27 places of worship IN SINGAPORE

Sultan Mosque Singapore
Sultan Mosque … its golden dome can be seen from far away

By LINDA JAMES | Updated MARCH 10, 2022 | SEE & DO

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Singapore’s diversity is not only evident in its languages, culture, architecture and food but in the range of religions practised. Among the places of worship in Singapore are churches, temples, shrines and mosques.

Here, you can turn a corner and see a Catholic church beside a Hindu shrine or Taoist temple, while Protestant cathedrals exist in the same neighbourhoods as mosques, Buddhist temples and Armenian Orthodox churches.

There are about 72 Masjids (mosques) and 30 Hindu temples in Singapore as well as many Christian Church. The following list features 27 of the most important places of worship in Singapore.

Many have strict dress codes. If you decide to visit, you should remember that etiquette may require you remove shoes, maintain silence or wear appropriate clothing such as long pants for men, and loose clothing that covers the legs and arms for women. Also, remember not to touch the deities or get too close.

Abdul Gaffoor Mosque

The mosque has been through many restorations since it was originally built in 1859 by a southern Indian lawyer’s clerk named Shaik Abdul Gafoor Shaik Hyder for the Indian Muslim merchants. It has many arches and a central onion dome and is a mix of Arabian, South Indian and Roman styles. Inside there’s a 25-ray sundial with the names of the 25 chosen prophets of Islam written in Arabic script. To one side of the main prayer hall, the genealogy of these prophets is chronicled on a large family tree.

You can borrow robes before you enter.

Address: 41 Dunlop St
Open: Daily 7am-noon and 2.30pm-4.30pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near Jalan Besar MRT (DT22) take Exit E, Rochor MRT (DT13), Little India MRT (NE7), Bugis (EW12) MRT; buses – 64,65,130,139,147,147A,857,2N,4N, 48,56,57,131,131A,960,960E,980

Al-Abrar Mosque

This protected national monument was originally built in 1827 while the current building was put up in the 1850s. It has two thin minarets topped by the Crescent and Star.

Assyafaah Mosque 
A reasonably new mosque – opened in 2004 – it doesn’t even actually look like one. Instead, a modern approach was taken, with the building designed to reflect calmness, spirituality and a sense of oneness bathed in natural light. 
Address: 192 Telok Ayer St
Open: Saturday to Thursday 10am to 6pm, Friday 10am-noon, 2.30pm-6pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Telok Ayer MRT 

Assyafaah Mosque

A reasonably new mosque – opened in 2004 – it doesn’t even actually look like one. Instead, a modern approach was taken, with the building designed to reflect calmness, spirituality and a sense of oneness bathed in natural light.

Address: 1 Admiralty Lane
Open: Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm, weekends 8am-1pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near Sembawang MRT; buses – 980,856
Buddha Tooth Relic temple is one of the many places of worship in Singapore
Buddha Tooth Relic temple … oneof the most impressive in Singapore

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

This is one of the most popular – and ostentatious – temples in Singapore. Drenched in red and gold, representing great fortune in Chinese culture, and embellished by hundreds of statues of Buddha, this temple is very photogenic and contains a beautiful main hall with a high ceiling. On the same floor are the bell and drum towers.

The four-storey temple in Chinatown has a pagoda on the roof with a large prayer wheel. Built in 2007, it’s based on the Buddhist mandala and integrated with the Buddhism of the Tang dynasty.

Buddhism is the most common religion in Singapore and this is one of the most-visited temples. On the 4th floor – and the highlight for many visitors – is the 2m-high, 318kg solid gold stupa, which is where the sacred relic is kept. This is a tooth of Lord Buddha, who died more than 2000 years ago.

Buddhists flock to this temple on the Singaporean public holiday of Vesak Day, in May.

Buddha Tooth Relic temple Singapore
Buddha Tooth Relic temple … a solid gold stupa inside holds the precious relic
Address: 288 South Bridge Rd
Open: Daily 9am-6.30 pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near Chinatown MRT station

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

One of the oldest Catholic churches in Singapore, this cathedral dates back to 1843. Two great colonial architects of the time, D.L. Sweeney and J.T. Thomson competed for the commission and Thomson’s design was eventually chosen. Just one year later, a third architect, Charles Dyce, added a tower and a spire. It’s now a designated national monument.

