Surrounding the Singapore River, the chic residential River Valley neighbourhood is a spill over from the Mohamed Sultan area, which once housed traders and shop houses. Now, River Valley is rife with businesses, luxury condominiums in residential areas, an infinite array of shopping zones, and endless drinking and dining options.
River Valley Road takes you from Singapore’s city centre to the more subdued housing estates in the Bukit Merah and Alexandra areas. The closest MRT stations are Clarke Quay, Outram Park or Tiong Bahru; Clarke Quay is most convenient as you can walk the entire length of the river from this stop.
Several buses also run through River Valley – including the 54, 139 and 165. Great World City is easily accessible by bus, MRT (closest stop is Orchard) and even has free shuttle buses running from Chinatown, Redhill and Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road – perfect if you want to get a sense of the city’s heartbeat.
Looking for a place to stay?
Poshly known as District 9 in property market circles, River Valley is home to some of Singapore’s most expensive condominiums and apartments, including Rivergate, Aspen Heights, Leonie Hill Residence, Tribeca, Imperial and The Cosmopolitan. If you’re looking for a serviced apartment, the Village at Roberston Quay, Great World Serviced Apartments at Great World City or the Park Avenue Suites at UE Square make for handsome selections.
As for hotels, choose from several lining the river, such as the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Riverview Hotel, Robertson Quay Hotel, Park Hotel Clarke Quay, or Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay. For something a little trendier, stay at the Gallery Hotel on Mohammed Sultan Road.
Where to Shop?
River Valley is home to four great shopping malls: Great World City, Valley Point, UE Square and Liang Court. Here neighbourhood residents can conveniently do all their grocery shopping, catch a movie at the fab Golden Village Grand Cineplex, work out or even drop the little ones off for pre-school or an indoor play session.
The malls are home to many of the dining and retail chains you’ll find all over Singapore, but for something more, head to Great World City for outlets such as I Wanna Go Home, Shopping at Tiffany’s, British India and Seafolly.
Japanese, you say? Head to Liang Court, which caters to Singapore’s sizable Japanese expatriate population. And with good reason! It houses the only Japanese supermarket in town – the homegrown brand MEIDI-YA, together with heaps of authentic Japanese food and beverage offerings. Fill your baskets with fresh (albeit pricey!) Japanese imports, including morsels from their fresh sushi & sashimi counter. Meidi-ya is an extremely child-friendly supermarket, and there is a ‘kids section’ in the middle of the supermarket airing Japanese cartoons – the perfect babysitter while you finish your shopping. Apart from this mini-Japan in the basement, Liang Court also houses other famous brands such as the electronics store Audio House, World of Sport and several Japanese chains like Books Kinokuniya, Uniqlo, Japan Home and Paris Miki.
Some of our favourite mall eats are Erwin’s Gastrobar for brunch at Valley Point, the French bistro Poulet at Great World City, District 10 Bar & Restaurant at UE Square, and Japanese specials such as Tampopo and Mazazu Crepes at Liang Court.
What to Do
If you’ve got kids in tow, River Valley is as child friendly as it gets, with a plethora of options to keep the little ones occupied and happy. If you’re looking for an indoor gym, check out Amazonia at Great World City, Royce Kids Gym at Liang Court, JWT Kids Gym at UE Square or Polliwogs at Robertson Quay Courtyard. Pro tip: each of these indoor play havens double up as a great venue for your little one’s next birthday party. There’s one thing checked off the mama to-do list!
Robertson Walk also houses The Moving Body – Singapore’s largest Pilates Studio, offering Pilates, Gyrotonic and Physiotherapy. But what makes River Valley so great is that you can head out for a long walk or get on your bike and literally walk the river from end to end from Great World City to the Esplanade. Nothing quite like exercising in fresh air!
Feeling brave? Try reverse bungee jumping at G-Max Reverse Bungee and GX-5 Extreme Swing – they even videotape you as you’re going up, so you can re-live the memories for years to come.
On the other hand if you’re looking for a touch of culture, head to the quaint little South Indian Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, home to the annual Thaipusam festival in Singapore, or the Chinese Hong San See Temple on Mohamed Sultan Road, renowned for its beautifully restored rooftop dragon carvings. Culture vultures (even the littlies!) can also catch a show at Singapore Repertory Theatre’s home base on Merbau Road.
Need a haircut? Pack the kids off to Curly & Spike – where they get their own TV screen for entertainment while being pampered. Send papa to Azami Barber Shop at UE Square – he’ll come back spoilt after experiencing their famous head and shoulder massage, included as part of a haircut.
Restaurants, Pubs and All Things Good
We could be here for days exploring ALL the dining options that River Valley has to offer. Broadly speaking, head out to Robertson Quay or Clarke Quay for some great family dining to keep everyone happy. Start off your epicurean journey at brunch fave Kith Café for freshly baked breads, pastries and a great cup of coffee. Follow the river and you’ll quickly come to Bar Black Sheep – better known as the bar with three separate kitchens serving Indian, Thai and Western cuisine. Looking for something meatier? Keep following the river (or listen for the mad rugby-watching crowds), and you’ll soon hit the casual Aussie Boomarang Bar & Bistro.
Robertson Quay Pier offers a heady selection of al fresco dining options including Soi 60 for great Thai, Red House Seafood Restaurant (which some would argue is home to Singapore’s best chilli crab), Omakaseya Azmaya for authentic Japanese, Super Loco Mexican, Brussels Sprouts (for their famous mussels and fries), Italian Mondo Mio and finally, Laurent’s Café & Chocolate Bar for dessert. You have seriously got to try everything chocolate here! And the soufflés. And the hot chocolate. And the cakes. You get the picture. Or just grab a drink and enjoy the atmosphere at Fine Spirits by La Maison du Whisky or Harry’s Bar.
On the far side of the Pier is Robertson Walk, also affectionately known as the ‘the Courtyard’ as it resembles a Mediterranean Town square. Popular hangouts here include the Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro and MASA Steak & Hamburg (for some seriously great marbled Wagyu from Japan).
Cross over to Mohammed Sultan Road, and you’ll find the quaint little Book Café – perfect for a cuppa and a good read. And it has great eats too! Plus they even have a supply of toys and comfy sofas, so you can bring the little ones and relax. Around the corner is local brunch institution PS Café Petit at Martin Road, known for its truffle fries, yummy sandwiches and delectable desserts!
For something more local, Spize on River Valley Road is a must do – it aims to reflect Singapore’s melting pot heritage with a Thai/Indian/Western/Mediterranean menu. How does Banana Ice Cream Tissue Prata sound? Pepperoni Pizzeria on Zion Road is great for, well, pizzas, while the neighbouring Zion Road Food Centre has been around forever and is an important River Valley institution (check their No 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow – considered by some to be the best in Singapore!).
If you’re looking for something more fine dining, relative newcomer Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse on Mohamed Sultan Road has quickly risen through the ranks to top many carnivores’ must-lists in Singapore.
So there you have it Mama! If you know of any hidden gems that we’ve yet to discover, drop us a note at [email protected] and we’ll be sure to check it out!