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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Yueh Hai Ching Temple (粤海清庙) - UNESCO Heritage Award Winner

During the Chinese New Year period,  my in-laws shared with us that there was one temple located within the city that they wished to visit but has forgotten its name. Based on their description and with the help of images from Google search, we managed to locate the temple that they were referring to.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple (粤海清庙), located in Raffles Place is one of Singapore's oldest Chinese temples. In the 1820s, many from the Chaoshan (Teochew and Swatow) region of Guangdong province of China travelled to Southeast Asia by sea. To express gratitude for their safe journey, a shrine was set up dedicated to the deity Mazu - 妈祖 (Goddess of the Sea). Subsequently, the Lao Ye Temple (Lau Ya Keng), dedicated to Xuan Tian Shang Di - 玄天上帝, the ancestral deity of the Teochews was set up. The two temples were believed to have been merged in 1826 and this twin temple was named Yueh Hai Ching Temple.

Over the years, Yueh Hai Ching has undergone expansion and renovations. The recent restoration works was completed and it reopened its door to the public on 31st March 2014.

I was fascinated by the craftsmanship that can be seen around the temple. The dragons and human figurines on the rooftop, sculptures of phoenix, dragons and tiger on the walls, and other engravings on the timbers and murals. No wonder it has won the UNESCO Heritage Award and URA Architectural Heritage Award!


Despite being enclosed by the modern skyscrapers, Yueh Hai Ching temple stands out distinctively. The wide, front courtyard gives a sense of peace and serenity upon entering. To me, it is indeed quite rare to have such space in the central district.


"风调雨顺" meaning favourable weather (for good harvesting) crafted on its front door.


Front courtyard

My in-laws were definitely delighted to be back here once again after many years, and we offered our prayers to the deities. 

The 45 craftsmen from Shantou has definitely put in much effort in restoring the temple. Every piece of murals and sculptures is with such detail, telling a story of its past and leaving a part of the history for the next generation.




A strong contrast between modern and history. Am loving the sculptures on the rooftop against the city backdrop.

If you wish to witness it's rich heritage values, Yueh Hai Ching temple is located along Phillip St (opposite Tan Ean Kiam Building) and about 5 minutes walk away from Raffles Place MRT.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple (粤海清庙)
Address: 30B Phillip St, Singapore 048696
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm daily

16 comments:

  1. I wonder what life was before. Before all these buildings came up. A kampong? A bustling business street? Food paddlers on the road? If only I could turn back time. I'd love to take a walk in that era.

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    1. It will indeed be very interesting to see the life where our forefathers are...

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  2. It's amazing how we walk past places like this every day and hardly pay attention. The temple is beautiful and I'm glad It's still around and hasn't been demolished for new development.

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    1. I walked pass many times but never enter the gates.. I am surprised to see the big courtyard space in the CBD Area

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  3. I didn't know about this temple. Love the old feel and Chinese architecture in the middle of the busy CBD area..

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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    1. I only get to know about this temple when I was having my class near the area. Else it would have been missed too

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  4. Oh my... I've worked around in Raffles Place area many years ago and for many years indeed... and I had no idea such a temple exist in the middle of the central district.

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    1. It is along a small road. Easily missed out cos of the huge buildings surrounding it. :)

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  5. Wow thanks for sharing! Funny I don't recall seeing this temple. I have always liked looking at the architecture of places with heritage values because the effort put into building the place is just unimaginable.

    -Priscilla @punggolbabies-

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    1. I would have missed it too if not for the case that my night class was at the building opposite of the temple :D

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  6. I have seen this! But never thought of it going in though I sometimes smile and wonder at the structure and it's designs

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    1. Maybe you can try to visit it next time :)

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  7. Did pass by this temple a few times, but have not thought of visiting.

    cheers, Andy
    (SengkangBabies)

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  8. Wow, the colour of the temple is very vibrant! There is another temple at Telok Ayer that you may want to check it out too, I heard it has quite a history as well!

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    1. Oh.. What is the name of that temple? There are a few temples around with long history and Yueh Hai Ching's architecture definitely is one that attracted my attention for now :)

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