The Istana, President Official Residence

The Istana (Palace in Malay) is the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore. The President may choose to live here or his own private residence. This building is formerly known as Government House, was build by the British Colonial government to house its governors. After independence, the building was handed over to Singapore government and later renamed as The Istana. Recently, I visited The Istana grounds during the Open House for Chinese New Year. My last trip there was 6 years back. The Istana ground is open to the public five times a year in celebration in celebration of Chinese New Year, Deepavali,  Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day.

Click here for Istana Open House Schedule. Admission to the Istana grounds is free for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents. Other visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $2 per person. This Istana main gate is located beside Plaza Singapura Mall and is open from 8.30am to 6.00pm.

From the main entrance, visitors will walk in a long stretch of roads while admiring the beauty of lush greenery.

Circular fountain at The Istana front lawn

From this spot, a good view of the Istana Main Building

Flight of steps heading to The Istana.

The Presidential Standard is a red flag with a white crescent moon and five stars emblazoned in the centre.  The colour red is symbolic of the universal brotherhood and equality of man. The crescent represents a young country on the ascent, while the five stars represent democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

The Highest level of The Istana. I paid $2 to tour the function rooms and view a special display of gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister. Due to security reasons, no photography is allowed inside the building. You got to be there to see it for yourself!

The Presidential Crest

I managed to get a glimpse of Mr and Mrs President. The lady in red, Wife of the newly elected President, Dr Tony Tan.

Tight security as The Istana is welcoming the President, Dr Tony Tan (In red)

Group of students welcoming The President. Sadly, I can’t get any closer than that.

There will be a variety of performances on the grounds during the Open House.

The Gun Terrace is marked by a 105mm Japanese cannon, a symbol of the liberation of Singapore after the Japanese Occupation.  The Gun Terrace commands a panoramic view of the Istana grounds and the city’s skyline.

The Istana ground also consist of 9-hole golf courseIstana Ground greenery

The Swan Pond is the largest among the four ponds in the Istana grounds.

Here what you need to know before visiting the Istana:

  • All visitors will go through security screening prior to entering the Istana grounds.
  • For security reasons, Pointed and sharp objects (e.g. knives of any size, forks) and Flammable items (e.g. lighters) are not allowed to bring in to the Istana
  • To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for all visitors, and to prevent damage to the premises, the following will not be allowed within the Istana grounds: wheeled sports (e.g. cycling, roller blading), littering, smoking, consumption of alcoholic drinks, pets (except for guide dogs).
  • If you insist of bringing in those items, the Security personnel reserve the right to turn you away. Do also note that No storage facilities will be provided.

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