Singapore owes its existence to Sir Stamford Raffles, and if you spend any time at all in the country, you’ll see businesses, streets, and monuments named after the British imperial administrator who was so closely tied to the city. Here’s how to delve into Raffles history on a Singapore tour.
On Jan. 29, 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles set foot on the banks of the now-named Singapore River on a sparsely populated island of the top of the Malay peninsula—and there he founded the city of Singapore. By establishing a trading port in the Straits of Malacca, Raffles was able to boost British trade in the region—a direct challenge to Dutch trade restrictions in the area. The port was successful, and today Singapore remains one of Asia’s most diverse, thriving metropolises with a rich colonial history.
Raffles Hotel Tours
Named after Singapore’s founder, Raffles—the island-nation’s most famous hotel—was built in 1887 and quickly became the epicenter of colonial high society. The Long Bar, situated within the historic hotel, was where the Singapore Sling cocktail recipe was first concocted. A trip to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the hotel, whether for an iconic cocktail or for high tea in the Tiffin Room.
Historical Walking and Biking Tours
Follow in the footsteps of Sir Stamford Raffles on a historical walking or biking tour of Singapore. Many city tours include a stop at the Raffles Landing Site where Raffles first made ground in 1819. Continue through the Colonial District, where each building speaks to the time of British rule over Singapore.