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The Merlion and the CBD skyline

The Singapore River forms a central artery in Singapore's densely packed Central Business District (CBD). The north bank of the river is where Raffles landed and founded his colony, and to this day many central government buildings can be found in the area. The newer south bank, laden with skyscrapers, is where Singapore's bankers make (or break) their fortunes. Between the two are the bulk of Singapore's nightspots, found along the riverside streets of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.

Get in[edit]

Map of Singapore/Riverside
Map of Singapore/Riverside

The riverside is best accessed by the MRT stations Raffles Place (North-South/East-West Lines) for Boat Quay and the Merlion, City Hall for Raffles Hotel and Chijmes, and Clarke Quay (North-East Line) for the bars and nightlife. There is no convenient MRT station for the western end of the river though: you'll have to hike on foot for 15 minutes, try to work out the buses, or hop on a bumboat.

Get around[edit]

By boat[edit]

A popular way to see the heart of the city is with Singapore River Cruises. Stations are scattered along both banks of the river and reservations are not necessary. Prices start at $3 for a short ride.

On foot[edit]

The Esplanade/Merlion/Boat Quay area has some great views of Singapore and makes for a fine walk (or jogging trail if staying nearby). It can get quite hot during the day though; evenings are cooler and breezier, and the nighttime skyline is equally attractive.


The bulk of Singapore's historical attractions are packed by the river, and the best place to start your tour is at the mouth of the Singapore River. While this area has formed the downtown core of Singapore since the early 19th century, sadly, most of the once-iconic shophouses and street markets have given way to modern skyscrapers and shopping centres, and those who wish to experience a more authentic slice of colonial Singapore life would do well to head up north to the Malaysian island of Penang instead. Not all is lost though, and several important government buildings and places of worship dating back to the 19th century survive, and provide a rare glimpse into the city's colonial past.


  • 1 Cavenagh Bridge (Next to Fullerton Hotel). Singapore's oldest bridge and its only suspension bridge, constructed in 1869, now a pedestrian walkway across the mouth of the Singapore River. Note the original sign forbidding cattle to cross. Cavenagh Bridge (Q4261649) on Wikidata Cavenagh Bridge on Wikipedia
  • 2 Civilian War Memorial (The Chopsticks) (War Memorial Park, near Beach Rd). Stands in memory of the civilians who perished during World War II. Mostly bypassed nowadays by underground passages, the memorial is sited above the final resting place of the remains of some unidentified war victims, part of the reason why the CityLink Mall does not travel in a straight line. The four pillars that make up the memorial represent the four main ethnic groups that make up Singapore's population; the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Civilian War Memorial (Q5124736) on Wikidata Civilian War Memorial on Wikipedia
  • 3 Merlion, Merlion Park (Raffles Place MRT exit H, off Fullerton Rd). Singapore's official symbol, 8.6 metres tall and weighing 70 tons, spouts water daily on the south bank of the mouth of the Singapore river. (The statue previously stood further down the river, but was moved in 2002 after the opening of the Esplanade Bridge.) Designed by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board in 1964, many a commentator has pondered on the inherent contradictions of a creature that is half-cat, half-fish. Any time of night or day, a steady stream of tourists troops up to see the mythical beast, and a purpose-built pier lets you take pictures with the Merlion and the CBD in the background. When paying your respects, don't miss the bite-sized Mini-Merlion (officially the "Merlion cub"), a mere 2 m tall, 28 m away towards the bridge. Free. Merlion (Q208760) on Wikidata Merlion on Wikipedia
Sir Stamford Raffles strikes a pose
  • 4 Raffles' Landing Site, 1 Empress Place (Next to Asian Civilisations Museum). A statue of Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is built on the (supposed) exact spot where he first landed. Second only to the Merlion as most popular place in Singapore to take a picture of yourself, and having the skyscrapers and the shop houses of Boat Quay in the background helps to explain why! The statue here is a replica; the original can be found in front of the Victoria Theatre. Raffles' Landing Site (Q7282563) on Wikidata Raffles' Landing Site on Wikipedia
  • 5 Tan Kim Seng Fountain (In Esplanade Park). A fountain commemorating Tan Kim Seng, a merchant and philanthropist who donated money to build Singapore' first reservoir, MacRitchie Reservoir, and the accompanying system of waterworks. Tan Kim Seng Fountain (Q23073306) on Wikidata Tan Kim Seng Fountain on Wikipedia
  • 6 Lim Bo Seng Memorial (In Esplanade Park). A pagoda commemorating Lim Bo Seng, a World War II hero. Lim was part of Force 136, a British intelligence operation that was established to aid indigenous resistance movements in Japanese-occupied territory. After being arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai (secret police), Lim refused to divulge any information about his comrades despite being tortured by the Japanese, subsequently dying in prison in 1944 at the age of 35. Lim Bo Seng Memorial (Q54321624) on Wikidata Lim Bo Seng Memorial on Wikipedia
  • 7 The Cenotaph (In Esplanade Park). Built by the colonial government to commemorate the British soldiers born or resident in Singapore who died in World War I. A second dedication was later added on the other side to commemorate the soldiers who died in World War II. The Cenotaph, Singapore (Q7721864) on Wikidata The Cenotaph, Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 8 Padang. Originally grown by the British as a cricket ground, it is surrounded by several beautiful colonial buildings, including the old City Hall and Supreme Court. The field itself is used for numerous sporting activities, including as the main cricket ground for the Singapore Cricket Club and the Singapore Recreation Club, and hosts the National Day Parade every 5 years. Padang, Singapore (Q7123224) on Wikidata Padang, Singapore on Wikipedia


