Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Singapore Landmarks Tour (Self Guided), Singapore

Singapore is an island and a city state with a melting pot population of Asian people comprising the Chinese, Malay and Indians. The city was initially established as a trading post in Southeast Asia by the British East India Company in 1819 and was part of British colony until 1963. Its colonial heritage is still very visible in the city today. This self-guided tour will lead you through some of the most important monuments in Singapore.
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Singapore Landmarks Tour Map

Guide Name: Singapore Landmarks Tour
Guide Location: Singapore » Singapore (See other walking tours in Singapore)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Singapore Flyer
  • Civilian War Memorial
  • Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
  • Merlion Park and Statue
  • Cavenagh Bridge
  • Raffles' Landing Site
  • The Battlebox
Singapore Flyer

1) Singapore Flyer (must see)

If you want to see all of Singapore, especially the area of the bay, in an unobstructed panoramic way, don't hesitate to get on the Singapore Flyer on a clear day. Standing a lofty 165 meters tall, this monumental Ferris wheel was once the world's tallest until the Las Vegas “High Roller”, opened in 2014, surpassed it by a mere 2.6 m (9 ft). Much like the “High Roller”, the Singapore Flyer spins in slow motion with the journey lasting a half hour full turn – just enough to see everything and take dozens of photos before being brought back down into a rainforest-covered park. There are 28 cabins in all, each able to carry 28 passengers, but normally when there is no queue, it can be pretty vacant and you can have your privacy. Those acrophobic not need to worry at all, because they will not feel the height when in the capsule and, besides, the ride is made incredibly smooth, so they won't feel the rotation either. The cabins are air-conditioned and with panoramic screens inside providing all the necessary details on the various sights and surroundings.

The best time for having a Flyer ride is on weekdays as well as before or just after sunset to see the city at night. Various packages are offered for those looking to get high in style, such as the signature Singapore Sling Flight, in which drinks are served for that extra lift.

The best time for having a Flyer ride is on weekdays as well as before or just after sunset to see the city at night.

Operating Hours:
Daily: 8:30am-10:30pm (last admission: 10pm)
Ticketing counter operates from 8am to 10pm
Civilian War Memorial

2) Civilian War Memorial

The Memorial to the Civilian Victims of the Japanese Occupation, usually called the Civilian War Memorial is a war memorial and heritage landmark in Singapore next to Esplanade MRT station. It was built in memory of the civilians killed during the Japanese occupation of Singapore during World War II. The Civilian War Memorial sits on serene parkland in the midst of busy city traffic near Singapore's Padang and City Hall.

Located within the War Memorial Park, four large white columns - symbolizing the four main ethic groups during this period: Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians - rise to the sky. The locals refer the columns as "Four Chopsticks". The memorial is particularly noticeable at night when lit up.

The area is meticulously maintained. Saint Andrew's Cathedral and Esplanade Park are nearby, many places of interest are in the area.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

3) Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (must see)

Art and architecture go hand in hand, as evident in this spiky and endearingly outrageous performing arts center. The structure itself emerged from Singapore’s realization that it needed iconic buildings to keep pace with the competitive international tourist industry – and, as such, can be seen as the Asian rival to the Sydney Opera House, with a fabulous location to support its own unique sense of grandeur. Officially opened in 2002, it has become quite the key emblem of contemporary Singapore; a shining example of its arty, creative side.

The big question is and will always be whether the Esplanade’s theatres bear more resemblance to Durian fruit, the eyes of a fly, or a microphone. Despite its fruity nickname, “The Big Durians”, which is most popular with the locals, the twin glass domes of the complex do not take their design reference from the tropical fruit, but from traditional Asian reed weavings. The spiky metal sunshades reach seven thousand in number, and with their varying angles and geometries, make the roof-line morph and mutate across the building; however, aside from the visual complexity, they have a practical aspect as well, in that they maximize the natural light while shielding the glass roof from heat radiation – an important concern given Singapore's location close to the equator.

Internally, the venue is just as extraordinary. As well as large-capacity twin auditoriums that are visually and acoustically spectacular, there are several decent eating options here to fill one's tummy as well. Also worth looking out for here are the regular free performances and major events outside, especially on weekends, which are advertised either on the theatre’s website or in the monthly what’s-on guide so, on a lark, you may get to pick and choose several performances to see. The Esplanade has many different art-related shops as well, including a vinyl record store, a wind instrument shop and more. As if that's not enough, it houses a branch of the National Library where you can read digital newspapers, scour through the huge selection of music, dance, and art materials, or watch movies in a spectacular setting. To capture a very nice picture of the famed Singapore Merlion, you can go up to the top floor. This is indeed a heavenly refuge if you're an art lover or simply need a break from Singapore's humidity and heat.

To capture a very nice picture of the famed Singapore Merlion, you can then go up to the top floor.

Guided Tours:
Mon–Fri: 11am (excl. public holidays)
Merlion Park and Statue

4) Merlion Park and Statue (must see)

No tour of Singapore is complete without seeing the Merlion and the small park surrounding it that caters well to the tourists visiting the city. An imaginary creature, half fish and half lion, the Merlion has been used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore since 1964. The fish body symbolizes Singapore's humble beginnings as a fishing village back in the day when it was called Temasek, while the lion's head, on the other hand, stems from the old tale about the city's present name “Singapura” which translates from Sanskrit as the "Lion City".

