5 Essential Sights for the Grand Tourist’s Itinerary – Singapore

Gates to the Old Christian Cemetery on Fort Canning Hill.

Gates to the Old Christian Cemetery on Fort Canning Hill.

✑ A stroll around the Singapore River, the Civic District and Fort Canning Hill, taking in the sights of Colonial Singapore. This tiny area has Singapore’s greatest concentration of museums, monuments and historical sites, all immaculately preserved. There’s so much that is historical here, it’s mindboggling.

✑ Visit Singapore’s historic districts – Bras BasahChinatown, Kampong Gelam/Arab Street and Little India. In particular, pay attention to the “streets of harmony” – streets on which multiple places of worship stand side-by-side in harmony – of which there are three: Waterloo and Queen Streets in Bras Basah, and Telok Ayer Street and North Bridge Road in Chinatown.

✑ The Singapore Botanic Gardens, to catch glimpses of the colonial. The park is one of the oldest in the region, and hasn’t changed much since the British left. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

✑ A stroll down Orchard Road, once a landscape of orchards and colonial villas, but today the region’s most upscale shopping street. Take a short detour up Emerald Hill for the beautiful Peranakan Chinese mansions.

✑ Have a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. The atmosphere is raucous, cosmopolitan and touristy; very much the Grand Tour at its very essence.

Singapore is the best place in the region to get an authentic taste of the colonial life; to experience the splendour of a world lost everywhere else in the world but here.

Statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, at his purported landing site, along the Singapore River.

Statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, at his purported landing site, along the Singapore River.

Boat Quay, along the Singapore River, today. Note the row of colonial-era godowns.

Boat Quay, along the Singapore River, today. Note the row of colonial-era godowns.

The Former Supreme Court Building in the Civic District is today's National Art Gallery.

The Former Supreme Court Building in the Civic District is today’s National Art Gallery.

Maghain Aboth Synagogue on Waterloo Street is Singapore's oldest synagogue.

Maghain Aboth Synagogue on Waterloo Street is Singapore’s oldest synagogue.

Colonial Contemporary - St John's Church on Queen Street juxtaposed against the National Library.

Colonial Contemporary – St John’s Church on Queen Street juxtaposed against the National Library.

Thian Hock Keng Temple, Telok Ayer Street.

Thian Hock Keng Temple, Telok Ayer Street, is Singapore’s oldest Chinese Temple.

Sri Mariamman (Hindu) Temple on North Bridge Road.

Sri Mariamman (Hindu) Temple on North Bridge Road.

Sultan Mosque, in the Royal Compound of Kampong Gelam.

Sultan Mosque, in the Royal Compound of Kampong Gelam.

Colonial Contemporary - the last surviving Sino-Portuguese Mansion on Orchard Road proper.

Colonial Contemporary – the last surviving Sino-Portuguese Mansion on Orchard Road proper.

Colonial black and white at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Colonial black and white at the Singapore Botanic Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And finally... the grande dame herself: Raffles Hotel.

And finally… the grande dame herself: Raffles Hotel.

[The Romance of the Grand Tour – 100 Years of Travel in Southeast Asia is available now at all major bookstores in Singapore, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Waterstones in London. Find it also on http://www.amazon.co.uk andhttp://www.bookdepository.com]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s