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Singapore

Singapore

Great Destination:

4

Value for Money:

3

Total Stars:

7.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Most appreciated by Mid-Venturers, Centric-Venturers and a few Centric-Authentics

Did You Know … ?

  • Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has more species of trees than the whole of North America.
  • The name Singapore means lion city in Sanskrit, but lions are not native to Singapore.
  • The Singapore Flyer, an observation wheel standing 541 feet tall, required 1,800 tons of steel.
  • Originally, the pink-colored Singapore Sling was meant for women.
  • India used Singapore as a penal colony in the mid-19th century.

Location, location, location

For Singapore, in its formative years, location was everything. Location remains vital to its success in modern times, too, as a major international port. But today, Singapore, which has existed as an independent nation only since 1965, boasts another ingredient — a population of go-getters who have built a stable democracy with a per capita GDP equal to that of western Europe’s leading nations.

This Southeast Asian city-state is a collection of islands strategically situated at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, at a point where the Indian Ocean and South China Sea meet. It is blessed with deep ports, and from the day the English established a trading post here in 1819, Singapore has been a free port, as well.

The capital city, the largest island and the country are all called Singapore. This had been the site of a Malay fishing village of about 150 people before the English set up shop, but with the new commercial activity, immigrants flocked to the budding port city, providing the base for today’s ethnically diverse society. The Chinese predominate, but the largest minorities are Malay and Indian.

Twenty-first century visitors find western and Oriental aspects in this cosmopolitan society, and can determine how much of each to sample.

Historical attractions include the old Chinese, Indian and Malay neighborhoods, intentionally created for each ethnic group. They are the first places to look for authentic features of each culture, the foods, entertainments and the languages. On the other hand, there is English colonial architecture to admire — and English is so widely spoken, it is the language of commerce.

Entertainment may include Chinese operas, Indian dancing, Malay dramas — or the local symphony. Many hotels and nightspots are the equivalent of accommodations and diversions found in the world’s major cities. Foods in city center restaurants can be almost anything a visitor yearns for — western, Asian ethnic or creative combinations. In any case, Singapore is at work establishing itself as a destination for foodies.

As to climate, this is the tropics, and as such, hot and humid. Also, unfortunately, Singapore suffers from seasonal smoke/haze due to forest fires in Indonesia.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Buy satay (meat on a stick served with a spicy peanut sauce) from a street hawker or in a restaurant. At the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, a dozen stalls sell only satay.
  • Compete in the Singapore Marathon. Or compete in the Singapore Triathlon if you can qualify.
  • Attend Chinese opera. You may see it as outdoor street entertainment.
  • Make nighttime party time in the Clarke Quay or Boat Quay area.
  • Attend the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, which is an annual festival of contemporary, cutting-edge theater, dance, music, visual arts and more.
  • Deepavali is a Hindu Festival of Lights, celebrated each October. Come for the fun in Little India, which is bustling with roadside stalls and alive with music and colorful lights during this event. Even if you miss the festival, attend a performance of Indian dance.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Do some of your sightseeing by riding the Singapore Flyer. The giant wheel carries bus-sized capsules, each accommodating 28, giving the wheel a capacity of 784. The wheel can complete a single circuit in 30 minutes.
  • Shop for collectibles at the Chinatown Night Market, which has more than 200 stalls to check out. The area is liveliest during Chinese New Year in January and February, with lion and dragon dances, martial arts displays and more.
  • Drink a Singapore Sling at the legendary Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar. The drink was created here around the turn of the last century. Overnight at the hotel, too.
  • Collect fine dining experiences in a city-state noted for its cuisine — and proud of it.
  • Book walking tours of one or more: Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam (a Malay district).
  • Tour a park called Night Safari, described as the world’s first wildlife night park. The purpose is to see how nocturnal animals live.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Shop for silk that you, or a dressmaker, can turn into gorgeous shirts or other garments.
  • Arrive in Singapore by train — aboard the luxury Eastern and Oriental Express from Bangkok. Or, visit Singapore as a port on an extended cruise in the region.
  • Entertain the kids at Universal Studios Theme Park on Sentosa Island.
  • Singapore is known for its Botanical Gardens and National Orchid Gardens. You’ll want to see what the fuss is all about.
  • Gamble a little, or a lot, at one of Singapore’s new mega-resort complexes, Marina Bay Sands or the Resorts World Sentosa.
  • Take a cruise along the Singapore River as one way to see the city sights.

Additional Resources

For additional information, consult the Singapore Tourism Board at www.yoursingapore.com