Singapore Museums Walking Tour (Self Guided), Singapore

Singapore's crazy population mix means that there are museums dedicated to the culture of each community that makes up the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nature of this island state. This self-guided tour will take you through museums that display the Asian way of life, art and religion.
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Singapore Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Singapore Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: Singapore » Singapore (See other walking tours in Singapore)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Red Dot Design Museum
  • Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
  • Chinatown Heritage Center
  • Asian Civilisations Museum
  • Singapore Philatelic Museum
  • Peranakan Museum
  • National Museum of Singapore
  • Singapore Art Museum
1
Red Dot Design Museum

1) Red Dot Design Museum

Red Dot Design Museum is set in a colonial building that is an architectural monument. It used to house the traffic police HQ. Now it is a place for creativity and innovation where you can see the latest trends in design in almost any field. It is home to companies that deal with creativity, for example: advertising agencies, design studios, etc.
Hours: Mon, Tue & Fri: 11 a.m to 6.p.m; Sat & Sun: 11 a.m to 8.p.m
2
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

2) Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum (must see)

Located in Singapore's Chinatown, this opulent cultural monument is cherished by the local Chinese who make up the overwhelming majority of the city-state's population. The temple's majestic outside appearance is equally matched on the inside.

Always lit up at night, it is open to visitors 24 hours a day. The dress code is strict and demands women to cover their shoulders, with a conservative dress or slacks advised for the lower part. Likewise, men are prohibited from wearing shorts or tank-tops, but oddly enough shoes are permitted for all, as are non-flash photos in some places.

Locals go in to pray regularly and you may find here a monk conducting a prayer or chanting in a microphone quite often. Set in the rear are the statues of Buddhas each overseeing a certain astrological sign, but the key figure in the main hall is Maitreya, a Buddha that is yet to come to Earth, the wooden statue of which here is believed to be 1,000 years old.

One of the temple's floors is fully filled with statues, among which is that of Guan Yin – Chinese Bodhisattva, Goddess of Compassion, Mercy and Kindness. Further up, in the mezzanine, there are life-sized wax sculptures of present and past leaders of the Temple – quite rich in detail actually (even showing wrinkles on hands!) and fit to rival any wax museum in the world. Also here is a balcony from which one can observe, through the drapes, the huge main prayer room down below, on the 1st floor.

Finally, the 4th floor is where the ultimate treasure of the temple is found – the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa reportedly containing a tooth of Gautama Buddha himself, discovered in 1980 at a Burmese monastery. Now encased in a golden chamber behind glass panels, it can't be inspected up close, but there is an accompanying scale model at the front which can be viewed at any time.

Another must-see within the temple is the orchid garden on the rooftop featuring an enormous “prayer wheel” inside a pavilion of 10,000 small Buddhas lining the walls. Most people aren't aware of this garden, so it is very quiet and relaxing up here – an ideal setting for reflection prior to hitting the streets of Singapore's Chinatown once again.

Tip:
Non-flash-photos are permitted in some places, but not in the relic chamber.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-7pm
3
Chinatown Heritage Center

3) Chinatown Heritage Center

In Chinatown's Heritage Center, you can learn everything about the Chinese migration to Singapore in the hope of a better life. It is situated among amazing and authentic shop-houses. You will see here artefacts from the golden as well as the dark period of Chinese history.
4
Asian Civilisations Museum

4) Asian Civilisations Museum (must see)

The robust Empress Place Building, a Neoclassical structure named after Queen Victoria and completed in 1865, houses the Asian Civilizations Museum that ambitiously tries to pull together the various threads of Asian civilizations, from the Middle East through to China, thus helping better understand and appreciate all the different cultures that go into making Singaporeans what they are – a cosmopolitan people.

Informative and well-presented, with special exhibits that are not often seen in public, this museum has a few highlights worth mentioning, starting with the Hindu-Buddhist gallery and its beautifully lit displays that feature a stunning 18th-century Burmese Buddha head and a large bronze drum. The Chinese influences are also well represented, from tomb remains to ceramics over a thousand years old that have been recovered from a shipwreck discovered in 1998. All in all, the recovered cargo comprises more than 60,000 well-preserved items, including gold and silver objects, produced in China during the Tang dynasty.

In the small Malay World section, look out for a spectacular Kelantan Makara, a huge goggle-eyed mongrel creature once used in rituals, while elsewhere you will find exquisite examples of porcelain, textiles, lacquerware, costumes and traditional huge procession statues.

The museum also has a restaurant, called 'Empress', featuring traditional Chinese dishes in a contemporary waterfront setting, and a cafe, called 'Privé ACM', where you can relax at the alfresco area, enjoying the Singapore River view and the city's business district skyline. The museum shop carries souvenirs and a wide range of books on Asian art.

Tip:
You can take one of the free English tours which are very worthwhile, usually beginning in June and running at 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3pm most days, and if you are planning to go to more than one museum, consider getting a multi-museum pass while you're here.

