Singapore Istana Open House

Singapore Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore, is open to the public five times a year to celebrate special occasions and festivals, namely Chinese New Year, Labour Day, National Day, Hari Raya Puasa, and Deepavali.

Located along the hustling and bustling Orchard Road, the British colonial-style mansion occupies over 100 acres. It has six function rooms for holding ceremonies and for the president to receive and entertain the state guests. During the Istana Open House days, visitors comprising locals, foreigners, and tourists are treated to a vibrant, fun-filled carnival. You can stroll past the beautiful tropical gardens, the nine-hole golf course and walk the lovely gardens with lily ponds, pack your own snacks or lunch and have a picnic on the vast green lawn, watch cultural performances such as Chinese, Malay, Indian traditional dance, orchestras and martial arts demonstrations, buy refreshments (e.g. ice-cream) and exclusively designed Istana merchandise, and tour selected function rooms, visit the Staterooms in the Istana where dignitaries hold meetings and view the display of exquisite official gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister. You may also have the opportunity to have your photos taken with the President and First Lady when they come around to greet and shake the hands of visitors.

The Changing of Guards Ceremony which happens every first Sunday of the month at the gate of the Istana is another spectacle for tourists and locals. After having performed their duties in the Istana for one month, a platoon of 20 guards from the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command would march out of the Istana main gate to welcome the new guards to enter the Istana grounds and assume ceremonial guard duties.

Some useful information:

1. Admission is free for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. Other visitors pay a small entrance fee of $1 per person.
2. Avoid wearing shorts and slippers if you intend to visit the Staterooms of the Istana.
3. As the crowd is always extremely big, it’s best to get there before the official opening at 8:30 am to avoid the long snaking queue.
4. Photo identification such as driver’s license or passport would be requested upon entry.
5. The sale of tickets to tour the Istana Main Building closes at 5.30pm, subject to crowd condition.
6. How to get there: Nearest MRT Station: Dhoby Ghaut.
7. Google “Singapore Istana Open House “Year of visit e.g. 2012, 2013, etc”” to check on the designated days of the Open House for the year.

An important part of Singapore history and heritage, Singapore Istana was built in 1869 by the British Colonial government to house its governors and was then known as the Government House. When Singapore attained self government in 1959, the building was renamed Istana, meaning "Palace" in Malay.

An important part of Singapore history and heritage, Singapore Istana was built in 1869 by the British Colonial government to house its governors and was then known as the Government House. When Singapore attained self government in 1959, the building was renamed Istana, meaning “Palace” in Malay.

Streams of people at the Open House for various activities such as picnic, tree climbing, and enjoying the flora of gardens.

Streams of people at the Open House for various activities such as picnic, tree climbing, and enjoying the flora of gardens.

An idyllic lily pond in front of the old statue of Queen Victoria in the year of the Majesty's Jubilee.

An idyllic lily pond in front of the old statue of Queen Victoria in the year of the Majesty’s Jubilee.

A long line forms at the gate of Istana way even before it opens to the public on Istana Open House day. So, be there early to beat the crowd if you don't want to be caught in a long wait.

A long line forms at the gate of Istana way even before it opens to the public on Istana Open House day. So, be there early to beat the crowd if you don’t want to be caught in a long wait.

 

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