Walk the Colonial District

Things to Do — By mariannerogerson on July 1, 2010 at 7:11 am

The last blog post was about one of the newest attractions in Singapore, so now let’s take a look back to some of the oldest. The Colonial District is one of the first places many visitors to Singapore head, due to its location on the Singapore River and the beauty of its surroundings. A walk through this area also allows you take in some of the most famous landmarks in the city.

The best place to start is at Raffles Place MRT (underground/subway) station, so you can appreciate the towering skyscrapers of the financial district before you begin your walk back in time among the colonial buildings.

From here you can stroll along the Singapore River, towards the Fullerton Hotel – built in 1928 and named after Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlements. It used to house the General Post Office, Inland Revenue Authority, and other government offices but opened as a hotel in 2001.

From here cross the Cavenagh Bridge, the oldest bridge in Singapore, and check out the Asian Civilisations Museum. This impressive neo-palladian building was designed in the 1860s as Government Offices, then renamed in the early 20th Century in honour of Queen Victoria. Today it safeguards over 13,000 artefacts, and explores the history of the cultures brought to Singapore by the nation’s different ancestral groups.

Next to the museum you’ll find Raffles Landing Site, where sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Modern Singapore is believed to have first stepped ashore on 29th January 1819.

Beside the statue you’ll see the Arts House, Singapore’s oldest surviving government building and former Parliament House, and next to this is the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall originally built as the Town Hall in 1862, and now home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Across the road from here brings you to the Padang, set out in Raffles’ Town Plan of 1822 as a recreation area, and still the site of frequent cricket and rugby matches. Its most important feature is City Hall, the site of many pivotal moments in Singapore’s history, such as the surrender of the Japanese forces in 1945 and the swearing in of the first Prime Minister of independent Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

From here it is just a short walk to Singapore’s most famous colonial landmark – Raffles Hotel, where you should seek out the Long Bar and reward your walk with a Singapore Sling.

For a more detailed and easily downloadable guide to the above walk and its features, visit the NileGuide main pages here.

Tags: "Colonial District", "walking tour", sightseeing, Singapore