Getting There: Take the MRT to Raffles Place Station (EW14/NS26) and walk towards Robinson Road.

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Merlion Park

The Merlion celebrated its 30th birthday on September 15, 2002. Now located in a new 2,500 square metre park adjacent to One Fullerton, overlooking the Marina Bay, the Merlion has been cleaned and restored. The entire process from the moving of the Merlion to the completion of the restoration works, spanned from April to September 2002. On September 15, 2002, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew officially opened the new Merlion Park and inaugurated the restored Merlion at its new home. The historic occasion was attended by 300 guests from the tourism industry, government agencies, major tour operators and journalists from 28 media outlets over 8 countries, who were specially flown in by the Singapore Tourism Board for the event. The Merlion statue was first inaugurated on September 15, 1972, by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then the Prime Minister of Singapore.

  • Its First Home
    The Merlion and the Cub were originally located by the Esplanade Bridge, just 120 metres from their present location. Also called the Merlion Park, the area soon became a popular tourist attraction and took its place among the famous landmarks of great cities of the world. Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the then Prime Minister of Singapore, officiated the installation ceremony of the Merlion on 15 September 1972. A bronze plaque commemorated the auspicious occasion with the inscription, "The Merlion has been erected as a symbol to welcome all visitors to Singapore". On the 21st year of the Merlion, the Park was refurbished and re-opened in September 1993. Today, the Merlion attracts more than one million visitors a year who make the trip to the Merlion Park to photograph this world famous icon.

  • Its Origins
    The Merlion was designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 1964. The designer was Mr Fraser Brunner, a member of the souvenir committee and a curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium. On 20 July 1966, the Merlion was registered as the trademark of STB.

  • It Physical Form
    The Merlion statues were built by the late Singapore craftsman, Mr Lim Nang Seng, who had won several prizes in the Singapore Handicraft and Design Competition organised by the STB in 1970. The Merlion statue measures 8.6 metres high, weighs 70 tonnes and is made of cement fondue. It was installed at the mouth of the Singapore River. Throughout the day it spouted water. At night, the Merlion was floodlit. A smaller Merlion statue was also built by Mr Lim and located at the same site 28m behind its bigger counterpart. The Merlion Cub measures two metres high and weighs three tonnes. The body is made of cement fondue, the skin from porcelain plates and eyes from small red teacups. The Cub also spouted water and was installed in a water pool feature.

  • It Significance
    The design of the Merlion incorporates fact and legend. It has a lion head and a fish body resting on a crest of waves. The lion head symbolises the legend of the rediscovery of Singapura, as recorded in the "Malay Annals". In ancient times, Singapore was known as Temasek, a Javanese word for sea. Back then, the island was already a thriving centre of trade.

    At the end of the 4th century A.D, Temasek was destroyed. According to some historians, the conquerors were the Siamese, but other records trace this to the Javanese. In the 11th century A.D, Prince Sang Nila Utama of the Sri Vijaya Empire rediscovered the island. When the Prince first landed on Singapore's shores, he sighted a mystical beast which he later learnt was a lion. The Prince then decided to name the island "Singapura" which in Sanskrit means Lion (Singa) City (Pura). The fish tail of the Merlion symbolises the ancient city of Temasek and represents Singapore's humble beginnings as a fishing village.

The opening of the Esplanade Bridge on 2 August 1997, triggered off a hunt for an alternative home for the Merlion. The objective was to ensure the Merlion continued to enjoy a prominent location, and visitors an unobstructed view of this tourism icon. At the end of an exhaustive two-year search involving nine possible locations, the site adjacent to One Fullerton was chosen as the new home for the Merlion. This site is 120 metres from the Merlion's original home. It has an unobstructed view of the entire Marina Bay. It also has the impressive city skyline including The Fullerton Singapore, as its backdrop.

The Merlion's new home is adjacent to One Fullerton, on a newly constructed 2,500 square metre park. The area comprises a promontory with terraced seating, and a viewing deck to hold up to 300 people. The viewing deck provides photographers with unrivalled vistas of the Merlion against the city skyline and the scenic Marina Bay, including landmarks such as The Fullerton Singapore and Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. The viewing deck doubles up as a venue for outdoor performances. The new Merlion Park is Singapore's latest free-access recreation area. The Merlion rests on a pedestal of glass sculptured waves, that is illuminated at night. The Merlion Cub is located
28 metres behind the Merlion.  Pump systems for the Merlion and the Merlion cub have been installed to enable both to spout water throughout the day and night.

  • Boat Landing Point
    The Merlion Park has a landing point for boats. This enables visitors to travel up the Singapore River by river taxis to the Merlion Park.

  • F&B and other amenities
    One Fullerton has a choice of restaurants and nightclubs. Ample carparking facilities and other public amenities are also available.

  • Cost to build
    The cost of the relocation and the new home for the Merlion was SGD 7.5 million.

  • Its First Ever Journey
    The Merlion made its first journey in 30 years. The relocation process of the Merlion took place between 23 and 25 April 2002. The process involved:

    • hoisting the Merlion onto the barge

    • sailing the barge to the foot of the Esplanade Bridge

    • hoisting the Merlion over the bridge back onto the barge

    • installing the Merlion at its new home

Restoration of Merlion and Merlion Cub
The Merlion and Merlion cub have been carefully restored and cleaned up. The process, completed in August 2002, was undertaken by contractors who worked closely with the family of the late sculptor Lim Nang Seng and artist Chern Lian Shan. The Merlion was washed and stripped of its old coat of paint and stains. The Merlion cub had its old damaged porcelain tiles replaced by new pieces of porcelain plates, bowls, spoons and ash trays donated by The Fullerton Singapore. Glass sculptured waves in hues of blue were built at the base of the Merlion and the cub. These waves are illuminated by spotlights. A new improved water pump system was also installed to enable the Merlion to spout water. The system consists of two pump units especially designed for pumping sea water. The pump units work alternately, with one on standby at any one time. There are two operating programmes for the Merlion's water spout: a 15 metre jet and an eight metre jet. The Merlion cub has a similar water spout that spouts treated water instead of sea water. The Merlion's spout is contained within the pool feature it sits in.

