Istana Negara Travel Guide

  • Istana Negara
    by SLLiew
  • Istana Negara
    by SLLiew
  • The Istana, Singapore
    The Istana, Singapore
    by victorwkf

Istana Negara Things to Do

  • At last... the building itself

    Finally.... reaching the top of the hill, the Istana Negara.Close up, the three storey Istana Negara is imposing .With arches and columns of the 18th neo-Palladine style or Anglo Indian architecture adapted to tropical climate. It was designed by British engineers of British India. So took a moment to appreciate the symmetry and the aura of this...

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  • Time to chillout

    At this point, many visitors including Singaporean families, foreign tourists and workers who have come from Philipppines, Indonesia or Vietnam to work in Singapre can be seen to begin to relax and enjoy themselves.Some sit on the grass of the golf course to enjoy a snack or drink. Others bravely walk on the grass without any interference from the...

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  • Upon exiting the building...

    When exiting, there is a small garden of different beautiful flowring orchids. I am not sure which one is the national flower of Singapore : Vanda Miss Joaquim. According to a website:"Miss Joaquim is the oldest natural hybrid of Singapore. It is also the first Vanda hybrid to be registered in the world. It was found in 1893 by Miss Agnes Joaquim....

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  • Inside the Istana Negara

    Again there was a security check before entering the inside of the building of Istana Negara.Alas... no photography inside. Upon entering, on the left is the hall for bangquet. On the right is the hall for conference. One is named the Victoria Hall but I cannot remember the name of the other hall. There were many exquisite works of arts of...

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  • Can I go in?

    Good news... we were allowed inside the Istana Negara.But everyone Singaporeans and foreigners have to pay two SIngapore dollars ifwe opted for admission. The money will go for charity. And so I guess that is fair and reasonable. Donate to the needy on this special open day. Everyone wins. There are also other souvenir like umbrellas, begs and...

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  • Photo time in front of the fountain

    Another photgraph spot is the fountain outside the Istana Negara.The fountain adds a colonial feel and life to the stoic grand looking building of the Istana Negara in the background.Someone will try to throw some coins into the fountain but I am not sure if it is allowed. Others reach out to touch the water of the fountain. Will the armed security...

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  • Next,.... the cannon

    Guarding the Istana Negara is symbollically a cannon. Everyone is trying to take a photograph with this cannon.This Japanese cannon was captured in Burma (Myanmar) and presented to Singapore by the Allied Force Commander Lord Louis Mountbatten after the end of World War II.Now, you may recall that war time Prime Minister WInston Churchill had...

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  • Surprise... a golf course

    You will be surprise to the see the most exclusive golf course in Singapore. It is located next to the mini Japanese Gardens on the way to the Istana Negara building.The golf flag pole over the hole is the flag of Singapore.Apparently the Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew used to play a few rounds occasionally. There are sand pits to add more challenge.

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  • On my right, I saw....

    On my right, I saw tall impressive old trees with their slightly exposed buttress roots.The trees created a barrier separate this Presidential grounds from the city. This was once a nutmeg plantation and the grounds covered over 100 acres of prime city real estates on the slope of Mount Sophia.So you really privileged for being allowed in this...

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  • Gentle walk up to Istana Negara

    After clearing security, it was 10-15 minutes stroll up a slope on a tarred road with giant tress on both sides. The sky was cloudy and drizzling slightly now and then. Fortunately, it did not pour. An umbrella would have been a good idea or a cap may suffice.There was so much greenery compared with the "city" outside the gates. There is a small...

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  • First queue up

    Like for anything good is Singapore, buying food at famous hawker stall or waiting for taxi, you must have to queue up.Admission to the Istana Negara was free for all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. Everyone else has to pa one Singapore dollar.It took about 15 minutes before entering. Once inside the residence, there was a metal...

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  • Mini golf course

    The compound of the Istana is so big that there is even a mini golf course, used for entertaining foreign VIPs. You can see the lawn and holes of the golf course along the walkway near to the main building of the Istana. Note that this golf course is out of bounds to visitors.

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  • Queen Victoria Garden

    There is a small and nice garden with the statue of Queen Victoria near to the main building of the Istana which is worth visiting for the beautiful ambience of colourful flowers, nice pool and of course seeing the statue itself. To get to this garden, just go to one of the side walkways near the main building and walk down a flight of stairs.