  • 9 Battle Box, 2 Cox Terrace (Fort Canning Park) (alight at Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station), . A former bunker that was the HQ of the British military forces in Malaya during World War II, now turned into an air-conditioned museum complete with animatronic figures retelling the events of the days before surrender. The nearest MRT station is Dhoby Ghaut, but it's a steamy hike up the hill. free. The Battle Box (Q7715823) on Wikidata The Battle Box on Wikipedia
The Asian Civilisations Museum
  • 10 Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Pl, +65 6332 7798. Daily 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-9PM. Housed in the historic Empress Place Building, this is one of Singapore's newest, largest and best-presented museums. As the name hints, all of Asia is covered in the scope, although naturally there is an emphasis on the cultures near and in Singapore. Also hosts visiting exhibitions. $8, $4 for foreign students/seniors, free for Singapore citizens/residents, half price F 7-9PM. Asian Civilisations Museum (Q633033) on Wikidata Asian Civilisations Museum on Wikipedia
  • 11 National Art Gallery, 1 St. Andrew's Rd, +65 6271 7000, . 10:00-19:00. Opened in 2015, it oversees the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art, consisting of over 8,000 artworks. National Gallery Singapore aims to provide an understanding and appreciation of art and culture through a variety of media, focusing on Singapore's culture and heritage and its relationship with other Southeast Asian cultures, Asia, and the world. 20 SGD (free for locals and permanent residents). National Gallery Singapore (Q6970475) on Wikidata National Gallery Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 12 Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah St (behind Raffles Hotel), +65 6339 0660. 9:30AM-6:30PM daily. Built to house the 50,000-piece toy collection of local enthusiast Chang Yang Fa, the contents of this five-story building covers come from 25 countries and span over a century of "Moments of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys" (hence MINT), with everything from wind-up toys to Darth Vader masks. The exhibits are largely hands-off, though, so young children may find the experience frustrating. Guided tours (45 min) available and recommended. Adult $15, child (under 12) $7.50. Mint Museum of Toys (Q6869564) on Wikidata Mint Museum of Toys on Wikipedia
  • 13 Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian St, +65 6332 7591. Sa-Th 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-9PM. Formerly a branch of the ACM, now reborn as a standalone museum dedicated to the exuberantly colourful culture of the Peranakans, the Malay-Chinese and Malay-Indian traders who had a major impact on the Straits Settlements. The three-story museum covers Peranakan weddings, religion and food with the latest in audiovisual gear. The building, a 1912 pastel blue wedding cake built as a school, is also impressive. $13, $9 for foreign student/senior, general admission free for Singapore citizens/residents (+$5 for temporary exhibitions). Peranakan Museum (Q3078303) on Wikidata Peranakan Museum on Wikipedia

