Stand at the Raffles Landing Site along the Singapore River, where Sir Stamford Raffles first stepped on the island in 1819.
Imagine – what did he see? An ideal river bank deep enough to be a port for a trading outpost. It was this discovery that sparked the birth of modern Singapore.
Photo by Edward Tian
In the early days, all ships had to sail pass the Singapore River to reach the godowns and shophouses at Boat Quay. Trade exploded, and other quays – Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, for instance – were developed.
This humble river was pressed into service until the 1970s when shipping trade was moved and the river underwent a metamorphosis.
Want to relive those days? Hop on a river taxi or cruise, then picture the dusty banks, coolies and 'swaylos' (water-hands).
On the waterfront
These days, there’s no need to sweat it at the many hotspots dotted along the river.
You can cool down with a drink and enjoy mouth-watering cuisines at Boat Quay.
Keen for more heart-pumping entertainment? Dance the night away at Clarke Quay at the trendy nightspots that once were warehouses.
For a slice of nostalgia, stop by the moored Chinese junks ('tongkangs') that have been beautifully refurbished into floating restaurants.
You’ll find laid-back charm at Robertson Quay’s converted godowns, perfect for a morning coffee.
Or stroll down the river and spot the sculptural artworks that depict Singapore’s past and present.