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  • The fountain

    There is an impressive fountain in front of the main building of the Istana, which is an attraction especially taking photos and relaxing there. I noticed that children like this fountain a lot as many of them are running around this place.

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  • Changing of guards

    Because the Istana is an official compound of the President of Singapore, you will expect to see military guards. These guards can be seen at the main gate as well as inside the compound of the Istana, and the most interesting event is to observe the changing of the guards at the main gate facing Orchard Road. You can also take photos with the...

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  • Cannon

    Before reaching the main building of the Istana, you will notice a cannon monument. This cannon is very popular among visitors for taking photos. Near to the cannon is an impressive fountain (see my tip on the fountain).

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  • Huge outdoor compound & open spaces

    Once you enter the main gate of the Istana, you will immediately notice the huge outdoor compound and beautifully lawned open spaces of the compound leading to the main building. This is a breathe of fresh air from the urban skyscrapers of the Orchard Road area just outside the Istana. More photos are at the travelogue section of this VT page.

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  • Pond of the Istana

    Just after you enter the main gate of the Istana along Orchard Road, there is a nice big pond with beautiful water lilies and other water plants (e.g. amazon lilies) to the left of the gate after walking on a big well lawned open space. This pond is very good for taking photos.

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  • Walkways of the Istana

    The walkways of the Istana are very comfortable for walking and are very wide, so there is no problem even on a crowded day. Anyway, the compound is so big and wide open that the crowd will spread itself nicely. Also, the walkways are lined with trees, plants and beautifully manicured lawn. The only thing here is do beware of the occasional...

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  • Gates of the Istana

    The gates of the Istana are very beautifully decorated, especially the main gate facing Orchard Road next to Plaza Singapura shopping centre. Do take note of the fine patterns on the gates as well as the national crest of Singapore at the main gate.

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  • Visit the Istana main building

    The main building of the Istana can be visited and the entrance fee is $$2 per person. No photography and video taping are allowed inside. Essentially, there is a fine display of many beautiful gifts received from various countries, historical items and furnitures, as well as the different rooms used for different official purposes e.g....

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Istana Negara Transportation

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo

    by victorwkf Updated Mar 16, 2007

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    If you are staying at the Orchard Road area, you can take a walk to the Istana as it is located along Orchard Road near to Plaza Singapura and within walking distance. If you are further away, the best way is to take the MRT sub-way trains and alight at Dhoby Ghaut station along the north-south line. After that, just cross the road and head towards Plaza Singapura shopping centre, and the main gate of the Istana is just next to it.

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Istana Negara Shopping

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo
    Christmas decorations outside Plaza Singapura

    by victorwkf Updated Apr 4, 2011

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is a huge and popular shopping centre called Plaza Singapura situation just next to the main gate of the Istana along Orchard Road. You can do your shopping here before or after going to the Istana. Besides department stores, shops etc, there is also an air-conditioned food court and many restaurants at Plaza Singapura.

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    • Singles

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Istana Negara Warnings and Dangers

  • Crowds

    Because the Istana is only opened to the public for a few specific days during the year, it is unavoidable that there will be huge crowds going there. One way to beat the crowd is to go early and the weather is also not so hot in the morning. The main problem with the crowd is the queuing up for the security check as well as entering the main hall...

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  • Security Check

    When you are at the front gate of the Istana, you have to queue up for a security check to ensure that you do not bring any dangerous objects into the Istana. Do take note of this as Singapore is very strict against offenders.

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Istana Negara Favorites

  • Traffic light

    After you enter the main gate of the Istana along Orchard Road and start walking along the wide walkway, you will notice a traffic light after about 50 metres. It is very interesting to see a traffic light inside the Istana, considering there should not be any traffic problems here since only selected vehicles can enter.

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  • Buildings of the Istana

    Besides the main building of the Istana which is of course the main attraction opened to the public, you will notice that there are several other buildings but they are not opened, probably because of confidentiality. You can see them while walking around the compounds of the Istana.

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  • Children

    Many local families bring their children to the Istana during the open-days and the children really enjoyed the large open compound, as well as the greenery. Also, there is a playground set up for the children to enjoy themselves, with nice music performance nearby. I noticed that the children also enjoyed the fountain very much.

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