#2  Tour Teaser:  Singapore’s First Big Racecourse

Today it’s a big grassy field called Farrer Park at the edge of Little India along the aptly named Race Course Road. In mid 19th-century Singapore, however, this patch of land at the junction of Bukit Timah and Serangoon roads was the scene of galloping horses and betting crowds of colonial Europeans knocking back their stengahs — whiskey and soda. Singapore’s first big racecourse was created on drained swampland, with tracks and fancy grandstands built for the wealthy European expats and Malay Royalty who gathered there in their finest garb. It was the place to see and be seen … and if you were lucky, to win a few dollars to boot. The grand sum of $150 was the prize money given out at the first race, the Singapore Cup, in February 1843. Nearly a century later, the Singapore Turf Club racecourse moved to a larger area down the road on a former Bukit Timah rubber estate. In 2000, it  relocated again, this time north to Kranji, where the galloping continues.

Learn more about the many facets of Little India, on the next Small Group Walking Tours for Visitors & Newbies: Little India — Jasmine, Cattle, Spice & All Things Nice.