A Good Walk: Colonial Singapore
Start from Collyer Quay and Clifford Pier, where most European colonists and Asian immigrants first set foot on the island. Leaving Clifford Pier, walk up the quay—toward the Singapore River—until you come to the imposing former General Post Office, now the Fullerton Hotel. On the hotel's left side is the gracious, old iron-link Cavenagh Bridge. If you walk along the river's south bank before crossing the bridge, you'll find what was once a wide towpath and is now a paved pedestrian street of restaurants and bars—Boat Quay. The second building on your left houses Harry's Bar, which gained international attention in 1995 as a haunt of derivatives trader Nick Leeson, the guy who brought down the venerable Barings Bank.
Once over the Cavenagh Bridge, take a left onto North Boat Quay. Slightly back from the river is the huge, white Empress Place Building, home of the flagship Asian Civilisations Museum.
A bit farther along the quay is the statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who is believed to have landed on this spot in 1819. Turn right onto St. Andrew's Road until you come to Old Parliament House, on your left, the oldest government building in Singapore, and on your right, Victoria Memorial Hall, built in 1905 as a tribute to Queen Victoria. Across the road is the old Singapore Cricket Club. Just past it, on your right as you continue up St. Andrew's Road, is the Padang, or playing field. To your left are the Supreme Court and City Hall, two splendidly pretentious, stately buildings. Continuing northeast on St. Andrew's Road, which runs along the Padang, cross Coleman Street toward the lawns that surround the Anglican St. Andrew's Cathedral.
Northeast of the cathedral is the huge Raffles City complex, easily recognized by the towers of two hotels—Swissôtel The Stamford and Raffles The Plaza. Cross Stamford Road and walk through Raffles City to Bras Basah Road. Across the street is the renowned Raffles Hotel. After touring the hotel, continue up Bras Basah Road to Queen Street and make a right to the Singapore Art Museum. Across Bras Basah Road and down Victoria Street, you'll no doubt find a place to rest and people-watch at the Chijmes complex. Continue southwest on Victoria Street (it becomes Hill Street after Stamford Road); the Armenian Church will be on your right just before Coleman Street. From here stamp collectors should turn left onto Coleman and visit the Singapore Philatelic Museum; alternatively, turn right on Coleman, then right again onto Armenian Street, and you'll be at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Armenian Street. To see the Singapore History Museum instead, return to Stamford Road and make a left. You may wish to conclude your tour with a stroll through Ft. Canning Park, pausing at the European Cemetery and the Tomb of Iskander Shah, or visit Singapore's biggest underground military operations quarters (used during World War II) at the Battle Box. South of the park is Clarke Quay, where you can eat and shop.
With time factored in to wander through the Raffles Hotel and view the exhibits at one or more of the area's four museums, this walk should take a full day. Allow an hour for the Raffles, including time out for a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar. It should take at least an hour to view the museum exhibits. Avoid the Boat Quay area from noon-2 PM, when the lunchtime crowd takes over. Remember to buy water wherever you can; it's easy to get dehydrated in Singapore's heat.
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