National Gallery Singapore

An In-Depth Look At The National Gallery Singapore: A Must Visit During Your Southeast Asia Trip!


If you’re planning a trip to Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore should definitely be on your must-visit list! Filled with an abundance of artwork from both local and international artists, this striking museum is not only aesthetically pleasing but also provides plenty of insight into the culture and history of the region.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what makes visiting the National Gallery Singapore so special, including its permanent collection as well as its temporary exhibits.

So buckle up and let’s get exploring!

Introduction to National Gallery Singapore

As its name suggests, the National Gallery Singapore is a art gallery that is national in scope. Housed in two buildings that were once part of the former Supreme Court and City Hall, the Gallery has a vast collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian and Singaporean art.

There are also smaller exhibitions showcasing works from other parts of Asia and the world.

The National Gallery Singapore is a great place to learn about the region’s art history and to see some of the most important pieces of contemporary art. A visit here is a must for anyone interested in Southeast Asian art or culture.

Historical Facts and Background of National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore is one of the most important art institutions in Southeast Asia. It is located in the heart of Singapore’s Civic District, and it houses the world’s largest collection of modern Southeast Asian art.

The Gallery has been designed by world-renowned architect Maki and Associates, and it comprises two blocks linked by an air-conditioned bridge.The Gallery opened to the public on 24 November 2015.

The National Gallery Singapore was conceived as a centre for the study and promotion of modern Southeast Asian art. In line with this objective, the Gallery mounts exhibitions that showcase the diversity of art from the region, and it also organises educational programmes that engage both students and adults.

The Gallery has four main exhibition spaces: two temporary exhibition galleries, a Resource Centre, and a Conservation Laboratory. In addition, National Gallery Singapore also manages an outdoor sculpture garden that features works by Singaporean artists.

To date, National Gallery Singapore has organised numerous exhibitions featuring both established and emerging artists from Southeast Asia.

Notable exhibitions include ‘Pushing Boundaries: Contemporary Art from Burma/Myanmar’ (2016), ‘Where Do I End And You Begin: Poles Apart, Close Together’ (2017), ‘everybody speaks’ (2018),and ‘Between Worlds: Will DNA be my Legacy?’ (2019).

Highlights from the Permanent Collection

The National Gallery Singapore is home to the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art. The Gallery’s Permanent Collection comprises over 8,000 artworks by artists from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Highlights from the Permanent Collection include Tan Swie Hian’s Portrait of a Friend (1979), which is one of the most iconic paintings in the Gallery’s collection; Racquel Villavicencio’s Nature morte aux oiseaux morts (2006), which is a thought-provoking work that addresses environmental issues; and Nguyen Tu Nhien’s Untitled (Ho Chi Minh City) (1998-1999), which provides a glimpse into the lives of Vietnamese people living in Ho Chi Minh City.

Other notable works in the Permanent Collection include Lee Man Fong’s Children in an Orchard (1950), Abdul Latiff Mohidin’s Village Market Scene (1965), and Wong Hoy Cheong’s Waterfall (1989).

Temporary Exhibitions and Events at National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore is constantly hosting a range of temporary exhibitions and events that are definitely worth checking out! From contemporary art to historical retrospectives, there is always something new to see at the Gallery.

Here are some of the exhibitions and events that have been hosted in recent years:

– Contemporary CALM: Recent Works by Anthony Poon
– Southeast Asian Ceramics from the National Collection
– Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China
Vasudevan’s India: In the Times of Sultans and Maharajas
– The Peranakan Museum Reimagined
– Second Guangzhou Triennial

Each of these exhibitions and events offers a unique insight into different aspects of art and culture from around Southeast Asia. Whether you’re interested in contemporary art, historical artefacts or simply want to learn more about the region, National Gallery Singapore is sure to have something for you.

What to Eat, Shop, and Explore Nearby

If you’re looking for a place to eat, shop, and explore near the National Gallery Singapore, you won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal.

For a quick bite, check out one of the many cafes or fast food restaurants in the vicinity. If you’re looking for something more substantial, there are also plenty of restaurants offering local and international cuisine. There’s something to suit every taste and budget.

Our recommendation is FOC Restaurant – Elevated Spanish dishes & cocktails are prepared in an open kitchen at this trendy eatery. For a great lunch go to Vespetta Italian Restaurant – Authentic Italian food and a romantic atmosphere come together at our busy restaurant. Whether it’s a special occasion or Set lunch, or just to celebrate with your friends, we have something for everyone!

