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Date [ 2016-02-03, 12:11 ]

The Istana in Singapore opens itself in celebration of the most important festival for Chinese everywhere.

Once again the Istana grounds will be open to the public on Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016 from 8.30am to 6pm, in celebration of Chinese New Year.

A number of items will entertainvisitors, such asdances and band performances, and of course the ubiquitous lion dance. Those who prefer a more sedate activity can watch a Chinese calligraphy demonstration or the display of birds by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The tours should prove interesting for visitors this year for they can sign up for guided nature walks and explore the Istana's flora and fauna. The nature walks are limited to between 12 and 15 people per group, and depart every hour from 10am to 4pm.

Another is the guided tour of the Istana’s main building itself.These tours are limited to 15 persons per group, and depart every 20 minutes from 9am to 3pm. Fees of $2 to $10 per person apply for the guided tours. On your guided tour, who knows, you may just bump into the President himself.

If moving with a bunch of strangers is not for you then you can opt for a self-guided tour with the help of the "Istana Garden Walk" mobile app.Thishas some new features, including a self-guided Plants Trail.

Entry to the Istana grounds is free for Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents. All other visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $2 per person, and additional fees for guided tours.Proceeds from the entrance fees, tours and the sale of Istana souvenirs will be donated to charity.

Note that entry to the Istana grounds is via the main gate at Orchard Road. If you are coming in by MRT, get off at the DhobyGhaut station.

While the open house closing time is 6pm, the last entry will be at 5pm. The last sign up for the Istana Main Building guided tour will be by 3pm and that for the nature walks by 4pm. Also note that the President’s Office has announced that this year, the Istana Lawn will be closed to facilitate renovation works until the end of the year.

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