Raffles Place: Statue of Sir Raffles, Merlion, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay
Raffles Place is the birthplace of Singapore where all economic activities started here since Sir Stamford Raffles found this little island known as Singapura. Raffles place is located at the southern bank of the Singapore River (aka Commercial Square prior to 1858). This place used to be the heart of Singapore where ships docked at the harbour and the little boats known as sampans bringing the cargo in and out to the warehouses that lies along the places now known as Boat Quay and Clark Quay. Click here for a YouTube video archive (starting from 05:34) of the historical place filmed in 1938. Singapore in its early days (before independence) was the entrepot in South East Asia due to its strategic location for the shipping industry. The modern day Raffles Place still is the heart of Singapore where the financial and political institutions are located but the buzz of the enterpot activities are long gone after the clean up of the Singapore River in the early 1970s. Today, you will be able to see the various bronze statues commissioned by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) replicating the true life scenes from the good old days of Raffles Place.
Aptly this is where you will find the Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles (picture above) beside the Victoria Theatre to recognise the vision of the man who founded Singapore. The statue is erected at the spot believed to be where he first landed Singapore and behind him are skyscrapers that are the symbol of Singapore's success and prosperity.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is a five-star boutique hotel located near the mouth of the Singapore River. Its Neo-classical architecture is stunning and is one of the most recognised buildings that associated with Singapore. It was originally known as The Fullerton Building, which was the General Post Office Building in its early days.
Right in front of Fullerton Hotel facing the sea is the Singapore tourism icon, the Merlion, which is an imaginary creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish with water constantly pumping out from its mouth towards the sea. From here you can take scenic pictures of the Esplanade (the unofficial names is the "Durians") and backdrop of the Marina and Suntec City. It is also here that you can witness the frenzy construction of the Marina Bay Sands casino right across of the water. It will be a wonderful sight when the latter is completed in 2010.
Present day Boat Quay is located at the southern side of Singapore River where rows of waterfront restaurants and bars are located. To take pictures of Boat Quay, you need to walk along the northern side of the river to admire the charming Boat Quay with the beautiful skyscrapers as the backdrop. Bumboat ride (30min) can be hired here to cruise along the Singapore river and we were told that the scenes you see from the land cannot even be compared to what you see from down the river.
Clarke Quay is roughly defined by the section between the ColeMann Bridge and Read Bridge where shops and restaurants lie along the river banks. Featuring five blocks of restored warehouses, Clarke Quay offers a quirky alternative to mainstream attractions, with second-hand and antique shops and restaurants with an amazing array of F&B options. In the evenings, dance clubs and pubs come alive with music from the 1960s to the present. The colourful building located at the Clark Quay is the MICA building (aka Old Hill Street Police Station) was erected in 1934 to house the Hill Street Police Station and Barracks. It was gazetted as a national monument in 1998. The ground floor is opened to public and houses a number of art galleries. Across the road from MICA building, you can get your dose of adrenaline rush with the G-Max Reverse Bungy! More revelation on the night life of Clarke Quay can be found here.
How to get there?
Take the MRT to the Raffles Place Station, after completing the tour, you may wish to take the train from the Clarke Quay station.
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Last updated on Dec 2009