The Singapore River was the lifeline of Singapore where our first immigrants eked out a meagre living and saw Singapore transform from an obscure little fishing village to a great seaport.
The history of the Singapore River can be divided into three distinct periods: pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial. Colourful tales permeate the pre-colonial history of Singapore River. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) undertook the planning of the Singapore River. New developments have become a palimpsest over old histories. When Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, the river was home to the many merchants, businessmen and coolies, who were the forefathers of Singapore.
This is the very origin of Singapore's prosperity, with the Merlion (the city's tourism icon) steadfastly standing guard at the mouth of the river. Quaint bridges span the river, ranging from the elegant Anderson Bridge to the simple Ord Bridge. Heading upriver, you will see the historic Anderson and Cavenagh Bridges. Cavenagh Bridge, built in 1869 and now for pedestrians only, leads to Empress Place, which was named in honour of Queen Victoria. At Empress Place, you will find the elegant Victoria Concert Hall, where classical concerts by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra are held regularly.
Highlights on the banks of the Singapore River include Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, landmarks and memorials such as Merlion Park and Parliament House, museums such as the Asian Civilisations Museum as well as temples and mosques such as the Tan Si Chong Su Temple and Omar Kampong Melaka Mosque.
Marvel at these sights as you stroll along the banks of the river. Alternatively, hop onto a glass-top boat or bumboat and enjoy a leisure cruise on the river. Choose from a range of riverboat services available - loop hop-on and hop-off, river express, river taxi and leisure sightseeing tours. You can get on the boats at Clifford Pier, Raffles Place, Raffles’ Landing Site, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay.
Dinning or an evening cocktail on Boat Quay is astounding and most likely the most photographed scene in Singapore. Or enjoy a sumptuous meal at the tranquil atmosphere of Robertson Quay which is located a little further down.
Guide to enjoy Singapore river:
This guide highlights two routes, each of which will take about 2 hours to explore. Both routes offer different experiences by day and by night.
Route I - The Rafflesian Legacy, takes the form of a structured walking tour to help you take in all the significant sites on this route. We would like to suggest that you experience Route I in the cooler hours of the early morning or late afternoon.
Route 2 - The River Celebration is best enjoyed nearer dusk when River life is at its most vibrant. Route 2 is deliberately unstructured, as only you can decide which of many exciting options you'd like to zoom in on.
Singapore River Cruises & Leisure
Tel: (65) 6336 6111 Fax: (65) 6336 6112
Tel: (65) 6339 6833 Fax: (65) 6336 1830
A walking tour guide of the Singapore River is available at various Singapore Visitors Centres.