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Museum Guide for Singapore

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Singapore may be small, but it offers an amazing array of high-quality and enjoyable places in which to broaden your horizons. Explore the region's fascinating history through some of the best museums scattered all around the island state. Prepare to be amazed!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover

8 Places

7 City Tips

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8 Places

Asian Civilisations Museum

History Museums

Peranakan Museum

Speciality Museums

Haw Par Villa

Gardens

The Changi Museum

History Museums

Malay Heritage Centre

History Museums

National Museum of Singapore

Speciality Museums

Singapore Art Museum

Art Museums

Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and Its Legacies

Military Museums

Denisa H's City Tips

  • Singapore is super easy to get around. There are plentiful bus links, the high-speed MRT & LRT systems and cheap taxis.
  • Don't be afraid to ask a local – they love giving advice on what to see and where to go. Especially when it comes to food. Singaporeans are the masters of talking about food!
  • If using public transport, buy an EZ Link card at any MRT station or the numerous 7-Eleven shops. Top this up with credit and get going!
  • If using an EZ Link card, don't forget to tap IN and OUT when boarding and leaving buses.
  • Don't be afraid of getting out of the centre – Singapore is well connected and every neighbourhood has good eating and shopping options e.g. Tiong Bahru, Jurong and Newton.
  • There is a reason why Singapore is known as Asia's cleanest city. Strict rules are adhered to and there are high fines and punishments if you choose to ignore them.
  • You'll never go hungry in Singapore. Check the many hawker centres selling delicious local food: Newton Circus, Tekka Centre, Maxwell Food Centre, Tiong Bahru...there are so many!
  • Save
    Asian Civilisations Museum
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Housed in a beautifully preserved building on the Singapore river, right opposite the skyscrapers of Boat Quay, this museum is a treasure trove for anyone wanting to look at beautiful things and learn about the history of not only Singapore, but also the whole region. Rice farming, the monsoon system, the spice trade, the opium dens... It is all explained here. Plus, the museum offers lots of interactive content, and if time is tight the guided tours (included in the price of the ticket) will show you the top highlights.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Admission is half price on Friday between 7-9 pm, but even the full admission price is worth paying!
    • The museum has a shop on the premises where you can find some nice souvenirs if you're in a hurry. Their regional cosmetics and fabrics are particularly good.
    • Get a classic ice cream sandwich at nearby Padang. Look for a man with a converted bike or motorcycle ringing his bell and try some of the local flavours, like durian or yam.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #33 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • very nice museum 04/12/2017
    • Maritime silk road exhibit 03/12/2017
    • Asian Civilisations Museum
    Address:
    1 Empress Place Empress Place Building
    Singapore 179555
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6332 7798
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$8
    Hours:
    Fri
    10:00 - 21:00
    Sat - Thu
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Peranakan Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Peranakan is a culture very specific to Singapore and Malaysia. It's the result of centuries-old traditions, first forged when traders from China began to marry local Malay women in the 16th century. This gave rise to a very colourful fusion culture, sometimes referred to as Baba Nyonya, which is today most well known for its delicious cuisine, traditional dress and even its own language (a patois of the Malay language). You will discover a wealth of information about the Babas (men) and Nyonyas (ladies) in this museum, which is housed in a former school and very representative of the Straits style of architecture.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • A combined Asian Civilization Museum and Peranakan Museum ticket is available and valid for 7 days.
    • After learning what the Peranakan culture is all about, why not visit the adjacent True Blue restaurant for some nyonya delicacies? Don't forget to ask for the sambal belacan!
    • Nyonya sarongs, intricately embroidered blouses and beaded kasut manik slippers make great gifts or souvenirs.
    • Admission is half price on Friday evenings 7-9 pm.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Enriching place with insights to the rich history of peranakans. 10/12/2017
    • Learnt a lot 01/12/2017
    • Peranakan Museum
    Address:
    39 Armenian Street
    Singapore 179941
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6332 7591
    Other:
  • Save
    Haw Par Villa
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Har Par Villa is not a museum as such, but more of a garden with exhibits, making for rather a peculiar and unique place to visit. Its history is interesting too: The sons of the inventor of Tiger Balm – who brought it to Singapore and made it hugely successful – built themselves a lovely villa near to the big harbour. No strangers to philanthropy, they built a public park around their villa in 1937, and dedicated the park to displaying various stories from Chinese folklore and mythology. Though the villa no longer exists, the statues and stories remain; and while some are gory, some are fun, and others are intriguing, they are all captivating and photogenic. If you have some extra time, this little piece of Singapore of old is definitely one for the curious and is guaranteed to stay on your mind for a long time to come...