Address: Queen St
Open: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bras Basah MRT (CC2), 3 min walk, Bencoolen MRT (DT21) 6 min walk, City Hall MRT (EW13/NS25) 7 min walk; buses – 106,130,175,197,61,80.

Central Sikh Temple

Many of Singapore’s 15,000 Sikhs worship at this stunning white marble temple. It was built to mark the 518th birthday of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, and houses the Granth Sahih, or holy book.

Address: 2 Towner Road
Open: daily 6am-8pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bendemeer MRT (DT23) walk 11 mins, Farrer Park MRT (NE8) walk 14 mins; buses – 133,23,31,64,65.

Chesed-El Synagogue

This is the newer of the two synagogues in Singapore and was designed in the Palladian style. It’s a Renaissance-era revival of ancient Greek and Roman architectural features characterised by arches, Corinthian columns and a covered porch originally intended for horse carriages.

Address: 2 Oxley Rise
Open: Contact below for access
Getting there: Near Dhoby Ghaut MRT (NS24/NE6/CC1) 8 min walk, Fort Canning MRT (DT20) 9 min walk; buses - 106,123,143 

Church of the Blessed Sacraments

The blue slate roof of this church resembles origami folds in the shape of a tent, symbolising the “tent of meeting” in the Old Testament. The main sanctuary on the interior of the church is built in a crucifix shape, and glass panels line the four points at which the hall meets the roof, which allows natural light to flood in.

Address: 1 Commonwealth Drive
Open: virtual open house https://www.bsc.org.sg/virtual-openhouse/
Cost: free
Getting there: Near Commonwealth MRT (EW20), take Exit D and walk 10 mins; buses - 961#,61,855,961,123,51,93,100,147,153,196,198, walk 1 min from bus stop B11049

Church of St Gregory the Illuminator

This Armenian church is one of the oldest having been built in 1835. St Gregory was the first monk of the Armenian church. The church, built by colonial architect George Coleman, is now a national monument and is considered a masterpiece.

Tip: If you’re in Singapore in August, visit this church during the annual Night Festival in August when it’s covered in LED bulbs and Armenian St comes alive with entertainment.

Many Armenians migrated to Singapore in the 1800s when it became a major trading hub. Two notable Armenians in the Singapore community were the Sarkies brothers, who in the late 19th century founded several five-star hotels in Southeast Asia including the world-famous Raffles Hotel.

The church’s architecture is traditionally Armenian, with a stark white exterior decorated by a thin, lofty spire, a large portico, and soaring Doric columns. The small prayer hall contains more than 20 arched windows and doorways.

Address: 60 Hill Street
Open: daily 10am-6pm(due to Covid-19 restrictions, email community@armeniansinasia.org)
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near City Hall MRT (EW13/NS25), take Exit B, 7 min walk, Basah MRT (CC2), 8 min walk, Clarke Quay MRT (NE5), 8 min walk; buses – 12,147,197,51,61 at bus stops 04142 and 04149.

Hajjah Fatimah Mosque

Named after a charitable Malay woman who donated money to build it, this mosque was built in 1846in a mix of Malay and colonial styles. At the back of the mosque, there are old tombstones, including Hajjah Fatimah’s.

Address: 4001 Beach Rd
Open: Daily 9am-9pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Lavender MRT; buses 7,32,51,63,80,82,100,107,107X,145,197,03,61,851,961,980

Khong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple (Bright Hill Temple)

This is one of the largest temples in Singapore; a modern building covering 12ha. It has many grand halls, shrines, bell and drum towers, and beautiful Chinese statues and decorations. On the grounds, there’s a large turtle pool, a serene garden and a crematorium. There’s an outdoor statue of Avalokitesvara between Dharma Hall and the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas.

