CHIJMES: 30 Victoria St
CHIJMES – say it with us, ‘chimes’. Yes, like wind chimes!
The compound was once a girls’ school known as Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) and was established by French Catholic nuns in 1852. This historical building stands on a land area of 154,063 sq ft, and the compound also housed an orphanage, a nuns’ quarters, and a chapel.
As you explore the compound, you’ll also walk through the beautiful white cloisters. These are covered walkways typically found in convents and cathedrals. There are also plenty of spiral staircases along the corridors. These are perfect for your Instagram #ootds (remember to tag @hericollsg in your posts!)
The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus was gazetted as a Singapore national monument on 26 October 1990, and subsequently underwent extensive restoration. When it re-opened officially in 1996, it was renamed CHIJMES to pay respect to the school. ‘MES’ was deliberately added as an onomatopoeia (formation of a word from a sound it’s associated with) to make it sound like chimes.
For those of you who don’t know, CHIJMES was actually featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie Crazy Rich Asians. The 19th-century gothic chapel is now a function hall called the CHIJMES Hall and served as the wedding backdrop for the movie’s glamour couple Colin Khoo (played by Chirs Pang) and Araminta Lee (played by Sonoya Mizuno). Who knew you could step foot on the actual set of a Hollywood movie in Singapore!
There are plenty of things to see and eat within the complex itself – you’ll need at least an hour to walk the entire area, and you’re bound to find something. Here’s the directory to help you out.
The complex has been restored to house mostly bars and restaurants. So if you’re looking to include a fancy dinner in your trip itinerary, CHIJMES is the place for you!