Historical Things to Do in Singapore

If you’re a history buff, the historical things to do in Singapore are necessary. The city-state has historical sites, monuments, and museums that glimpse the country’s rich heritage and culture. From World War II impact to architectural marvels, there’s something for everyone.

During World War II, Singapore was occupied by the Japanese, and the impact of the war is still visible today. You can visit the Changi Museum and Chapel, where prisoners of war were held during the war. The museum has exhibits that tell the story of the war and its impact on Singapore and its people.

If you’re interested in historical sites and monuments, Singapore has plenty to choose from. Haw Par Villa is a must-visit, known for its kooky statues that leave nothing to the imagination. Emerald Hill and its glorious shophouses have a deep history, and Kent Ridge Park is a great place to learn about the country’s flora and fauna.

Key Takeaways

  • Singapore is a must-visit destination for history buffs.
  • The impact of World War II is still visible in many of the city’s historical sites and monuments.
  • There’s something for everyone in Singapore, from museums to parks to architectural marvels.

World War II Impact on Singapore


If you’re interested in history, Singapore has a lot to offer. World War II was one of the most significant events in the country’s history. The war had a profound impact on Singapore, and it’s still visible today. Here are two sub-sections that will give you a glimpse of what happened during the war.

Japanese Occupation

The Japanese Occupation of Singapore lasted from 1942 to 1945. During this time, the Japanese army took control of the island, and life changed dramatically for those who lived there. The occupation was marked by violence, forced labour, and deprivation. Many people were killed or imprisoned, and the economy suffered greatly.

Today, you can visit several sites in Singapore that commemorate the Japanese Occupation. The Changi Chapel and Museum is one such place. It’s located on the site of the former Changi Prison, where many prisoners of war were held. The museum has exhibits that tell the story of the occupation and the experiences of those imprisoned.

Another site that’s worth visiting is the Indian National Army Monument. The monument honours the Indian soldiers who fought against the British during the war. The Indian National Army was led by Subhas Chandra Bose, who sought to free India from British rule. The monument is a reminder of the complex political forces at play during the war.

British Surrender

The British surrender of Singapore to the Japanese army on 15 February 1942 was a significant event in the war. The surrender was the largest military defeat in British history, and it marked the beginning of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore.

Today, you can visit several sites in Singapore that commemorate the British surrender. One such site is the Battlebox, located in Fort Canning Park. The Battlebox was the underground command centre where the British decided to surrender. The site has been preserved and turned into a museum, and you can take a tour to learn more about what happened.

Overall, the impact of World War II on Singapore was significant, and it’s still visible today. If you’re interested in history, there are many sites in Singapore that you can visit to learn more about this period.

Historical Sites and Monuments in Singapore


If you’re a history buff, Singapore has many sites and monuments that will transport you back in time. Here are some of the must-visit historical sites and monuments in Singapore:

Fort Siloso and Surrender Chambers

Fort Siloso is a restored coastal fortification built by the British in the late 19th century to protect Singapore’s harbour. The fort was crucial in Singapore’s defence during World War II. The Surrender Chambers, located within the fort, is where the British surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. Today, Fort Siloso is a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into Singapore’s military history.

Kranji War Memorial

The Kranji War Memorial is a peaceful and solemn place that honours the men and women who died defending Singapore during World War II. The memorial is on a hill overlooking the Straits of Johor and comprises 4,458 white gravestones of Commonwealth servicemen who died in the line of duty. The monument also has a wall that lists the names of over 24,000 Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave.

Civilian War Memorial

The Civilian War Memorial is a poignant reminder of the civilian casualties of World War II. The memorial comprises four pillars representing Singapore’s primary races: Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian. The pillars are inscribed with the names of over 25,000 civilians who lost their lives during the Japanese Occupation.

National Monuments

Singapore has several national monuments that are worth visiting. These monuments are buildings or structures of national importance due to their historical, cultural, or architectural significance. Some notable national monuments include the Kranji War Memorial, the Cavenagh Bridge, the Anderson Bridge, and the Headquarters Malaya Command.

Whether you’re interested in military history or want to learn more about Singapore’s past, these historical sites and monuments will surely leave you feeling inspired and enlightened.

Heritage and Culture in Singapore


Singapore is a melting pot of diverse cultures, races, and religions. The city-state has several ethnic communities, each with unique traditions and customs. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and culture of Singapore by exploring the following sub-sections:

Ethnic Communities

Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam are three of Singapore’s most prominent ethnic enclaves. These neighbourhoods are brimming with cultural landmarks, traditional eateries, and shops selling authentic souvenirs.