The Temple of No Form contains one of the Asia’s largest bronze Buddha statues, which is 13.8m high and 55 tons. Each year, the monastery celebrates Vesak Day with ceremonies such as “Bathing the Buddha” and “Three-Steps-One-Bow”.

On the weekends, if you go before noon, you can buy vegetarian meals such as nasi lemak and laksa from the food stalls in the Dining Hall on the second storey of Venerable Hong Choon Memorial Hall. Prices are usually less than $S5 but they often sell out quickly.

Address: 88 Bright Hill Rd
Open: Daily 8am-4pm but there are different hours for some of the halls
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bright Hill MRT (TE7), take Exit 2, walk east on Sin Ming Ave, turn right into Bright Hill Rd, about 5 mins; buses – 52,162M,162,410 stop outside at bus stop B53331

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

Devoted to Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion, this is a traditional temple built in 1884, making it one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Singapore.

Guanyin is an all-seeing, all-hearing being who worshippers call on in times of uncertainty, despair, and fear. Praying to her is believed to bring worshippers good luck.

It has Chinese-style roofs, granite tiles and the good fortune colours of red, golden and yellow with a single altar with Guanyin in the middle and other deities in lower positions.

This temple and the nearby Sri Krishnan Temple have developed a practice known as “cross-worshipping”, where devotees of either temple also worship at the other. This reflects the multi-religious nature of Singaporean society.

This temple is very popular during Chinese New Year or Vesak Day as devotees go to seek blessings. There is also a very strong focus on charity work.

Address: 178 Waterloo St
Open: Monday to Friday 7am–6.30pm, weekends closed
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bugis MRT, take Exit A, cross to Bugis St, walk 5 mins

Kuan Im Tng Temple

On entering, there is an impressive statue of Cundi Bodhisattva, a reincarnation of the Goddess of Mercy. The temple upholds “Xian Tian Sect”, which is not a traditional form of Buddhism worship but combines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Devotees focus on cultivating the mind and body through Taoist philosophies, accumulating merits and good karma through recitations of Buddhist mantras, and applying Confucian etiquette in everyday lives.

Address: 62 Tembeling Rd
Open: Wednesday to Sunday, 1st/15th day of every Lunar month and public holidays 9am to 4pm, Monday and Tuesday closed
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Eunos MRT (EW7), walk 12 mins from Exit A; bus – 33 walking 1 min from bus stop B82151

Leong San See Temple

This Taoist temple was also built to honour Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. She is also popular with childless couples who pray for her blessings. It resembles a Chinese palace.

Address: 371 Race Course Rd
Open: Daily 6am-6pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Farrer Park MRT (NE8) 6 min walk; buses – 130,145,147,23,64,65

Maghain Aboth Synagogue

The second of two synagogues in Singapore, this one is thought to be one of the oldest in Southeast Asia.

Address: 24-26 Waterloo St
Open: To book a tour, email enquiry@jwb.org.sg
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bencoolen MRT (DT21), 2 min walk, Bras Basah MRT (CC2), 3 min walk; buses - 106,131,162,166,175,502. 

Siong Lim Temple

This national monument was was built in 1908 to commemorate Buddha’s birth and death. It has a highly decorated gateway, which is only accessible by bridge. Inside you’ll see large incense burners and a beautifully carved Buddha from Thailand. There is also a monastery, a smaller temple and a rock garden in the grounds.

Address: 184E Jalan Toa Payoh
Open: daily 7am-5pm
Cost: free
Getting there: Near Kallang MRT (EW10), 13 min walk, Mountbatten MRT (CC7), 12 min walk; buses – 10, 158A, 197, 21, 33, 63, 67

St Andrew’s Cathedral

Christian churches are plentiful in Singapore due to the influence of the British who colonised it from 1826 to 1963 when it became part of Malaysia before gaining independence in 1965.

St Andrew’s has some beautiful stained-glass windows set into its white-washed façade, which features complex stonework and a tall spire.

This Gothic Anglican cathedral was built after the original was destroyed by lightning strikes in 1852.

There is a visitors’ centre with photos, pictures, artefacts and a video of the church’s history. Free guided tours are also available.

