Christmas Market at CHIJMES

Fresh off our trip to Gardens by the Bay’s Christmas Wonderland (check out our entry here), we decided to scour Singapore for more Christmas Markets, and lo, CHIJMES was having one! We have never visited CHIJMES together before, so it was a great opportunity to visit yet another historical location and enjoy the Christmas vibe!


A brief history: CHIJMES gets its unique name in recognition of 1) the CHIJ convent that used to occupy the premises and 2) the sound that the tower bells make (which is “chimes”, a homonym to its namesake).

Its historical significance dates back to the late 1840s, where the complex was originally used as a magistrate’s office, but was bought over for the purposes of establishing a convent. In the early 1900s, the Gothic Chapel was commissioned, built and sanctified. The St. Nicholas Girl’s School was established on the same premises in the 1930s, before dwindling demand and urban redevelopment forced many of the surrounding land to be returned to the state. It was only in 1990 that the Government gazetted the present site as a National Monument, and preserved the CHIJMES complex till this day.

We walked around the perimeter of the Chapel, capturing unique shots and pretending to be #touristsinourowncountry.

The Gothic-style Chapel was completed in 1904, and has remained an iconic monument since then. It really reminded us (unsurprisingly) of the churches (albeit smaller) in Europe.




It was a pity that we did not manage to enter the Chapel Hall (as it was being used for a private event), but the exterior was equally mesmerising, with stained glass windows depicting various apostles, stone columns and archways. The Gothic-style architecture, as characterised by the flying buttresses, the interior ribbed vault, and the pointed arch, was very easy on the eyes and a sight to behold. It is one of the must-go-to places in Singapore!

Christmas Market at CHIJMES

The CHIJMES Christmas market is located beyond the Chapel, at the open quadrangle (“the Lawn”) enclosed by the former school buildings, now converted for commercial use. There are admittedly few shops, but there was an interesting selection of Eastern European trinkets and souvenirs and familiar brands like Bakerzin, Yankee Candle and Totally Hot Stuff. In the evening, fairy lights strung amongst the trees lit up the Lawn, emanating a soft, radiant glow that created the festive aura.


Who doesn’t love taking selfies with Christmas baubles?

Bokeh Photography: Similar to our photo uploaded earlier on this week, this was taken after much experimentation with the lights and the instant film. The result is a pleasant backdrop of colourful orbs.

The outdoor lamps illuminated the Chapel exterior, allowing it to gleam ever brightly as the evening settled.

Multiple Exposure: We combined two shots; one of the trees strung with Christmas fairy lights (slightly unfocused), and the Chapel itself.

Merry Christmas!


The pop-up shops are located at the rear of the Chapel, facing the Lawn. At night, the Chapel stands out majestically.
Here are some instax we took!

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Multiple Exposure: The combination of the chapel floor tiles and one of the outer corridors produced a unique image.

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Multiple Exposure: This was creatively taken using the backdrop of some bushes, resulting in a forest-like chapel. The clear sky allowed only the outline of the chapel to ‘merge’with the bushes. We were honestly surprised with how well the instax turned out.

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Multiple Exposure: The famed spiral staircase and conifer.

Admittedly, the Christmas Market at CHIJMES was not as eye-opening or as extravagant as the one at the Gardens, but the location, landmark and landscape made up for it. In all honesty, we had more fun taking photos than perusing the small Christmas Market. If there is any reason to visit CHIJMES, it would be for the illuminating lights, the splendid ambience and the picturesque chapel.

There are indeed places to go to in Singapore to visit during the festive season (e.g. Orchard Street lights), but those places are commonly visited. CHIJMES remains a notable memento to Singapore’s past and the European influence upon our city-state, and we both enjoyed our little adventure there!

Till next time,




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