A day at the President's

We spent this CNY break in Singapore and finally had a chance to visit the Istana. That is where the Singapore President lives and works. Common folks get to visit the grounds only during the open house. These are the vast lush greens in the midst of the city, which we see from rooftops like Marina Bay Sands or while riding up in the Singapore flyer.
The entry is free for locals and residents, while foreigners(including those who are here on work visas or dependent pass) have to pay a dollar as entrance fee. You can read all about Istana here.
I overlooked the fact that many people were looking forward to the open-house just like me. By the time we leisurely finished our holiday brunch and reached Istana, we were greeted by an enormous queue extending all the way to the adjacent shopping mall (Plaza Singapura).

The first sight. 
Now I know why Manu doesn't feel suffocated  in a crowded place.  He hovers above the crowd! 

But the security screenings were impressively fast and we entered the gates in around 20 minutes. The grounds are enormous and well maintained.Kids will love it there with acres to run around and fountains to play with!

Sunbathing - a major activity at Istana

At the president's fountain!

Spot me ? Am I contemplating? Nope! Just trying to count the trees

There were guided tours of the Istana main building for a small fees. Usually, we always get distracted during guided tours because I always come up with significant stories on my own and then there is the camera.  We always lag behind the group and end up irritating either the guide or the group or at least the guards. So this time, we wisely decided not to be guided. We purchased a 2$ ticket to get into the building and drool at the beautiful and expensive stuff gifted by various nations. 

The Istana with the dramatic clouds which appeared suddenly.
Those clouds appeared exactly when I told Manu "Istana grounds are the perfect picnic spot!"

Upon entering the main building, I was disappointed that only one floor was open to public and photography was not allowed. I did not see any national secrets there. Since dignitaries from many nations have visited these rooms, there wasn't any secret to be kept from the outside world. If there were any secret passages, they are hidden well enough(I peeked hard didn't find any). So, I strongly think photography should be allowed.

My recommendation.
It is interesting for a one time visit, especially for families with little ones to entertain. Keep a look out on the schedules in the Istana website, if you are in town during public holidays. 

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