The Singapore River stretches for 11,000 meters. Starting at Kim Seng Bridge, it cuts through the Central Area, which is the city’s Central Business District and busiest region. Much of the city’s progress can be attributed to the presence of this river. A long time ago, the river served as the place where all commercial activities were concentrated and through it, trade was brought to different parts of the city-state. Merchants took advantage of this winding body of water to sell their goods to different places or to visiting boats. Eventually, Singapore grew from a small fishing village into an economically important seaport.
As the city-state changed through the years, so did the river and the landscape along its banks. Singapore’s progress saw the rise of skyscrapers as various industries thrived in the city. The Central Business District was established, and the city developed into what it is today. It’s amazing to think that the river gave way to Singapore’s advancement.
Today, Singapore has become a progressive little state, and the river no longer holds the same economic importance as it did years ago. However, because of its rich history, it does help promote tourism within Singapore. There are many historical landmarks along its banks. A cruise through Singapore River will take you under 12 bridges that have their own individual stories. Cavenagh Bridge, for example, which was constructed in 1869, takes you to Empress Place, an elegant looking building made in honor of Queen Victoria.
You can take a cruise along the Singapore River to see important landmarks and structures that speak about the city-state’s history. One of them is Raffles’ Landing Site found on the northern bank of the river. In 1887, a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, was erected on that site where he was said to have first landed. The statue was originally made of bronze, but in 1972, a polymarble version was created from plaster casts of the old one. This polymarble statue is what stands in Raffles’ Landing Site today.
Upstream, on the southern bank of the river, you will find Boat Quay. This was the center of commerce during the 1800s. It was the docking place for about 75% of all shipping businesses that went to Singapore. Boat Quay is located in the old Port of Singapore. This part of the river is shaped like a carp’s belly. Based on Chinese beliefs, such an area is a resting place for wealth and prosperity. This is perhaps the reason why a lot of shophouses are clustered in Boat Quay.
The famous Merlion Park is situated near the mouth of the river. The mythical creature Merlion is symbolic of Singapore. It used to stand at the very mouth of the river near The Fullerton Waterboat House. However, when the Esplanade Bridge was constructed in 1997, the bridge created an obstruction to the landscape. Thus, the Merlion was transferred in front of Marina Bay, about 120 meters away from its original location.
Aside from taking a cruise on Singapore River, you can also try the different flavors of food served in restaurants along the riverbank. Are you planning a romantic dinner by the river? You can go to Clarke Quay, Riverside Point, Boat Quay, or Robertson Quay. If you fancy the nightlife, there are some clubs in Clarke Quay, Zouk, and Boat Quay.