North of the old mouth of the Singapore River is what might be termed Singapore’s Colonial District, peppered with venerable reminders of British rule set back from the vast lawn that is the Padang. The area still feels like the centrepiece of downtown, even though modern edifices in the surroundings constantly pull focus from it – notably the towers of Marina Bay Sands and the Financial District, away to the south, and the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay complex to the northeast. Despite the district’s historical associations, there are not that many high-profile sights. Chief among these are the excellent National Museum and Peranakan Museum, both nestling beneath verdant Fort Canning Park – itself worth a look, as are the dignified St Andrew’s Cathedral and the diminutive Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator. By far the district’s most famous building, however, is the grand old Raffles Hotel.

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