Bumming a boat ride around Singapore

They may not have the most attractive name in the world, but the bumboats which ply the Singapore River certainly give you an unforgettable trip.

The Singapore River may not be one of the world’s great rivers, but it is certainly very interesting, particularly as this humble river has been the key to Singapore transforming from a small port into one of the world’s busiest and wealthiest trading centres.

The bumboats are small, traditional passenger vehicles which make a circular route of the river.  Although now fitted out to carry passengers, the bumboats were the original vessels for transporting goods from ship to shore.  One of the joys of doing a bumboat cruise is that you get to feel part of Singapore because you see everything from a low perspective.    

The cruises, which wind along the Singapore River past skyscrapers, colonial landmarks, and traditional Chinese shophouses, last just over an hour. The boats depart from several points along the river, including, Boat Quay in Marina Bay a major shipping centre 50 years ago that’s now lined with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

There is always something interesting to look at from your boat, particularly the stately public buildings and the mixture of architecture which ranges from the historic and the traditional to the contemporary which, in Singapore is always imaginative and sleek.

There are several landings sites where your trip will begin and end.  The trip goes upriver as far as the Grand Copthorne Waterfront, and visits Robertson Quay, Riverside Port, Liang Court, Boat Quay, Raffles Landing Site, the Fullerton Singapore and Merlion Park.

The Merlion Fountain is the symbol of Singapore, and you can really appreciate its great size as it spews forth its great fountain, seemingly trying to hit your humble boat as it sails past.

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