Singapore Bike Tours – 10 Iconic Places Around the Singapore River to Visit on a Bike
The Singapore River was once what made the tiny fishing village of Singapore into a bustling trading port in the 19th century. Despite having grown into a buzzing cosmopolitan city, the old warehouses at the rivermouth that used to house traded goods such as spices and more remain as storefronts in homage to Singapore’s rich history.
Following the Singapore River not only gives insight to this nation’s fascinating past and growth, you’ll also get to see some of Singapore’s most iconic attractions on the riverbank. Enhance your journey of discovery and make it even more exciting by cycling around the Singapore river on a bike, this way you’ll get to immerse yourself in the natural sights and sounds!
1. Sir Stamford Raffles statue
Located at Raffles’ Landing Site, the statue of present day Singapore’s founding father is one of two statues, with the other being closer to Victoria Memorial Hall. The Sir Stamford Raffles statue is placed where Raffles is said to have first landed on Singapore to sign a treaty with the native rulers, forever changing Singapore’s fate and shaping her future into that of a commerce and trading hotspot. Not just an acknowledgement of the colonial hand in Singapore’s growth, the statue has also been decorated, tweaked and playfully incorporated into Singapore’s bicentennial celebrations in 2019.
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Possibly one of the more eye-catching features in the Singapore skyline and appearing in Hollywood movies such as Agent 47:Ronin, the Esplanade is shaped into two gigantic domes. Affectionately dubbed ‘the durians’ by locals due to their resemblance to the spiky green fruit, the spiked exterior of the Esplanade is cleverly designed so as to let in the maximum amount of natural light while repelling as much heat as possible, keeping the interior bright and cool. The Esplanade is Singapore’s theatres on the bay, being one of the best venues for concerts and performances of the traditional, classical and contemporary arts. It has been specially designed so that it offers a flexible space for both Asian and Western arts and has incredible acoustics.
If you didn’t take a picture with the Merlion, did you really come to Singapore? This water-spewing statue is what most visitors associate with Singapore and it is an extremely popular photo taking spot. The half fish, half lion statue is faced east on the Singapore River for auspiciousness and while the lion head represents Singapore’s original name (Singapura, or lion city in Malay), the fish tail is a nod to her origins as a small fishing village.
4. Marina Barrage
The Marina Barrage is a rooftop garden and dam that offers the perfect breezy picnic spot with one of the best views of the Singapore skyline. The shooting location for Equals, a film starring Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart, the curious spiralled design of the Marina Barrage along with its fountains and various art pieces is a delight to visit. That’s not all the Marina Barrage is good for, the dam helps to create Singapore’s 15th reservoir, ensuring the nation’s water security and lowering chances of flooding. Visitors are also welcome to take a tour of the visitor’s centre to learn more about Singapore’s desalination and water purification process.
5. Marina Bay Sands
This futuristic structure has been raved about since its conception and been featured in dystopian Hollywood flicks, and most recently, the box office hit, Crazy Rich Asians. Marina Bay Sands is not only a hotel with the iconic infinity pool in its Skypark, it also holds one of Singapore’s two casinos, a theatre, hotel, shopping gallery and its very own gondola traversed mini canal a la Venetian Hotel.
6. Artscience Museum
Right next to Marina Bay Sands is the equally distinctive Artscience Museum, which showcases spectacular exhibitions of art, science and technology of international renown, sourcing worldwide for each showcase. The lotus-shaped architecture is symbolic of Singapore’s welcoming hand with ten finger-like sections that arc up into separate gallery spaces and end in skylights to show off the exhibits in the best light. The reflecting pool next to it holds a lovely array of lotuses and also collects rainwater to be purified and reused.
7. Gardens by the Bay
Known as the Garden City for her abundance of greenery in an urban city, Singapore’s latest and most futuristic garden is Gardens by the Bay. Flanking the Singapore River, it is segmented into differently themed gardens, each perfectly maintained and showcasing some of Singapore’s best flora. The towering Supertrees are also a popular draw and visitors often use them for photo opportunities or even choose to walk up and between them. Another part of Gardens by the Bay that are instantly recognisable in the Singapore skyline are the Flower and Cloud Domes, two sprawling greenhouses that contain botanical species from all over the world and in an explosion of colour. The Cloud Dome features an impressive waterfall and the Flower Dome boasts an exciting lineup of floral events that showcases incredible horticultural arrangements according to theme.
8. Cavenagh Bridge
The oldest bridge across the Singapore River, the Cavenagh Bridge was named after the Straits Settlements’ last governor, William Orfeur Cavenagh. Originally used for trams to get from the commercial district to the government quarter, it was later declared a pedestrian bridge. The steel bridge also features in many photoshoots and is popular with wedding couples for its stately design.
9. Singapore Flyer
Singapore’s answer to the London Eye, the Singapore Flyer offers riders a 360 degree panoramic view of the city area, the country’s magnificent skyline and, on clear days, a glimpse of neighbouring countries, Malaysia and Indonesia. Its 28 cabins with a maximum capacity of 28 people per capsule highlight the number 28, meaning double prosperity in dialect, and the Flyer’s architectural auspiciousness. Asia’s largest Observation Wheel, the Singapore Flyer stands at an intimidating 165m tall and is both exciting to view from the ground and to take for a view from the top.
10. Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay used to be a hub of activity in Singapore’s early days as a trading port, with masses of boats thronging the waters to dock and unload their goods. However, this resulted in massively polluted waters and trading activity was eventually relocated to Pasir Panjang. In the meantime, the Singapore River underwent a huge clean up and so did Clarke Quay, evolving into a sleek array of bars, clubs and restaurants along with a bungee jumping set up while maintaining the facade of the old shophouse fronts. Now, more often known as the centre of Singapore’s nightlife, Clarke Quay is undoubtedly a historical aspect of the Singapore River.
As an island nation, Singapore’s waterways play a huge part in her history and way of life, none as prominent as the Singapore River. Though it is no longer the pivotal part of Singapore’s trading scene, with so much of history, culture and re-purposed attractions, it remains an integral part of Singapore as she changes and grows. The best part is that following a Singapore bike tour along the river allows you to see so many of the country’s best attractions and more.