Once a small fishing village and settlement situated mid-way along the China-India trade route, Singapore’s fortunes rose and fell, until 28 Jan 1819, when Sir Stamford Raffles landed along her banks, and forever changed her destiny. After declaring it a free trading port, the city went from backwater to bustling almost immediately.
The river quickly became the island’s lifeblood, as commerce flourished along wharves like Boat, Clarke and Robertson Quays. Immigrants from China, India, and nearby came seeking fortunes, and set up their settlement close to her banks. The structures of Singapore’s judiciary, cultural, social and sporting establishment also sprang up nearby.
Then as times changed, so did the Singapore River. Trading soon made way for financial, banking, high-value and high-tech services, housed in skyscrapers. Part of the thriving Central Business District, they launched Singapore onto the global stage with great success. A modern miracle that began right at the Singapore River.
Still, some things remain the same. Descendants of early immigrants still flock to the river’s embankments for sustenance and life: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Riverside Point are now their shimmering oasis. And sampans (bumboats) still putter upstream, with their “cargo” of tourist.
The Singapore River gives you a glimpse of the city’s past and present. For a quick insight into her historical and commercial beginnings, visit Raffles’ Landing Site, the Padang, Boat Quay and Fullerton Hotel. To round it off, tantalize your tastebuds with a local gastronomic favourite – satay!
Activities along Singapore River
- River Cruise in a bumboat
- Dragon Boat Festival at Marina Bay
- Reverse bungy at Clarke Quay
- Weekend flea market at Clarke Quay
Flavours of Singapore River
- Savour a smorgasbord of cuisine at Clarke, Boat and Robertson Quays
- Kaya (local egg jam) toast with local-style coffee (a popular local breakfast) at one of the coffeshops along Circular Road
- Have some satay at the promenade fronting Fullerton Waterboat House
- Chilli Crab and seafood at Clarke Quay
Nightlife along Singapore River
- Romantic riverside dining at Boat, Clarke and Robertson Quays, or Riverside Point
- Indulge in fine dining by Marina Bay, and enjoy panoramic bay views
- Go clubbing at Zouk (Jiak Kim Road), Boat and Clarke Quays
- Karaoke the night away along Circular Road
Sights of Singapore River
- Historical Sights
Padang, Raffles’ Landing Site, Fullerton Hotel & Merlion Park.
- Judicial Sites
City Hall, Supreme Court & Parliament House
- Cultural Sites
Esplanade, Asian Civilisations Museum , Atrium at Hill Street Building, The Arts House (old Parliament House), Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall
- Commercial & Gastronomic Sites - Boat Quay & Clarke Quay
We have created a special walking tour guide for you to discover this old and new spirit of the Singapore River and explore the rich night activities and places of interest found around near this river.
Walking Tour Guide Around Singapore River