Istana open house on Feb 9 for Chinese New Year

Visitors at the Istana during an open house on May 1, 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Istana grounds will be open to the public next Tuesday (Feb 9), from 8.30am to 6pm, in celebration of Chinese New Year.

This year, the Istana Lawn will be closed to facilitate renovation works until the end of the year.

There will be performances for visitors, including dance and band performances, lion dance, Chinese calligraphy demonstration and a display of birds by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said the President's Office.

Members of the public can sign up for guided nature walks to explore the Istana's flora and fauna, or take a guided tour of the Istana main building.

The nature walks are limited to between 12 and 15 people per group, and depart every hour from 10am to 4pm.

The building 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.

Visitors may also go on a self-guided tour with the help of the "Istana Garden Walk" mobile app.

The app has 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.

Entry to the Istana grounds is via the main gate at Orchard Road. The nearest MRT station is Dhoby Ghaut.

Proceeds from entrance fees, tours and the sale of Istana souvenirs will be donated to charity.

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.

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