In the middle of heavily-developed central Singapore, there’s a big estate – just over 100 acres – of rolling hills, gardens, forests, and a grand old building called the Istana, which serves as the official residence and offices of Singapore’s president. Kind of like the White House, except Singapore’s president usually doesn’t actually live there. (Plus, the Singaporean president is much more of a ceremonial role than that of the U.S. president.) The Istana and its grounds are closed to the public except on a tiny number of days each year.
One of the days it’s open is during the Chinese New Year holiday. Nyan had been learning about the Istana at school, so during the new year break in February, we paid the Istana a visit.
Here’s the building itself, and a guard outside the gates. We did get to tour the building, but no pictures allowed inside.
The grounds, though, are quite something, swan-filled ponds, vast expanses of open field, and huge jungle plants.
We tried to take some family portrait selfies, which was a little difficult because the morning sunshine was quite bright.
We also played around with shadows in that bright light.
And we admired the decorative artillery gun in front of the main building.
We had been warned that if you don’t get to the Istana early, you have to stand in line for a long time to get in. We got there early and waltzed right in; a couple hours later, as we left, we saw that we were very glad to have been early.
And finally, after our trek around the Istana grounds, we headed to a shopping mall next door for a late breakfast. This particular mall features some very long sloping escalators, which our boy wanted to go up and down, but only on his own. So off he went.