Walking amidst Singapore's beautiful colonial architecture is a great way to spend a day with visitors interested in local history, especially since Singapore's many colonial buildings house such interesting things: museums, hotels, churches. Most guide books on Singapore will suggest a colonial walk--Fodors and DK have online itineraries--and there are so many well-preserved buildings you could run yourself ragged trying to see them all in this heat. To spare you that unfortunate outcome, the Arriviste's itinerary, below, is an abridged one, perfect for spying some key sights without overtaxing oneself. And for those partial to itineraries with food breaks, like myself.
1. Fort Canning Park
Pack yourself a nice little picnic--perhaps of DaPaolo Gastronomia's yum prepared food and desserts or Jones the Grocer's addictive cheeses and truffle honey--and head to lush and shady Fort Canning Park for lunch. The hilltop park is home to a smattering of colonial relics, like the Gothic Gate pictured above and Singapore's largest WWII-era underground military complexes. Oh, and some giant coins stuck in the grass. Tres sculpture garden. It's a beautiful park and a perfect place for a sunny-day lunch on the lawn. And very well signposted with interesting historical facts.
2. National Museum of Singapore
Follow the signs just down the hill to the National Museum of Singapore, a stately neo-classical building originally home to the Raffles museum and library. Singapore's oldest museum has taken a decidedly new approach to its exhibits, engaging visitors with the smells, sights and sounds of local history and culture. You could easily spend a couple of hours here immersed in Singapore's past.
3. Armenian Church
If you're feeling energetic after your museum visit, wend your way over to the beautiful Armenian Church, Singapore's first Christian church, on the corner of Canning Rise and Hill St.
4. Raffles Hotel
Not so much energy? Head directly over to the Raffles Hotel for a stroll through its leafy garden and whitewashed arcades, so evocative of a Graeme Green haunt. The Long Bar, the provenance of the famous Singapore Sling, is generally overrun with tourists and the Sling apparently comes from a mix. Poke your head in to say you've been and then head down to the 1920s style Empire Cafe for an iced tea.
6. The Fullerton Hotel
Or, if you can make it another 10 minutes for your drink, jump into a cab and head to the Fullerton Hotel, on the site of the old General Post Office and arguably Singapore's most elegant hotel. The cool, quiet Post Bar will fix you a nice cocktail or have your drink quay-side in the dimming afternoon light at The Lighthouse.