The weather has been pretty wet recently but when it came to our outing event, it was really kind to us. We enjoyed a very bright and sunny day during our Singapore’s rich maritime discovery journey. What’s even better was that we had a really fun and humorous tour guide bringing us along the trail, explaining the stories with loads of jokes being injected into it. The tour started at 9am and it took about 2-2.5 hrs to complete. Let’s reminisce what we did during the trail and share very brief history insights with you too.
Keppel Bay, previously known as Keppel Harbour
History: The waterway in Keppel Bay had been used as a passage for ships sailing from the Straits of Malacca to the South China Sea. The guide also briefly explained the Long Ya Men (Dragon’s Teeth Gate) that stood right opposite of where we stand. This name was given to a craggy granite outcrop that formerly stood at the gateway to the Keppel Harbour. We were told that this symbolic replica was being used to serve as navigational aids to ancient mariners sailing through the swift waters of the narrow channel between them. I couldn’t take a clear picture of that the below image is taken from Wikipedia website just for your viewing.
After the historic briefing, we were given some time to take pictures around the area. Smarties were having a great time jumping and running around the open space where we were standing. Check out their expressions and you can tell how happy they were. Love this shot of them!
The Jest: While leaving for our second stop, the guide was telling us that even if she reincarnates for 5 times, she won’t be able to afford the condominium (Reflections) shown in the picture above. How funny was that?
Former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
History: The station was the southern terminus of the network operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), the main railway operator in Malaysia, until 30 June 2011 when the station ceased operations with the relocation of the KTM station to Woodlands Train Checkpoint. The building is filled with a richly ornamented Art Deco style and many people have been seen taking nice pictures of it whenever there’s an event held at the station.
Do you know who drove the last train from Singapore? It was the Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor, whose grandfather, Ismail of Johor, had opened the causeway between Singapore and Malaya in 1923. We didn’t manage to get off the bus to tour around the area as it wasn’t open for public that day. So we were driven around outside the station while the guide explained the history.
The Jest: The guide asked us if we noticed the stones/granites on the ground between the railway tracks and how people are so fascinated with it whenever they come to explore the station by picking it up for photo taking and children playing with it. She continued to tell us that in the past, all the waste that people peed or pooed in the train will be dropped onto the ground and onto the stones/granites, then she rolled her eyes. Do you get what she meant? Think about it…
Fort Canning (Maritime Corner @ Fort Canning (Fort Canning Lighthouse & Flagstaff)
History: The guide gave us a quick explanation of the flags in front of the Maritime Corner. The infrastructures installed on Fort Canning hill was to support maritime activities underlined the importance of our port and sea trade from as early as the 19th century.
Fort Canning Lighthouse also known as Fort Canning Light is located on top of Fort Canning Hill and was formerly one of the 13 important lighthouses in the Straits of Malacca. The Fort Canning Lighthouse was in operation from 1903-1958. Unfortunately, it was eventually closed as it got overshadowed by tall buildings around it.
There was a map at the bottom of the lighthouse which shows where the other lighthouses are located and maintained by Singapore.
We walked passed a big rain tree while making our way up to the lighthouse and our guide explained how she loves this tree because it provides shelter to everything beneath it just like how a mother opening up her arms to shelter her children.
Time to leave and managed to get some children to sit on the log to have a nice picture but it was sooooo soooo difficult to get them to look at the camera!
Fullerton Hotel Building
History: We didn’t learn about Fullerton Hotel by walking around within the premises. Instead, we were walking along the underpass which had a wall full of pictures that tell us the history of it and that’s the visual part while the auditory part is when our guide explained in words to us.
The design of the building was done by a London architect by the name of Major P.H. Keys and it was officially opened by Clifford. Clifford name the structure of this building, Fullerton Building. The General Post Office (GPO) was the anchor tenant, and they only moved in a fortnight after the official opening. The 300 feet long post office counter was reputed to be the longest in the world them. We were all in awed when she mentioned that.
The Jest: The “alley” was pretty narrow especially when we were traveling in a big group and there were other people walking passed us. Our imaginative guide told us that we have to be standing and gathered in front of her, not behind her, just in case “someone else” joined us as well.
Took a not-so-nice shot of Fullerton hotel with smarties while we were all taking a break and having ice-cream. Not so nice because mei mei was grouchy as she was being asked to stop enjoying her ice-cream for a while just to satisfy mommy to take a picture.
Marina South Pier
This is our final stop where we bid our humorous and fun-loving guide farewell.
History: Well, is not really a history as it is still happening. Marina South Pier is located in Marina South. It is used as a terminal for tourists and day-trippers who are boarding small boats and ferries heading for the Southern Islands. There are regular ferries from the pier to Kusu Island and Saint John’s Island. Now we know where to get our ferries to Kusu Island and Saint John’s Island.
This is also a place where we fueled up ourselves with ordered-in vegetarian chicken rice. We were all famished by this time and everyone just focused on munching on their yummy vegetarian chicken rice.
After a satisfying lunch and a good rest. We were all ready for part 2 of our discovery journey! We hoped you have enjoyed the part 1 of the tour with us. Want to know where we go next? Do stay tuned for our next blog post then.
Singapore Maritime Trails
All guided trails are complimentary and each trail lasts for 2 – 2.5 hours.
To register, do go to their website.
For group tour bookings for your school or organisation, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or +65 6836 6466 (Mon – Fri, 9.00am – 6.30pm) to find out more.
Details for Trail 1
Date: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Time: 9.00am – 11.30am / 3pm – 5:30pm
Details for Trail 2
Date: Every 2 nd Saturday of the month
Time: 9.00am – 11.30am / 3pm – 5:30pm
For further details, do check their website.