Here’s an adventure you might never have thought of, but I can assure you – it’s a great experience for everyone. I recommend you do this in the morning to avoid the crowds and it will give the kids more space and freedom – especially as it gets busy from lunchtime onwards, more so on weekends. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay have always been favourite destinations for Steve and I, more so before the kids came along when we used to go out a lot. Hey we actually met at BQ Bar one happy night back in 2003 (and were legally married in the bar a couple of years later,) so it’s certainly a special place for us. But we only knew it by night. Since the lads came along, I’ve had the opportunity to see this area in a whole new light.
Without further ado, on a lovely cool, dry morning, pack up your scooters and head to the Brewerks side of Clarke Quay. If driving, there’s plenty of parking spots at the Novotel and some other options close by. From there, walk up Clarke Quay towards Boat Quay, heading under the bridge and then alongside the Old Houses of Parliament. It’s lovely along here, with a wide boulevard to run or scoot along, and the copper statues are definitely suitable climbing material – not sure if it’s allowed, but there aren’t any signs saying you can’t, so my boys had fun on the statues. Another option to add to this adventure is checking out the Asian Civilisations Museum or the Arts House at the Old Parliament, but I haven’t done this yet so can’t comment on its relevance for young kids. Let me know if you go?
As my boys definitely prefer the outdoor life, I found enough to do just letting them loose along here. However, there’s another activity option open – catch a water taxi or tour boat – which are certainly better value these days as they’ve built out the attractions in this area – but this activity does take it from an inexpensive adventure to a pricey one – an option though. Boat or no boats, from here walk all the way up and cross the beautiful white bridge, heading for The Fullerton on the other side. Make sure you check out the copper cats before leaving the bridge.
If you’re interested, Boat Quay is a fascinating part of Singapore history, so have a read up before you start this adventure, because then you’ll understand where Singapore got started and why it has been designed the way it has. It’s pretty cool.
At the top end, near UOB Plaza, there are more copper statues to climb, including a big ox and cart, although beware the slippery stairs down into the water if your kids can’t swim. You’ll definitely be hot and thirsty by now, so thankfully a few cafes have started opening up on the other side, but it’s still quiet. One of the great parts of this adventure is fish tanks – lots and lots of them! They are always there and always full, but also, at this time of the morning they are often restocking the tanks. So you get a mini-aquarium adventure in the mix, and my boys loved talking to the guys stocking the tanks and checking out the fish, crabs, lobsters, prawns and more. It’s pretty cool.
From here, keep walking down the length of Boat Quay, cross the bridge, and you’re back on Clark Quay – but this time, you’re on the built up side. The way Clark Quay was designed with the big colourful barriers means excellent sliding opportunities for kids – well for my kids anyway. The statues outside Forbidden City are also of interest, and walking around the Clark Quay complex certainly captures little imaginations. There are also fish tanks galore once again, and while the restaurants are getting set up for the day, they don’t seem to mind little humans hanging around, checking out the sights. You can also see lots of different boats and further along, you have the Bungee Bar sitting idle – something else my boys enjoyed exploring.
By this point, if you’re not exhausted I will be surprised, because it’s a hot adventure and a long walk, so you can either cross the bridge and head for home, or stop at one of the many restaurants or cafes for lunch. To extend the adventure, you could also head to Robertson Quay or Fort Canning Park, but that’s another adventure.
I enjoyed this morning, because there were so many different things to capture my kids’ attention, but it’s also interesting for adults as there’s a lot of history here. Most of us avoid areas like these when we live in a City – but add it to your adventure schedule, because I promise, you will enjoy it. It might be a tourist hot spot, or a night time alternative for Mum and Dad, but it’s definitely a fun, high energy morning for the family.
Final thing, take lots of water! The first part of the adventure isn’t near any open cafes or restaurants, so you will need hydration. It’s also quite sunny, so hats are a must, and if your kids are three or younger, definitely bring a pram, because they won’t make it – it’s a very long walk. Scooters are great if you can keep up, or like I said in the last blog, perhaps time to get your own adult version? Bikes are great as well and there are lots of people cycling, but when you get to the restaurant-side, it might be a little more challenging to manoeuvre, because you can’t ride along here. You’ll work it out though.
Have fun. Might do this one again soon myself.