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The Parliament, Boat Quay and Revisiting Raffles Place
I had two more days in Singapore before jetting-off for Kuala Lumpur!
Yet, I was feeling like I was just warming up regarding Singapore and lots of places still remained unseen, just pinned on my map.
So, I chose to see the Parliament, the Boat Quay area, wandered down to Fullerton Hotel and then I headed to Raffles Place...
This was quite a nice walk and got to see a totally different side of Singapore...
Essentially, most of this exploration happened around the Singapore River - yes, the city actually has a river and it bears the same name!
The attractions were numerous, included were: The Parliament, the new Supreme Court Building, Boat Quay, 3 bridges that span across the Singapore River, the old Fullerton Hotel, then I ended my stroll in the Raffles Square area...
To go through step-by-step, this was what I saw...
The Singaporean Parliament House
As I was approaching the Parliament, I observed a stone block with the Singaporean coat of arms on it and the slogan "Majulah Singapura" (literally "Forward Singapore"), which is also the title of the country's anthem.
The Singaporean coat of arms and the national slogan "Majulah Singapura"
Singapore's coat of arms (seen on the photo above) was adopted in 1959.
It contains a lion, a tiger holding the escutcheon containing a red shield with the crescent and five stars (found in the Singaporean flag)
The Parliament building with tall palms...
By the way, the Parliament of the Republic of Singapore is unicameral and is found in this modern building - finalized in 1999, having cost in excess of 115.2 billion SGD.
The result was this thick, massive modern building, but one with a strong Asian feel - if you pay more attention to its shape, particularly the roof section.
Violet flowers, how beautiful!
On the photo above, you can also see an older building's cupola. That is the old building of the Supreme Court, from the British colonial era.
A modern one was built (see below). Interestingly, it resembles a UFO. The design would make a wonderful skyline observatory - only if it would be much higher above ground.
UFO-like modern building of the Supreme Court
Boat Quay and the Singapore River
As I proceeded walking towards the west, in order to turn south and see the Boat Quay, I quickly noticed the first bridge spanning across the Singapore River.
Elgin Bridge was built in 1929, spans 46 m across and has a width of 25 m.
The scenic Boat Quay is found south (left side on the image above), while the Clarke Quay area is north (right side on the photo). The latter is rather a shopping-entertainment nest, but I missed it due to lack of time...
Small cruise ship passing under Elgin Bridge
Several small boats carrying visitors kept sailing up and down on the river... these river boat cruises must certainly be interesting, especially for couples, families...
I wasn't in a romantic mood all by myself there, so I kept my calm and I kept walking further...
Countless restaurants and bars were on the other side of the river bank!
I finally got to one of my most revered hotspots on Earth. Ever since I was a teenager, I kept bumping into photos of Boat Quay (one of them was in a Lufthansa magazine distributed on my Tokyo-Frankfurt flight) and I also saw it in movies, travel magazines...
About Singapore - pretty much it was Boat Quay that got imprinted into my mind. To me, this was Singapore - one of my dream destinations!
And there I was... standing right at Boat Quay!
I don't know how many times I saw this view before in magazines, in films...
The skyscrapers of the central business area (just across the river) felt gigantic by contrast to the smaller buildings on the other side. The distance also amplified the effect.
From here, everything seemed bigger. Actually, this place is roughly on the other side of the skyscrapers, opposite to the famous Marina Bay.
Immense skyscrapers... immense
Of course, my slow travel style has gotten me closer and closer to the evening. Some rain clouds were gathering, blocking the Sun rays...
...but, this only made my exploration more exciting: the buildings of Singapore started lighting up and I just got close to Cavenagh Bridge:
Cavenagh Bridge - this one leads to the Fullerton Hotel, it's a pedestrian bridge
Cavenagh Bridge has a length of 79.25 m, width of only 9.45 m and it was opened in 1870. Right across, on the other side is the beautiful old Fullerton Hotel (more about it a bit lower on this page).
