Guide to culture in Singapore

On first appearance, Singapore’s modern 21st century skyline suggests there is little in the way of history and culture to discover, but this could not be further from the truth. Singapore is best described as a rich melting pot of cultures, made up of ethnic Chinese, Malays and Indians with a substantial population of Eurasians for good measure.

Each of these communities has their own ethnic neighbourhoods such as Little India and Chinatown, which still maintain strong cultural and religious roots. These are the best places to explore Singapore’s cultural diversity through its rich variety of cuisine, art, religion and architecture.

Art, music & dance

Singapore has a lively arts scene that encompasses cutting edge modernity and time honoured traditional performances from all the constituent cultures that make up society here ...more

Etiquette

Getting to grips with the social conventions of the diverse communities of Singapore can seem a little daunting at first, but with our handy etiquette hints you will be right at home...more

Religion

The many diverse religions of Singapore all manage to live together in harmony where mosques rub shoulders with Anglican churches and elaborate-decorated Chinese temples...more

Festivals

Whether religious, cultural or just plain hedonistic, Singapore has plenty of colourful festivals for every occasion which are celebrated by people of all possible different faiths...more

Museums

Singapore is awash with high class museums and galleries where tourists can learn about the city's diverse culture and wonderful history as well as the city's famous high-tech advances...more

Handicrafts

What better way to remember your holiday in Singapore than by purchasing some choice handicrafts which show the magic of this country and the skill and talent of local craftsmen...more

More on Singapore culture

Tucked away among all the high rise skyscrapers are numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples, imposing mosques and churches. In fact there are even multi-faith establishments where Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims come to worship under one roof. Despite its headlong rush to modernity, Singapore still features eye catching colonial architecture, gothic revival churches and charming Chinese shop houses.

Few nations can offer such a varied mix of accessible cultures which is probably best illustrated in its traditional crafts and arts heritage. The island is filled with insightful museums and arts centres where you can explore ‘Peranakan’ culture and social history. Singapore has also been highly influenced by Western culture and you will see colourful examples of east meets west in pretty much every aspect of daily life.

Very few places can offer as much variety as Malay folk music, Chinese opera and epic Hindu dance dramas. Communication and interacting effectively is pretty easy in Singapore, although there are some common sense rules of etiquette to bear in mind. Singapore’s many places of worship also feature some of the island’s most exotic architecture. And festivals provide the perfect opportunity to explore the island’s rich cultural heritage through its cuisine, art, music or even sport.

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