Curiously enough, lions with fishtails can also be found on murals at Ajanta and Mathura in India, as well as on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea-lions’, are an established element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom, as well as the City of Manila and the East India Company.

While being one of Singapore's most kitschy of attractions, sitting near this 9-meter statue, that spouts water from its mouth, does provide commanding views of the Marina Bay area, as well as of the city skyscrapers and the Singapore Flyer (if standing on its right). If you’ve already been to Raffles and got yourself a Singapore sling, well, a trip up the Merlion is the next logical step.

It can get really busy here but people come and go quite quickly so, with a little patience, you're bound to get a good shot of the statue. Better yet, try to enjoy the location more rather than worry about the perfect picture, and this place will definitely hit the spot.
Cavenagh Bridge

5) Cavenagh Bridge (must see)

Spanning the Singapore River with elegant suspension struts between the Empress Place and Fullerton Building (currently Hotel), Cavenagh Bridge is one of the witnesses of Singapore's eventful history. This is the only bridge to have survived intact in its original form since construction in 1869, when it replaced its rudimentary pedestrian predecessor.

Initially known as Edinburgh Bridge, called so to commemorate the visit by Duke of Edinburgh, it was eventually renamed in honor of Major General William Cavenagh, the last India-appointed Governor of the Straits Settlements. The bridge itself was built in Glasgow and then shipped to Singapore in sections where it was assembled by Indian convict laborers. In 1910, when the nearby Anderson Bridge was completed, the Cavenagh was to be demolished, but, fortunately, that decision was scrapped in favor of converting it to a foot bridge. Presently, as long as the pedestrians who cross it weight not more than 152kg or 336lbs individually – which is the technical restriction – they are welcome to pass!

Why You Should Visit:
A historic bridge right next to the Fullerton Hotel. Apart from the lovely views up and down the river and the historical significance, which is a big draw to the Cavenagh, there is an undeniably cute bronze family of cats – a cat and two kittens – to be found at the end of the bridge, near the hotel. On the opposite side there are bronzes of the children leaping into the water so tempting to follow their suit.

More photo opportunities of sculptures depicting life back in the days of yore are readily available on the south side.
Raffles' Landing Site

6) Raffles' Landing Site (must see)

The statue of Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, reportedly marks the spot on the northern bank of the Singapore River where the general set foot on the island the very first time on 29 January 1819. Back then it was just an unwelcoming swampland and tiger-infested jungle, while today the area serves as the Civic Precinct accommodating government buildings, a concert hall, galleries, and museums.

For someone who had spent a very limited time on the island (his longest tenure in Singapore was only eight months), Raffles had an extraordinary influence over its development. His name shows everywhere throughout the city, yet his impact extends way beyond the purely civic commemoration. The streets you walk in the heart of Singapore still largely follow the original layout drawn by Raffles. The ethnic districts, such as Little India, were all demarcated by him as well. Even the classic shop-house design – built of brick, with a central courtyard for light, ventilation and water collection – is attributed to Sir Raffles, too. But more importantly, Singapore’s very existence – as one of the world’s greatest seaports – is a direct consequence of Sir Raffles’ vision.

Recognizing the island’s potential as a post to counter the Dutch power in the region, Raffles immediately struck a deal with Abdul Rahman, chieftain of Singapore and subordinate of the Sultan of Johor, to set up a British trading station here. Understanding that the sultan’s loyalties to the Dutch – who were furious at the British incursion into what they perceived their territory – would make the final approval of his deal impossible, Raffles approached the sultan’s brother, Hussein, addressing him as His Highness the Sultan, and concluded a second treaty with both him and the chieftain. Thus, the Union Jack rose over Singapore and sealed its future as the British trading post.

Years on, thanks to its duty-free stance and strategic geographic position at the gateway to the South China Sea, Singapore experienced a meteoric expansion, seeing Chinese, Indian and European migrants coming in search of work and commercial success. By 1860 the city's population had reached 80,000. By the end of the 19th century, with the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of the steamship, Singapore’s position as the regional hub of international trade had been consolidated.
The Battlebox

7) The Battlebox (must see)

The Battlebox is the former command center of the British army during WWII. Given its position in the western Pacific ocean, Singapore had long been recognised as being strategically important for the Royal Navy to counter the growing influence of the Japanese, who were regarded as being the logical threat to Britain's interests in the Far East and the Pacific.

The Battlebox was constructed as a headquarter for the combined army forces, the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, in Singapore. The construction began in 1936 and completed in 1941. The bunker was constructed with one metre thick (3 feet) reinforced concrete walls to withstand direct hits from bombs and shells. There are more than 20 rooms in the bunder. The complex included a telephone exchange connected to all military and most civilian switchboards in Malaya, various signals and operations rooms, sleeping quarters and latrines.

The Battlebox was later turned into a museum and opened to public in 1997. Guided tours are available to tell the stories about the bunker and what happened there during WWII.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Singapore, Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Chinatown Walking Tour

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Singapore Introduction Walk

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Colonial District Walking Tour

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Singapore was first established as a trading post in Southeast Asia by the British India Company in 1819. Its strong colonial heritage has left a number of European style buildings lining the banks of the Singapore River in the heart of the city center. This self guided tour leads you through Singapore's Colonial District, taking in some of the most famous landmarks in the city along the way.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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