I have a love and hate relationship with Singapore. Being a backpacker who keens on travelling in a low budget, Singapore is a place I choose to avoid to visit. Even if i have to set my foot in this island city, it is only as a stepping stone to other countries in South East Asia or home. Nevertheless, Singapore is the country I have visited most compared to other countries in SEA.
There are many reasons why this small island city has enticed flocks of tourists, mainly from Indonesia. Cheap airline tickets,Indonesians’ crave for shopping, close distance are among the reasons why Singapore has been regarded as “a new province” by some. I don’t crave for shopping, Singapore is way to pricey compared to Bangkok for shopping. I can get 2 T-shirt in Chatuchak Market while i can only get one in Bugis Junction. A small piece of pineapple can cost 1SGD while you can get a half of the fruit in the alley next to Wat Pho. Bottom line, I don’t share the shopping lust that my countrymen and women have for Singapore. What lured me to this city is the eclectic heritage of the past and the wonderful view of Singapore River.
Even before Raffles made his landing on the bank of the river, this river has been known for its importance among the inhabitants. The Chinese, Malays and Indians had made this river a center of the activities. The Chinese towkays (business owners) used the banks as place to unload the goods from the east. The Malay boats sailed back and forth this river scurrying for plunder. The Indians settlers stayed along the banks until they were pushed back by the Chinese. Though the heyday of commerce along this river has become a thing in the past, the river offers a lot more today. It is a place where Singaporean can stroll along the banks and tourists enjoying drinks and food at numerous of chic restaurants in Clark Quay, Robertson Quay, and Boat Quay while River Cruise passing back and forth the Singapore canal.
A year ago I took a stroll early in the morning to this river. I took a MRT to Clark Quay Station from Lavender and started walking along the north bank of the river. Some tourists were seen walking along the concrete pavement holding maps while others sat down on a bench resting and looking at the passing boats. I walked on and passed the statue of Sir Stanford Raffles in front of a huge building which happened to be the Asian Civilization Museum. I took a rest for a while and enjoying the beautiful view in front of me. The green color of the river water resides under the magnificent pearly white Cavenagh Bridge. Skyscrapers stood tall racing to reach the gleaming ray of the morning sun as they give a sheltering canopy to Fullerton Hotel beneath them. It was such a sight. The hotel itself has stood for almost a century bearing witness of all the turning points in Singapore history. Not far from the Fullerton Hotel, the icon of Singapore resided overlooking the extravagant Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino. Onlookers flock this site to immortalize themselves with this half-lion half-fish figure. Travelling to Singapore won’t be enough without taking a picture or two with the statue.
I walked back to Clarke Quay from the south bank of the river. Strolling and taking pictures of the bridge and the Singapore River Cruise boat passing by can be fun,anyway every angle of this place is a treat to the eyes. On the way back, i encountered bronze statues of children jumping to the river,a memento from the past where this river used to be a play ground for the children. The Children Statues were not the only ones along the south bank, there were statues depicting a trading scene among the British, Indian, Malay and Chinese. This statues show the harmony of the inhabitants of Singapore regardless the races.
The stroll along the banks finally ended in the Central, a mall situated near the south bank of Singapore River. This area known as Clark Quay is famous for the nightlife and restaurants. There are many restaurants at Clarke Quay, but the one that i never failed to visit every time i go to Singapore is Hooters. Hooters bear a label of a restaurant that has beautiful girls in short pants and singlets write your orders. The lively restaurant has many chains all over the world, i happened to visit only the one in Singapore. The chicken wings (10ish SGD for 10 pieces) with some variety of sauces to choose are the only menu that i am in favor for. A bottle of Bud and a plate of Teriyaki Chicken Wings plus a cute smile of a Hooter girl always make my day. Pricey? Yes..you can spend about 28SGD for it but Hooters definitely a magnet for the hungry.
How to get to Singapore River
MRT : Take a purple line MRT train to Clark Quay or a red line MRT Train to Raffles Place
Walking : If you are from China Town, you can easily walk to the river via North Bridge Road, head to the bridge and there you are 🙂