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Istana, Singapore

4.2
The Istana is the official residence and office of the President of Singapore. Meaning "palace" in Malay, it is where the President receives and entertains state guests. The Istana is also the working office of the Prime Minister of Singapore. The current president, Halimah Yacob, has indicated that she will continue to live in her HDB flat in Yishun.The 106-acre (0.4-km²) estate was once part of the extensive nutmeg plantation of Mount Sophia. In 1867, the British colonial government acquired the land and built a mansion to be the official home of the British governor. This continued until 1959 when Singapore was granted self-government, and the governor was replaced by the Yang di-Pertuan Negara, who was in turn replaced by the President.HistoryBritish Colonial PeriodThe Istana was built between 1867 and 1869 on the instructions of Sir Harry Saint George Ord, Singapore's first colonial governor after the transfer from the East India Company to the Colonial Office. It was formerly known as "Government House". The architect was Major John Frederick Adolphus McNair. Within the same compound is Sri Temasek, one of several senior colonial officers' residences in the Istana previously assigned to the Colonial Secretary.Sir Harry's desire for a stately governor's residence arose from his dissatisfaction with the leased housing on Grange Hill and Leonie Hill that Governors had to make do with. An earlier governor's residence on Bukit Larangan (now Fort Canning), a flimsy timber structure, had been torn down to make way for the fort and was never replaced.
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Istana Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
80 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The Presidential Palace is indeed not be visited at any time. But from the outside we can already see its splendour. It seems that the Palace was very friendly with a population of about krn gak serem2 amat her Babysitting
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  • Every Chinese New Year, the Prime Minister (PM) will invite Grassroots Leaders to his Chinese New Year's Garden Party hosted by him at the Istana. The President, the Prime Minister, his cabinet member...  more »
  • Came here last weekend with the kids for the CNY Open Day. As always it’s a very popular occasion but we made the effort to arrive early and so it wasn’t as crowded as it might otherwise have been. Th...  more »
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  • Nice park in the heart of the city that’s the ‘garden’ of the presidential house. You cannot even see the house from the entrance and you feel like you are entering into another world. Unfortunately it’s opened only few times a year so you must be lucky enough to be in town on those days (by the way always open the national day and the second day of Chinese New Year)
  • The Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore, it is surrounded by an ample park. It only opens to the general public about five times during the year, usually on or near some of the annual public holidays, so catch it if you can! Remember to bring along your NRIC or passport, wear comfortable walking shoes, and be prepared to queue and to go through security checks. Google for the dates of the 'Istana Open House', together with tips, rules, admission charges, etc. This information is usually on the istana.gov.sg. website.
  • The place is usually not open. You can only visit it on Saturdays that follows the important public holidays to the different races (CNY, Hari Raya, Deepavali) and National day and Labour day.
  • Formerly known as Government House when Singapore was under British rule, the Istana (meaning 'palace' in Malay) is the official home of the incumbent President of Singapore and the venue for receiving foreign heads of state and visiting dignitaries. It's only open a handful of days a year (coinciding with certain public holidays) and can get quite busy. The landscaped gardens span a huge area (from Bukit Timah Road to Dhoby Ghaut) and are beautifully kept. Inside is similarly impressive, with well-maintained interiors showing off a mix of colonial and Malay architectural influences. Expect long queues on Open Day, but fortunately they move quickly. The outdoor vendor stalls had sold out of ice cream and cold drinks when we visited at 1pm. It gets hot in the gardens so bring water and shade!
  • Good place to go, but the istana building open area is very limited.
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