[Updated: 9 June 2021]
Mention Fort Canning and most of us probably know it as a park or picnic spot in central Singapore. Located in the Civic District, not only is Fort Canning Park a beautiful spot to seek respite from the busy city, it's also full of history and things to do. Planning a day out to explore Fort Canning during the weekend? We've got you covered with this guide! From how to go to Fort Canning Park to Instagram-worthy spots like the Fort Canning Spiral Staircase and halal food nearby, our guide is perfect for you!
How to go to Fort Canning Park
- From Fort Canning MRT Station: The easiest way to get to Fort Canning Park is by taking the Downtown Line to Fort Canning MRT station and you'll start your journey at the Jubilee Park.
- From Dhoby Ghaut: Walk through Dhoby Ghaut Green past Penang Road to Fort Canning Road. Once there, you'll pass by the Fort Canning Tree Tunnel and spot the famous Instagrammable spiral staircase!
- From Hill Street: Cross the traffic light and make your way to the Fort Canning entrance opposite Funan. Alternatively, you can also walk along Coleman Street and enter Fort Canning Park from the Registry of Marriages.
Brief history of Fort Canning
Formerly known as Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill), Fort Canning was believed to be the site of palaces of 14th century ancient Singapore Kings. During British colonial rule in Singapore, it was where the governors lived and later on, it was used for military purposes. That explains why you'd be able to see remnants of fortifications and cannons in the park. Fort Canning was also the site where the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese in World War II!
P.S. Love hiking and walking? Check out these hiking trails in Singapore!
Things to do at Fort Canning
Check out the historical sites
Previously known as the Underground Far East Command Centre, this was the exact site where the British decided to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. Explore its rooms and corridors and check out various wartime artefacts. Plus, they just started a new guided tour from 1 Dec 2020 so you can expect to learn much more.
You'd also be able to spot several forts and cannons near the Battlebox. You can get tickets on-site and explore the underground bunker. The best part is that you can use your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers for entry to the Battlebox.
Price: from $20 (Adult), $10 (Child)
Address: 2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622
Check out the opening hours and other info on their website
Keramat Sultan Iskandar Shah
Fort Canning is also believed to be the site where Singapore's ancient kings were buried. One iconic landmark you'd spot is the old keramat (shrine) which is said to be the resting place of Singapore's last king, Sultan Iskandar Shah. It was a holy site for many Muslims who made pilgrimages there.
Fort Canning Cemetery
Credit: Liao Liu on Facebook
Besides being the burial site of Malay kings, Fort Canning also housed Singapore's first Christian cemetery. There used to be about 600 graves at what is now Fort Canning Green but only a handful of tombstones remain today. You can find some of the gravestones impeded on a brick wall.
Snap IG-worthy photos
Fort Canning Spiral Staircase
Located near the Fort Canning Park Tunnel along Canning Rise, this Instagrammable staircase has been a popular IG spot! The shot is taken from below the staircase and it highlights the picturesque trees in the backdrop too ?
Location: Fort Canning Tree Tunnel, underground crossing along Canning Rise
P.S. Here are 16 more picture-perfect spots in SG that you can visit for free!
Sang Nila Utama Garden
Named after Sang Nila Utama, the legendary founder and first King of ancient Singapore, this garden was modelled after ancient royal gardens back in the day. This might explain why the architecture here is reminiscent of Bali's famous Empul Tirta Bali and Pura Lempuyang temples (the one with the famous gates of heaven)!
Location: Near Registry of Marriages and National Archives Singapore
P.S. Think this looks like Bali? Check out these 14 hidden gems in SG that look like they're overseas!
Gothic Gates, Fort Canning Green
Located near the Registry of Marriages, the gothic gates at Fort Canning Green are a popular photo-taking spot for couples and we can definitely see why. But the gates were actually the doorway to the Christian graveyards which used to be at Fort Canning Green.
Location: Fort Canning Green
Go on a walking trail
Credit: chriskay on Flickr
There are several trails you can enjoy in the park including the Ancient History trail that passes by an archaeological dig area, the keramat of Sultan Iskandar Shah and more. For a more modern look at Singapore's past, the Colonial History trail will take you to a 9-pound cannon, a replica of an old lighthouse, and an underground bunker for an experiential step into the past.
P.S. If you love nature, you'll want to check out these 8 nature spots in Singapore near halal food!
If you're at Fort Canning with kids, you have to head to Jubilee Park where you'd find a children's playground. Let your kids roam free at the exciting slides, wooden bridges, fun swings, see-saw, a planet, rope bridges and more!
Location: Near River Valley entrance
Halal food nearby
Dutch Colony Coffee Co.
Halal status: We spoke to a Director in the company who confirmed that the company is partially Muslim-owned, and all espresso brands are halal-certified by MUIS. All ingredients used across all outlets are halal-certified, and items including cakes and pastries are from halal-certified kitchens and/or halal-certified sources. No alcohol, pork, or lard is served at all. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-6PM
Address: 81 Clemenceau Ave, #01-21, Singapore 239917
Website | Facebook | Instagram
P.S. Check out our halal food guide to Singapore's Civic District for more yummy food options!
Funan Mall (City Hall side)
Halal eateries: Crave (Nasi Lemak), Delibowl (Sichuan cuisine), Hawker Man (Local/Fusion), KFC, McDonald's, Old Chang Kee, Qiji, Saap Saap Thai, Stuff'd, Subway, Wok Hey
Find out more on their website
Plaza Singapura (Dhoby Ghaut side)
Halal eateries: 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken, Burger King, Cajun on Wheels, Nando's, McDonald's, Old Chang Kee, Pizza Hut, Secret Recipe, Simply Wrapps, Stuff'd, Swensen's, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Manhattan Fish Market, The Soup Spoon
Find out more on their website
So, if you're planning a day out in Singapore's Civic District, why not head over to Fort Canning Park to unwind and learn more about Singapore's history?