The oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore was built with materials from the very boats that the immigrants arrived on; the largest one even offers a bachelor’s degree in Buddhism.
Check out these majestic Chinese and Buddhist temples in Singapore that you never knew existed (Plus, they might be in your very neighborhood!).
*COVID Update: Remember to search up on the temples and their Covid regulations. Also, let’s keep our group gatherings small (maybe, 5?). Mask up, practice social distancing, and embrace the new normal.
The oldest monastery in Singapore, the Siong Lim Temple (also known as the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery) is also one of the most impressive. Beyond the magnificent temple gates, you’ll also find a seven storey pagoda and 3 prayer halls. Modelled after the Xi Chang Shi temple in Fuzhou, the temple sports strong influences of South China.
184 Jalan Toa Payoh, 319944
Built in 1842, Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore. With such intricate architecture and ceiling mosaics, you’d be surprised to know that while most of the materials used to construct the temple came from China, some even came from the very boats that the immigrants arrived on! Inside, you’ll even find a plaque presented by the Qing Dynasty Emperor Guang Xu in 1907.
158 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068613
We can’t leave out the iconic temple that sits at the heart of – you guessed it – Chinatown. As its name suggests, the temple houses tooth relics of the Buddha, as well as some of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist artefacts, including statues, tapestry and more. There’s even a rooftop garden, library, vegetarian restaurant and bookstore in the temple itself!
288 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058840
This is the only Burmese Buddhist temple of its kind in Singapore, but its magnificence is all we need. From its modest beginning of a small temple near Little India, today, it even houses a 11 feet tall marble Buddha image, the biggest enshrine outside of Burma.
14 Tai Gin Rd, Singapore 327873
One of the most popular temples in Singapore, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple sees thousands of devotees every day praying to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy, for good luck. Keep a lookout for devotees using Qian – divining sticks with writing on them – to seek divine intervention for their future.
178 Waterloo St, Singapore 187964
The largest Buddhist temple in Singapore – more than 10 football fields large – stupas, prayer halls, a crematorium and columbarium, a residence for monks and more are set amongst tranquil gardens. It even opened the Buddhist College of Singapore in 2006, offering a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Buddhism.
88 Bright Hill Rd, Singapore 574117
If not for the HDB blocks in the background, you’d probably think this was a temple somewhere in China. Erected by Chinese migrants in the early 1900s, the name of the temple means “Temple on Phoenix Hill” – the temple sits on high grounds once with a view of the sea, although it now sees apartments and eateries in the vicinity.
29 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Singapore 238973
We know, right? In 2014, the originally traditional-looking temple was completely revamped into an impressive modern structure to keep Buddhism up to date and relevant for the current generation. So cool!
50B Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 169545
By Pinky Chng, January 2017/ Updated by Jashleen Kaur, September 2020
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