Historical buildings[edit]

City Hall and the Old Supreme Court
  • 14 City Hall, 3 Saint Andrew's Rd (next to the Padang). This grand old building has seen many important events occur within and on its front steps. It was the place of the Japanese surrender in 1945 and was also where Lee Kuan Yew declared Singapore's self-governance and subsequent independence from both the British Empire and the Malaysian Federation. City Hall, Singapore (Q3531770) on Wikidata City Hall, Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 15 Old Supreme Court Building (National Art Gallery), 1 Saint Andrew's Rd (next to the Padang). Sa-Th 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-9PM. The Old Supreme Court Building was built in the classical style, featuring Corinthian columns and an allegory of justice set below the main dome. The current Supreme Court Building is right behind and its "spaceship" structure marks quite a contrast between the old and the new. While the building itself is worth a visit, it now also houses the National Art Gallery. $20 for non-residents. Free for all on public holidays. Old Supreme Court Building, Singapore (Q7085160) on Wikidata Old Supreme Court Building, Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 16 Central Fire Station, 62 Hill St, +65 6332 2996. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. The oldest surviving fire station in Singapore, it also houses the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery which showcases the history of Singaporean firefighting complete with antique fire engines. There are guided tours (that require booking) up the hose tower, once the highest point in 1920. Free. Central Fire Station, Singapore (Q5061081) on Wikidata Central Fire Station, Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 17 Old Hill Street Police Station (MICA Building), 140 Hill St. This striking Neo-Classical building catches the eye with its multi-coloured window shutters. There's an air-conditioned atrium inside which has a few art galleries and sometimes hosts performances, as part of the larger Ministry of Communication and Information. Somewhat fitting use of an old police station. Old Hill Street Police Station (Q7084218) on Wikidata Old Hill Street Police Station on Wikipedia
  • 18 Old Thong Chai Medical Institution, 50 Eu Tong Sen Street. M-F 9AM-10PM, Sat 1PM-5PM. Originally built for the Thong Chai Medical Institution, Singapore's first institute of traditional Chinese medicine for the poor. The institution moved to new premises in 1976, and the site is today occupied by Forever Living Products, a multi-level marketing company selling aloe vera products. However, the building has been conserved and is the finest surviving example of traditional Cantonese architecture in Singapore. Old Thong Chai Medical Institution (Q7085211) on Wikidata Old Thong Chai Medical Institution on Wikipedia

Religious buildings[edit]

As the historical hub of Singapore, there is no shortage of religious buildings that date back to colonial times.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple
  • 19 St Andrew's Cathedral, 11 St Andrew's Road (next to City Hall MRT station), +65 6337 6104, fax: +65 6339 1197, . M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Singapore's Anglican cathedral and arguably the most impressive looking church in Singapore. The historic nave is closed for major restoration works. free. St Andrew's Cathedral (Q168806) on Wikidata St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 20 Armenian Church, 60 Hill Street, . 9AM-6PM daily. Singapore's oldest church and part of the Oriental Orthodox communion. free. Armenian Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator (Q2660779) on Wikidata Armenian Church, Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 21 Yueh Hai Ching Temple (粤海清庙), 30B Phillip Street. 8AM-5PM daily. The oldest Taoist temple serving the Teochew community in Singapore, built in the traditional Teochew architectural style, and dedicated to the Goddess Mazu. The temple is home to a plaque bearing the inscription "曙海祥雲" (lit. Peaceful clouds over the Ocean at Dawn), presented by Emperor Guangxu of China in 1899, making it one of only two temples in Singapore bestowed with this honour. Free. Yueh Hai Ching Temple (Q1094954) on Wikidata Yueh Hai Ching Temple on Wikipedia


  • 22 Hong Lim Park (Near Clarke Quay MRT). Home to the Speakers' Corner, inspired by its counterpart in London's Hyde Park, and the only place in Singapore where protests are allowed albeit watched over carefully by the police. Never really used for its purpose until recent issues stirred locals from their apathy, and some sensitive topics such as race and religion remain off-limits. Hosts Pink Dot SG (a 20,000-strong gathering to support gay rights) every June. Foreigners are allowed to watch but may not participate in any protests. Hong Lim Park (Q5895617) on Wikidata Hong Lim Park on Wikipedia


The entire Singapore river area is a lovely place for a walk, with small green gardens, old-style bridges and historical buildings, and the nightlife-rich expanse of Clarke Quay and Boat Quay.

