If you visit Singapore Chinatown, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple will definitely be one of the eye catchers. The huge building at the edge of Chinatown next to South Bridge Road is just huge and impressive. Many tourists visit the temple rooms on street level, but the museum part is definitely even more impressing and hosts the name-giving Buddha Tooth Relic. Very surprising that this building is dated as of 2005. Despite that fact that the place is not historic, it is an absolute must-visit in my point of view.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – Location & Admission
The temple is located in the Southern part of Chinatown, next to South Bridge Road. If you travel by metro, the nearest stations are Chinatown or Telok Ayer.
The entrance to both, the museum and the temple(s), is free. However, you are required to wear respectful clothing in the lower temple and at all relics. Taking pictures is allowed everywhere but at the Buddha relics, so that there are no pictures of them in this report.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – Temple
When you enter the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple from the North side, you enter the main prayer room after passing a small atrium. The place is overwhelming and there are always people praying there. During one visit, there was also a religious service going on. Buddhist believers may also buy items for their offerings in small shops at the entrance area.
I absolutely recommend to walk around the temple. There is not just a smaller prayer room on the Northern side of the temple – furthermore, there are a lot of interesting items and statues at the walls of this iconic building which are worth watching. For those of you (like me) who are not too much into the Buddhist stories, there are a lot of explanations given.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – Museum
My guess is that at least 90 per cents of the tourists visiting Buddha Tooth Relic Temple will not even recognize that there is an amazing museum and additional places open for public in this amazing building. If you enter the building from South Bridge Road, you will find the entrance if you are not heading straight on into the temple, but stay at the sides of it, where you will find elevators to the upper levels. My visit is structured from top to bottom, i.e. I took the elevator up to the highest level and walked down the staircase.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Orchid Garden
The most surprising part of the temple is likely the Orchid Garden, which is a rooftop garden at the temple. You have no clue that something that beautiful and relaxing exists there when you see the building from below. A rooftop pagoda is also holding a large prayer wheel.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Museum
The exhibitions are segmented in different galleries. The first sections majorly introduce you to different gods and give you religious background. In addition, you learn about how the temple has been planned and constructed.
To me, the most impressive collection was Buddhas Of The World, which featured a very rich collection of statues, but also had some interactive displays, which made it also very catching to get into the Buddhist historic structures.
Finally, there is also a collection of wax figurines which represent former values monks serving for the Buddhist community. There are also additional prayer rooms and many other items, which would likely blow the volume of the posting.
The temple also features a popular vegetarian restaurant in the basement, which I did not visit.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – My View
Wow, I simply like that place. I have to admit that I had to visit the place twice so that I also found the way up to the museum – but it was just worth it! Maybe the best attraction I visited in all Singapore – definitely worth to spent some time and dip into religion and culture. You simply forget that you in fact are in a modern building, when you are in the temple. Must visit – and thus a Top Pick!
Other Top Picks
Here are all other reviews which I rated as excellent and assigned the Top Pick! Award: