Photo: Looking out from the main museum building.

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

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If you don’t know a lot about modern Asian history, and think Singapore is all about British colonialism, this excellent small museum is sure to enlighten you. Dr Sun Yat Sen was the key revolutionary figure in overthrowing feudal China and is regarded as the founding father of the modern People’s Republic of China. Dr Sun spent time in Singapore working for the revolutionary cause, based in the villa in which the museum is housed. The museum documents the impact of the Chinese Revolution on Singapore as well as Singapore’s contribution to the revolution.



The beautifully restored two-storey, colonial-style villa in the Balestier district was completed by a local Chinese merchant in the early 1900s. If you have an interest in architecture, the grand heritage building is worth the trip alone (also check out Reflections at Bukit Chandu too). After passing several owners, rubber magnate Teo Eng Hock offered the home to Dr Sun as the Singapore hub of his revolutionary activities in Southeast Asia.

The museum is set in a beautifully restored two-storey, colonial-style villa. Photo taken in or around Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Downtown Singapore, Singapore by Sally Arnold.

The museum is set in a beautifully restored two-storey, colonial-style villa. Photo: Sally Arnold

The excellently displayed and informative exhibition, filled with interactive panels and multimedia displays includes photos, personal items and revolutionary propaganda. A re-creation of Dr Sun’s study is brought to life with holograms. Take your time to explore other interesting galleries highlighting the establishment of modern education, media and economic development in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula.

One of the exhibits. Photo taken in or around Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Downtown Singapore, Singapore by Sally Arnold.

One of the exhibits. Photo: Sally Arnold

Although not in the middle of the tourist hub, we recommend a visit to learn about Singapore’s much overlooked role in the life of a legendary Chinese revolutionary. Give yourself a good hour and a half to look around or time your trip to include the free guided tour, which is held Tuesday to Friday at 14:00, and weekends at 15:00 (the museum is closed Mondays).

An exhibit detail. Photo taken in or around Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Downtown Singapore, Singapore by Sally Arnold.

An exhibit detail. Photo: Sally Arnold

After visiting the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, take a stroll in the pretty gardens of Zhongshan Park (Zhongshan is the Mandarin translation of Yat Sen), opposite the museum, featuring Chinese architecture and landscaping, including two magnificent old Banyan trees.

Or pop in next door to the Burmese Buddhist Temple where you can see the largest white marble Buddha statue outside Burma. Some excellent local restaurants and hawker centres are nearby, too.



How to get there
Nearest MRT: Toa Payoh or Novena

From Toa Payoh MRT station take bus #139 or #145 and alight three stops later beside Zhongshan Park after Kwan Im Tng Temple.

From Novena MRT station, from the bus stop opposite Novena Church, take bus #21 or #131. Alight three stops later beside Zhongshan Park after Kwan Im Tng Temple.

Alternatively, the museum is a 20-minute walk from either MRT station.

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
12 Tai Gin Road, Singapore
Tues-Sun, 10:00-17:00
T: 6256 7377 F: 6256 7677;
http://www.sysnmh.org.sg/en
Admission: S$4 adults, free children under 12, $2 students and senior citizens. Singaporeans/PRs free.

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Location map for Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

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