  • 1 Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place (Raffles Place MRT), +65 6338 4401. Built by the British in the 19th century, this was Singapore's premier arts centre until the Esplanade came and stole the limelight. It still hosts various smaller events that can't fit in (or afford) the Esplanade. History buffs may also want to do a detour: the Raffles statue in front dates to 1887, and the People's Action Party was founded here in 1954, as commemorated with a plaque showing a very young-looking Lee Kuan Yew. Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall (Q557635) on Wikidata Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall on Wikipedia

If you'd like something a little more adrenaline-laden, head to Clarke Quay:

  • 2 G-Max Reverse Bungy, 3E River Valley Rd (Clarke Quay), +65 6338 1146. M-F 3PM-midnight, Sa Su noon-1AM. Get strapped in and flung upwards with a giant rubber band at 200km/h. $45.

Jogging along the Singapore River is the best way to combine sightseeing and a workout, but there are two other options right next to Raffles Place MRT if you're willing pay for the air-con.

  • 3 Fitness First, 1 Raffles Place #06-00 (OUB Centre), +65 6534 4333. M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa 7AM-7PM, closed Su hol. Compact little gym, but there's a rooftop swimming pool, two Jacuzzis and a tennis court. Day pass $40.
  • 4 True Fitness, 30 Raffles Place #07-00 (Caltex House), +65-6438 3000. M-F 6AM-11PM, Sa Su 8AM-6PM. Cavernous two-floor gym packed with equipment. Busy in the evenings, but come here in the afternoon or weekend and you'll have the place to yourself.
  • 5 Supersmooth, 144 Robinson Rd, Robinson Square Level 2, +65 6221 2203. M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 11AM-7PM. Spread over 279 m² in a charmingly restored shophouse, this day spa offers hair removal (IPL/AFT) for women and men, waxing and skin treatments, with jazz and bossanova playing in the background.

Try a Singapore Sling. Tourists typically head to the supposed birthplace at the Raffles Hotel's Long Bar (see #Drink section).

  • 6 Ikeda Spa Prestige, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #05-22 Clarke Quay Central, 059817 (Clarke Quay MRT), +65 6388 8080, . 1-10PM. Soak in Japanese Onsen or have a nice massage at Singapore's first traditional Japanese spa. Ask for your Japanese snacks after the treatment.


There are some shopping malls of interest around the City Hall MRT station, but serious shoppers will wish to head to Orchard Road for their shopping instead.

