9am: Singapore River Cruise
1 Boat Quay

9am: Singapore River Cruise

Start your journey with a leisurely bumboat cruise on the Singapore River, which was a busy waterway and the centre of commercial activity of the island for over 150 years. Boats used to ply the godowns (warehouses) on either side of the river to off-load cargo from the ocean liners that were anchored further offshore. But such heavy use led to river pollution, up till 1977, when then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew set a 10 year target to clean up the river. With true Singaporean efficiency, this was achieved in 1987.

Today, the revitalised waterfront is a popular entertainment and nightlife destination for locals and tourists alike, with exciting river activities like the G-Max Reverse Bungy and a wealth of chic restaurants and bars, making this a prime spot for people watching.

There are 13 points to start your river cruise on, but for easy access to the next stop on this itinerary, take the MRT to Raffles Place station and walk to the Boat Quay jetty or alight at Clarke Quay station to get to the cruise booth outside Central Mall.
 

Marina Bay Sands - Facade in the day
2 Padang

9.45am: The Padang

Alight at Boat Quay and take a short 15 minute walk to the ‘Padang’, which means flat field in Malay. The Padang, the historical heart of the civic district, is where Singapore’s independence was declared on 9 August 1965. Two years later, in 1967, the Garden City campaign was launched, spearheading the national effort to “green” Singapore. This culminated in land being set aside for the ambitious Gardens by the Bay development, which is one of Singapore’s most photographed landmarks today.

As you stand at the Padang, look across to where Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is – the architectural wonder of three hotel towers with a connecting sky park that stands proudly on reclaimed land. Beyond MBS is Marina Barrage, an engineering feat that was executed as part of Singapore’s efforts to increase its fresh water supply by increasing the island’s water catchment area.

Be sure to stop by the new National Gallery Singapore, which faces the Padang. Formerly the Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, this is Singapore’s largest visual arts venue and offers a unique perspective on art in the region with an impressive collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art.

From the Singapore River walk to Connaught Drive or St Andrew’s Road towards the Padang.
 

Sri Mariamman Temple
3 Chinatown

10.30am: Chinatown walking tour

It won’t take long to commute to Singapore’s Chinatown. In the old days, the shophouses of Chinatown were crammed with immigrants in search of a better life. Tea and opera houses, as well as opium dens, were the most popular forms of entertainment, and the Chinatown street market was where people congregated to shop, eat and socialise.

Today, with successful resettlement of the population to public housing, Chinatown is no longer overcrowded and rundown. Thanks to conservation efforts, much of Chinatown’s distinct and charming architecture remains. Just like in the old days, places of worship still co-exist with commercial businesses in the area.

The recently restored Thian Hock Keng temple at Telok Ayer Street is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore. Just a few streets away at South Bridge Road is the Sri Mariamman temple, the oldest Hindu temple in the country. Take time to explore the neighbouring streets and alleys, where plenty of shopping and interesting cafes beckon. End your Chinatown experience by dropping by Yixing Xuan Teahouse or Tea Chapter, modern Chinese tea houses which still brew excellent tea the traditional way - a perfect blend of old and new!

Walk to North Bridge Road to take bus 124 or 174 to Upper Cross Street or take the MRT from City Hall station to Outram Park station
 

12 noon: Peranakan Museum Singapore
4 Peranakan Museum

12 noon: Peranakan Museum Singapore

Gain insights into the lives of the indigenous Straits Chinese population of Southeast Asia and Singapore at the Peranakan Museum on Armenian Street. Peranakan culture, which is a unique fusion of ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian elements, features elaborate arts and crafts and distinct cultural traditions and mouthwatering cuisine. Located in a restored school building, the Museum houses the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artefacts. Learn more about Peranakan history as you admire the artefacts on display, and find out about historical Peranakan figures who played an important role in Singapore’s history. Best of all, as you explore the museum, you will notice that many aspects of Peranakan traditions are still practised in modern Singapore.

From the bus stop outside People’s Park Complex along Eu Tong Sen Street, take bus 124 or 190 to Hill Street and alight at the Armenian Church.