The lanes and quays of the Singapore River have been crowded with European and Chinese merchants since the mid-19th century. Today, the waterway that first attracted colonial settlement serves as the city-state’s central natural tourist attraction. Though no longer much use in the way of international trade (ocean-going ships have taken to docking to the west of the island), it generates considerable tourist traffic – and for good reason.
Historically, the river was divided into five quays (Raffles Quay, Collyer Quay, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay), and its banks offer numerous places to eat and take recreation amid the beautiful – and bountiful – Banyan and Madras Thorn trees. The river is lined with monuments and stunning architecture, including Cavenagh Bridge, Fullerton Building, Clifford Pier, Change Alley, Raffles Place and Telok Ayer Market.
Visitors to Singapore who are thirsty for some socializing and imbibing can make their way to Boat Quay, the main waterfront destination for westerners inclined to do a bit of partying. At the west end of the river, Robertson Quay is also an up-and-coming nightlife and restaurant area.
The truly adventurous can test their mettle at Clarke Quay, where the G-Max Reverse Bungy will fling them into the sky at speeds exceeding 120 miles per hour.
Those inclined to tour the river on foot will delight in the recently constructed, pedestrian-accessible waterfront loop that extends over a little more than two full miles of riverfront property and contains a pedestrian bridge in the shape of a double helix that crosses the river.