Opening Hours:
Sat-Thu: 10am-7pm; Fri: 10am-9pm
[English Guided Tours] Mon-Fri: 11:30am / 1:30pm / 3pm; Sat, Sun: 11:30am / 1:30pm
5
Singapore Philatelic Museum

5) Singapore Philatelic Museum

The Singapore Philatelic Museum deals with post offices in Singapore and with stamps. It is for those interested in rare stamps. It gives some information about Singapore's history and its philatelic heritage. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions. Also there is a shop where you can buy stamps.

Operation hours: Monday: 1 pm - 7 pm; Tuesday - Sunday: 9:30 am - 7 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Peranakan Museum

6) Peranakan Museum

Peranakan Museum in Singapore is the first museum dedicated to Peranakans in the world. Peranakans are descendants of Chinese immigrants of the late 15th and early 16th centuries who moved to Nusantara, Malaya, Java and some other places. There are ten permanent galleries that display Peranakan culture, their way of life and their traditions. Do not miss the Peranakan Wedding Bed. Mrs. Quah Hong Chiam of Penang delivered the first seven of her 11 babies on this very bed.

Operation hours: Daily: 10 am - 7 pm; Fridays: 10 am - 9 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
National Museum of Singapore

7) National Museum of Singapore (must see)

The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in the city. It displays collections related to the history of the city and the archaeological values of Singapore and Asia. The museum's building is designed in the Neo-Palladian and Renaissance styles. There is a glass rotunda.

Its most precious artefacts are the Singapore Stone, the Gold Ornaments of the Sacred Hill from East Java, Daguerreotype of Singapore Town which was one of the earliest photographs of Singapore, the will of Munshi Abdullah, the portrait of Frank Athelstane Swettenham, the hearse of Tan Jiak Kim, a Peranakan coffin cover, the mace of the City of Singapore commemorating King George VI's raising of the island's status to a city in 1951, the Xin Sai Le puppet stage, William Farquhar's drawings of flora and fauna and the portrait of Shenton Thomas, who was the former governor of Singapore.

Why You Should Visit:
A good place to understand Singapore's national pride and collective identity.
The building itself is flashy, with a very modern addition and interesting details all around.

Tip:
Be sure to take one of the complimentary guided tours. They last an hour and the guides are knowledgeable and entertaining.
The 3rd level of the museum has an exit to Fort Canning Park. From there you can explore the park and visit the Battlebox, a museum/tour of a military bunker located inside the hill.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-7pm

Last admission times:
Gallery10: 5pm; Glass Rotunda: 6:15pm; All other galleries: 6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Singapore Art Museum

8) Singapore Art Museum (must see)

Editor's note: Currently closed for redevelopment. Museum programming continues at partner venues and spaces until the buildings re-opens.

The Singapore Art Museum exhibits Singapore's national art. It owns an amazing collection of 7750 pieces of Singaporean and Southeast Asian Contemporary Art as well as numerous international artworks. It is rated among the finest art museums that live up to exacting international standards. Here, you can admire paintings, sculptures and installations by local and world-famous artists. It also offers interactive experiences in art.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Singapore, Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

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Romantic Singapore Walking Tour

Romantic Singapore Walking Tour

Singapore is both romantic and exotic. With its multicultural population it offers great cuisine. Due to its location, its seascape and cityscape are unique and make Singapore an absolutely romantic place. Enjoy romantic and intimate moments by visiting the places mentioned in this self-guided tour:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Singapore: Chinatown Walking Tour

Singapore: Chinatown Walking Tour

The Chinese make up a majority of the population in Singapore. Chinatown is, therefore, a district full of valuable historical and architectural monuments. There are Chinese, Hindu and Moslem places of worship in this locality. There are also many wonderful shop-houses that sell exotic items to be found nowhere else. This self-guided tour will take you through the most popular places in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Singapore Introduction Walk

Singapore Introduction Walk

For centuries, the island city-state of Singapore has been a melting pot of Asian cultures: Chinese, Indian, Malay and Arab, prompting men and women from various parts of the continent to come and make it their home. Legacy of that fusion lives on today in the harmony of a multicultural society, making Singapore a one of a kind tourist destination which offers visitors a truly unforgettable...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Singapore without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Singapore, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 Km or 3.6 Miles
Singapore Landmarks Walking Tour

Singapore Landmarks Walking Tour

Singapore is an island, a city and a state. Its population is a melting pot of all Asian people. The Chinese, the Hindu, the Arab, each has his own historical monuments and landmarks that represent his culture. Visiting this city you will be left with the impression of having visited China, India and Arabia. This self-guided tour will lead you through the following cultural monuments as well as...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Singapore: Colonial District National Monuments Walking Tour

Singapore: Colonial District National Monuments Walking Tour

The Colonial District was founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles on the east bank of the Singapore River. There are monuments that are recognized all over the world as symbols of Singapore and they evoke the city-state's rich historical past. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most famous national monuments of the Colonial District:

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

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