If you’re hoping to visit the Istana in Singapore, you’ll need to take note of the dates for the Istana Open House in 2023 to tour the grounds and Istana heritage building that is the Singapore presidential palace. The National Day Istana Open House is on 23 July 2023!
A visit to the Istana Singapore is only possible during the 2023 Istana Open House as it’s closed to the public for the rest of the year. If you’d like to visit The Istana (which means ‘palace’ in Malay) you’ll need to go when the Istana is open to the public – this happens during the Istana Open House usually around the five major public holidays of the year. The next Istana Open House will be for National Day and has just been announced for Sunday 23 July 2023.
We outline the dates for the Istana Open House in 2023 so you can plan your visit!
National Day Istana Open House: 23 July 2023
The National Day Istana Open House 2023 will be held on Sunday, 23 July 2023, 8:30am to 6pm and this year there will be live performances, food trucks and fun activity booths! You’ll also get to go on guided tours of the Istana (see below for timings and pricing), check out the newly enhanced Swan Pond, and enjoy the Japanese Garden, and the inclusive garden.
National Day Istana Open House 2023 Activities:
9.00am – 10.30am: Band Performance by New Town Primary School
10.00am – 10.30am: Malay Dance by Damai Primary School
10.00am – 11.00am: Musical Performance by The ETC
11.00am – 12.00pm: Band Performance by Anderson Primary School / Indian Dance Performance by Bhaskar’s Arts Academy / Music Performance by Eunice and Lay Chun
12.00pm – 12.45pm: Musical Performance by NAFA
12.00pm – 1.00pm: Dance of the Nation by SportSG
1.00pm – 2.00pm: Guzheng Performance by Tan Chu Yuan
2.00pm – 3.00pm: Music Performance by NJ Studio / Music Performance by yIN Harmony / Musical Performance by Harmon-ee Music
3.00pm – 4.00pm: Dance of the Nation by SportSG / Dikir Barat Performance by Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah / Music Performance by Fyrdauz Macbeth
4.00pm – 5.00pm: Musical Performance by Gendang Akustika
Activity Booths: 8:30am – 6.00pm
Clay Craft, Pastel Nagomi Art for Children by People’s Association
Candle Art Making by Candlescape
Merlion Activity by Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist Association
Arts and Crafts for Kids (e.g., coaster painting, face tattoo)
Interactive Community Games (e.g., giant jenga, hopscotch, Connect4)
Arabic Calligraphy by Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah
Traditional Games (e.g., five stones, capteh) by National Heritage Board
Outdoor Table Tennis by SportsSG
Cyanotype Workshop by ART:DIS
Henna Art by Cognizant
Balloon Sculpting by Singtel
Youth Volunteerism: Photo Exhibition and Activities by Youth Corps Singapore
Co-existence with Wildlife Exhibitions and Activities by Outward Bound Singapore
Augmented Reality Activity by Singapore Polytechnic
#SGinHarmony Photobooth Activity by MCCY
SGCare Volunteer Go Where Information Booth by SGCares
Kampong Spirit, Kampong Fun Exhibition by National Heritage Board
National Gallery Roving Art Truck
9.30am – 5.00pm: Istana Main Building Guided Tour by National Heritage Board
10.00am – 4.00pm: Nature Guided Tour by NParks
Food Trucks at National Day Istana Open House 2023
There will also be food trucks (Old Chang Kee and SG Food Truck), food stalls (Chulop, Epik Kebabs, State of Affairs and Udders Ice Cream), Drinks Booths sponsored by Pokka Pte Ltd and merchandise booths with limited-edition Istana souvenirs and President’s Challenge souvenirs. All fees collected and proceeds from the merchandise booths will go towards charities supported by President’s Challenge.
Istana Open House 2023: Tickets
During the National Day Istana Open House in 2023, all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents enter the Istana grounds for free as will children below 4 years old. Other visitors will pay a fee of $2 for admission.
There are also fees applicable for entry to the Istana Main Building, the Guided Tour and Nature Guided Tour.
All About Istana Open Houses in 2023
The Istana, being the Singapore presidential palace, is one of Singapore’s oldest heritage sites and comprises beautifully manicured green grounds (over 40 hectares) and a Neo-Palladian style majestic Istana building. The Istana once housed Singapore’s British governors, but now is the office of the President of the Republic of Singapore and is where she receives and entertains state guests. The Istana stands on what used to be Charles Robert Prinsep’s nutmeg plantation, so it is a wonderfully landscaped green garden with a variety of flora and fauna.
If you’re in town on Orchard Road near Plaza Singapura as you pass the Istana, you’ll first notice the wide gates protecting the Istana building and the smart guards standing to attention.
Istana Open House 2023: five times a year
The Istana grounds are open to the public only during the Istana Open House which takes place several times a year – in celebration of Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa & Labour Day and National Day.
The Istana Open House is scheduled around these holidays in 2023 (actual dates to be confirmed):
Chinese New Year Istana Open House (23 Jan 2023)
Hari Raya Puasa Istana Open House & Labour Day Istana Open House (1 May 2023)
National Day Istana Open House (23 July 2023)
Deepavali Istana Open House
Upcoming Istana Open House Dates:
Deepavali Istana Open House in 2023
There is usually an Istana Open House in 2023 for Deepavali (which falls on Sunday, 12 November 2023). We will update as and when the exact date for the Deepavali Istana Open House 2023 is confirmed.
Past Istana Open Houses:
Labour Day Istana Open House 2023
The Istana Open house for Hari Raya took place together with the Istana Open House for Labour Day on 1 May 2023. The Labour Day Istana Open House/ Hari Raya Aidilfitri Istana Open House was held from 8.30am to 6pm, and featured a band and dance performances. In addition to tours of the grounds, families were treated to balloon sculpting and henna painting.
There were also food trucks and fun activity booths! Most Istana Open House days have merchandise booths with limited-edition Istana souvenirs and President’s Challenge souvenirs.
At the Istana open house, visitors can go on the National Heritage Board’s guided tours of the Istana’s main building to view selected function rooms and have a closer look at state gifts presented to Singapore’s leaders. The National Parks Board also held nature guided tours to showcase the flora and fauna on the Istana grounds.
Istana Open House in 2023 for Hari Raya Puasa
This year the Istana Open House for Hari Raya took place together with the Istana Open House for Labour Day on 1 May 2023.
Read more: Public Holidays in Singapore
Istana Open House 2023 for Chinese New Year
The Istana Open House in 2023 for Chinese New Year took place on 23 January 2023. The Istana Open House in 2023 included an Istana Main Building Guided Tour and Nature Guided Tours around Istana.
Queues at the Istana Open House 2023
Yes, queues do form at the Istana on the Open House and it can get very hot too! Do try to visit as early in the day as possible especially if you are with young children as queues do start to form from the afternoon onwards.
Changing of the Guards at the Istana, Singapore
A Platoon of Guards from the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command perform sentry duty on a monthly rotation basis at the Istana, Singapore. The take-over by a new set of guards is signified by the Changing of Guards Ceremony which is held on the first Sunday of the month at Istana (the Istana has not published timings but according to Capitaland the timing for this is from 5:45pm except in July and August).
The incoming Guards march from Koek Road (beside OG Orchard Point) to meet the outgoing Guards at the main entrance of the Istana. As part of the ceremony, the Guards will also perform a Rifle Precision Drill.
So if you are hoping to take a look around the majestic grounds and the Istana we recommend keeping note of the 2023 Istana Open House dates – good luck!