Singapore has many lovely religious buildings that reflect a diverse assortment of styles from different countries, cultures, and belief systems. Built largely to serve the religious needs of the Chinese community (although people from other ethnic groups may worship at the temples, and members of the Chinese community may worship in other religious buildings, such as churches and mosques), Singapore’s Chinese temples are mainly Buddhist or Taoist, sometimes blending elements from both.
Early Chinese immigrants to Singapore brought with them a wealth of religious and spiritual practices. Temples were built that honoured an assortment of deities, and they are great places to visit today to get an idea of the culture, heritage, and beliefs of a large part of Singaporean society.
When exploring Singapore, if you want to visit some of the beautiful Chinese temples, here are some for you to consider paying a visit:
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
Perhaps one of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Singapore, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple showcases elegant and striking Chinese designs with plenty of colourful facets. Dedicated to Kuan Yin, there are numerous religious statues and pictures around the temple. Open between 8 am and 6 pm, it is an active place of worship. It is especially busy around the time of Chinese New Year. Visitors are reminded to dress respectfully.
Poh Ern Shih Temple
With traditional Chinese designs and features, Poh Ern Shih Temple was reconstructed in 2003. The original temple was constructed in the 1950s. It was created to free the spirits of people who died during the Pasir Panjang Battle during the Second World War. A six-level building grabs your attention, and it is an environmentally-friendly place of worship, with all the temple’s energy needs met by using wind, hydro, and solar power. As well as being a revered place of worship, it is also a centre for learning and meditation.
Siong Lim Temple
Siong Lim Temple is also known as Shuang Lin Temple and Lian Shan Shuang Monastery. A Hokkien temple that was built by a wealthy Chinese merchant, it dates back to the early 1900s. It was built to replicate Xi Chang Shi Temple in China’s Fuzhou. One of the temple’s main features is a large multi-level pagoda. There are three prayer halls complete with decorative details, and the courtyard boasts some lovely intricate bonsai trees. The carvings are impressive, and the entrance is flanked by two large gates.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
One of Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temples, Thian Hock Keng Temple was originally built in the early 1840s. Used by people who follow Confucianism, Taoism, and Mahayana Buddhism, it was constructed in the style of temples found in the southern parts of China. The main part of the temple honours Ma Zu, the goddess of the sea. There is a further area that is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy. Various other gods and goddesses are represented at the temple too.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the most popular Chinese-style temples in Singapore with tourists, and others include the Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery, Tampines Chinese Temple, Hua Giam, Hiang Foo Siang Temple, Jin Long Si Temple, Chin Long Kong, Dou Tian Gong, Kwan Yam Theng, and Toa Payoh Seu Teck Sean Tong.