Singapore Bicentennial

It’s always a great time to visit Singapore – one of the world’s favourite destinations. If you haven’t holidayed there yet, make it your priority, for 2019 is a very special time as the city-state commemorates its Bicentennial year. 2019 is the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ landing in Singapore, which was one of the key turning points in Singapore’s 700 year history. To mark this milestone year, the city will be filled with events and festivals.

Singapore Skyline at Night - photo credit: Eric Au

A brief history

The story of Singapore is one of trials, tribulations and triumphs. During the 14th century, Singapore flourished as an important trading post due to is strategic location at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. The city was then ruled by the five kings of ancient Singapura, which literally translates as ‘The Lion City’.

Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles Modern Singapore was founded in the 19th century by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. On 29 January 1819, Raffles landed in Singapore, establishing it as a strategic trading port. The city quickly grew as an entrepôt trade hub, attracting immigrants from China, India, and the Malay Archipelago and beyond. This was the beginning of one of Singapore’s key turning points, when the city changed from a settlement of 1,000 people into the thriving nation that it has become today, forged by a spirit of endurance and always forging ahead. 

What to expect this year

A wide variety of events, festivals and exhibitions to commemorate Singapore Bicentennial will be taking place throughout the year. Some of the highlights include:

The Bicentennial Experience at Fort Canning Centre (1 June to 15 September 2019): Under the theme ‘From Singapore to Singaporean’, Fort Canning Centre will be hosting the centrepiece event of the Singapore Bicentennial. This multisensory, cinematic showcase will take visitors on a reflective journey pinpointing key milestones in Singapore’s 700 years of history. The showcase will further highlight the significant contributions of Singapore’s early settlers and communities through five galleries, with three installations at the Fort Gate area for visitors to explore.  Free event but online registration is needed. 

Singapore National Museum - photo credit: National Heritage Board Singapore Night Festival (16 to 24 August 2019): The SingaporeNight Festival is the largest outdoor performing arts festival held in the heart of the Bras Basah Bugis precinct – Singapore’s arts and heritage district. The signature highlight of the festival is the interactive light installations projected onto the façades of the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore.

An Old New World: From the East Indies to the Founding of Singapore, 1600 – 1819 (September 2019 to February 2020): This exhibition, to be held at the National Museum of Singapore, will commemorate the Bicentennial. It will trace the driving forces, which prompted the British East India Company (EIC) to move into Southeast Asia and which later led to the founding of Singapore. The exhibition will provide a larger world stage on which to place an understanding for the context of Singapore’s historical founding through a range of artefacts and exhibits, many of which are featured for the first time.

Singapore Art Science Museum - photo credit: Vincent Chong MHC Malay CultureFest (11 to 27 October 2019): Malay CultureFest is an annual festival, celebrating the traditions and culture of the wider Malay Nusantara (archipelago), drawing the connections of their shared culture through a series of performances, talks, workshops, trails, and movie screenings. The 2019 two-week festival will focus on the movement of people and ideas from the 16th to 19th centuries and will feature newly commissioned performances and other educational activities.

For further information on Singapore, please visit:

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Singapore Tourism Board

Read about Singapore: Where Explorers Meet.

200 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Silver Travel Advisor

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Hidden gems await among the islands of the Caribbean Sea, secluded spots that are off the beaten track and offer…
Rich in exotic wildlife, tropical forests, white-sand beaches and lost civilisations, Belize really is a diverse pocket of overlooked beauty….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.