After visiting Tiong Bahru, we made our way to glitzy hot spot, Clarke Quay. We had intentions of doing the River Cruise, a bit of shopping and dinner there. This is actually my second visit to the quay. Its been about 8 years since I bump into a friend from back home while on holidays and went out to dinner with her and some friends at a fine dining Chinese restaurant. I just remember pretty colourful riverfront, the hoards of people and the extra $35 tea tax on top of our dinner bill.
Clarke Quay is a pedestrian mall that runs along the Clay Quay Jetty, on the Singapore River. In Colonial times, Boat Quay was the commercial center and Clarke Quay was where the warehouses were located and bumboats were moored. However, the Singapore River became so polluted that in the 1970s and 80s government moved the cargo services elsewhere and clean up the river. Later Clarke Quay was redeveloped into a commercial, residential and entertainment precinct. The Clarke Quay Festival Village was open in 1993 and Clarke Quay was continued to be revamped over the next 10 years. Today it is a bright and glitzy mall with colourful shop facades and riverfront dining, restaurants, bars and night clubs.
The best time to visit Clarke Quay is in the evenings, when everything is open and people are walking the strip. However, you can still visit during the day, like we did. If I were to revisited Clarke Quay I would definitely visit at night, unless I was in the area to see Fort Cannon Hill (behind Clarke Quay) or visiting the Asian Civilisations Museum and National Gallery Singapore (further down). If you do visit during the day there plenty of lunch deals.
We arrived around 3pm and it was pretty quiet at the quay. Some of the cafes were open along the riverfront and there were a few tourist, who were probably as confused as we were. I thought there would be plenty of shopping here, but alas there was none. I had read on the Singapore Guide that there retail stores at the quay and at Riverside Point. There was actually no shops in and around the riverfront or within Riverside Point, unless they were closed at this time. Trust me if there was shinning new things on sale I would have found them. There are a few shopping centers a little further down that I did investigate, which I will talk about later when I get to them. Nevertheless this was a great time to take photos when I didn’t have so many strangers in the background.
So we had already booked our River Cruise on Klook, which we could take anytime but we decided we may as well do it now before all of the rest of the tourist arrived. This cruise actually is available at 15 minute intervals from 9am until 11pm (last boat 10:30), so if you are coming in the evening you can do it before or after dinner. The cruise takes about 40 minutes and there is a recorded commentary in English that you can listen to.
So these are some of the pictures I took while on the River Cruise. The boat took us from Clarke Quay, through Boat Quay and Marina Bay before turning back and returning to Clarke Quay. It was a lovely river cruise that gave us a nice view of buildings along the river. The commentary was great, but it was a little harder to hear if you sit on the back of the boat. Unfortunately the Merlion was undergoing some maintenance, so it was just about completely cover up.
After the cruise we went to do a bit of shopping at Clarke Quay Central and Liang Court. I didn’t really enjoy the shopping at either of these places. At Clarke Quay Central there were a few stores nice stores on the ground level and a few more I wasn’t too interested on the next level up. The Singapore Guide said there was 280 stores in this building but they must of been counting all the food outlets and business. Liang Court was also quite disappointing as well. The most exciting thing I found was a Books Kinokuniya. There is also no playgrounds in these centres, so the only thing that kept our toddler happy was an icecream from Azabu Sabo Ice Cream. We also got a nice cool Lemon Ice Tea from Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
We intended to do dinner at Little Saigon, Clarke Quay, but without shopping to keep us going until we got hungry we decided to leave. We could have visited Fort Cannon Hill, but the thought of walking up that hill without a pram just seemed too hard. So that’s where our visit ended at Clarke Quay. Next time we are in Singapore we will definitely save Clarke Quay for the evening to make the most of it.
I forgot to mention that today (day 6) we actually moved hotels near the HarbourFront and Vivo City, to be closer to Sentosa Island. So this evening we had dinner at Vivo City, which I will dedicate another post to. In the days following we visited Sentosa Island which I will share with you soon as well.