National Gallery Singapore, Singapore City: How To Reach, Best Time &
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About National Gallery Singapore

The National Art Gallery Singapore houses the largest collection of visual art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. It is also one of the greatest art galleries of Asia which aims at upholding their cultural heritage to the world of art through various media. The galleries of the art museum provide in-depth information on visual art and its evolution from 19th-century art to date.

The two historical buildings namely the Supreme Court and City Hall (erstwhile Municipal Building) that house the National Art Gallery have witnessed several phases of Singapore’s political and cultural history and stands as a glaring emblem of its colonial past.

The National Gallery Singapore opened its doors for visitors on 24 Nov 2015 in the Civic District of Singapore as the largest museum of visual arts. It comprises of more than 1,000 artworks spreading across a whopping floor area of 64,000 sq. metres. Special exhibitions are hosted in different galleries introducing the spectators to the art, culture and architecture of Southeast Asia and Singapore city in particular.

The Permanent Galleries of the museum display versatile artworks that date as early as the 19
th century till contemporary time. A trip around the magnificent museum is certainly a cultural treat to its lovers to see on your Singapore tour and witness its rich heritage down the years and provided room for common visitors and art lovers to explore, think, feel and imagine.
If you are planning to visit this iconic art gallery and museums in Singapore, here’s a list of things for your trip itineraries:

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What Not to Miss at National Gallery Singapore

Join a docent-led tour and explore the historical buildings and galleries at the National Gallery Singapore. There are various ticketed tours conducted by curators and specialists that help you get an insight into the history and culture of Singapore according to your area of interest.  List of tours are listed below from which you can make your itineraries:

1. Daily Guided Tours: The daily guided tours are long hour trips operated at different slots in English and Mandarin timings. Visitors can also choose self-guided gallery trips according to their own convenience.  There are 20 slots that are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration opens 20 minutes before the start of each tour.

2. Back of the House Tour: Former Supreme Court- Take a tour around the former Supreme Court and City Hall Buildings that represent the architectural heritage of the country. The exclusive tour gives you an opportunity to visit the restricted areas of the former Supreme Court and go behind-the-scenes to know more about the courtroom trials and events. Timings are every Friday at 5:30 PM and Saturday at 3:30 PM.

3. UOB Southeast Asia Gallery Highlight Tour: Join one of the tours conducted by the docents and get to know more about the main highlights of the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery. Timings are daily at 3:30 PM (English) and Friday-Sunday at 3 PM (Mandarin).

4. Insight tour: Law of the Land: The insight tour conducted by the curators of the gallery will take you back to the time of Singapore’s emergence as a sovereign republic (1965) from a British settlement (1819). For admission ticket holders, the tour is free of cost. The tour opens for visitors on every 4th Friday of the month (excluding public holidays) between 6:30 PM -7:15 PM.

5. DBS Singapore Gallery Highlights Tour: The guided tour led by docents gives you access to the highlights of the DBS Singapore Gallery. The tour is open every day at 1 PM and on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:30 AM -1 PM (English timings) and Friday-Sunday at 12 PM (Mandarin timings).

6. Highlights of Gallery Tour: You can gain valuable information about the cultural history of Singapore and Southeast Asia from the artworks displayed in the DBS Singapore and UOB Southeast Asia galleries. The exhibitions are conducted in English and Japanese. Timings are Saturday & Sunday at 4 PM (English) and every last Saturday of the month at 1:30 PM (Japanese).

7. Highlights of Wu Guanzhong: Expressions of Pen and Pallet and Lim Cheng Hoe: Painting Singapore- In a guided tour organised by docents you can explore the highlighted works of Lim Cheng Hoe and Wu Guanzhong. The gallery remains open from Friday-Sunday at 11:30 AM and Saturday & Sunday at 2 PM.

8. Private and Group Tours: Along with the daily guided tours, there are several private guided tours for individual visitors or groups that can be customized according to your preference and budget.

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Things To Do Near National Gallery Singapore

There are a number of places near National Art Gallery Singapore where you can spend joyful time strolling around the gallery, taking thrilling rides or enjoying fine dining at the cafes and restaurants. Know what else you can do in your Singapore trip and plan your itineraries accordingly:

1. Katong Food Walk: Whether you are a connoisseur of authentic Singaporean cuisines or an enthusiast of culture and history, a guided 4 hours’ tour conducted by the Betel Box hostel owners will sate your wishes and interests. As you make your way through the colourful lounges of the Geylang area you can gorge on steaming dim sum or chilli crab and get fair knowhow from your guide about the local culture and lifestyle of the Singaporean people.

2. Camping: For nature lovers, this is a rare opportunity to spend a day in the lap of nature and enjoy amazing barbeque session on the sea beach. East Coast Park Camping at the Areas D and G can be your ultimate camping site for nature photography and make nice memories to cherish. For camping at any AXS Station, you need a prior permit.

