If you're something of a history buff and want to head off to a destination with an interesting heritage for your next holiday, consider visiting Singapore. The city state in south-east Asia has a tumultuous past characterised by battles for ownership of the area, poignant massacres and communist rebellion.
Now a republic, Singapore is a highly urbanised city surrounded by greenery and boasting one of the busiest ports in the world. Despite its rapid progression into modernity, the area offers plenty of opportunities to learn more about its past, so take a look at the cheap flights to Singapore and start planning your itinerary.
Once you've arrived in the city and unpacked, head out and begin exploring. If you want to take in as much as possible during your stay, read on to learn more about some of Singapore's best history hotspots.
Sri Mariamman Temple
The Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu place of worship in Singapore, founded in 1827. The traditional building, which is built in the Dravidian style, can be found in the district of downtown Chinatown, and was erected in honour of the goddess Mariamman, who was known for her healing powers. The national monument was founded by government clerk Naraina Pillai, who came to Singapore with British statesman Sir Stamford Raffles - Singapore's founding father.
Chinatown Heritage Centre
Also in Chinatown is a heritage centre, which you'll find housed in three restored shophouses on Pagoda Street. As you make your way around, you'll be able to discover how the first migrants risked everything to travel from China to Singapore, as well as take in the nostalgic surroundings that recreate the interior of the shophouses as they were in the 1950s.
Bras Basah.Bugis Heritage Gallery
Head to the National Library Building at the Bras Basah precinct next, and you'll find the atrium houses the Bras Basah.Bugis Heritage Gallery, which puts on a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. If you travel to Singapore this summer, you can find out about the history of the local area, its people and the national monuments to be found here. Formerly known as Commercial Square, the vicinity once served the many multicultural groups that sprang up as Singapore developed at a rapid rate. Now, the area is the Arts and Cultural District of the city.
Asian Civilisations Museum
The building of the Asian Civilisations Museum dates back to 1865, when it was originally built and used as a courthouse. In 2003, the museum was opened inside the edifice, which comprises ten themed galleries. Spanning five millennia of Asian cultures, the museum showcases more than 1,500 artefacts and often displays visiting exhibitions.
National Museum of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore was set up in 1887 and is the oldest museum in the nation. The landmark boasts a wealth of displays relating to national history and culture, including the 11 National Treasures, which date from between the 14th century and the 1950s.
Some of these rare items have been donated to the museum over the years, while others come from the legacy of the Raffles Museum, which formed the foundations of the current centre. Among the exhibits are the Singapore Stone - which bears the earliest inscription found in the nation - and the 1854 Last Will and Testament of Munshi Abdullah, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Malay literature.
Maritime Experiential Museum
The Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium enables visitors to learn all about Asia's maritime history, featuring over 400 rare exhibits that help illustrate how important trade on the seas have long been to Singapore and its surrounding nations.
Among the highlights to be seen at the museum is the Jewel of Muscat - a life-sized replica of a 9th century dhow that was a gift from the Omani government - and the 360-degree multimedia Typhoon Theatre, where you can take a journey on a Chinese junk as it attempts to navigate its way through a storm. When the boat sinks, you'll be able to see close-up views of the shipwreck deep under the ocean.
Civil Defence Heritage Gallery
Located in the Central Fire Station on the Civic District Heritage Trail is the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery, which highlights the developments in the city state's civil defence systems since the late 1800s. Additionally, the gallery also showcases the history of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, and it's worth taking a guided tour of the facility to come away with a greater insight into the nation.