Clarke Quay.  in Singapore, Asia

Clarke Quay

in Singapore, Asia

An evening near Clarke Quay Photo © Erwin Soo

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Clarke Quay

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Busy
	Clarke Quay Sunset - Clarke Quay
Busy Clarke Quay Sunset - Clarke Quay. Photo by Jansen Chua
Clarke Quay is one of Singapore’s most delightful areas, and with its picturesque riverside and abundance of attractions, it makes for an ideal day-long escape from the bustle of the commercial district. Many visitors choose to base themselves here for the duration of the Singaporean visit, as Clarke Quay is within earshot of the city’s centre yet blissfully relaxing during the day and thriving with fun stuff in the evenings. Accommodation options abound, as do restaurants, trendy bars and clubs.

Brief History

Clarke Bay is one of the oldest parts of Singapore and was an absolute hype of activity when the city’s trade was at its highest peak. Traversed by the Singapore River and home to an infinite number of trading boats, the quay has been an integral part of the city’s beating heart since time immemorial.

Beautifully revamped just a decade ago, Clarke Quay still manages to maintain a little of the old world charm and it is here that you’ll see modern high-rise buildings standing side by side with charming old warehouses.

Another view of Clarke Quay - Clarke Quay
Another view of Clarke Quay. Photo by Erwin Soo

Best attractions in Clarke Quay

Admiring the scenery, strolling along the riverside and enjoying a sundowner at one of the many bars are by far the most popular things to do in Clarke Quay. Yet there is a lot more to this area than meets the eye. Here are the best attractions Clarke Quay has to offer.

Cruise the Singapore River

Clarke Quay’s riverside is what makes this area so special. With its plethora of restaurants and bars lining the shores, and providing an enticing escape from the centre’s more hectic side, the Singapore River waterfront is the heart and soul of the Quay. From Clarke Quay you can join a bumboat (traditional sailing vessel dating back to colonial times) for a spectacular sail through the city. You’ll see an eclectic mix of skyscrapers and authentic shop-houses and sail past some of the most iconic landmarks in town. Singapore Cruises offer a lovely 40-minute cruises for just S$22 ($16) per person and more expensive dinner cruises are also offered.

Fort Canning Park

A most historically significant and delightful place to explore, Fort Canning is one of Singapore’s revered green spaces. You can follow one of the many walking trails and learn all about the unique flora of the region, and bunker down the underground tunnel system which dates back to war times. The Battle Box (Wikipedia Article), as the tunnels were known, is the largest underground military complex in the whole city. The hilltop was the site of the first Government House built by the British, and Fort Canning was a very prominent army base for many years. Nowadays the park also plays hosts to various artistic shows, with the city’s drama and dance companies having their headquarters right nearby.

Hong San See Temple

For a taste of culture, head to this century-old temple which you’ll find just one kilometre up the riverside road from Clarke Quay station. A relaxing and contemplative worshipping spot, this temple is one of the least visited by tourists yet arguably one of the most beautiful. Ornate pagodas, splendid gardens and a serene vibe is what you’ll find here.

G-Max Reverse Bungy & Extreme Swing

Swing &
	Reverse Bungee - Clarke Quay
Swing & Reverse Bungee - Clarke Quay. Photo by Yulian Hendriyana
Adrenaline junkies may start to feel a little left out by now, but rest assured that even in this gorgeous corner of the city there are a few activities which will raise your pulse. Strap on, hold tight and scream your lungs out as you’re propelled into god-fearing heights at incredible speeds, all the while you spin and spin and spin around. Do this at night and you’re bound to enjoy some phenomenal city views from the highest point, however this would necessitate you keep your eyes open for the whole duration of the trip. At S$45 ($33) a ride, it ain’t cheap...but speed freaks will deem it well worthwhile. The extreme Giant Swing is a ‘little’ tamer and, if you buy combined tickets for the two rides, you’ll save some bucks.

Lockdown Singapore

One of the strangest yet funniest attractions in Singapore, Lockdown is a game complex whereby visitors are ‘locked’ into puzzle rooms from which they must try to find a way out. Hilariously challenging and ideal for families or a group of friends travelling together, Lockdown Singapore charges S$20 ($15) an hour and staff provides clues (if you need them) and assistance the whole way. Don your detective hat and join forces with your mates, and beat the clock to find an escape.

Asian Civilizations Museum

The ACM is one of Singapore’s best museums and traces the history of all the Asian cultures who have left a mark on the city through the centuries. Not only will you get a great insight into the arts and cultures which differentiate the civilizations of this region, but you’ll also learn how they impacted Singapore’s evolution and created the unique and diverse Singaporean culture of nowadays. To make the most of your visit, join one of the English-language guided tours on offer. Admission to the museum is free of charge but temporary exhibits may require a modest entry fee.

Clarke Quay, the place to be when in
	Singapore... - Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay, the place to be when in Singapore.... Photo by William Cho

Fountain Square @ Clarke
	Quay - Clarke Quay
Fountain Square @ Clarke Quay - Clarke Quay. Photo by William Cho

Shopping and Dining in Clarke Quay

Almost 12 million visitors head to Clarke Quay every year to enjoy some of the area's finest shopping and dining establishments. The recent facelift has resulted in this becoming one of the most convenient locations for a little R&R.
Clarke Quay Central is a 5-floor shopping complex directly above the MRT station and is designed to an incredibly enticing Japanese style, both in content and architecture. Here, you'll find over 150 retail stores.

The overwhelming majority of Clarke Quay's best restaurants take full advantage of the riverside location and it is here where you'll find some of the best 'meals with a view' in all of Singapore. Well...perhaps aside Marina Bay Sands, that is. Where once intrepid traders used to buy and sell wares out of their shophouses' front door, now stand some of the most exclusive restaurants in Singapore. In true local style, you'll find a mix of cuisines on offer including carnivorous Australian (Boomerang Bistro and Bar), well portioned American (Brewerkz Microbrewery), fragrant Indian (Kinara) and even exotic Persian at Shiraz.
Night-time revellers can drop some serious cash at one of the many trendy clubs in Clarke Quay, most of which require an entry fee of S$35 ($26).

Accommodation

Clarke Quay is certainly not known for its cheap and cheerful array of budget accommodation choices, but in all fairness this is, quite possibly, the nicest corner of Singapore in which to stay. If you're adamant about staying in this area, and spending as little as possible, then we recommend you look for hotels near the Clarke Quay MTR station and above-mentioned Central shopping mall. There is a good chance you'll find a small but clean and suitable hotel room in a two-star joint for about $ 90 USD a night.

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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Mar 27, 2015

Pictures of Clarke Quay

Dazzlin' Clarke Quay will never fade... - Clarke Quay
Dazzlin' Clarke Quay will never fade... - Photo by William Cho

Another View from Novotel Rooftop... - Clarke Quay
Another View from Novotel Rooftop... - Clarke Quay. Photo by William Cho

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