Chinatown is home to the Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of Singapore’s oldest and most important Hokkien temples. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Mazu, the patron saint of seafarers.

On the other hand, Little India is famous for its colourful shophouses, aromatic spice shops, and the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. The historic Malay quarter of Kampong Glam is home to the Sultan Mosque, a stunning example of Islamic architecture.

Religious Temples

Singapore is a religiously diverse country, with many temples dedicated to different faiths. The Thian Hock Keng Temple, mentioned above, is just one example of the many religious landmarks in Singapore. The Sri Mariamman Temple, located in Chinatown, is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, who is believed to protect against disease and illness.

The Sultan Mosque, mentioned above, is another significant religious landmark in Singapore. The mosque is the largest in Singapore and is an excellent example of Islamic architecture. During Ramadan, the mosque is transformed into a bustling hub of activity, with thousands of Muslims coming to break their fast and pray.

Historical Places

Singapore has a rich history, and several landmarks are scattered throughout the city-state. The Malay Heritage Centre, located in Kampong Glam, is a museum that showcases the history and culture of the Malay community in Singapore. The centre is housed in a beautiful 19th-century palace once home to Malay royalty.

Another historical landmark in Singapore is the Thian Hock Keng Temple. The temple was built in 1842 and is one of Singapore’s oldest and most important. Early Chinese immigrants built the temple as a place of worship and to give thanks for their safe arrival in Singapore.

In conclusion, Singapore’s heritage and culture are diverse and fascinating. From the ethnic communities to the religious temples and historical landmarks, there is something everyone can explore and discover.

Museums in Singapore


If you’re a history buff or just looking for a way to spend a rainy day in Singapore, the city’s museums won’t disappoint. There’s something for everyone, from art and culture to natural history and war memorials. Here are five museums you won’t want to miss:

National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum in the city and a must-visit for anyone interested in the country’s history. The museum’s permanent exhibitions cover everything from Singapore’s founding to today, focusing on the country’s cultural diversity.

You’ll find interactive exhibits, multimedia displays, and artefacts throughout Singapore’s history. Don’t miss the Singapore History Gallery, which traces the island’s evolution from a sleepy fishing village to a bustling metropolis.

National Gallery Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore is a relatively new addition to the city’s cultural scene, opening in 2015. Housed in the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, the museum has the most extensive collection of Southeast Asian art worldwide.

The permanent exhibitions cover the art of Singapore and its neighbours, with works ranging from traditional paintings to contemporary installations. The museum also hosts regular temporary exhibitions and events.

Former Ford Factory

The Former Ford Factory is a sobering reminder of Singapore’s World War II history. The factory was the site of the British surrender to the Japanese in 1942 and now houses a museum dedicated to the war years.

The permanent exhibition covers the Japanese occupation of Singapore, the experiences of prisoners of war, and the eventual liberation of the city. You’ll find artefacts from the war, including weapons, uniforms, personal items, multimedia displays, and interactive exhibits.

Mint Museum of Toys

The Mint Museum of Toys is a quirky museum that will delight visitors of all ages. The museum’s collection of over 50,000 toys and childhood memorabilia spans over a century, with items from around the world.

You’ll find everything from vintage Barbie dolls to antique tin toys and displays of board games, comics, and other childhood favourites. The museum also hosts regular temporary exhibitions and workshops.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the natural world. The museum’s collection of over a million specimens includes fossils, plants, and animals from around the region.

You’ll find interactive exhibits, multimedia displays, and a chance to see some of the museum’s live animals up close. Don’t miss the museum’s star attraction, the three-storey-tall skeleton of a diplodocus.

These museums offer a fascinating glimpse into Singapore’s past and present and are a great way to spend a few hours exploring the city’s cultural heritage.

Architectural Marvels in Singapore


If you are a fan of architecture, Singapore has plenty of historical buildings that will impress you. Here are some of the must-visit architectural marvels in Singapore:


Chijmes is a beautiful complex that was once a Catholic convent. It has been converted into a dining and entertainment hub that retains its original architecture. The complex features stunning Gothic-style buildings, courtyards, and a chapel.

You can spend hours exploring the complex, admiring the intricate details of the architecture and enjoying the various food and beverage options available.

Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall

Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is a stunning neoclassical building built in 1862. It has undergone several renovations and is now a popular venue for concerts, plays, and other cultural events.

