Ever felt like you need to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, but like – not too far away? Get on a bumboat with the Singapore River Cruise and learn about Singapore’s history and modernity all at once!
On this historic waterway, Bumboats remind the locals and tell the visitors of Singapore’s rustic appeal even in this modern age. For more than two decades, the Singapore River Cruise (SRC) has been protecting the heritage of this significant river. Its bumboats have become an icon of the river for both visitors and locals.
Singapore River Bumboat Cruise: Here’s how to Plan Your Next Adventure!
During the nation’s colonial period, the Singapore River was a flourishing commercial hub, with godowns stocked with goods lining the waterway’s quays and flotillas of bumboats plying their trade.
These wooden boats, also known as tongkang (sea-going barges), were used to move products along the Rochor, Kallang, and Singapore rivers from the 19th to the 20th centuries.
Singapore River Cruise has been preserving this aspect of the city’s history since 1987, allowing visitors to explore modern Singapore from the back of a bumboat.
This spectacular trip, known as ‘The Singapore River Experience—A Tale of Two Quays,’ encapsulates Singapore past and modernity in one activity, spanning the landmark districts of Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, and Marina Bay.
Explore the fascinating history of the Raffles Landing site, marvel at the towering futuristic design of Marina Bay Sands, and learn about the river that gave life to this thriving city.
The Singapore River – Where it All Began
The Lion City’s history is inextricably linked to that of the Singapore River, from its beginnings as a fishing village known as Temasek to its function as a trade port under the British Empire.
Sir Stamford Raffles, the creator of modern Singapore, first set foot on the island at the river’s mouth, and it was here that Prince Sang Nila Utama first beheld the mythical lion after which our city is called.
During the colonial era, the Singapore River grew into a thriving commercial hub, with dock hands toiling along its dusty banks and flotillas of boats docked along its three quays.
The Singapore River is now a popular nightlife and tourism destination, with busy bars, unique cafes, and legendary clubs sprawled throughout Robertson Quay, Boat Quay, and Clarke Quay.
What You Need to Know Before Visiting
To buy tickets, which cost S$25 for adults and S$15 for children aged 3 to 12, go to the Clarke Quay Jetty River Cruise ticketing station, which is located opposite the GX 5 Extreme Swing & Trampoline Bungy. Alternatively, you can buy your tickets at any of the ticketing booths located along the Singapore River.
The entire voyage lasts 40 minutes, and tourists can exit at any of the 13 jetties to explore, however they should be aware that doing so will end their excursion.
What to Expect from the River Cruise
It is recommended that you start your bumboat excursion in the late afternoon or after twilight to catch the sunset over the river or the spectacular lights of the city’s metropolitan nightscape.
While you can board the bumboat tour at any point along the river, first-timers are advised to begin their journey at Clarke Quay and use the GX 5 Extreme Swing & Trampoline Bungy as a marker. At night, the neighborhood comes alive with busy pubs and fashionable nightclubs.
Alternatively, you can begin your adventure at one of the Singapore River Cruise’s jetties, which are as follows:
- Bayfront South Jetty
- Boat Quay Jetty
- Clarke Quay Jetty
- Esplanade Jetty
- Fullerton Jetty
- Merlion Park Jetty
- Promenade Jetty
- Read Bridge Jetty
The soaring skyscrapers of the Central Business District (CBD) loom over old shophouses that have been given a new lease on life along the Boat Quay area, creating a cityscape that is a study in contrasts and monument to Singapore’s unique culture.
You’ll undoubtedly notice a white marble statue honoring Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, as you walk by the Raffles Landing Site. Another landmark from Singapore’s past is just around the corner: the magnificent Fullerton Hotel, which opened in 1928.
If you visit at night, you will be greeted by the brilliant lights of the Marina Bay district as you go past Merlion Park.
You’ll be treated to spectacular views of Marina Bay Sands and the ArtScience Museum on one side, and the durian-like building Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay on the other, from the back of the bumboat.
You would have seen all of the tour’s highlights by this point. Feel free to return to Clarke Quay or to explore any of these three districts at your leisure.
There’s so much history linked to the famed Singapore River, which, as they say – is where it all began. From a small fishing village to a now-booming commercial district at the heart of Asia, this river is bound to give anyone, whether locals or foreigners, a magical “blast to the past” not too far away from the city’s bright lights and fast-paced city life.
If it’s your first time visiting, be sure to see the beauty in the hidden, less explored parts of countries such as sunny Singapore. You can take our word for it – you’ll thank us later! It’ll be all worth it.
If you’re planning to give this river cruise a try, do let us know what you plan to do. And if you’ve already been and are revisiting this spot for the nth time, do share some of your most memorable experiences as well as tips on how to enjoy this unique river adventure, especially for first-timers, by leaving a comment in the section below. We’d love to hear from you!!
Singapore River Boat Cruise
Address: 3E River Valley Road (beside G-Max Reverse Bungy), Singapore 179024
Tel No: (65) 6336 6111
Google Map Location:
Disclaimer: Be sure to check out the Singapore River Cruise website for updates and the availability of the cruise services compliant with government restrictions concerning the COVID-19 situation in the country.