3. Siloso BeachBeach lovers should not be disappointed by holidaying in the bustling downtown of Singapore as the most bewitching sea beaches are close to the city. Siloso and Lido beaches are most popular among the tourists for the pleasant climate and serenity of the place. Spend a night at Siloso when the place really comes to life and experience the magical charm of stargazing under the open sky. Lastly, soak in the positive vibe of the place and go back home with unforgettable memories.

4. City tour on the Bike: The best possible way to visit the nook and corner of the city is by riding a bike which introduces you to the lifestyle and culture of the local people. You can also go for a weekend trip or picnic to the nearby riverfront where you meet a good number of local people in the market place. 
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5. Sri Sivan Temple: This is one of the most famous Hindu temples in Singapore which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and stands as an emblem of Indian architecture at the Geylang Avenue in Singapore. The temple owes its unique features with intricate carving on its outer surface to the Indian artisans who were hired for the construction.

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Other Essential Information About National Gallery Singapore

The National Art Gallery accommodates an array of art-inspired venues where exclusive museum merchandises are on display for visitors to have their pick. It also houses a separate suite that houses retail spaces for curated dining with a diverse range of cuisines across the world. A list of the most sought after shopping and dining corners are given below that have amazing offers to give you the best experience ever:

1. City Hall Wing, Level 1: If you have a nose for curated and designer items this has to be your preferred shopping destination. Their handpicked items comprise of children’s books, exhibition catalogs, research articles (titled on Visual Art in Singapore and Southeast Asia) published by the gallery, and their own branded food and other products. The retail and cafeteria remain open from Saturday- Thursday (10 AM- 7 PM) and Friday (10 AM- 9 PM).

2. Aura Restaurant: Aura promises you the delight of world-class contemporary dining with a plethora of classic Italian cuisine prepared with the finest and freshest ingredients. The restaurant runs with the objective of showcasing the creativity of expert chefs in Italian cookery. Opening hours are daily between noon- 2:30 PM and 6:30 PM -10:30 PM.

3. Courtyard Café: The restaurant specializes in Straits Asian platters with modern innovations of local cuisines, traditional kuehs, toasts, cakes, and beverages. Opening timings are from Saturday-Thursday (including public holidays) between 9:30 AM-7 PM, Fridays and eve of public holidays 9:30 AM -8 PM.

4. Courtyard Lounge: What can be better than enjoying Asian fusion tapas accompanied by electrifying jazz music? The restaurant is sited in a cozy corner of the National Art Gallery and is a must-visit place for Asian food lovers. Remains open from Monday to Thursday (1-7) PM, Fri-Sat (1-8) PM, and Sundays are closed.

5. Odette: The restaurant owes its authentic French recipes to chef-owner Julien Royer whose culinary principle is using the finest seasonal ingredients and French techniques for creating magic in the platters. For the connoisseurs of French cuisine, Odette is a must-visit place to taste their signature dishes. Opening timings are Monday (7 PM -9:30 PM) and Tuesday- Saturday (noon-2 PM, 7 PM -9:30 PM).

6. Hachi Restaurant: The 20-year old Japanese restaurant has opened its new flagship in the National Art Gallery. The objective of the restaurant is to make seasonal omakase dining exclusive by using authentic Japanese cooking ingredients from land and sea resources of Japan. Remains open Monday-Friday between noon-2:30 PM and 6 PM-11 PM and on Saturdays between 6 PM -11 PM.

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7. The Public Eight: For the drinkers, Pubic Eight is ready to welcome you with their Japanese whisky, High Cocktails, fresh beer on tap and a wide variety of alcoholic beverages according to your taste. You can also savor modern Japanese cuisines complemented with a cocktail. Remains open Monday-Saturday from 5:30 PM till midnight.

8. Yan: If you are looking for authentic Cantonese cuisines in Singapore, Yan is the right place for you to tantalise your taste buds with their innovative delicacies. Their signature dishes are prepared with assorted ingredients for the typical Cantonese flavour. The restaurant remains open every day between 11:30 AM- 2:30 PM and 6 PM- 10:30 PM.

9. Aura Sky Lounge:  What can be more fulfilling than savouring a scrumptious Mediterranean lunch or sipping into your favourite drink in the rooftop bar? The skyline of Marina Bay will make your dining experience one-of-its-kind. Remains open between 11:30 AM -1 AM.

10. Smoke and Mirrors: It is an epicurean haven for those who want to relish signature cocktails, wine and curated menu specially prepared by the trained chefs of Smoke and Mirrors. Your meal will be complemented with the panoramic view overlooking the Marina Bay and Padang Beach through the giant skylights of the restaurant. Remains open from Monday-Thursday between 3 PM -1 AM, Fridays from 3 PM-2 AM, Saturdays (including Eve of Public Holidays) from noon-2AM and Sundays from noon-1AM.