The building features beautiful Corinthian columns, a grand entrance, and a dome-shaped roof. If you are lucky, you might be able to catch a performance during your visit.

Old Hill Street Police Station

The Old Hill Street Police Station is a colourful building that was once a police station. It features a unique design that includes 927 windows painted in different colours. The building now houses various government agencies, but you can still admire the colourful façade from the outside.

Tan Teng Niah

Tan Teng Niah is a colourful building that is located in Little India. It was built in the early 1900s by a Chinese businessman and features a unique mix of Chinese and European architectural styles. The building has been restored recently and is now a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.

In conclusion, Singapore has a rich architectural heritage that is worth exploring. Whether you are interested in Gothic-style buildings, neoclassical architecture, or colourful facades, there is something for everyone in Singapore. Add these architectural marvels to your itinerary for a truly unforgettable experience.

Parks and Outdoor Spaces in Singapore


If you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some fresh air, Singapore has plenty of parks and outdoor spaces to explore. Here are a few of the best ones you won’t miss.

Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park is a must-visit for history buffs. This park is located on a hill that was once the site of a Malay palace and later a British military base. Today, you can explore the park’s many historical landmarks, including the Fort Canning Centre and the Battlebox.

This former underground command centre played a vital role in the defence of Singapore during World War II. The park also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, so check the calendar before you go.

Kent Ridge Park

If you want a great city view, head to Kent Ridge Park. This park is on a ridge overlooking the sea and offers stunning views of the Singapore skyline. The park is also home to various flora and fauna, including monkeys, squirrels, and birds.

Several walking trails, including the Canopy Walk, a 280-metre-long bridge that takes you through the treetops.

Pulau Ubin

For a taste of old-school Singapore, take a trip to Pulau Ubin. This small island is off the northeast coast of Singapore and is home to a traditional village preserved from the 1960s. You can rent a bike, explore the island’s many trails, or take a boat tour of the surrounding mangrove forests.

Be sure to stop by the Chek Jawa Wetlands, where you can see various marine life, including starfish and sea anemones.

Lazarus Island

If you’re looking for a secluded beach, head to Lazarus Island. This small island is off the southern coast of Singapore and is home to a pristine white-sand beach perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The island is only accessible by boat, so plan. You can also explore the island’s many hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the surrounding sea and islands.

These are just a few of the many parks and outdoor spaces that Singapore has to offer. Whether you’re looking for history, nature, or just a place to relax, there’s something for everyone in Singapore’s parks and outdoor spaces.

Guided Tours in Singapore


If you want to explore the historical sites of Singapore, taking a guided tour is an excellent option. Guided tours provide an opportunity to learn about Singapore’s rich history from experienced and knowledgeable guides. Many different guided tours are available, from walking to bus tours, so you can choose the one that best suits your interests and schedule.

Lion City Bike Tour

Some of Singapore’s most popular guided tours include the Lion City Bike Tour, the Singapore Duck Tour, and the Private Singapore City Highlights Tour. The Lion City Bike Tour is a great way to explore the city’s historical sites while exercising. You’ll cycle through the city’s streets, stopping at landmarks like the Merlion and the Singapore River.

Singapore Duck Tour

The Singapore Duck Tour is a unique way to see the city’s historical sites from land and water. You’ll ride in an amphibious vehicle that can travel on land and water, giving you a different perspective on the city’s landmarks.

The Private Singapore City Highlights Tour is an excellent option for a more personalised experience. You’ll have a private guide who will take you to the sites that interest you most, and you can customise the tour to your liking.

Changi WWII™ Tour

Many walking tours are also available, such as the Changi WWII™ tour offered by The Original Singapore Walks®. This tour takes you to the Changi Museum and Chapel, where you’ll learn about the experiences of prisoners of war during World War II. You’ll also visit historical sites like the Johore Battery and Selarang Barracks.

You will have an exciting and informative experience no matter which guided tour you choose. Your guide will provide insights and information you might not learn independently, and you’ll see the city’s historical sites up close. So, book a guided tour today and discover the fascinating history of Singapore!

Dine and Shop in Vibrant Singapore


You’re in for a treat when shopping and dining in Singapore. The city-state is a melting pot of cultures, and this is reflected in its food and shopping scene. From traditional markets to modern shopping centres, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best areas to explore:


Chinatown is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Singapore’s history and culture. Here, you’ll find traditional shophouses selling everything from souvenirs to herbal remedies.