Address: 11 St Andrew's Rd
Open: 9am-4pm 
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near City Hall MRT (EW13/NS25); buses 162,166,174,197,51,80

St Joseph’s Church

By 2005, the National Heritage Board of Singapore recognised the Roman Catholic St Joseph’s Church as a national monument because of its cultural and social importance especially in the Catholic Eurasian community.

St Joseph’s is known for its Portuguese-inspired traditions especially the weekly traditional Latin mass. On Good Friday, mass is not held instead a liturgy is performed: the altars are bare, church bells silent, and penance baptism and anointing of the sick is done reflecting Portuguese traditions.

The church was designed in the Gothic Revival style with four columns that support the portico and giant marble statues of the three religious figures of Saint John de Brito, Saint Joseph, and Saint John.

Address: 143 Victoria St
Open: Weekdays 9am-noon, 1pm-5pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near City Hall MRT (EW13/NS25), Bugis MRT (DT14/EW12), Bras Basah (MRT/CC2); buses – 2,7,12,32,33,51,61,63,80,175,NR7,130,133,145,197,851,960

Sri Krishnan Temple

Dedicated to Sri Krishna, the eighth avatar of Shiva, and Rukmini, his consort, this Hindu temple is constructed in the style of a typical South Indian Hindu temple, decorated with statues of Vishnu’s 10 incarnations, his mount Garuda, and a wedding scene. The roof is covered with effigies of Hindu deities in bold, bright colours.

This temple is especially popular with many Hindu families during Deepavali and Krishna Jayanthi celebrations. Deepavali begins with a chime of bells, followed by music played by Hindu temple musicians. The priest will read the names of devotees during communal prayers and bless them with white ash on their foreheads.

Address: 152 Waterloo St
Open: daily 6am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near Rochor MRT (DT13), walk 4 mins from Exit A, Basah MRT (CC2), 7 min walk, Bugis MRT (EW12/DT14), 8 min walk; buses – 980,56, walk 1 min from bus stop B07518
Sri Mariamman Temple Singapore
Sri Mariamman Temple … the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore

Sri Mariamman Temple

The oldest shrine in Singapore and one of the most prominent places of worship for Tamil Hindus, this temple honours Goddess Mariamman – the deity of disease and protection.

The ornate six-tiered grand tower entrance, the gopuram on the façade, is built in the Dravidian style of architecture, and decorated with Hindu deities and mythological figures.

Behind the main prayer hall, there are several smaller rooms with shrines honouring various deities.

The temple’s walls and ceilings are covered with colourful murals depicting Hindu deities and religious motifs such as Sri Yantra, a geometric pattern that assists with meditation. The week before Diwali, it is the site of the annual Firewalking Festival, when worshippers prove their devotion by walking barefoot over burning embers.

It has also been an asylum for new immigrants that belong to the South Indian Tamil Hindu community.

Address: 244 South Bridge Rd
Open: 5am-11.30am, 5pm-8.45pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near Chinatown MRT (NE4/DT19), 6 min walk, Outram Park (EW16/NE3), 10 min walk; buses - 143, 568, 61, 80

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

This Hindu temple, dedicated to Perumal (or Vishnu), was built in 1955 and declared a national monument in 1978. The gopuram features the legend of Vishnu’s nine reincarnations. It was declared a national monument in 1978.

Address397 Serangoon Rd
Open: Daily 6.30am-midday; 6pm-9pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Farrer Park MRT (NE8), 5 min walk, Bendemeer MRT (DT23), 14 min walk, Lavender MRT (EW11), 16 min walk; buses – 130, 131, 23, 65

Sree Ramar Temple

The Dravidian architecture of this temple is similar to Sri Mariamman’s it features statues of Lord Buddha and Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, as well as statues of Hindu deities such as Rama.

Address: 51 Changi Village Rd
Open: Daily 6am-noon, 5.30pm-9pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: buses – 109,19,2,59,9; ferry – Changi Pt Ferry terminal

Sri Thandayuthapani Temple

Also known as the Chettiar Hindu Temple, this has a number of shrines with glass-panelled roofs angled to catch the sun’s rays when it rises and sets. The Thaipusam and Navarathiri Festivals culminate here each year.

