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The Istana
The Istana

The Istana

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Istana, Singapore

The Basics

While considered the official residence of the president of Singapore, the Istana is primarily used for ceremonies and official functions. The building only opens to the public on a handful of holidays spread throughout the year, most notably Chinese New Year, Labour Day, National Day, Hari Raya Puasa, and Deepavali. During these open houses, visitors get a glimpse into the offices of the president and prime minister and enjoy live performances on the lawn. Non-Singaporeans must pay a small entrance fee to visit. Take a walking tour of the colorful Kampong Glam neighborhood to hear more about the history of the landmark and see it from the outside.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • If you plan to visit during an open house, remember to bring along your passport and be prepared to go through a security screening.
  • Knives of any size, lighters, and outside food and drinks are not permitted on the Istana grounds.
  • The palace grounds are accessible to wheelchairs, and there’s usually a special lane set up for wheelchair users on open house days.
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How to Get There

The Istana is on Orchard Road on the grounds of a former nutmeg plantation. To get there by public transportation, take the MRT to Dhoby Ghaut Station, serviced by the North South, North East, and Circle Lines.

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When to Get There

The best time to visit the Istana is on one of the five holidays when the facility hosts an open house, welcoming visitors onto the grounds. Arrive early, as tickets are limited, and plan to visit the gardens and outdoor areas early in the day when temperatures are still cool.

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Wildcard

Istana Heritage Gallery Across Orchard Road from the Istana on the grounds of Istana Park, the Istana Heritage Gallery offers insight into the history of the governor’s mansion and presidential palace, perfect for visitors who can’t make it to an open house. The gallery is free, and the collection includes state artifacts, artwork, and a collection of gifts presented to the president by foreign dignitaries.

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