The area is also home to some of the city’s best food, with hawker centres and restaurants serving delicious Chinese cuisine. Be sure to check out the famous Lau Pa Sat food centre, which has served local delicacies since the 19th century.

Little India

If you want a taste of India in Singapore, head to Little India. This vibrant neighbourhood has colourful shops selling everything from saris to spices. You’ll also find some of the city’s best Indian food here, with restaurants serving everything from biryani to dosa. Be sure to visit the Mustafa Centre, a 24-hour shopping mall selling almost everything you can imagine.

Kampong Glam

Kampong Glam is Singapore’s Arab quarter, and it’s a great place to explore if you’re interested in Middle Eastern culture. The area is home to the stunning Sultan Mosque and various shops selling traditional textiles and crafts. You’ll also find some great Middle Eastern food here, with restaurants serving everything from shawarma to falafel.

No matter where you go in Singapore, you will find great shopping and dining options. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional street food or modern cuisine, there’s something for everyone. So why not explore some of these areas and see what the city offers?

Other Attractions in Singapore


If you’re looking for more exciting things to do in Singapore, there are plenty of other attractions to explore. Here are some of the top attractions that you should add to your list:

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands is a world-famous integrated resort that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. This iconic landmark is home to a luxurious hotel, a massive shopping mall, a museum, a theatre, and an observation deck that offers stunning city skyline views.

You can also dip in the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, located on the 57th floor of the hotel.

Night Safari

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll want to check out the Night Safari. This unique attraction is the world’s first nocturnal zoo, and it’s home to over 2,500 animals from 130 species. You can take a tram ride through the park and see animals like tigers, lions, and elephants up close.

There are also walking trails and animal shows that you can enjoy.

iFly Singapore

If you’ve ever wanted to experience the thrill of skydiving without jumping out of a plane, iFly Singapore is the perfect attraction. This indoor skydiving facility uses a wind tunnel to simulate the feeling of freefall through the air.

You’ll be able to float on a cushion of air and feel the adrenaline rush as you soar through the sky.

HSBC Rain Vortex

The HSBC Rain Vortex is a stunning indoor waterfall in the heart of Jewel Changi Airport. This mesmerising attraction is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, standing at 40 metres tall.

You can watch the water cascade down from the airport’s roof and admire the beautiful light and sound effects accompanying the waterfall.

Jewel Changi Airport

Jewel Changi Airport is a world-class lifestyle destination located next to Changi Airport. This massive complex is home to over 280 shops, restaurants, and various attractions like the HSBC Rain Vortex, the Canopy Park, and the Changi Experience Studio. You can spend hours exploring this vibrant destination and enjoying all the exciting activities it has to offer.

With so many unique attractions, you’ll never run out of things to do in Singapore. Whether you’re a nature lover, a thrill-seeker, or a culture vulture, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant and exciting city.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the top historical landmarks to visit in Singapore?

Singapore has plenty of historical landmarks to visit if you are a history buff. Some top historical landmarks to explore include Fort Canning, the Battle Box, the National Museum of Singapore, and the Civilian War Memorial.

What is the significance of the Battle Box in Singapore’s history?

The Battle Box is a former British underground command centre that played a crucial role in Singapore’s history during World War II. It was the site where the British decided to surrender to the Japanese in 1942.

Can you recommend any lesser-known historical sites in Singapore?

If you want to explore historical sites in Singapore that are off the beaten path, consider visiting the Bukit Brown Cemetery, the Chinese Heritage Centre, and the Malay Heritage Centre. These sites offer a glimpse into Singapore’s diverse communities’ cultural and historical heritage.

What exhibits can be found at the National Museum of Singapore?

The National Museum of Singapore is the oldest in the country and is home to a vast collection of artefacts and exhibits that showcase Singapore’s history and culture. Some must-see exhibits include the Singapore History Gallery, the Living Galleries, and the Goh Seng Choo Gallery.

What is the history behind the Civilian War Memorial in Singapore?

The Civilian War Memorial is a tribute to the civilians who lost their lives during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II. The memorial consists of four pillars that represent the different races in Singapore and a plaque that bears the names of the civilians who perished during the war.

What is the oldest building or structure still standing in Singapore?

The oldest building in Singapore is the Armenian Church, built in 1835. The church is a beautiful example of colonial architecture and is still used today. Other notable historical buildings include the Thian Hock Keng Temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple, and the Raffles Hotel.

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