Hindu devotees bear kavadi, or portable shrines pierced to the body, as a sign of faith and penance during the Thaipusa procession in February. It starts at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India and ends at the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple.

In October, the Navarathiri Festival celebrates the goddesses Dhurga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi in 9-days of dancing, music and worship.

Address: 15 Tank Rd
Open: 5.30am-noon, 4.30pm-8.30pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Fort Canning MRT (DT20), 4 min walk, Dhoby Ghaut (NS24/NE6/CC1)	10 min walk; buses - 123,143,195

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Built in 1881 to honour Hindu goddess Kali, this temple features bold colour and intricate reliefs.

Address: 141 Serangoon Rd
Open: Daily 8am-noon, 4pm-8.30pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Jalan Besar MRT (DT22) 8 min walk, Little India MRT (NE7/DT12) 8 min walk, Bugis MRT (EW12/DT14) 15 min walk; buses - 131, 139,147,64

Sultan Mosque

This is one of the biggest mosques in Singapore – and one that’s very hard to miss. Its two massive gold domes shine bright from blocks away.

Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, which combines Persian, Moorish and Turkish influences, the bottoms of the domes are decorated with glass bottles donated by members of the Muslim community thus allowing them to contribute to its construction.

The mosque also features rows of ornate arched windows.

The two-storeyed interior is also beautiful with a prayer hall that can hold up to 5,00 people – one storey for men and the other for women.

There is a hidden mausoleum under one of the golden domes that houses the tombs of the late Tengku Alam Shah, prince of the House of Bendahara, and other royalty. Entrance to this is strictly prohibited.

One of the best times to visit is during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan when it’s surrounded by a night market.

Guided tours are conducted in English, Malay, Chinese, and Japanese. The mosque has a dress code but long robes can be borrowed at the entrance.

Address: 3 Muscat St
Open: Daily 9am-1pm; 2pm-4pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: Near Bugis MRT (EW12/DT14), 7 min walk; buses – 100,57,80,851

Thian Hock Keng Temple

One of the most interesting and oldest temples in Singapore is Thian Hock Keng, or the Temple of Heavenly Happiness. This Taoist-Buddhist temple, built around 1820, was dedicated to the Mother of Heavenly Sages and protector of sailors, Ma Zu Po.

The temple was originally at the waterfront until Singapore began its land reclamation program. Early Chinese immigrants visited this temple to give thanks for their safe passage across the South China Sea.

Its elaborately painted doors and highly decorated beams and gold-leafed panels are in the Fujian architecture style, which also features intricate sculptures of dragons and deities, and colourful broken porcelain on the roof ridges. The wooden entrance to the temple is painted with Taoist “door gods”.

It’s incredible to think that this temple was constructed without the use of a single nail.

A popular time to visit is during the Chinese New Year festival when worshippers offer fortune rice buckets to the spirit of the Jade Emperor.

Address: 158 Telok Ayer St
Open: Daily 7.30am-5.30pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Telok Ayer MRT (DT18), 3 min walk, Chinatown MRT (NE4/DT19), 9 min walk, Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15) 10 min walk, Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26), 10 min walk; buses – 10,655,97,97E

Temple of 1000 Lights (Sakyamuni Buddha Gaya Temple)

Thai monk, Vuthisara, established this temple in 1927. The Thai-style architecture is complemented by the large 15m-high Buddha statue that sits inside the temple along with a range of smaller images. The Buddha statue is surrounded by light bulbs hence its name.

Address: 366 Race Course Rd
Open: Daily 8am-4.45pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Farrer Park MRT (NE8), 6 min walk, Bendemeer (DT23), 13 min walk; buses - 130,145,147,23,65

Conclusion

These are just 27 of the most important places of worship to see in Singapore but they reflect the huge diversity to be found. Many of these sit by side in the same areas if not the same streets. Not only are they places of worship but many are also important historical sites and some also contain museums as well.

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