The riverfronts at Clarke and Boat Quays have evolved over the last few years, and are now possibly the most popular areas to partake of a meal and/or a drink.
The restuarants lining the quays are eclectic, a few are more affordable than others. I suggest that you peruse a few of the menus before settling comfortably (preferably outside near the river, where you can enjoy a cool breeze)
Some restuarants have live or canned music at night.
Unfortunately, the touts, who try and lure you inside their establishments, are an annoyance. (Best to just say "sorry- already had lunch/dinner). Shoving a menu in my face is not a good way to lure me)
BUT there is more to the river........
A cruise on a Bum-boat is fun. Not luxury for certain- but very scenic, and relaxing. View the waterfront from another perspective. Alternativly, Hippo Cruise is fun, and probably more comfortable, with shaded areas.
There is a hop-on
and hop-off service along the 5 designated jetties.
Board at Jetty , and tickets available at Singapore Visitors Centre in Orchard Road.
Browse at some of the outdoor market areas.
The riverfront has changed so much over the years. Once upon a time, where the restuarants now stand in abundance, there were seedy but colourful Go-downs (warehouses) lining the riverfront. All gone now, but with a bit of imagination, one can summon up the atmosphere of the days when the river was the hub of trade in Singapore.
At sunset a walk along the river esplanade is delightful, and very popular with visitors and locals. Take a stroll across one of the many colourful bridges which cross the river.
I took a trip on a bumboat along Singapore River on my first full day in the city.
I was approached by a tout while I was wandering (jet-lagged) along the Esplanade, admiring the strange looking "Theatres on the Bay". Within a few minutes I'd handed over my S$15 and the guy had made a call on his mobile for one of the boats to come and collect me at Esplanade Jetty. This seemed an ideal way to get my bearings in Singapore.
From Esplanade Jetty, the boat first crosses the harbour to allow passengers a great view (and photo opportunity) of the famous Merlion statue and the Fullerton Hotel and Clifford Pier.
Next, the boat passes under Esplanade Bridge and commences the journey along the river. After passing under Anderson Bridge and Cavenagh Bridge (and seeing several impressive colonial buildings beside the river), the journey brings you to the Central Business District - large skyscrapers stand to your left and Raffles Place (with its statue of Stamford Raffles) stands to your right.
The boat continues along the river, passing the bars and restaurants of Boat Quay on the left and then, after passing under Elgin Bridge and Coleman Bridge, passes by the colourful Clarke Quay (which houses more bars, restaurants and entertainment venues) on the right.
The journey continues, passing under Read Bridge, Ord Bridge, Clemenceau Bridge, the multi-coloured Alkaff Bridge, Robertson Bridge and Jiak Kim Bridge. On this part of the journey, the scenery is less spectacular - passing by various hotels and a few bars and restaurants.
After passing under Jiak Kim Bridge, the boat turns around and follows the route back to the Esplanade.
Beginning at Esplanade Jetty (there are numerous other points of embarkation), a round trip takes 45 minutes - but you can get off at any stop along the route and jump back on later.
English commentary (and I expect other languages are also available) is provided throughout the journey, explaining the various sights and their history and significance.
A good introduction to Singapore!
My beautiful girlfriend really loves to show me around in Singapore, except for two things. She refuse to board one of the sightseeing buses with me, and she refuse to board one of the sightseeing boats with me.
The bus I've stayed away from so far, but the boat trip was actually very nice.
Starts from different stations along Singapore river, and goes from around Robertson bridge all the way out to the Marina Bay, and back again. You can jump on and jump off at any of the stations, although there aren't really that many different.
There is a guide who's tells you about everything you pass by, as the Boat Quay, Sir Stamford Raffles statue, the Merlion and every other interesting building. Including of course the history of Singapore.
Not a fantastic guiding, but still interesting. And a very nice trip along the river, with good photo possibilities.
The boat is of middle size, I would guess it can take about 20-30 persons onboard. All in wood, and the benches aren't exactly the most cosy ones. But the trip is well worth the small pain in the ass that you might feel. :)
There are two different cruises. One that goes from Boat Quay to Marina Bay (costs 13 SGD) and one that goes a step further, from Robertson Quay to Marina Bay (18 SGD). I took the second one, and I think it was well worth those extra 5 SGD. Didn't really check how long time the cruise was, but I would guess about an hour, maybe a bit more.
Boats passing by all day long, so you don't really have to wait for a long time.
When the cruise company started up in 1987 they had four boats. Today they had 24, going all day long.
This was included in our Singapore Sightseeing and Attractions card.
The Bumboat has quite a history, it used to take Chinese workers out to ships and they would load the cargo and fetch it back to the warehouses along the River. The Warehouse areas are now, Clark Quay, Robertson Quay & Boat Quay.
From the River, you get a different view of the area and a recording tells you the history of the area, and about the bridges, quite interesting.
Seating is wooden, it has a diesel engine and painted eyes on the front to find its way!
Its a good way to see the sights this end of the Singapore River.
Boats leave every 10 mins.
This is a 45 minute ride and is one of the best I have been on, go just before sunset, to get the best of daylight and night time views, stop off at the restaurants for a bite to eat at the end of your cruise.
Sir Stamford Raffles established Singapore with one thing in mind: trade.
Raffles, a former governor of Java, argued that a new tax free port at Singapore, then little more than a swamp and a base for pirates, would help secure trade for Britain throughout the region.
And so, with great sailing ships lying at anchor in the Straits, small vessels manned by coolies ferried their cargo through the shallower waters of the river to warehouses built along its banks.
Some of these, the so-called bumboats, have survived, and today still ply their trade on the Singapore River. We saw them, Chinese in shape and with eyes painted on the bows. You can purchase a ticket to ride where North Road and Hill Street cross the river.
The ride lasted for around 40 minutes and the recorded information provided of the cities main attractions was excellent.
Take a bumboat from Raffles Landing Site and you get to tour Singapore river with a great view of the Merlion.