Four-day Itinerary for Arts & Culture
For groups with a penchant for the arts and culture, we recommend a four-day itinerary spanning art, theatre, heritage and history, across Singapore's major museums, galleries and neighbourhoods.
Day One – Experience the heritage, history and arts scene of Chinatown
Morning: Buddh Tooth Relic Temple & Eu Yan Sang
Soak in all things Chinese with a visit to Chinatown. Pop by the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and marvel at its richly designed interiors. Its exhibits on Buddhist arts and history tell stories of culture over hundreds of years old. You may also pick up herbal remedies and wellness supplements from Eu Yan Sang.
Lunch: Chinatown Complex Food Centre
The Chinatown Complex Food Centre offers more than 250 stalls selling just about any kind of local food. Seek out the one-Michelin-starred Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle Stall, where there is always a queue. Starting at S$2 a plate, it is one of the world's cheapest Michelin-starred meals.
Afternoon: Chinatown Heritage Centre, Singapore Musical Box Museum & Tanjong Pagar Distripark
The Chinatown Heritage Centre Character Guided Tour details the rich personal stories of Singapore's early pioneers. Head over to the Singapore Musical Box Museum where over 40 rare and antique musical boxes can be found. Visitors seeking contemporary art should patronise the Tanjong Pagar Distripark. Located in converted warehouses near the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, this visual arts cluster houses a number of notable galleries such as the Gajah Gallery and Ikkan Art Gallery.
Dinner: The Halia
Make your way to the Civic District to have dinner at The Halia at the Raffles Hotel. Take a post-dinner stroll around the hotel while admiring its colonial architecture.
Evening: Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
Built between 1902 and 1905 in honour of Queen Victoria, the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is the home of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Visit sistic.com.sg to book tickets.
Day Two – Visitors will get immersed into the unique Peranakan culture
Joo Chiat & Katong
Peranakans are descendants of Chinese and Indian immigrants who married indigenous people from the Malay Archipelago in the 15th century. Engage a licensed Tourist Guide and discover Peranakan culture through heritage shophouses, quaint stores and eateries. Contact the Society of Tourist Guides or MeGuideU Tour Guides to organise a customised walking tour. For an in-depth lesson in Peranakan tradition, sign up for The Intan Signature Tea Experience. Alvin Yapp, the owner of The Intan, will bring visitors on a tour of his home while shedding light on the culture through personal stories.
Located beside the Peranakan Museum, True Blue serves up rich Peranakan delicacies such as ayam buah keluak (chicken with Indonesian black nut) and babi pongteh (stewed pork in fermented soy beans).
Afternoon: Peranakan Museum & Asian Civilisations Museum
Housing what is reputedly the world's finest collection of Peranakan artefacts, the Peranakan Museum is the go-to destination to soak up this hybrid culture.
The Asian Civilisations Museum spotlights the connections between the cultures of Asia. Objects on display tell stories of the exchange of ideas as well as the flow of religions through Asia. At MUSEUM LABEL, visitors can also find Singaporean souvenirs such as the "kan cheong spider" (local slang for "anxious") watch and erasers shaped in the form of a kueh tutu (steamed rice flour cake).
Spurred by a passion to preserve his family's culinary roots, Chef Malcolm Lee set up Candlenut when he was only 26 years old. He believed that creating new Peranakan flavours would help to keep the culture alive. Today, the Michelin-starred restaurant serves a modern twist on old favourites such as sous-vide beef short rib smothered in buah keluak puree and steamed banana cake with warm caramelized banana and gula melaka ice cream on a bed of ginger crumble.
Day Three – Spend the day with interesting works of arts that feed the soul
National Gallery Singapore
Singapore's newest gallery is a stunning architectural gem housed in two national monuments – the former Supreme Court and City Hall. This 2016 Singapore Tourism Award winner has the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Have lunch at Odette, a two Michelin-starred French restaurant located in the National Gallery, where a private dining room can be arranged for groups not exceeding 12 persons.
Afternoon: Singapore Art Museum & Gillman Barracks
Housed in a restored 19th century mission school, the Singapore Art Museum has amassed one of the world's largest collections of contemporary Southeast Asian artworks since it opened in 1996, featuring approximately 7,000 works of art.
The Gillman Barracks arts cluster features international galleries such as the Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Mizuma Gallery, as well as home grown galleries such as the FOST Gallery and Yavuz Gallery. You may also sign up for the Gillman Barracks Art & History Tour to gain a better understanding the area's rich history and heritage.
Lighthouse Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
The restaurant and rooftop bar is located in the iconic Fullerton Hotel, a grand Neo-classical landmark and Singapore's 71st national monument. It offers wine labels from the world over, delicious canapés, and stunning views of the bay area.
Day Four – Immersive experiences abound when it comes to experiencing Singapore's arts and culture
Catch world-class performances at the Esplanade or sign up for the Esplanade Tour to get behind-the-scenes access to the Concert Hall and Theatre.
Artistry is a gallery and café space that brings together the art-minded in the heart of the Kampong Glam heritage precinct. While known for its brunch offerings, Artistry is also a platform for local and international artists to debut their works. Exhibitions, performances, talks and other cultural events are often held in this space.
Pick up traditional wares such as Persian carpets, traditional kebaya outfits and handmade perfumes from Arab Street and Bussorah Street. Schedule a session at Sifr Aromatics and walk away with your very own perfume.
Built in the 1920s, Rumah Bendahara (Chief Minister's Residence) is located just outside the Kampong Glam palace grounds. Today, it is more commonly known for being the home of Mamanda, a restaurant that boasts a wide range of authentic Malay cuisine.