Hello everyone! Today is Singapore’s National Day! So instead, I shall leave you with our episode at the istana! Yes! Where the president works! The istana holds days for open houses and the day before National Day is one of them! You can usually check their website to see the dates for when you can visit them. So yes, this time we went to the istana open house!
It’s free for Singaporeans and permanent residents. Tourists and foreigners will have to pay $1 to get in. Oh yes, to get free entry you need to show your identity card if you’re SGian or PR. It was fast enough for us since we went during lunch time. The security check was really fast since we just put our bags on the trays and went through the metal detector. Don’t bring too much unnecessary stuff since woah, when you get into the istana area, you’ll find it a very large piece of land. It would be a very tiring walk if you were lugging a lot of things.
For one thing, once you step in the grounds, you’ll realize that it is freaking huge! The istana is nowhere close to the gates! Prepare to walk a lot from here. It is said from one of our adventurers who knows someone working there, to get to the main building, the person would be driven on a golf buggy! That was certainly sensible and there were a few parked around near the gate building and also some being used by the police to go around that day.
Yep. Golf buggies are the way to go around here. In any case, bring lots of water too. There were families picnicking and school children on an excursion there.
The first thing we did was to disturb the swans. Well, not really. They’re at the pond with a very good cordoned off from the public with just a bit of a rope railing thing. You don’t want people to fall into the pond anyway. It is said that sometimes the swans will go a wandering around. Also, there is a huge tortoise somewhere but we don’t know where it is. That tortoise is also said to wander quite a bit and the staff has to carry it back to the pond somehow.
Imagine the security police surrounding said tortoise and going all “Freeze tortoise! You’re in a restricted area! Go back to your pond!” or something. Le amusement. It IS a huge pond by the way and there’s also a lake. To be specific, 2 ponds and 1 lake.
The grass and architecture of the place was pretty pretty. Very colonial style anyway. The best way was to go up, UP!
And diagonally really. We went up and walked under the shady path and then walked into the sun to check out the art pieces made by students from 43 schools while the art installation itself is by NUS. At least that’s what it says in the pamphlet!
There were activities you could do that day too! Children were going around trying to get their kites that they made up in the air. It was mostly us moving away from their running around with a trailing kite on the ground though. Still, they did have fun.
There’s a stage set up where performances were to be had or you could just sit there to rest in the shade. There’s a lot of playgrounds set up too along with a stall selling ice cream. We’ll get to the activities later, we still wanted to go reach to the main building aka the istana! You can see it behind the canon there.
Alright, we passed by Victoria pond. We didn’t want to go down because it is a long way down and we were at the junction where we’d either go straight to the istana or go down to see the Queen’s statue. Fun fact, this statue was originally inside the istana, at the presidential hall until it was moved to the pond.
Almost to the istana! The greenery and flowers are so pretty there.
But hold on! If you want to go inside it, you’ll have to pay $2! The ticket proceeds go to charity anyway so it’s all good. Also, no photography allowed inside. However, if you were researching for a story or whatever, the interior is so very nice to check out. Also, we love the air conditioning. The architecture is a mix of old and new. They didn’t mess with the colonial structure of the building even though electrical lights and whatnot were installed. Oh right, why do we love the air conditioning? They’re actually set in large wooden cabinets that look like tables but have shutters on top. This was much better than an air conditioning machine installed in the wall or something.
Also, we stuck around the cabinets to cool our faces. Haaa.
You get to walk around the first level of the istana and go ooh at the various artwork. It’s not that many places but it is just the experience to say you’ve been there! Some police or members of the force are around wearing their ceremonial version of their uniforms. I don’t know what “number” uniform it is but it’s the fancy ones with the gold braids along the shoulders with proper pants or skirts indeed.
Since we aren’t allowed to take pictures inside, have the exterior instead! Also, if you haven’t guessed or figured it out, istana means palace. The president works here and oh the all red flag with our crescent moon and five stars? It’s the presidential standard where it will be up there while he works and will be lowered down when he leaves the istana. We didn’t get to see the president that day although he does come out to meet people but the day before was the Youth Olympic Games torch passing through thing and then the next day from this open house would be National Day (aka the day of this post). I’d think the president would be busy then.
Alright, off to the other side where the fountain is! I like it how there’s chandeliers on top of the tent structure’s. So posh.
And onwards we went towards the activities area! If you won’t go to the museums, the museums will come to you!
Ok. The zoo isn’t a museum but woah. The whole village is like flashback city! We’ve gone to their main buildings in our episodes! Ok. You haven’t seen it yet but we went to the zoo the week before this post. You’ll read that in the next episode, probably. Oh and there’s another pony there too. It’s probably pettable if you asked the zookeeper there.
Ok. The library isn’t a museum either but they’re usually at events nowadays with related books or DVDs etc! You can borrow stuff there and win items.
This was also where you could get the kites and other things to make. I’m sure I could make the snake easily. This was by the Peranakan or Asian Civilizations Museum. One of them anyway since both were there so in any case, they’re all together for this village.
Remember the pamphlet I got earlier? On the front was a coupon to get freebies! Yay! I heart museums! I do! It’s free entry today and you can check the various days you can get into the main museums in Singapore for free. Usually we just check online on their calendars to see.
Before you leave the istana grounds, you can buy a souvenir or two. There were cups and things which I didn’t really take a good look at. All of the monies go to the community chest/charity though anyway.
Off we go! Back out or rather to Plaza Singapura to eat. By the time we walked through the grounds, we really needed a cool drink and food since we didn’t have lunch.
Goodbye to being up close to the istana gates! Unless you get invited in, work there or go to another open house. Also, amusing is that we do have guards at the guard posts. People were taking pictures next to them since they can’t move or aren’t allowed to anyway. Oh le sad, on open houses they get their pictures taken by random people who pose next to them. Hahahah.
Happy 45th birthday Singapore. The winning artwork for National Day 2010 on Google on this day is up! Heh, I voted for that design too.
As for those who don’t know what’s the Song for Singapore, that’s this year’s theme song. My favourite though is Home by Kit Chan from 2004.
Ps. By the time we got out of Plaza Singapura, the line to get into the istana was FROM Plaza Singapura. Well, the walkway there towards the istana anyway. Yay for us not getting when the crowd was entering.