LUXE City Guides
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Not just a pretty face, Singapore is brimming with history, once you scratch beneath its clean and shiny surface. Follow these historical hot spots to discover the Lion City like it once was…

1. Battle Box

A secret underground bunker in Fort Canning built in the ‘30s, this was the headquarters of Malaya Command, the army that defended Malaya and Singapore in WWII. Join the tour to understand the significance of this Command Centre, where the Brits surrendered Singapore to the invading Japanese army on 15 February 1942. 

2 Cox Terrace (Fort Canning Park), 9.30am to 5.30pm (last tour slot: 4.30pm) Fri-Sun & Public Holidays,

2. Raffles Singapore

Originally opened in 1887, the iconic Raffles Hotel has seen the last tiger killing on the island, the creation of the national cocktail (Singapore Sling) in 1915, war prisoners and much more in its hallowed halls. Soak up its history at any of its magnificent bars and restaurants, or check-in for a free tour with the resident historian.

1 Beach Rd, open daily,

3. Sultan Mosque 

A majestic landmark in Kampong Glam, this white-washed mosque was constructed in 1824 for the first sultan of Singapore, Sultan Hussein Shah. Having undergone multiple restorations, its current design pays tribute to the future of the planet with solar panels and water-saving taps. Tours are on pause during Covid, but you can admire the soaring minarets from nearby.

3 Muscat Street, 10am-12pm, 2-4pm Sun-Thurs & Sat, 2.30-4pm Fri,

4. Singapore’s Jewish Quarters

Singapore’s small but significant Jewish community has been around since the 19th century, forging business ventures, trading companies and fashion empires that remain to this day. Called the mahallah (Arabic for ‘place’), look for architectural remnants of the Jewish Quarters around Selegie, Wilkie, Adis Roads, such as the yellow David Elias Building and Ellison Building. On Waterloo Street, you’ll find the Maghain Aboth Synagogue, the oldest Jewish synagogue in Southeast Asia.

24/26 Waterloo Street, To book a tour of Maghain Aboth, email

5. National Museum Singapore

Superbly curated, the National Museum originally opened in 1849 as the Raffles Library and Museum, and now offers up an array of unique perspectives on Singapore heritage and culture. Don’t miss the accessible and specially tailored senior-specific tours and activities, virtual workshops, child-friendly exhibits and more. 

93 Stamford Road, 10am-7pm daily with last admission at 6.15pm (Glass Rotunda) and 6.30pm (all other galleries), 

6. Mint Museum of Toys

Come for an impressive vintage collection of 8,500 toys and collectibles from over 40 countries dating from the 1840s to 1980s. Spread across four thematic levels of the museum (Outerspace, Characters, Childhood Favourites and Collectables), finish up with a grown-up drink at the secret rooftop bar, Punch.

26 Seah St, 9.30am-6.30pm with last admission at 5.30pm Wed-Sun, closed Mon-Tues,

7. St Andrew’s Cathedral

The oldest Anglican Church in Singapore (holding its first service in 1837), its spire was struck twice by lightning in 1845 and 1849, and rebuilt by Colonel Ronald MacPherson in the neo-Gothic architectural style. Inside, you’ll find precious historical relics, including a carpet from the original used in the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. 

11 St Andrew’s Road, Book tickets online for services,

ManulifeMOVE has no association with any of the landmarks, dining venues, galleries or retailers included within this walking guide, selected by LUXE, and disclaims any liability as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein. 

Photo credit: iStockphoto/ronniechua

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