In addition to the water spout, both the Merlion and the Merlion cub have cascading water overflowing from their wave-like pedestals.

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Old Parliament House and The Elephant Statue

Designed and built by George Coleman as a colonial mansion in 1827, this is Singapore's oldest government building. It was the former home of Singapore's democratically-elected Parliament. Visitors to the stately building are greeted by a bronze elephant statue, a gift from King Chulalongkorn of Siam in 1871. Singapore's Parliament has shifted to new premises at 1 Parliament Place, just a short walk away.

Empress Place
Getting There: Take the MRT to Raffles Place Station (EW14/NS26) and walk across Cavenagh Bridge.

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Parliament House

Parliament House is home to Singapore's democratically-elected Parliament. All Parliament sittings are open to the public. During sittings, simultaneous interpretation of the debates (in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil) is provided.

Open: On sitting days (no appointment necessary) On non-sitting days: By appointment only. Please contact Clerk-of-Parliament Tel: (65) 6336 8811, Fax: (65) 6332 5526
Location: 1 Parliament Place
Getting There: Take the MRT to City Hall Station (EW13/NS25) and walk towards North Bridge Road or take SBS Bus 174 from Orchard Road.

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Raffles Hotel

Built in 1887, this grand Old Lady of the East is one the world's last great 19th century hotels. The hotel is a favourite retreat of writers and movie stars and home of the Singapore Sling, a celebrated cocktail. Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad and Charlie Chaplin were among its most illustrious guests. An extensive SGD 160 million face-lift has given the hotel back its old, unique charm and majesty. This all-suite hotel is adjoined by a brand new arcade built in the same colonial style. It includes a museum featuring memorabilia from a bygone era, a Victorian-style playhouse named Jubilee Hall, 70 retail shops featuring famous brands like Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton as well boutiques and specialty stores from the region.

Location: 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
Tel: (65) 6337 1886
Fax: (65) 6339 7650
Getting There: Take the MRT to City Hall Station (EW13/NS25) and walk towards Beach Road.
Web sites : Raffles Hotel (

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Statues of Sir Stamford Raffles

The statue of Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, cast in dark bronze by Thomas Woolner stands in front of Victoria Theatre. Its replica, made of pure white polymarble stands at North Boat Quay, at an area colloquially known as Raffles Landing Site, as this is the spot where Raffles is believed to have first stepped ashore.

North Boat Quay
Getting There: Take the MRT to Raffles Place MRT Station (EW14/NS26) and walk across Cavenagh Bridge.

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Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

A national monument, the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall tells a story of heroism, nationalism and armed struggle of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance in Southeast Asia. Formerly known as Wan Qing Yuan (which means 'a haven of peace in the twilight years'), it was the headquarters of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance which raised support throughout Southeast Asia for the revolution that ended the Qing dynastic rule and heralded the start of modern China. The garden of this elegant colonial-style villa features a number of sculptures. There is the stone stele measuring 3.5 metres tall and weighing 16,000 kilogrammes, the bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and a 25-metre long bronze mural.

Two levels of galleries include:

  • Hall of Peace

  • Passage of History

  • Gallery of Endeavour

  • Hall of Wisdom

  • Passage Through the Eras

  • The Singapore Gallery

  • The Nanyang Gallery

  • The Testament Gallery

Open: 9am - 5pm Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays.
SGD 2 per person
Approximate Touring Time: 2 hours
Location: 12 Tai Gin Road (off Ah Hood Road), Singapore 327874
(65) 6256 7377,  Fax: (65) 6256 7677
Getting There: Take the MRT to Toa Payoh (NS19) and board SBS 139 and 145, alight at the 3rd bus stop after the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. Alternatively, take SBS 21 and 131 from Thomson Road opposite the Novena MRT Station (NS20) and alight at Balestier Road opposite the Moulmein Community Centre.
Web sites :
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

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Supreme Court and City Hall

Built in 1939, this stately building with its Corinthian columns, spacious interiors which feature murals by Italian artist, Cavalieri Rodolfo Nolli, and classic design, make the Supreme Court building one of the finest buildings ever built during the British Rule of Singapore. Beside the Supreme Court is City Hall, Which was built in 1929 and was the site of the Japanese surrender to Lord Mountbatten in 1945 during World War II.

Visitors are welcome to attend all open court hearings unless otherwise ordered and to tour the premises. However, visitors are requested to be appropriately attired (no shorts, singlets or slippers). Photographic and video equipment are not allowed on the premises and other electronic equipment such as handphones and pagers must be turned off or switched to silent mode. There are permanent exhibits on the history of the Courts on the ground floor of the Supreme Court Building, a multi-media gallery with corporate video screenings as well as interactive electronic information kiosks. Don't forget to pick up a copy of the "Guide to Supreme Court, Singapore".

8.30am - 5pm (Mon-Fri), 8.30am - 1pm (Sat)
Admission: Free
St Andrew's Road
Getting There:
Take the MRT to City Hall Station (EW13/NS25) and walk along St Andrew's Road towards the Padang.
Web sites :
Supreme Court and City Hall (

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  Information provided by Singapore Tourism Board.


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