The Istana is the ’10 Downing Street’ of Singapore. Its name comes from the Malay word for palace and the President of Singapore uses it as their official residence and office whilst in power. However, no president has actually lived there since 1959.
The estate measures 106 acres in total, and was built on the site of an old nutmeg plantation. The palace itself was built between the years 1867 and 1869 and was originally constructed by the British to house the colonial governor.
You can visit the grounds of the Istana on four occasions throughout the year: Chinese New Year, Labour Day, National Day and Deepavali. On these days, admission is free for permanent residents of Singapore, but admission is just $1 for any foreign visitors. On days when there is an open house, visitors can pay an extra $2 to be allowed entrance to the function rooms inside the Istana itself. All of the admission fees collected on the day are donated to charity.
Once a month, there is a changing of the guard ceremony at the Istana which is modelled on the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. An up-to-date schedule of all of the dates for the ceremonies throughout the year can be found on the Istana website.
Address: Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore, Orchard Road, Singapore, 238823
Opening hours: 4 days in the year