Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Strolling Along The Singapore River

Located right in the heart of Singapore, the Singapore River is an awesome tourist attraction with malls, shophouses, bars and boat rides found all around the river. It's also a free tourist attraction and you don't have to pay for entry unless you decide to shop, eat or take a boat ride. It's a great place to relax, unwind and take a stroll because of the calm and peaceful river. If you want some adrenaline rush, there's the G-Max bungee jump attraction and if you want to learn more about the history of the Singapore River, there's the Singapore River bumboat rides and the Asian Civilisations Museum. Whereas if you just want to have a picnic, there's plenty of seats facing the river. Read on to check out more pictures and details of the Singapore River.

The Singapore River is easily accessible via public transport. You can board the MRT train to Clarke Quay MRT Station on the North East Line and walk along the Clarke Quay and the Boat Quay part of the river. Another Quay located north of Clarke Quay is Robertson Quay which is near the beginning of the river itself.

Confused and overwhelmed? Don't worry, there are plenty of helpful guides and directional signs you can refer to along the river. The picture above is at Clarke Quay, the middle part of the river. You can see the colourful bumboats parked and ready to receive its customers. There's also a pedestrian mall across with a large selection of bars and also, Singapore's only Hooters restaurant. What I particularly like about Clarke Quay shopping mall are the canopies and the colourful shophouses. They have a unique shape and blends in well with the beautiful coloured shophouses.

Walking along Clarke Quay shopping mall is like walking along a little town. With the beautiful canopies, walking along the mall even when it's raining isn't really a big problem. There's also a nice big fountain in the middle of the mall which completes the overall look of the mall.

Here's some more pictures of Clarke Quay shopping mall located along the Singapore River. Their uniquely shaped canopies can also be found outside although with a slight design difference.

If you're a hungry guy who wants their food to be served in a sexy way, head to Hooters. With stunning views of the river and stunning views of Hooters waitresses, this is a great place for guys and buddies to wine, dine and hang out together.

Right opposite Clarke Quay shopping mall, there's Robertson Walk along Robertson Quay. I didn't really check it out in person but I believe it's a mall and there were several restaurants outside that line along the river. Like I said, I didn't really check the place out so I can't really talk about it that much. You can find it out for yourself easily as it's located near Read Bridge which links Central Mall and Clarke Quay shopping mall.

Speaking of Central Mall, this is the mall/office tower where Clarke Quay MRT Station is located in. Inside the mall, you'll find a wide range of restaurants, shops and the usual fast food restaurants. What makes Central very popular is the presence of a small but popular hard candy shop which sells handmade candy in the shape of circular tubes. After some shopping and candy-eating, you can just come out of the mall and relax along the river.

Oh and anytime, you feel lost or don't know how to navigate, just look out for the signs with a big question mark on them. There are plenty of such signs along the river and will provide you with essential information about the Singapore River.

After walking a bit further and going through a short underpass, you will find the Parliament House. The Parliament House is where Singapore's government currently makes decisions and it's also the place where debates will occur among the ruling party, the opposition party and the Non-constituency members of parliament. Live speaking sessions can be viewed by the public at certain times. Check out the Parliament House website to find out more.

The Parliament House is a great looking building with modern architectural elements and elements of old architecture. The Parliament House also has a very nice big lawn in front. Just beside the current Parliament House is where the old Parliament House was located. It's now known as The Arts House which currently holds art galleries and live arts performances.

Bridges that connect both sides of the river are available a few metres from each other. Each bridge will have different designs and names, and some will even have some background history. With these bridges, it's easy to get from one side to another side of the river. Try crossing every time you come across a bridge when walking along the Singapore River.

As we reach closer to the end, you will be at Boat Quay. Boat Quay has a line of shops and restaurants located in shophouses just like the one found at Clarke Quay. However, the shophouses here are not multi coloured and most of them retained the original colours although they went through several refurbishments. Just right beside Boat Quay are huge and tall office towers standing right beside each other. Those tall buildings are located in Raffles Place also known as Singapore's Central Business District. It's where most banks are located, where thousands of office workers come to work and where one of Singapore's oldest hawker centres, Lau Pa Sat, is located. You can already see the beautiful architecture overlooking the river. I miss coming here.

Just right outside the Asian Civilisations Museum is the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, also known as the founder of modern Singapore. The statue is also located exactly where he first set foot on Singapore which is known as the Raffles Landing Site. Back then, the Singapore River was a trading port with many traders from overseas coming here to trade with the locals. It was like the 'Raffles Place' of old times. After the big river clean up, the Singapore River became what it is today.

Right below the statue is a slightly worn out signage that reads, "ON THIS HISTORY SITE, SIR THOMAS STAMFORD RAFFLES FIRST LANDED IN SINGAPORE ON 28TH JANUARY 1819 AND WITH GENIUS AND PERCEPTION CHANGED THE DESTINY OF SINGAPORE FROM AN OBSCURE FISHING VILLAGE TO A GREAT SEAPORT AND MODERN METROPOLIS," Interesting piece of historical information indeed. You can find out more about the history of the Singapore River online.

The Asian Civilisations Museum is located just right beside the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. You can come in here to check out the history of Singapore and the Asian regions that surround Singapore. I can't really comment much about the place as I have not visited this place yet. Still, you can find out more by checking the museum's website.

Right outside the IndoChine cafe at the museum are these statues related to trading and the economy of Singapore. There were statues of men carrying some goods and someone was standing there haggling about the prices of the goods. Another set of statues described the trading scene in both the olden days and modern times which showed someone using a traditional counting instrument along with a lady with modern clothing.

Some more sculptures and statues can be found outside the ACM Green Lawn. The statues represent pioneers of Asia which include the President of Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. You can check out the sculpture in person to learn more about their contributions to society.

We have finally come to the end of the river. At the end of the river, there's the Fullerton Hotel, a hotel which was known as the General Post Office back then, and a direct link to Raffles Place. I also spotted a river boat which was slightly different than the usual. It was a boat with little seats and with guests donning formal clothing sipping some wine. It was called the Hippo Dinner Cruiser which is mainly targeted towards those who are willing to spend a bit more than the usual price of a regular boat ride.

And as we reach the end of the Singapore River, it's time for us to say goodbye to the bridges, shophouses, malls and bumboats that line along the river until next time. However, if you carry on walking after the Fullerton Hotel, you get to check out Marina Bay (more info here), the Merlion Park and One Fullerton. If you carry on walking after the museum, you can check out the Esplanade Park, Esplanade Bridge and Esplanade Theatres. The fun continues even after you have checked out the Singapore River.

Overall, my visit to the Singapore River was indeed splendid and exciting. I get to see beautiful buildings, bridges, boats and I also get to find out more about the different shops, restaurants and bars which offer premium goods and services with a wide variety of choices. If you have some time to spare and if you're on a budget, the Singapore River is a great free tourist attraction for you to take a stroll and relax along the river with friends and family.

Getting Here 

Bus services available: 32, 195 (Bus stop along North Boat Quay opp. High St Ctr)

Nearest MRT Station: NE5 Clarke Quay MRT Station (North East Line)


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