Thian Hock Keng is one of the oldest and most important Hokkien temples in Singapore. It was visited by Chinese immigrants giving thanks to Mazu (Goddess of the Seas) for their safe voyage. In 1839, under the leadership of Mr Tan Tock Seng and Mr Si Hoo Keh, the Hokkien clan built the temple in Telok Ayer Street. It also housed the clan’s office and served as a meeting venue. The construction of Thian Hock Keng was completed in 1840. The details of the temple’s history are recorded on stone steles inside the Entrance Hall.
There is also a plaque inscribed with the words Bo Jing Nan Ming (Gentle Waves over the South Seas) presented by Qing Dynasty Emperor Guang Xu in 1907, evidence of the temple’s stature. The temple was built in traditional southern Chinese architectural style. The entire structure was assembled without nails. It is an architectural masterpiece of stone, tiles and wood, carvings of dragons and phoenixes, intricate sculptures and imposing columns. Thian Hock Keng which is managed by Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan was gazetted as a national monument in 1973.
Over the last few decades, Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan has funded more than $6.5 million for the restoration and repair works of the monument. The most comprehensive one commenced in 1998 and was completed in December 2000. This restoration project won 4 architectural awards, including the most prestigious award from UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage 2001 Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation Building.
You may take MRT and get off at Telok Ayer MRT (DT18). Thian Hock Keng Temple is just a walking distance away from the station.
Chinatown, with its colourful Peranakan shop-houses and a handful of historical attractions, makes for a pleasant stroll. It is divided into four main districts, namely Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh, but the centre of activities revolves around Smith and Pagoda Streets. Chinatown offers a lot more than just the restored shops and ethnic places of worship, such as the old Hokkien temple Thian Hock Keng, Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple and James Mosque, it’s a haven for hawker food lovers. There’s also a good mix of hotels here, from heritage shop-house hotels to five-star luxury boutique accommodation. The Chinatown MRT Station brings you to the doorstep of Pagoda Street.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a remarkable four-story temple. When entering the gate, you’ll immediately notice the stunning main hall with its high ceiling. The bell tower and drum tower are on the same floor. However, the main focus for most visitors is the solid gold two-metre stupa on the fourth floor which is the place where the sacred relic is kept. Continuing up to the roof, there is a pagoda that has a large prayer wheel. The temple is built in style based on the Buddhist mandala and integrated with the Buddhism of the Tang dynasty. The sacred building is located in the heart of Chinatown was founded in 2002 and opened to the public only in 2007. A visit to this temple can be a memorable experience because it is rich in history and art. The Buddhist Culture Museum on the third floor houses about 300 Buddhist artefacts from all around Asia including China, Thailand, Myanmar and Pakistan. They offer a free English-language tour every Tuesday and Thursday and to avoid disappointment; it is wise to book early by calling in advance.
SO/ Sofitel Singapore is a luxury boutique hotel ideally located in the city-state's central business district, fusing old-world charm with a dash of playfulness for a delightful hotel experience. Housed within an iconic heritage building and decorated with a perfect blend of both French style and chic Singaporean influences, it redefines the luxury boutique hotel experience in the Lion City, Singapore is a cultural melting pot, with influences from a wide range of ethnic diversities. Curious travellers arriving in Singapore, also known as the Garden City, will be greeted by rows of trees and greenery the moment they step off the plane.
Ann Siang House, nestled on the outskirts of Chinatown and within minutes of the Business District, is a fashionably restored heritage property designed for the culture-hungry, contemporary guest. Offering 20 sophisticated, well-appointed rooms for refined-yet-relaxed, short and extended city stays. Stay in thoughtfully designed, detail oriented rooms that provide style and comfort. Dine at best without even stepping a foot outside of the property and discover culturally rich experiences just moments from your doorstep.
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