Anderson Bridge next:
Anderson Bridge is wider and can accommodate cars
In fact, Anderson Bridge was extremely close, just a bit behind Cavenagh. This one is wider than Cavenagh, so cars can also get across it.
Anderson Bridge has a length of 70 m, width of 28 m and it was constructed in 1910.
Anderson Bridge's blue lights got lit up a short while later...
The Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles
Walking downstream, along Boat Quay, I noticed a small square and some old buildings and... a white full body statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.
(In fact, I reached this place long before getting down to Cavenagh Bridge and Anderson Bridge, but I found it more appropriate to treat the bridges as a separate subject).
Sir Stamford Raffles - founder of Singapore
Stamford Raffles was born on a ship in the vicinity of Jamaica.
He is the founder of the London Zoo and he conducted expeditions in the the area of today's Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Raffles took part in military campaigns with the French in the Napoleonic Wars and he also took part in the Dutch conquest of Java.
Stamford Raffles had good knowledge of Malay language and he took part in various trips to Malysia, including Malacca (former Portuguese colony with strategic importance in the Straits of Malacca).
He considered Singapore a strategically important island (already in 1818) - which was then called Singapura (meaning: "Lion City" in Malay).
In order to secure British presence in the area, he first established a small military presence and a trading post in 1819.
The landing occurred on January 29th, 1819 - approximately there, where this white statue stands!
Back then, the population was approximately 900-1,000 people: 880 Malays, 20-30 Chinese.
By 1921, the total population had quadrupled: 3,000 Malays and more than 1,000 Chinese and, a number of Europeans in addition.
Over the years, Singapore had grown to an immense city of 5.3 million (2013) and one of the World's most prosperous economies.
A rather quiet place for a retreat, including for lunch
The Fullerton Hotel
A very expensive 5-star hotel established in an old building (constructed in 1928).
Actually, the building itself served as General Post Office, The Exchange, Singapore Club (now Singapore Town Club), the Marine Department, and the Import and Export Department long before it became a hotel.
Fullerton Hotel in all its splendour!
I caught a glimpse of a striking contrast: the Fullerton Hotel with the skyscrapers at Raffles Place... the palms just added an exotic blend, so that the photo reminds us - Singapore is in the tropics!
The hotel nights cost a heavy rate. A quick search for this June gave me a rate in excess of 550 USD/night - single! And that's the cheapest option I looked up!
In striking contrast with the skyscrapers near Raffles Place
Raffles Place - Deep in the Skyscraper Forest
Raffles Place - the MRT station entrance is the stylish white building with a vintage feel
Towards the end, I strolled down to Raffles Place (the closest MRT station), in order to get home.
But before I got in, I took the time to contemplate the views, admire the views around.
The central square is a green area where you can sit down and relax...
At some point I lied down on my back to stare at the sky and the high-rise buildings towering towards it, as if they were trying to stretch out to the seemingly infinite sky...
Being there felt slightly surreal...
This is Singapore's Central Business District. Filled with skyscrapers, which are actually limited by size, in order not to bother the air traffic (280 m is the highest allowed for buildings).
Sir Stamford Raffles foresaw Singapore's growth of becoming a major marketplace, but I doubt he had any clue about what a major port and centre for trade it would become in almost two centuries time.
Walking in this area, I was stunned by how many major banks (mostly) have entire skyscrapers... It's banking country here!
My favourite skyscraper in the CBD is the one that you can see on the photo above, on the right side: Republic Plaza.
With its 280 m (919 ft) tall with 66 floors, and it's one of the 3 tallest in the area and with this height, it hits the maximum allowed limit.
Speaking of interesting skyscrapers...
I couldn't walk past the evening view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel from the pedestrian area right in front of the Fullerton Hotel.
The palms are clearly distinguishable on the observation deck! (I was at about 850 m away!).
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the late evening...
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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