Singapore might be a bustling and busy business empire of the world, but even in this happening metropolis, you can get an old world colonial charm and at a much more leisurely pace. Surprised? Well, you will not be anymore when you climb on one of Singapore’s iconic bumboats and take a cruise on its river.
This 40 minute long river cruise starts at all of the waterfront jetties that includes Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Fullerton, Merlion Park, Marina Barrage, and many more. And during these 40 minutes, you can lazily watch most of Singapore’s top attractions and iconic buildings go by.
This boat cruise is perfect for three kinds of travelers. One, tourists who are on a short trip and need to optimize the usage of time and see as many attractions as possible. Second, for photographers who wish to capture different views of Singapore. And the third kind are people who wish for a laid back and different experience to the same Singapore.
As of May 2015, ticket price for Adult is S$24, Child is $15. There plenty of boat stations along the river where you can buy your ticket and start your cruise. If you purchased tickets beforehand, you must check the fine print to know where to start. Mine starts at Clarke Quay.
So, I had a little time to look around while we waited for the tour boat to return to dock. This was a really intriguing area, a five block-long, colorful collection of condos, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants and bars.
After we departed, we cruised upriver to Boat Quay, which at one time handled three-fourths of all the shipping businesses in the entire country. Nowadays it’s a center for nightlife and the preserved shop houses and offices are now pubs and restaurants with alfresco dining.
Directly behind Boat Quay are the cosmopolitan skyscrapers of the country’s world-class banking and financial sectors. And while you see these sights, you can enjoy a cup of tea of coffee and listen to the commentary provided by the tour guide of this boat.
The Fullerton Hotel is a historic, five-star luxury hotel and is so grand it’s impossible to miss. It wasn’t always a hotel, though. When it opened in 1928, it housed the General Post Office building, an exclusive club, and some government offices. I guess that explains its size.
If you walk along the Singapore River’s riverwalk, you’ll find occasional bronze sculptures that each depict a scene of days gone by. One of my favorite sights from the whole day was the one that was in front of the Fullerton Hotel, a sculpture of five naked boys in the middle of jumping into the water. The river was a popular swimming site until the city renovated its waterfront.
As we passed under a bridge we reached the mouth of the river and saw the Marina Bay Sands on the far shore of Marina Bay.
The captain paused the boat in Marina Bay, long enough for passengers to take plenty of photos. From this point, passengers have the option to alight at the Marina Bay station or at the Singapore Flyer or return to Clarke Quay.