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My Escapes Singapore Bustling, Colourful Singapore The City Hall and Esplanade Areas

The City Hall and Esplanade Areas

May 30, 2014
April 29, 2015

I've found Singapore's City Hall and Esplanade areas great starting points for urban explorations, even on foot.
And, they're both centrally-located, accessible through MRT stations.

When we're talking about Esplanade and City Hall, we're talking about parts of the the hypermodern Singapore Downtown Core.

I can't count how many times I explored this bustling dynamical area - besides the attractions, the picturesque sights, there are great places for eating and drinking as well.

The Esplanade with the Theatres on the Bay

In the evening at Esplanade...

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At 3 Saint Andrew's Road, Singapore has a British colonial era City Hall building, which you might want to check out. I skipped it, because it's nothing extraordinary, there are loads of nicer things to see in "Lion City".

If you exit the City Hall MRT station, you will find yourself right in the middle of Raffles City - not to be confused with Raffles Place, which is in the Central Business District.

Raffles City

Raffles City's skyscrapers

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Esplanade is another (scenic) zone just a short walk roughly south of the City Hall area.

At City Hall MRT station, the green and red MRT lines run both and, and several main roads are found above ground. Reaching other (more distant) locations is fairly easy from here...

From here you can easily reach the neighbourhoods of Bras Basah, Bugis, Suntec City, Boat Quay, Chinatown, the Marina Bay area, Merlion Park, the the core of the CBD.

Esplanade from Fullerton Hotel

Esplanade again in different colours... viewed from the Fullerton Hotel

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Although Esplanade has no MRT interchange, it is also centrally-situated and it's a great place to start a walk. Most of the places enumerate above are fairly easy to reach on foot.

What I did was to literally walk around, eat around and take plenty of photos - examining the architecture and pintpointing the attractions.

Let's see some details about the main attractions and other points of interest in this area...

Raffles City

It's a complex of mainly business and commercial buildings, part of the Downtown Core, but must not be confused with Raffles Place, which is a square located much further in the middle of the dense skyscraper district.

There's a large (partly underground) mall, called Raffles City Shopping Centre and plenty of restaurants and shops are found in the underground tunnels connecting with the City Hall MRT station.

At the Raffles City Shopping Centre, you will come across lots of fine restaurants, some of which sell ethnic cuisine specialities (from Italian to French, from Chinese to Japanese), others sell fine high-end delicious products.

One thing I noticed - macarons were very popular and there were many sushi restaurants around.

Raffles City Shopping Centre

Raffles City Shopping Centre

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Suntec City

Suntec City is a development intended primarily for business and shopping.
There are shopping malls and office buildings cramped in this relatively small area. I first went there in order to find the Convention and Exhibition Centre, but besides that, I've found it a great place for hanging around.

Suntec City has a wonderful collection of plants, colourful flowers planted between the buildings...

High-end hotels are bountiful here as well...

If you're looking for local Singapore tour operators, then you'll find several offices inside the Convention and Exhibition Centre. This is where I bought my flight ticket to Kuala Lumpur.

Concrete and green

Concrete and green vegetation

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Shopping Malls, Restaurants, Bars

Suppose you don't just want to go on sightseeing walks, but also want to eat, drink, do shopping tours, then consider the shopping malls and restaurants, bars are found at Raffles City Shopping Centre, Suntec City Mall, the Chijmes complex... and others.

I would like to emphasize on the place called Chijmes - pronounced "Chimes", which is basically an old churches' yard, home to a profusion of ethnic restaurants.
Some of the best places to eat in Singapore are found at Chijmes. I encountered Argentinian, Italian, Korean, Australian (among others) restaurants there.

Expect high prices, but everything is way above the quality of an average cheap restaurant, hawker centre or fast food eatery.
So, Chijmes is a great place for inviting someone for a fine meal.



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The City Hall and Supreme Court Buildings

The Supreme Court has a new (modern) building just behind the old one. This new building was a "UFO"-like disc-shaped top.

The old Supreme Court building is the one with the cupola, while the City Hall building is a flat building situated right near it.

Supreme Court Buildings

The Supreme Court Buildings: new and old

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Esplanade Bridge

Large bridge spanning across the Singapore River, which flows from the Clarke Quay area into the Marina Bay.

The Esplanade Bridge has 280 m (919 ft) in length, a width of 46 m (150 ft).

Stunning views can be admired all around!

The Merlion Park from the Marina Bay waterfront is near it.

Theatres on the Bay

The Theatres on the Bay is a massive building composed of two main parts: a theatre and a concert hall. One could say there are two buildings that are interconnected.

The design of the complex was inspired by the shape of the durian fruit. A popular round exotic fruit with spikes, cultivated in abundance in this part of Asia.

The Theatres on the Bay complex also includes a library and other facilities.

Theatres on the Bay

Theatres on the Bay

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Esplanade Park

A historic park with huge trees...
In the past, it used to be an open area where street food was being sold in abundance.

A walk between these trees felt a bit like a jungle walk. Damp thick air, gigantic trees!

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Arts Science Museum

The Marina Bay area was my first target after finding the location of the business event that I wanted to attend on the first days already.

First I went out to see the hotel, the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum, I admired the beautiful bay (of course) - see photos of the views around, I enjoyed a walk on the Marina Promenade and a few days later I decided to check out the Singapore skyline from the SkyPark...

Marina Bay

Since its construction, the three-skyscraper hotel has become iconic to Singapore

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Merlion Park

This was my first trip to Singapore and I simply had no time to take a close photo of the beautiful white Merlion statue.
But you will find further details and photos of it in my second Singapore trip journal.

What you must know is that the Merlion is the symbol of Singapore. It's a mythological animal, half-lion, half-fish.

It's like a mermaid only that instead of the human-half, it has a lion-half. Therefore the name "Singapura" ("Lion City") - the original name of Singapore.

In ancient times, travelers reported to have seen such an animal in Singapore's waters.

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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