  • 1 The Arcade, 11 Collyer Quay (Next to Raffles Place MRT). A small shopping mall in the heart of the financial centre. Consists mainly of small shops operated by individual owners, which are unique to the mall.
  • 2 CityLink Mall (City Hall MRT). For the novelty of an entirely underground mall that links the Riverside district to Suntec City and the Esplanade. You could go round in circles here if you don't pay attention, as the mall starts from City Hall MRT to Esplanade MRT and back again. Brace yourself for the human crush.
  • 3 Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Rd (City Hall MRT), +65 6332 0329. A place where the Burmese like to gather for a good meal of authentic home cuisine. Also notable for its concentration of specialist camera stores.
  • 4 Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Rd (City Hall MRT), +65 6338 7766. Daily 10AM-10PM. Large shopping mall directly above the City Hall MRT station. Notable for Jason's Supermarket in the basement, which has probably Singapore's largest selection of gourmet food items. Raffles City Shopping Centre covers most shopping bases, including fashion, books, music, sports, toys, eye wear and beauty stores. A haven for consumers looking for luxury items, it offers downtown shopping at its finest with a number of luxury and designer stores such as Omega, Thomas Sabo, Cortefiel, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Raffles City is also home to big department stores like Marks & Spencer and Robinsons, and fashion chains like Topshop, River Island, and Skyla. The mall also has a number of restaurants including modern Australian Double Bay and Brotzeit, and is connected to the Swissotel, home to the Equinox Restaurant and New Asia Bar.
  • 5 Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, Singapore 179030 (next to the Clarke Quay area, a 10-minute walk from Clarke Quay MRT), +65 6336 7184. 10AM-10PM. This mall is a favourite hangout spot of the Japanese community, and has a large offer of Japanese stores and dining places, most notably a big Japanese supermarket in the basement (Meidi-Ya) and an outlet of the Kinokuniya book store. Note that this mall will soon be redeveloped into a new mixed-use development, and tenants will be vacated by March 2020, so you have limited time to visit this spot before it closes for renovation until about 2024. Liang Court (Q6539970) on Wikidata Liang Court on Wikipedia
  • 6 Funan, 107 North Bridge Road (Near City Hall MRT). 10AM-10PM. Previously the Funan DigitaLife Mall, this mixed-use complex underwent a major 3-year revamp and reopened in June 2019. Some people lamented that the mall is no longer as IT-centric as it was in the past, with more beauty/fashion/food shops and fewer computer/gadgets stores. There are still a good number of camera shops for avid photographers, but no slew of 3rd-party IT specialists like before. Seems on par with Funan's new plan to be an all-in-one commercial/retail/living space for a modern crowd. Funan (Q5508728) on Wikidata Funan, Singapore on Wikipedia


You're spoiled for choice when eating at the riverside. Prices tend to be slightly inflated by Singaporean standards, so avoid any place that needs to use touts to get customers.

The west end of the river (around Robertson Quay) houses a significant Japanese expat community, and consequently the Japanese restaurants nearby serve up some of the best fare this side of Tokyo. Peninsula Plaza, which is located across the road from St Andrew's Cathedral, is the favourite hangout spot for Singapore's Burmese community, and is thus the place to go for authentic Burmese food.


Inside Lau Pa Sat, also known as Telok Ayer Market
  • 1 Komalas, 111 North Bridge Rd, +65 6333 5644. Daily 8AM-10PM. McDonald's-style fast food, only they serve vegetarian Indian food on a banana leaf instead of burgers and fries. Worth a visit for the cognitive dissonance and good food, with massive meal sets under $5.
  • 2 Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay (near Raffles Place MRT). Open 24 hours. A nicely done up Victorian-style hawker centre, but a little pricier and hence quieter than most. Quiet during the day, every evening at 7 PM a section of Boon Tat St on the south side is closed to traffic and a long row of very popular satay stalls opens, with seating right on the pavement. Fatman Satay (Stall #1) generally gets the best reviews, but there are plenty of other good eats to be found. Lau Pa Sat (Q7697795) on Wikidata Lau Pa Sat on Wikipedia
  • 3 Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, 11 New Bridge Rd (Clarke Quay MRT, opp Central), +65 6533 6128. Tu-Su 11AM-9PM. Popular bak kut teh specialist serving light, peppery Teochew-style pork rib soup, best eaten with salted vegetables (mui choy), dough fritters (you tiao) and rice. Usually packed, but service is fast. $6.50/bowl.
  • 4 Yong Bak Kut Teh, 233 River Valley Rd (corner of Mohamed Sultan). Well located for late-night snacks, this coffee shop serves up tasty KL-style dark, herbal pork rib soup. $5.30 for a bowl with rice and dough fritters.
  • 5 Sofra Turkish Café & Restaurant, 100 Beach Rd #02-42/44 (Shaw Tower), +65 6291 1433. Somewhat localised but cheap and tasty Turkish treats. $10-20.


  • 6 Inle Myanmar Restaurant, #B1-07 Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Rd, +65 6333 5438. 11AM-10PM. This very authentic little eatery is run by and for Singapore's tiny Burmese community, many of whom are gem traders in the office block above. The food is an intriguing mix of Thai and Indian influences. Try the chicken curry weekday lunch set. $5-10.
  • 7 Señor Taco, Clarke Quay Store 01-12-D (by the interior fountain square). Excellent Mexican by Asian standards, with an inside restaurant area and a casual area under the canopy. $15-25.


