Singapore’s Clarke Quay has made a long journey from its early 19th century beginnings, through its bustling days as Singapore’s harbour to its decline and dereliction, then its re-generation and gentrification.
The shop houses and godowns along the river walkway are painted in pastel tints of blues, pinks and greens with their window shutters having a striking contrast of bright primary colours.
A Trip on the River
The bumboats that ply tourists along the Singapore River delight in unlikely names such as Singapore Explorer or Quay Challenger, taking one of these boats along the River is to travel into Singapore’s past. On the tour you will pass go-downs, shophouses and fine examples of colonial architecture in the ex-government buildings. Of course you cannot fail to notice Singapore’s modern skyline, a testament to commerce and enterprise.
It is possible to eat yourself around the world in the Quay’s vibrant bar, café and restaurant scene that comes alive in the early evening and continues to late at night, the whole gamut of South East Asian food: Indian, Thai, Malay, Indonesian, and Vietnamese as well as Chinese cuisines are freshly prepared and cooked and deliciously unforgettable.
Not in the mood for Asian food? Clarke Quay has its share of restaurants and particularly pubs that serve western food. Try the Penny Black pub (on Boat Quay) for good tradition British grub.
Then hit the pubs. Try Coco Carib, where you can relax by the river and listen to the sounds of, reggae, salsa, or meringue then on to the Voodoo Shack finishing off at the Crazy Elephant. You will have a great time too watching the street jugglers, magicians, musicians, and acrobats.
Hooters bar has live music every night, as well as their ‘nearly world famous’ podium dancers. On the other hand, if it’s a quiet moment that you want as you dream by the gently flowing waters there are a number of other bars that will cater to the more reflective you.
If shopping is what you want head to the covered markets of The Cannery, Merchant’s Court and The Foundry all are converted Victorian buildings. The attractive connecting side streets, Clarke Street, Canning Lane, Read Street and Shophouse Row are full of small shops that are a bargain hunters’ playground.
Clarke Quay’s exciting life offers a link to the past while viewing the future. To the foot weary tourist if is a great antidote to the hustle and bustle that is just on its doorstep.
How to Get There
Take the MRT to Clarke Quay station and it is just a short walk over the bridge to a delightful night.