The Istana is the official residence and office of the President of Singapore. The word “Istana” means “palace” in Malay, this is where the President receives state guests. The Istana is also the office of the Prime Minister of Singapore.
The Istana is closed to the public and only open on 5 public holidays in Singapore – Chinese New Year, Labour Day, Hari Raya Puasa, National Day and Deepavali. The Istana is open from 8.30am – 6pm on Istana Open House.
Free entry for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents (present your NRIC for verification), foreigners have to pay S$2 per person.
I thought The Istana is just a building by itself, but the 106-acres Istana is actually a beautiful garden. The cardamom botanical garden in front of the Istana building was where the former British royal household was situated. The Istana building is surrounded by green pastures and a beautiful swan lake.
For S$2 per person for Singapore Citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents and foreign children (4-12 years old) and S$4 for foreign adults, you can tour selected function rooms in the Istana Building. You will also get to see a special display of gifts presented to Singapore’s Presidents and Prime Ministers over the years.
For an additional S$2, you can join a Istana Building Guided Tour led by volunteers. The volunteer guide will talk through this audio device, telling you the history behind the Istana.
No photography or videography is allowed inside the Istana main building, hence the lack of photographs of the Istana Building. I am sure you can imagine the grandeur of the interior. The staff will decorate the Grand Staircase according to the festival. I was there during Deepavali, the landing of the Grand Staircase was decorated with flowers in the shape of a rangoli.
People who are into nature can join the Istana Nature Guided Walk which showcases the Istana’s flora and fauna.
There are many activities during Istana Open House.
Adults can enjoy performances by various singers and musical groups at the white pop-up tent while children can play with the miniature slides.