Shophouse restaurants and bars on Boat Quay

The best places for a splurge with a view in the evening are Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, which have many riverside restaurants offering al fresco dining. However, especially on Boat Quay, avoid any restaurant that has to resort to touts to find customers.

  • 8 Gyu-Kaku, 81A Clemenceau Ave #01-18/19 (UE Square), +65 6733 4001. Stylish Japanese-style charcoal barbeque joint, with a vast selection of wagyu (Japanese beef) and side dishes. Vegetarians need not apply. $35.
  • 9 Jade, 1 Fullerton Square (Fullerton Hotel), +65 6877 8188. Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM, dinner 6:30-10:30PM, Sa Su dim sum noon-3PM. One of Singapore's best-regarded Chinese restaurants, dinner here can get very expensive indeed, but they're packed on Saturday and Sunday for one of the best deals in town: all you can eat gourmet dim sum made to order for $39, including soup, tea, and signature dishes like black ink squid dumplings and wasabi prawns. Reserve early.
  • 10 Jumbo Seafood, 20 Upper Circular Rd #B1-48 (The Riverwalk), +65 6534 3435. Noon-3PM, 6-11:15PM. Well-located outlet of the popular seafood chain famed for their chilli crabs, a Singapore speciality. Jumbo has another central outlet at Riverside Point, just across the river from Clarke Quay. $50.
  • 11 Quayside Seafood Grill, Clarke Quay Block 3A, +65 6338 3195. 3PM-midnight. One of the better places for Singaporean food on the Quays. The pepper crab here is good but a little pricey at $4/100g, which translates to $60-80 per critter. $50.

Another good choice popular with the expat crowd is CHIJMES (30 Victoria St), the former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, now an atmospheric assemblage of high-end food & beverage outlets near the Raffles Hotel.

  • 12 Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria, 30 Victoria St #01-30 (CHIJMES), +65 6334 9332. 6-11PM. A real Brazilian churrascaria (barbecue), where waiters walk around with skewers of South American beef and you can eat all the meat you want. churrascos, extensive salad bar, and there's a good selection of wines, cold beer and caipirinha, the Brazilian national drink made with sugar cane. $49.
  • 13 Lei Garden, 30 Victoria St #01-24 (CHIJMES), +65 6339 3822. 11:30AM-3:30PM, 6-10:30PM. One of the most expensive Cantonese restaurants in town, this Hong Kong-based restaurant group serves high end cuisine with an emphasis on garoupa, lobsters, prawns, and other seafood. Popular when entertaining business guests, just hope you're not the one who gets stuck with the bill. $50.
  • 14 Prego, 80 Bras Basah Rd (Fairmont Singapore 1F), +65 6431 6156. Singapore's largest Italian restaurant seating 320, it has a pizzeria, a deli, a wine bar, and the main restaurant. Good for their pastas and pizzas, the calamari rings, and mushroom soup is also good for a start. The tiramisu is another highlight. $40.


Map of Mohamed Sultan and Clarke Quay

Singapore's nightlife is almost entirely concentrated near the river. The main party zones are Boat Quay, on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G) and Clarke Quay on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay or Fort Canning). Less well known but also worth a look are Circular Road, parallel to Boat Quay just behind it, and Robertson Quay, an up-and-coming nightlife/restaurant zone at the western end of the river. Bars and pubs come and go with dizzying speed, so just head out and find today's hip spot. All four are within crawling distance of each other. Mohamed Sultan Rd, inland from Robertson Quay, used to be the place to be, but was severely eclipsed in the early 2000s by newer upstarts and most bars have been replaced by restaurants and furniture stores.

