City of gardens & skyscrapers : Singapore

Singapore
A bewitching blend of East and West and a melting pot of Malay, European and Chinese cultures, the island state of Singapore offers a contrast of skyscrapers and modern, affluent suburbs, with a medley of old world Asian influences. Visitors step into a world where the call to prayer competes with the call of capitalism. Add a tropical climate, one of the world’s most diverse cuisines, superb shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene and you will realize why the “Lion City” offers a great stopover, or an extended stay to enjoy city life, or the beach resort of Sentosa and the surrounding islands.

Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, since independence Singapore has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries. The country’s strategic location in the region, along important shipping routes, has made its sea port the busiest in the world. Singapore now commands an enormous global presence with its free trade economy, backed by an efficient workforce and ultra-modern infrastructure.

Singapore is made up of 63 islands, and is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia’s Riau Island by the Singapore Strait to the south. It is a land brimming with diversity, with a collage of cultures, languages, and architecture. The four major races: the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian live in harmony and create a model multi-racial society that is both diverse and cohesive.

Visitors can experience the country’s old world charm through many designated heritage trails. Visits to Chinatown, Kampong Glam (the Malay district) and Little India offer a wealth of experiences that are akin to travelling around a much larger land. Aside from its old world charm, Singapore offers one of the most modern city centres in the world; with an abundance of shopping and dining options in landmark areas such as the iconic Orchard Road and the latest dining and entertainment hotspots at Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts Complex and Sentosa Island.

Legend has it that the island received its name from a visiting Sumatran prince in the 14th century, who saw a fearsome creature on his arrival.

Taking this as a good omen, the prince founded a new city on the spot, changing the name of the island from Temasek to Singapura. In Sanskrit, singa means lion and pura means city.

Thus the “Lion City” was born, and today the symbol of the merlion, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, which today stands in the harbour, is a reminder of Singapore’s early connections to this legend and the seas.

Contemporary Singapore has a wealth of attractions that make it unique in both the region and the rest of the world. It is an island that is small in size but very big in opportunities.

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