The Singapore River forms a central artery in Singapore's densely packed Central Business District. 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 8 Battle Box, 2 Cox Terrace (Fort Canning Park) (alight at Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 9:30AM-5:30PM. The former HQ of the British army 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. Guided tours only. Adult $18, child (7-12 years) $9 for one-hour tour.
- 9 Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Pl, ☏ . 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.
- 10 National Art Gallery, 1 St. Andrew's Rd. 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.
- 11 Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah St (behind Raffles Hotel), ☏ . 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. Guided tours (45 min) available and recommended. Adult $15, child (under 12) $7.50.
- 12 Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian St, ☏ . Sa-Th 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-9PM. Closed for renovation until mid-2021. 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).
- 13 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.
- 14 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.
- 15 Central Fire Station, 62 Hill St, ☏ . 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.
- 16 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.
Skyscrapers and observation decks
- 17 1-Altitude Viewing Gallery, 1 Raffles Pl (next to Raffles Place MRT station), ☏ . Daily 8AM-10PM. The viewing gallery at the rooftop of OUB Centre offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of Singapore from the highest point in the city-state at 282 m. Visitors receive hi-tech interactive gadgets which allow them to see information about the places they are looking at. Each visit ends with a photo taken by specially mounted camera with a spectacular view of the Marina Bay as a background. $25 8AM-5:30PM, $40 5:30-10PM) with free mocktail.
As the historical hub of Singapore, there is no shortage of religious buildings that date back to colonial times.
- 18 St Andrew's Cathedral, 11 St Andrew's Road (next to City Hall MRT station), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Singapore's Anglican cathedral and arguably the most impressive looking church in Singapore. free.
- 19 Armenian Church, 60 Hill Street, ✉ email@example.com. 9AM-6PM daily. Singapore's oldest church and part of the Oriental Orthodox communion. free.
- 20 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 1907, making it one of only two temples in Singapore bestowed with this honour. Free.
- 21 Hong Lim Park (Near Clarke Quay MRT). Home to the Speakers' Corner, the only place in Singapore where protests are sanctioned albeit watched over carefully by the police. Never really used for its purpose until recent issues stirred locals from their apathy. Hosts Pink Dot SG (a 20,000-strong gathering to support gay rights) every June. Foreigners are allowed to watch but not participate in any protests.
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), ☏ . 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.
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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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.
- 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.
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.
- 1 Komalas, 111 North Bridge Rd, ☏ . 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. The satay here is famous though, and there's a long row of outdoor stalls on the south side (open only in the evening), with Fatman Satay (Stall #1) generally getting the best reviews.
- 3 Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, 11 New Bridge Rd (Clarke Quay MRT, opp Central), ☏ . 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), ☏ . Somewhat localised but cheap and tasty Turkish treats. $10-20.
- 6 Inle Myanmar Restaurant, #B1-07 Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Rd, ☏ . 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.
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 Vianney Massot Restaurant, 39 Hongkong Street,, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa noon-2:30PM, 6-10:30PM. Run by acolytes trained at the highly-acclaimed Fat Duck Restaurant in Berkshire, England, Vianney Massot serves reinvented classics and thought-provoking dishes. Main dishes include Wagyu short rib; steak tartare; duck confit; foie gras satay; prawn risotto; salmon; caviar and king crab lasagna. Lunch menu $55-65, tasting menu $120-230.
- 9 Gyu-Kaku, 81A Clemenceau Ave #01-18/19 (UE Square), ☏ . Stylish Japanese-style charcoal barbeque joint, with a vast selection of wagyu (Japanese beef) and side dishes. Vegetarians need not apply. $35.
- 10 Jade, 1 Fullerton Square (Fullerton Hotel), ☏ . 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.
- 11 Jumbo Seafood, 20 Upper Circular Rd #B1-48 (The Riverwalk), ☏ . 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.
- 12 Quayside Seafood Grill, Clarke Quay Block 3A, ☏ . 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.
- 13 Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria, 30 Victoria St #01-30 (CHIJMES), ☏ . 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.
- 14 Lei Garden, 30 Victoria St #01-24 (CHIJMES), ☏ . 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.
- 15 Prego, 80 Bras Basah Rd (Fairmont Singapore 1F), ☏ . 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.
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
- 1 Brewerkz, 30 Merchant Rd #01-05/06 (Riverside Point, opp Clarke Quay), ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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), ☏ . 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 Attica, 3A River Valley Rd #01-03 (Clarke Quay), ☏ . Daily 5PM-late. Popular "New York style" club complex split into four zones: the outdoor 'lilypad' bar by the river, the main dancefloor (R&B, funk), the inner chill-out courtyard and Attica Too, the members-only club upstairs (house/trance). Picky bouncers, so dress sharp.
- 9 Canvas, 20 Upper Circular Rd, ☏ . Drinks $12, 1-for-1 happy hour 6-9PM.
- 10 Zouk, 3C River Valley Road, #01-05, The Cannery, ☏ . 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, Velvet Underground for loungier stuff, Phuture for experimental edge and the outside Wine Bar for chilling out. A full-entry ticket will set you back a rather pricey $35, but two drinks are included and the place is happening especially when foreign DJs are in town — which is more often than not!
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, not the best location for sightseeing or shopping. SBS bus 51 from Havelock Rd offers a good escape route to Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Orchard. In the center, the bus goes north up Eu Tong Sen Rd/Hill St, but returns south via North/South Bridge Rd.
- 1 Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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 you 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.
- 6 Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd (directly above Raffles Place MRT), ☏ . 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.
- 7 Naumi, 41 Seah St, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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.
There are some luxury hotels of note scattered elsewhere on the river.
- 9 Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Sq, ☏ . 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.
- 10 Grand Copthorne, 392 Havelock Rd, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Starting from USD 139.
- Grand Park City Hall, 10 Coleman Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Starting from USD 140.
- Systematic Laundromat, 11 Unity St #01-22, ☏ . 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.