Bars and pubs[edit]

  • 1 Brewerkz, 30 Merchant Rd #01-05/06 (Riverside Point, opp Clarke Quay), +65 6438 7438. Daily noon-midnight. Singapore's first microbrewery, opened 1997 and still going strong. There are now several franchises, but this is the original. Their brews run the gamut from classic pilsners and pale ales to wacky seasonal specials (Guava Sour, anyone?), also available in handy 4-glass sampler sets ($18). Indoor and outdoor seating, with a wide range of pub grub in huge portions. Beers from $15/pint, mains $22-29.
  • 2 Equinox, 2 Stamford Rd, +65 6837 3322. The five bars and restaurants here offer the best nighttime views of the city, but prices are correspondingly expensive ($15 and up for a drink). For a cigar and live jazz, head to CitySpace (floor 70), while New Asia is a more casual place for a drink. Entry is through the Swissotel entrance on Stamford Rd.
  • 3 Harry's Bar, 28 Boat Quay, +65 6538 3029. The favourite watering hole of Nick Leeson, the "Rogue Trader" who brought down the 233-year-old Barings Bank and was once arrested here for indecent exposure. There are now franchises all over town, but this is the original. Try the Bank Breaker, an unlikely shot of whisky and Midori, which like Leeson's escapades goes down smooth but leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Live music most nights.
  • 4 Long Bar, 1 Beach Rd (Raffles Hotel, 2nd floor), +65 6412 1816, . 11:30AM-1:30AM. The supposed birthplace of the Singapore Sling, a syrupy sweet pink concoction of gin, cherry liquor, and other mysterious ingredients, often including pineapple juice. The two-floor bar is large and a bit of a tourist trap, but drinking a Sling at the beautifully decorated wood-paneled bar and throwing the accompanying peanut shells on the floor should be on every visitor's agenda — if you can stomach paying $36 for a premixed drink poured out of a pitcher. The current recipe is likely sweeter than the original recipe, but you can ask for a drier version. According to one historian, slings were popular in Singapore even before their supposed invention at the Raffles' Long Bar in 1915. Moreover, the Long Bar has moved from its original location within the hotel.
  • 5 Pump Room, 3B River Valley Road, The Foundry (Clarke Quay), +65-63342628. Daily noon-3AM. Very popular microbrewery/bistro at the heart of Clarke Quay. Full menu. Indoor and outdoor seating. Live music nightly (except Mondays).
  • 6 Timbre, 1 Old Parliament Lane #01-04 (The Annex at The Old Parliament House), +65 6336 3386. Daily 6PM-1AM. In a beautifully renovated colonial house opposite Boat Quay, this has some of the best views in town and is one of only a few places in Singapore specializing in local live music. Indoor and outdoor seating.


  • 7 Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa, 54A Boat Quay (Level 2), +65 6536 5319. W-M 10AM-10PM. Singapore's first cat cafe, inspired by the Japanese. Customers can cuddle cats or just watch them peacefully. However, drinks can only be consumed outside the enclosed area. Reservations are recommended as there are a limited number of people allowed at one time. $12 for the first hour, drinks from $2 up.


At all clubs listed below, arrive early (or very late) because otherwise you may be stuck in line for a while. ID is theoretically required but rarely checked.

  • 8 Zouk, 3C River Valley Road, #01-05, The Cannery, +65 6738 2988. W-F 9AM-3PM, Sa 9PM-4AM. Singapore's best-known nightclub and in fact a complex of 4 spaces: Zouk for harder dance music, Capital for loungier stuff , Phuture for experimental edge and the RedTail Bar for chilling out. Prices vary per event, but start from $45/35 for men/women, usually including two drinks. The place is happening especially when foreign DJs are in town — which is more often than not! No shorts or sandals. Zouk (Q111556) on Wikidata Zouk (club) on Wikipedia


Unless you're a shopping maven intent on maximizing time in Orchard Road's shopping malls, the riverside is probably the best place to stay in Singapore.


There is a large cluster of older mid-range hotels on and near Havelock Rd at the western end of river. Havelock MRT station now offers good connections to Orchard and Marina Bay, while SBS bus 51 serves Chinatown and Clarke Quay.

