Fort Canning Park spans 18 hectares of forested greenspace in the midst of Singapore’s business district—more than just towering Kapok and Madras Thorn trees, trails and a popular community event space, though, it is also a historical landmark. The park’s iconic raised hill once provided a desirable vantage for 14th‐ century fortresses of Malay kings and may have served as an important trading hub. Ongoing archaeological excavations continue to unravel stories of its past.
During WWII, Battle Box, an underground bunker and command center within the present‐day park, was the site of Singapore’s decision to surrender to the Japanese. Today the bunker with Japanese Morse code on its walls welcomes tourists as a museum detailing events of the Battle of Singapore. Also on the park’s grounds are impressive gothic gates; a spice garden with cloves and nutmeg—remnants from the city’s first botanical garden; the new Fort Canning Arts Center, the first Asian offshoot of popular Paris museum Pinacothèque de Paris, featuring rotating exhibits and standard collections of classical works by artists, such as Monet and Rembrandt, rarely seen in Southeast Asia; the former British Command Far East Headquarters, now the five‐star Hotel Fort Canning; and a sculpture garden.
The park does not keep regular hours, but some of the attractions like the Battle Box Museum (9 a.m. til 4:30 p.m.) and the art museum (10 a.m. til 7:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) do—admission also required. The park is on the MRT and a short walk from both the Clarke Quay and Dhoby Ghaut stops. Regular outdoor shows and festivals run from early spring through summer and include Shakespeare in the Park, Ballet Under the Stars and Films at the Fort.