7 Must-See Temples in Singapore

Singapore is a magnificent modern city filled with things to do and places to see, but you might be surprised to find that this modern melting pot holds many wonderful mosques and temples too.

First of all, I should tell you that Singapore is an easy place to get around. Once you arrive, everyone there speaks English, it’s modern, it’s clean and the mass rail transit or MRT has 87 stations and nearly 90 miles of tracks. Add to that an efficient bus and taxi system and you should have no problem finding these 7 kickass  sacred Singapore sites.

1) Abdul Gaffoor Mosque – this is an amazing South Indian style mosque built from 1891 to 1919. With it’s pointy minarets and onion dome- this mosque is breathtaking to behold. It’s located on Dunlop Street in the heart of Little India.

Abdul Gaffoor Mosque

2) Hallaj Fatima Mosque is located on Beach Road and was completed in 1846. While not as impressive as many of the mosques I’ve seen, Hallaj Fatima Mosque has two oddities that drew me to it. First, it leans about 6 degrees off center and second, it has a bizarre minaret that looks more like a church steeple.

Hallaj Fatima Mosque

3) Sultan Mosque – heading to Muscat Street you find the Sultan Mosque which was finished in 1928. To me, this is a classical fairy tale Indian mosque which makes sense when you realize it was built  in a distinctive Saracenic style with pointy minarets, extensive balustrades, and gilded features.

Sultan Mosque Singapore

4) Godess of Mercy Temple – The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho was built in 1884 and is dedicated to the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. While Guanyin is the primary diety of the temple there are others and no shortage of joss sticks or unique Chinese temple style. This temple is famous for it’s fortune telling with wooden sticks. It also provides fortune telling in English.

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho

5) Sri Mariammamn Temple is Singapores oldest Hindu temple. It is located at 244 South Bridge Road and you will recognize it, don’t worry, just look for the tall and colorful entrance tower (gopuram) filled with Hindu dieties. It dates back to 1827 but has been modified and enlarged several times since then. Sri Mariammamn is a South Indian mother-goddess. Once inside find the Lingnam and Yoni (penis and vagina) sculptures which are not as easy to spot as in some temples and parks I’ve visited.

Sri Mariammamn Temple singapore

6) Sri Veerama- Kaliaaman Temple is located inside Singapore’s Little India. It is dedicated to Kali, the wife of Shiva, also known as “She Who Destroys”. Kali is a tantric goddess and while she is revered as a mother goddess, she is also the goddess of death. Inside you can find plenty of sculptures and paintings of her ripping people and gods apart.

Sri Veerama- Kaliaaman Temple singapore

7) Thian Hock Keng Temple is a taoist temple dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea. It was built in the 1830’s and is an amazing masterpiece of the classical Southern Chinese temple style. Within are an abundance of peacock, lion, roses, and buddhist swastika icons and sculptures. The curly dragons on the green tiled roof will mark this for you on Telok Ayer Street in Singapore.

Thian Hock Keng Temple

Around the World in 18 Days – An iPad App/ Travel eBook

When I was a kid I loved all the books by Jules Verne. In fact, I still do. One of the best of them is Around the World in 80 Days. I’m not sure, but I think the combination of that book with all the National Geographics I used to pore over at my grandmother’s house led to the world traveler I am today.
I’m also guessing that based on the title of his book, photographer and writer Andy Davies was influenced by Mr. Verne as well. As some of you know, I’m engaged in a very slow journey around the world so when I first saw Andy’s book, I thought to myself that it was just too fast, but upon checking it out, I have to admit it. I’m jealous as hell. Andy made a very cool trip and saw more in 18 days than many travelers see in a lifetime. To cover that much ground that quickly and with a purpose…very cool.

around the world singapore Andy’s trip took him through Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo, Istanbul, Venice, Zurich, Bruges, London, and Paris. His photos – astounding. You can check out some of them at Around the World Book. His book is more than the photos though.

I feel like in the short time he was in each place, he was able to take a glimpse into the souls of the people and the cultures. Maybe it’s from being so acutely aware of the shots he wanted to take, watching so closely. I’m not sure, but it works. The book/app works too. I especially like the clean maps and the references to how much he spent on transportation, where he went, and how he got there. Here’s one example of what I mean:

In Hong Kong I used my “business people” tracking skills to follow people who looked like they knew where they were going, in Singapore I found that most of the “suits” I followed were heading for
the numerous British pubs located along the Singapore River.

Nice. The funny thing about travel is that we all do it our own way. There are some people who spend months and months in a place and never get to see anything and there are others that can get to the point very quickly. When I got to the back end of the book, I was pleased to find that Andy had included his itinerary notes, packing notes, and travel notes. Like reading Burton’s Kama Sutra, sometimes the most interesting bits are to be found in the notes and it’s amazing how many writers and photographers leave out these bits. For example:

I traveled with a carry-on sized Victorinox convertible and expandable backpack/shoulder bag and a small shoulder bag with enough room to carry my cameras (two, compact) and spare lens as well as a laptop and charger.

around the world - istanbulIt’s when you get into the specifics that things become interesting. Andy’s photos bring the life out on the page (or screen) and one of the cool things about using an iPad instead of a regular printed book is that when you buy Around the World in 18 Days you actually get two books since he used a completely different set of graphics and images for the horizontal and vertical versions of the book. Still, the price is the same at just $3.99. Less than the price of a latte will get you nine countries. (And actually on sale for a limited time at $2.99 if you use the links here)
As I mentioned, his photos are amazing and that’s why when I reached the back I was stoked to find that Andy had included 12 Travel Photography Tips. I’m a pretty decent amateur photographer, but I always want to be better. Andy’s tips gave me some tools to do that with. Simple things that I hadn’t thought of. I would share them, but in fact, I think the Travel Photography Tips alone make Andy’s book worth more than the price. If you notice that my camera skills are getting better, these tips are party responsible. You should buy his app/book.
In short, I highly recommend Andy’s iPad App/eBook to anyone. The price is right, the content is incredible, and whether you are traveling or just dreaming of travel Around the World in 18 Days will inspire you.

Andy Davies went around the world in 18 Days. When will you?

As always, in the interest of full disclosure, I want my readers to know that this is a sponsored review, however, as always, it is also an honest review. I’m picky about what goes on Vagobond.com and you can always trust my recommendations. If you want me to consider a sponsored review or post about your business, book, website, or product use the contact form to get ahold of me.

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