  • 1 Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road, +65 6338 8333. Very much a standard-issue, slightly older business hotel, but it's clean, comfortable and very well located. $200.
  • 2 Copthorne King's, 403 Havelock Rd (Havelock MRT), +65 6733 0011. The former King's Hotel, given a thorough renovation when taken over by the Copthorne group and now looks (almost) brand new. Tower wing rooms are good, main wing less so. The primary downside is the somewhat inconvenient location near the west end of the river, although Mohammed Sultan is within striking distance. $150.
  • 3 Holiday Inn Atrium, 317 Outram Road (Havelock MRT), +65 6733 0188. Formerly the Concorde Hotel, the 30-floor inner atrium is indeed impressive, but the rest of the hotel is looking old.
  • 4 Robertson Quay Hotel, 15 Merbau Rd (In a round building where Clemenceau Ave crosses the river. MRT: Clarke Quay or Dhoby Ghaut), +65 6735 3333, . Partly renovated rooms, a little limited breakfast, Internet available for a fee. Really good value for money especially if you just want a place to sleep and keep your stuff when visiting Singapore. from $130.
  • 5 Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay, 2 Magazine Rd. New hotel close to Clarke Quay. Small but excellent rooms, included breakfasts, and a rooftop area with pool. $170.


In addition to the hotels below, check out adjacent Marina Bay, which has a major cluster of high-end hotels.

Raffles Hotel
  • 6 Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd (directly above Raffles Place MRT), +65 6339 7777. Formerly Raffles the Plaza and the world's tallest hotel, now neither but still one of Singapore's best hotels: unbeatable location, good service. The South Tower rooms are newer than the North Tower. Pool shared with the adjacent Swissotel The Stamford and thus crowded at peak times. $300. Fairmont Singapore (Q5430604) on Wikidata Fairmont Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 7 Naumi, 41 Seah St, +65 6403 6000. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. A hip hotel 5 minutes walk from City Hall MRT. 40 rooms and suites. From $360.
  • 8 Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, +65 6337 1886. A Singaporean icon offering luxury in colonial style, founded in 1887 by the legendary Sarkies brothers, who also founded Penang's Eastern & Oriental Hotel and Yangon's Strand Hotel. Known as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling and the final stand of Singapore's last tiger, shot in the Billiards Room. Famed for super-attentive service, with more staff than guests, but it's also one of the most expensive hotels in Singapore!. $1000. Raffles Hotel (Q1538837) on Wikidata Raffles Hotel on Wikipedia

There are some luxury hotels of note scattered elsewhere on the river.

  • 9 Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Sq, +65 6733 8388. In the magnificently refurbished former Central Post Office, this is Raffles' closest competitor (in price as well) with an excellent location facing the Merlion on the south side of the river; the third-floor pool has some of the best views in town. Rooms are modern in style, but starting to be a little overdue for renovation. For the best views it's worth paying a little extra to avoid the Courtyard rooms and get a Quay or better. Guests also get access to the facilities at the Fullerton Bay across the road. There is a heritage gallery in the main building which is freely accessible even if you are not staying at the hotel. $500. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore (Q4409125) on Wikidata The Fullerton Hotel Singapore on Wikipedia
  • 10 Grand Copthorne, 392 Havelock Rd, +65 6733 0880. The flagship of the Millennium & Copthorne chain and the only luxury hotel at the west end, but unfortunately the pomp of the lobby and exterior are not matched by the spacious but otherwise somewhat dumpy rooms. $230.
  • 11 Swissotel Merchant Court, 20 Merchant Rd, +65 6337 2288. This large 476-room hotel has an excellent location on Clarke Quay right next to the MRT station, but the rooms are musty and those facing the river suffer from noise from partygoers whooping it up. $200.
  • 12 Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, No 2, Finlayson Green, +6 5 6577 1688, . One- and two-bedroom suites, the property has a restaurant open for all three meals, an infinity swimming pool and also provides free IDD calls to selected countries.
  • Park Hotel Clarke Quay, 1 Unity Street, +65 6593 8888, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Starting from USD 139.
  • 13 Grand Park City Hall, 10 Coleman Street, +65 6336 3456, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Starting from USD 140.



  • Systematic Laundromat, 11 Unity St #01-22, +65 6732 1438. One-day laundry service (no self-service available). Call ahead for pricing or they may charge you a hefty "tourist tax" of up to 200%. $6 for 4 kg.

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