11. National Kitchen by Violet Oon Singapore: Enjoy the sweeping view of Singapore skyline from the elegantly decked dining hall with a signature cocktail or some spicy bites. Popularised by the local celebrity chef Violet Oon, National Kitchen is the place where dining is a celebration of Singapore’s vibrant culinary heritage. Remains open every day from 3 PM -5 PM (afternoon tea) and 6 PM -10:30 PM.

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Tips for Visiting National Gallery Singapore

Below are listed some of the tips for visitors before visiting the National Gallery. Take note of these tips for a happy and hazardless visit to one of the eminent heritage sites in Singapore:

- Do not take outside food inside the gallery premises. Foods and beverages can be taken only at the permitted restaurants inside the gallery precincts.
- Do not try to touch the artwork in the gallery while visiting. Touching with hands may cause damage to the paintings.
- It is recommended to the visitors to bring warm clothing for visiting the gallery which is air-conditioned and maybe a bit chilled for some visitors. Otherwise, there is no dress code inside the gallery.
- Keep your bags and other luggage in the locker room of the gallery.
- Do not take flash photos, selfies, or videos inside the gallery. It is strictly prohibited.
- Maintaining silence inside the gallery is appreciated. Avoid talking over mobile phones. If at all, talk softly without disturbing the silence of the place.

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People Also Ask About National Gallery Singapore

  1. What is the history of the National Art Gallery?

    The National Gallery Singapore is lodged in two iconic buildings of Singapore- the former City Hall Building and the Supreme Court. On August 21st, 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed his government’s plan to convert the two most iconic buildings into an artwork gallery. On September 2nd, 2006 Minister of Information, Communication and Arts Mr Lee Boon Yang officially declared the construction of the National Gallery Singapore during the Singapore Biennale in 2006 at the Singapore National Museum. The construction of the gallery was undertaken by a Paris based studio Milou Architecture in collaboration with its Singaporean partner CPG Consultants.

  2. How do I get to the National Gallery Singapore?

    You can get to the National Gallery by taxi, buses or shuttle as per your convenience. The best way to zip around the city is to buy a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) which allows you hassle-free roam in the highlighted sites of the city. From Changi Airport you may take a bus or subway to the gallery that is available at affordable rates. If you are ready to spend a few more bucks for a fast and comfortable journey you can take a shuttle which drops you at the City Building in 16 minutes.

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  3. What types of art are there in the National Art Gallery?

    The National Art Gallery houses a monumental collection of artworks predominant in South and Southeast Asia and is one of the latest visual art public institutions in Singapore. Some of the most prominent artworks worth seeing are Drying Salted Fish (1978, Cheong Soo Pieng), National Language Class (1959, Chua Mia Tee), Life by the Tree (1975, Liu Kiang), Portrait of Eugene Chen (1961, Georgette Chen), Modern Art (c. 1960-170, Chua Tiang Ming) and Black and White (c. 1970, Anthony Poon).

  4. What is the National Art Gallery?

    National Art Gallery Singapore is an art museum which was opened in 24th, November 2015 at the inner city of Singapore. It is the world’s largest collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art open to the public.

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  5. How long does it take to visit and view the entire National Art Gallery?

    It takes about 2-3 hours to explore the building and see the major artworks on display. But, it also depends on your level of fitness and energy to visit the current exhibitions and for that, you may need some more time. If you want to have an afternoon lunch at any of the restaurants in the gallery you will need almost half a day for a complete excursion.

  6. Is it wheelchair accessible?

    At the Visitor Service counter of the gallery manual wheelchairs are available free of cost and on a first-come-first-served basis. To borrow a wheelchair, visitors must show their ID proof to the authorities. However, for wheelchair-bound visitors, it may be a bit challenging to visit each and every gallery.

  7. Is food allowed in the National Art Gallery?

    Visitors are not allowed to bring food or any kind of drink inside the gallery premises. However, there are restaurants and beverage stalls inside the precincts of the gallery where you can have refreshments.

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  8. Is it allowed to take pictures in the National Art Gallery?

    Visitors can take photographs for personal and non-commercial purposes. It is the responsibility of a visitor not to infringe copyright laws. Use of tripods, flash photos and selfie sticks are not allowed in the gallery. Taking photos of the loan paintings in the main galleries may be restricted that are indicated by signs next to each painting. Photography of children is strictly prohibited without the consent of accompanying adult e.g. school groups and/or those attending family events. Visitors are requested not to obstruct viewing of paintings for other visitors and take photos of anyone without their consent.
  9. Who built the National Gallery of Art?

    The design of the former Supreme Court was laid by the chief architect of the Public Works Department Mr. Frank Dorrington. Later, the Supreme Court building and the City Hall was transformed by Studio Milou and CPG Consultants into the National Art Gallery.
  10. Do I need to bring ID s in the National Art Gallery?

    Valid identity proof (e.g. passport, pink/blue NRIC etc.) should be provided at the Visitor Service counter to avail concession admission to the gallery. 

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