Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

178 Waterloo St, Singapore 187964

Location: 178 Waterloo Street


A very pretty, colourful and popular place of worship for devotees of Kuan Yin or Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple was built in 1884; one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Singapore, it is quite small, beautiful and very intimate.


Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple is dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin. Other deities such as Ta Ma Tan Shith, also known as Da Mu Tuo Shi, chief of the six Buddhist patriarchs, and Hua Tuo, a famous doctor of Han dynasty who is the Chinese patron saint of medicine, were added later. The original building contained three altars: one for Kuan Yin and two for Bodhidharma (the founder of Zen Buddhism) and, of course, Hua Tuo.

The temple had undergone several alterations and additions in 1895 and was then demolished and entirely rebuilt in 1982 when the tiny and popular temple doubled in size to accommodate its ever increasing number of worshippers. All deities, from this date, have been enshrined on a single altar in the Prayer Hall.

During the Japanese invasion, World War II, the temple was a centre for those seeking refuge. It has constantly been a driving force for philanthropic activity and gives generously to the sick and needy. It also donates bursaries to needy students regardless of their race. Renowned for its charity work and contributions, the temple has donated, in recent years:

• A kidney dialysis centre at Simei, available to all irrespective of creed or colour.
• A professorship in Computing at the National University of Singapore.
• It is also a patron of the Singapore Arts, which it supports financially.


Still wholly philanthropic in nature, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is one of the most popular temples in Singapore and there is a more or less constant throng of worshippers coming and going through its portals. Buddhists believe it is particularly auspicious to visit the temple on the first and the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year when it stays open all night long. It is believed that all those who visit the temple have blessings bestowed on them and so will have a great start to the year ahead.


1. Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. (2015, July 30). Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. Retrieved from SINGAPORE INFOPEDIA: Link Here

2. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2015, July 23 ). Article: Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. Retrieved from WIKIPEDIA THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA: Link Here


Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (p. 263). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW)

Lip, E. (1983). Chinese temple architecture in Singapore (pp. 66-67). Singapore: Singapore University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 726.1951095957 LIP)

Uma, D, G., et al. (2002). Singapore's 100 historic places (p. 111). Singapore: Archipelago Press.
(Call no.: SING 959.57 SIN)

Sim, A. (2001, September 29). Kwan Im Temple now a historic site. The Straits Times, Life! Design, p. 8, 9.

Temple funds new chair at NUS. (2000, December 16). The Straits Times, Prime News, p. 6.

Temple named as historic site. (2001, 30 September). The Straits Times, Prime News, p. 6.

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