Things to Do: A Walk Down North Bridge Road

Find your way onto North Bridge Road and head away from Raffles Hotel. Watch the street names and you'll see more British influences-Mayfair City, Stamford Street, High Street Centre and more. The sidewalks are wide and flat, with no stroller problems. We didn't see any toilets or water fountains, so be sure to tank up/down at Raffles.

You'll soon see St. Andrew's Cathedral, which, among other things, has some open green space for the kids to run amok in if that is needed. On the opposite side of the Cathedral, walk another block if you like and see the big green expanse of the Singapore Cricket Club, though the kids are not allowed to run around on the grass there I'm afraid.

Keep heading toward the river (if you have a map this is gonna be a lot easier) and you'll pass or be at least close to some interesting colonial architecture, including City Hall, the Supreme Court, the recently reopened Asian Civilizations museum and a bunch of other older things that the kids are by now probably bored with. The museum might be of interest to older kids with an interest in Asia. Overall, the look and feel of this all is amazing to anyone with even a bitty sense of history. If you've read any of the Flashman books, or even watched your share of old movies, you can't help but feeling a bit awed to be surrounded by living remnants of another era so accessible.

Along the way you might also have seen off to your right Fort Canning, or at least the big green hill that it used to sit upon. In the Olde days the Fort commanded the harbor with its cannons. If you have more time, there is a very nice green space there perfect for picnics, and the famous WWII “Battle Box” is open for touring. Remember, pre-land fill, the hill sat a lot closer to the shoreline.

Grab a quick look at the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles outside, right near the river. Amazingly, this statue was erected almost to the spot where Sir Stamford first landed on Singapore to begin the British tenancy. Sir Stamford is also famous for having so many things named after him in Singapore, including, of course, the Raffles Hotel.

If you've done this correctly and not detoured into some blind alley, you should be very close to the place where you can board a bum boat for a pleasant river cruise.

You can read more about river boat cruises now, or cross the river on foot for the best view of Singapore, from 36 floors up, for free.

Friends in High Places

Now people, let's not blow this, OK? I'm going to tell you where to get the absolute best aerial views of Singapore absolutely for free. The office building seems to allow this, but if we misbehave ourselves they might just shut the deal down. So, just like in elementary school, one bad apple can spoil it for the rest of us. You! Yes, you out there-no greasy fingers on the glass, and don't throw your gum down the toilet!

OK, enough. Take the MRT to Raffles Place station (not Raffles Hotel) and ask for directions to the OBC Building. If you are taking the Bum Boat ride, try and ask the driver to drop you off on the nearby Quay and it is just a short walk.

The building itself is a massive skyscraper, and open Saturdays. Enter like you belong there, take the escalators on your left in the lobby up one flight, then the elevators to the 36th floor. You'll have a panoramic view of the whole city, and be looking right down at the river, the old colonial administration buildings and, on a clear day, be able to see islands and maybe even Malaysia in the distance. Its all free and the best view in town.

Not too far away from the building is a beautiful fountain, that really adds a nice, cooling touch to the concrete of this part of the city.

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