Singapore may be known for being a centre of trade and commerce, but it also has its fair share of history and culture.
While it is a tiny city-state, its religions and the cultures of those who have emigrated here over the centuries have created a number of notable attractions worth seeing on a visit to Singapore. Be sure to make room in your itinerary of the following highlights…
1) Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Many residents of Singapore practice Buddhism as their primary religion. Paying a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum will give you insight into their beliefs. Reputedly recovered from the funeral pyre of the original Buddha, this museum is named for being home to one of his canine teeth.
While you’ll get to learn about how Buddhist culture has evolved over the years, you’ll also get to hear monks chanting and smell the burning of incense – it is a fully functional temple after all. With that in mind, be certain to dress respectfully – no shorts or any tops which expose the shoulders.
After an action-packed first stop on your tour of this fabulous Southeast Asian city, you’ll be glad you went with one of the many serviced apartments in Singapore instead of a hotel.
Containing all the comforts of home along with amenities like swimming pools and jacuzzis, you may never go back to staying at a Marriott or a Holiday Inn again.
2) Masjid Sultan
Like some other nations in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a sizable number of adherents to Islam within its borders. There are many mosques within the bounds of this island nation, but none of them is as beautiful as Masjid Sultan.
Located in the Arab Street neighbourhood, this gem was built in 1824 for the first Sultan of Singapore, Hussein Shah. With a soaring golden dome and a massive prayer hall, it is a sight even non-Muslims will be able to appreciate.
If you are of this group, note there are tightly controlled times during the day when tours are possible (usually two hours in the morning, and two in the afternoon). Just as you did in the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, dress for the occasion – cover any exposed skin on your torso and lower body. If you forget, robes may be available to cover up anything that isn’t supposed to be showing.
3) The Intan
Many Singaporeans are of Chinese descent – despite this, however, they diverge a great deal from the culture present in mainland China. From the time they landed here to the present day, they developed what is known as Peranakan culture.
The intricacies of this culture can be explored at a Singaporean museum known as The Intan. Situated within a rather ordinary looking townhouse, it is packed to the gills with old antique pots, vases, and figurines.
The highlight of the guided tour through this homely place is the tea afterwards – after spending an hour delving into Peranakanese culture, you’ll get to sample its tradition of fine foods and steaming pots of Earl Grey.