When it comes to shopping, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are numerous shops selling everything from souvenirs to clothes and accessories. Funan Shopping Mall is a great option nearby for great deals & fashion stores.

If you’re looking for art supplies, there are also several art stores in the area.

And finally, if you want to explore more of Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore is located right in the heart of the city. From here, you can easily walk to other attractions such as Orchard Road or Chinatown. There’s plenty to see and do in this vibrant city, so make sure you add the National Gallery Singapore to your list of must-visit places during your Southeast Asia trip!

Tips on Visiting Other Southeast Asian Art Museums

When visiting other Southeast Asian art museums, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be respectful of the cultures represented in the artwork.

Second, take time to explore the different galleries and take note of the different styles of art on display.

Third, ask questions! The staff at Southeast Asian art museums are usually happy to answer any questions you may have about the artwork or the museum itself. fourth, don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Visiting an art museum should be a fun and educational experience.

National Gallery Singapore – Tickets

Exploring Singapore’s historical and cultural heritage through the National Gallery Singapore is a great way to gain insight into the city-state’s past. From traditional Chinese artifacts to contemporary art, there is something for everyone in this vast collection of galleries.

Whether you are looking to learn more about Southeast Asian culture or just want an interesting afternoon out, visiting National Gallery Singapore should be at the top of your list!

  • Explore Southeast Asian art at the new National Gallery Singapore. After opening its doors on 24 Nov 2015, the gallery is located in Singapore Civic District and boasts a combined floor area of 64,000 square meters and is housed in two of the island’s most iconic buildings: former Supreme Court and City Hall. National Gallery Singapore is the largest visual arts venue and museum in Singapore – home to over 1,000 art works and it is certainly one of the main attractions in Singapore

Combo: National Museum of Singapore + National Gallery Singapore (Foreign Nationals) – 17$

Inclusive Of

  • National Museum of Singapore
  • Admission to: Singapore History Gallery and all Level One and Two galleries (Stamford Gallery, Goh Seng Choo Gallery, Modern Colony Gallery, Growing Up Gallery, Surviving Syonan Gallery, Voices of Singapore Gallery, Singapore History Gallery, and Glass Rotunda)
  • National Gallery Singapore
  • General Admission ticket admits one to all of these galleries: Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia @ Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery, DBS Singapore Gallery, UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, Level 4 Gallery, Wu Guanzhong Gallery, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Concourse Gallery, Koh Seow Chuan Concourse Gallery, City Hall Chamber, and Chief Justice’s Chamber and Office

Not Inclusive Of

  • Admission to Special Exhibition

General Admission (Foreign Nationals) – 8$

Inclusive Of

  • General Admission ticket admits one to all of these galleries: Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia @ Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery, DBS Singapore Gallery, UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, Level 4 Gallery, Wu Guanzhong Gallery, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Concourse Gallery, Koh Seow Chuan Concourse Gallery, City Hall Chamber, and Chief Justice’s Chamber and Office


  • Singaporean enters for free

Back-of-House Tour: “Former Supreme Court: Unseen, Unheard” – 15$

Inclusive Of

  • English-speaking guide


  • Participants must be aged 13+ to participate in this activity

ART X Cocktails Tour – 43$

Inclusive Of

  • English-speaking guide
  • 60-minute docent-led tour to discover the art pieces that inspired craft cocktails from Smoke & Mirrors
  • 1 complimentary choice of cocktail from Smoke & Mirrors’ new menu, “The Real Art of Drinking”

Not Inclusive Of

  • Other personal expense
 Convenient and flexible cancellation up to 24 hours before your pick up date — no questions asked.

Explore the ancient civilisation of Singapore with tickets to its must-see museums and exhibitions. Skip the Line Available. Book Online on 

Opening Hours

    • Open daily from 10am to 7pm.
    • Last admission: 30 minutes before closing

How To Get to National Gallery Singapore

  1. City Hall. Take Exit B. The Gallery is approximately a 7-minute walk from City Hall MRT station via the Art Connector.
  2. Clarke Quay. Take Exit E and enjoy a leisurely 10-minute stroll along the Singapore River to the Gallery.
  3. Raffles Place. Take Exit B.


The National Gallery Singapore is an amazing destination to visit when you find yourself in Southeast Asia. With a wide variety of artwork, both modern and classical, there’s something for everyone. As the world’s largest museum dedicated solely to Southeast Asian art, this gallery should be at the top of your list during any visit to Singapore!

By exploring its exhibits and learning more about the unique culture behind it all, you will have a truly unforgettable experience that will stick with you for years afterwards.

by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.