Clarke Quay is one of the must-visit spots in Singapore. Let’s check out the top things to do in Clarke Quay!
TOP 1 Wine and Dine by the Riverside
The glitzy bars and restaurants that line the riverside contribute to the vibrancy of Clarke Quay at night. Step into your restaurant and/or bar of choice and enjoy a sumptuous meal with a drink or two by the river. Enjoy the breeze by the river and watch the boats sail by as you unwind. Some of the bars even have live music performances to enhance your dining experience.
TOP 2 Board the Singapore River Cruise
What better way to explore both the history and modernity of the Singapore River than going on the Singapore river cruise? Hop onto bumboats at the Clarke Quay jetty which resemble the boats commonly used by residents to travel along the river during the early days of Singapore and begin your exploration! ‘The Singapore River Experience—A Tale of Two Quays’ is a 40-minute river cruise which brings you along the river to Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Marina Bay. A basic commentary of the history and landmarks will be played on board the electric bumboat as the boat approaches the corresponding landmarks, such as the historic bridges, the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the famous Merlion, Fullerton Hotel and Marina Bay Sands. Taking the bumboat tour in the late afternoon would give you a bonus of enjoying a view of sunset over the river and Marina Bay, and the lighting up of the Singapore skyline as day turned into night.
TOP 3 Savour Local Delights by the River
Many famous local restaurants have set up shop by the river so you can take the chance to savour local delights! Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, a heavyweight in the local restaurant scene, has a branch at the Riverside Point and is famous for their chilli crab and other iconic local Chinese dishes. Alternatively, head over to Song Fa Bak Kut Teh which is a hot favourite among locals for their heartwarming bak kut teh (pork ribs soup).
TOP 4 Drop By the Old Hill Street Police Station
This vibrant building with window panes taking on the colours of the rainbow lies on the banks of the Singapore River at Clarke Quay, and has caught the eye of many visitors. Officially opened in 1934, it was the largest government building at the time and it housed the Hill Street Police Station and living quarters for police personnels. The six-storey building was built in the Neo-Classical style characteristic of many government buildings in England during that time, with balconies, columns, Palladian windows and two internal courtyards. Today, it is home to the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. The courtyards are venues for art exhibitions and performing arts events.
Address: 140 Hill Street, Old Hill Street Police Station, Singapore 179369
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm daily
TOP 5 Snap Photos at Elgin Bridge
One of the many bridges built across the Singapore river, the Elgin Bridge started off as just a footbridge that connects the Chinese merchants and Indian traders on different sides of the river. The bridge gave rise to the present-day names of the roads that lead up to it – South Bridge Road and North Bridge Road. Beautifully structured like a bell curve with lamps designed by Italian sculptor Cavalari Rudolfo Nolli, the Elgin Bridge lights up in vibrant colours at night, warranting some shots. Standing at the side of Clarke Quay, you can also see the Parliament of Singapore and the Marina Bay Sands in the background.
TOP 6 Step into the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery
Located a stone’s throw away from the Old Hill Street Police Station is the Central Fire Station. The oldest fire station in Singapore, it was completed in 1909 and is a distinguishable landmark with its red and white brick facade. It has been gazetted as a national monument, and you may be surprised that it is currently still an active station. It also houses the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery which is a small museum documenting the history of fire fighting in Singapore and dedicated to improving public appreciation for civil defence. Step into the Civil Defense Heritage Gallery to feast your eyes on old-school fire engines, uniforms, water pumps and more. You will also get a lesson on fire fighting techniques and rescue missions, and learn about the devastating Bukit Ho Swee fire that happened back in 1961.
TOP 7 Explore Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is perhaps the place that is most steep in history in Singapore, being the site of the palaces where the Malay kings once ruled in the 14th century. When Singapore was occupied by the British, the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks were located here. During World War II, the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 was also made at Fort Canning Hill, in the Underground Far East Command Centre commonly known as Battle Box. Many artefacts have been found on Fort Canning Hill through excavations, which points to its significance as an important landmark in history. The Fort Gate, the remnants of a fortress built in the 19th century still stands here.
Today, the sprawling park is a popular venue for exercising and for concerts and performances such as Shakespeare in the Park and Ballet Under The Stars, where visitors plonk themselves down on the gentle slopes of the hill amidst the 18th century gateways and gazebos of Fort Canning Green. Many visitors also descend on the stairwell (pictured above) to take instagrammable shots.
TOP 8 Take on the G-Max Reverse Bungy or the GX-5 Extreme Swing
This is one for the adventurous. The G-Max Reverse Bungy and the GX-5 Extreme Swing are some of the most extreme things to do in Singapore. With five white crane-like structures at Clarke Quay by the river and the shrieks of excitement from the participants, it is easy to spot them. The thrilling rides doesn’t just give you an adrenaline rush. They also reward you with spectacular views of Clarke Quay and its surroundings such as the colourful Old Hill Street Police Station, City Hall, Parliament House and even Marina Bay Sands! The rides are created in New Zealand and boast of a 100% safety record with over 1 million rides. They are also supervised by a group of professionals to ensure that the experience is both fun and safe.
TOP 9 Shop and Dine at The Central
The Central is a shopping mall by the river that has many dining and shopping options. Grab a Hokkaido ice cream cone from the ice cream shop at the entrance facing the river and indulge in Gangnam corn dogs, both of which can be enjoyed on the go or as you sit by the river. Shop for Japanese merchandise at Don Don Donki at the basement of The Central and be tantalised by the huge range of products on sale. Enjoy traditional toasts like how locals would at Ya Kun Kaya Toast, or get a sip of coffee at Starbucks Coffee. There’s something for everyone!
TOP 10 Chill at the Riverbanks
When night falls, perhaps one of the best things to do is just to find yourself a spot at the riverbanks and soak in the sights and sounds of Clarke Quay. Rest your weary legs after a day of exploration, grab some snacks and just chill with your companions. It will be a night to remember.
Photo credits: TravelerFolio, klook, Peter Branch, Old Hill Street Police Station, Holidify, HoneyKids Asia, Fort Canning Park, G-Max Reverse Bungee Singapore, Time Out, The Jakarta Post
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