For almost 200 years, Raffles Place has existed as the thriving heart of Singapore’s financial district. Today it’s the commercial centre of the city, featuring some of its most iconic and important buildings such as the Clifford Centre and the Hong Kong Bank. But what makes the space so special?
The history of Raffles Place
Initially, the area was known as “Raffles Square,” due not only to the fact it was based around a commercial square but because of the name of its founder – Sir Stamford Raffles. The area was little more than swamp lamp initially, but Raffles saw potential in the location and filled in the swamps to create what would become the commercial heart of Singapore. Indeed, the square was known quite literally called “Commercial Square” until 1858, when it was renamed after its founder.
Over the last two centuries, the area has always held a significance, but for different reasons. It’s been a major shopping area and also held a certain notoriety when it became the trading home of Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who brought about the banking collapse of 1995. In recent decades, more and more towering buildings have been added to the area, including the MRT station, which is a popular meeting point for locals. What it’s really known as today, however, is the home of Singapore business.
Living in Raffles Place
Raffles Place can be seen almost as a parallel to Canary Wharf in London in that it’s not only a hustling and bustling centre of business but is also an incredibly comfortable and convenient place to live and work for the following reasons:-
Living – You’ll find no shortage of quality serviced apartments in Singapore but this is the area where you’ll find the most luxurious and fully-featured living spaces. It’s also an area with a surprising number of quiet relaxation spots. There are several museums within walking distance, as well as Buddhist Temples and libraries, all of which contain quiet areas for relaxation and reflection.
Eating – Anyone who has ever experienced living and working in Raffles Place will know all about Golden Shoe – the busiest and most wallet-friendly of all local dining establishments. However, if you take a quick 10-minute walk to Chinatown then you’ll find dozens of even more affordable (and less crowded) options. We’d also recommend an early lunch, as from 1 pm until 2 pm everywhere is usually rammed.
Working – The main reason anyone moves to the area is for work and it’s important for those moving from outside of the state to realise that whilst it is a boldly multicultural area its also a very conservative business culture. So, working in Raffles Place will often require a period of cultural adaptation. You’ll find, however, that most conversations take place in English, which is also favoured by the local government.