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can get here either by bus (no. 10, 30, 176), or by the MRT, which stops just across the road from the Gardens.
    • Bring mosquito repellent.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #69 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    • Historical Haw Par Villa{Tiger Balm Gardens} 05/12/2017
    • Bad trip Disneyland 04/12/2017
    • Haw Par Villa
    Address:
    262 Pasir Panjang Road
    1-min walk from Haw Par Villa MRT Station
    Singapore 118628
    Singapore
    Phone:
    (65) 774 0300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    The Changi Museum
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Housed in the former jail and chapel of the prisoners of war, Changi is dedicated to the sad history of Singapore during WWII, and the stories of everyone involved. Singapore played a crucial role in WWII, but was forced to surrender to Japan in 1942, when Japanese occupation and tough times ensued. Churchill called it 'the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history', and you can learn all about it here, either by browsing the exhibits, or by following the very well-narrated and moving audio guide.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Changi is a bit out of town, but it's a nice trip out and only takes about 40 mins by public transport. Take the MRT to Tanah Merah, then bus #2. The bus stops outside the museum.
    • Inside the Chapel and Museum grounds sits a lovely cafe and restaurant, The Bark Cafe, where you can enjoy some delicious drinks and snacks outdoors.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Poignant 11/12/2017
    • Good Museum 10/12/2017
    • The Changi Museum
    Address:
    1000 Upper Changi Road North
    Singapore 507707
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6214 2451
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Malay Heritage Centre
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Housed in a former palace of Malay sultans, the Malay Heritage Centre is located in the middle of Kampong Glam, a lovely quiet area full of nice restaurants, shops and cafés (just east of Bugis Junction). The centre itself holds various exhibitions throughout the year and organizes cultural performances and talks. Although Singapore is predominantly Chinese, Malay culture constitutes a major part of its history and language, and this is a nice place in which to learn more. Spend a little time here, sheltered from the heat, and explore the lovely green surrounding the former 'istana' (palace) once you're finished inside.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • To get a taste of Malay/Indonesian food, try the super popular Sabar Menanti, a classic "nasi padang" place with buffet style dining. It's plentiful, tasty and cheap!
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #145 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    • Worth a visit - great map, overviews and picture 18/11/2017
    • Very Enlightening 18/11/2017
    • Malay Heritage Centre
    Address:
    85 Sultan Gate
    Singapore 198501
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6391 0450
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of Singapore
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    In recent years, National Museum of Singapore has gone from strength to strength. Housed in a beautiful colonial building under Fort Canning Park, it offers plenty to see, learn and do. I strongly recommend the Food Galleries, where you can see and hear the stories behind Singapore's popular hawker fare, complete with sounds and smells. There is also some great photographic and film footage of the country's history, arts and culture.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Come here not only for culture, but also for food and drinks. The smart Flutes restaurant, housed in the museum's courtyard, offers an elegant setting for special occasions.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great History Lesson 09/12/2017
    • WORTH A VISIT FOR HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF SINGAPORE 09/12/2017
    • National Museum of Singapore
    Address:
    93 Stamford Road
    Singapore 178897
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6332 3251
    Price range:
    US$7 - US$7
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Singapore Art Museum
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Of all Singapore's museums, the Art Museum is the coolest and the most 'happening'. Situated in a former school in the lovely Bras Basah neighbourhood, this gallery hosts one excellent exhibition after another, each offering a great insight into the creative Asian minds of today.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Foreigners are charged admission, but on Fridays from 6 - 9 pm, entrance is free.
    • The Dome cafe has the best light for reading, and is a great spot for coffee al fresco.
    • SAM has a sister gallery, Sam at 8Q, which is located down the street and is also worth visiting for its fresh contemporary art.
    • Every year, the museum organizes the Southeast Asian Film festival, which is a great chance to experience cinema from around the region (April - May).
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #90 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Closed: New installation starting 17Nov 09/11/2017
    • Worth visit with guided tour 21/09/2017
    • Singapore Art Museum
    Address:
    71 Bras Basah Road Singapore Art Museum
    Singapore
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6589 9550
    Price range:
    US$4 - US$4
    Hours:
    Fri
    10:00 - 21:00
    Sat - Thu
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and Its Legacies
    Military Museums
    See more photos
    Denisa H Says:

    Memories at Old Ford Factory is the place for history buffs and Art Deco appreciators alike. Located in the middle of the lush belt of Singapore (Bukit Timah), the factory was the first Ford vehicle assembly plant in Southeast Asia, but its history was short-lived. On 15 February 1942, Singapore surrendered here after the Japanese shocked all with their rapid advancement all the way from Malaya's north. The whole story is well explained here, with plenty of first-hand experiences documented about the ensuing life under Japanese rule.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It's not easy to get here, but makes for a nice exploratory day away from downtown Singapore. Take a train to Jurong East, Clementi or Bukit Batok, and then take a bus.
    • Bus #173 from Bkt Batok and #184 from Clementi, weave through housing developments and lush green surroundings to get here. Alight at Upper Bukit Timah Rd, B06/09.
    • There are many books on the subject, but the one that stands out is the masterfully written "The Singapore Grip" by JG Farrell – a darkly comic window into Singapore's history.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #110 of 847 things to do in Singapore
    • The war museum.. 30/11/2017
    • interesting view of the time from pre to post WW2 Singapore 14/11/2017
    • Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and Its Legacies
    Address:
    351 Upper Bukit Timah Road
    Singapore 588192
    Singapore
    Phone:
    +65 6332 3255
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:45
    Mon - Sat
    09:00 - 17:30
    Other:
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