The Singapore River is like a main artery that flows through its highly packed Central Business District. On its northern banks, you would see many older buildings that now house the government agencies while the southern area is where modern Singapore makes its mark with towering skyscrapers jostled for space with other developments. This is where people make their fortunes while others gravitate towards the three popular areas of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
Take time out to stroll by the Riverside which is just a short MRT trip away. Roam the historical Boat Quay, once a busy port during its shipping heyday. The picturesque collection of shophouses and eateries give you an idea of what the original Singapore was like. Further upstream is the Clarke Quay, equally quaint. Both places come to life at night with clubs and pubs, adding colour to your visit. Have a taste of old-day transportation by taking a tour on one of the colourful bumboats and marvel at its sights.
If you are a historical buff, this where you would want to spend your days as many of Singapore’s historical attractions are located by the riverside. There are many interesting statues and monuments to visit such as the Merlion, the official symbol of Singapore. This 8.6 meters tall statue spouts water daily and is a must-see place for first time visitor to this island nation. It is also worth your time to visit the Cavenagh Bridge, the oldest and only suspension bridge that is a pedestrian walkway. You must also see the statue of Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, the second most popular place to take a picture after the Merlion. Museums are aplenty. There is the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Mint Museum that houses 50, 000-piece toy collection of local enthusiast Chang Yang Fa, amongst others, and the Peranakan Museum, which showcases the interesting culture of the Peranakans.
If you would like to stay by the Riverside, the Swissotel Merchant Court offers delightful superior, deluxe and premier grand rooms within walking distance of the Singapore River bank. Rooms are reasonably priced at SGD144 (USD99) and the hotel includes gym and spa facilities too.
A slightly cheaper but equally hospitable option is the Robertson Quay Hotel (SGD105- USD72), a no-frills hotel with just the right amount of everything for the average tourist – good facilities, good service and even an open air bar. There is also a currency exchange facility, definitely a bonus point for travellers.
For those who are looking for a bit more luxurious ambience, check out the Holiday Inn Atrium, a 27 storey atrium style hotel. Located at the crossroad of Outram and Havelock Roads, it’s a fantastic place to make your home during your stay in Singapore. It’s especially popular with the clubbers who would come over for late supper after a night out at one of the many night spots just across the road at Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. With a starting rate of SGD140 (USD98), it’s also popular with the tourists segment.