Overview

The island nation of the Republic of Singapore lies one degree north of the Equator in Southern Asia. The country includes the island of Singapore and 58 or so smaller islands. Because of its efficient and determined government, Singapore has become a flourishing country that excels in trade and tourism and is a model to developing nations. The capital city, also called Singapore, covers about a third of the area of the main island.

Though physically small, Singapore is an economic giant. It has been Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century. The city blends Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures and religions. Its unique ethnic tapestry affords visitors a wide array of sightseeing and culinary opportunities from which to choose. A full calendar of traditional festivals and holidays celebrated throughout the year adds to its cultural appeal. In addition, Singapore offers luxury hotels, delectable cuisine and great shopping!

Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore’s tropical climate welcomes both leisure and business travelers year round. The island republic’s excellent infrastructure enables visitors to enjoy its many sites and attractions in a safe, clean and green environment. Award winning Changi Airport provides airlinks to major cities around the world. The train and subway systems are clean, fast and efficient. In addition, its state-of-the-art cruise terminal has established Singapore as one of the premier cruising centers of South East Asia and an exciting port of call on any Asian cruise itinerary.

Singapore

In the city, there is no need for a car. Public transportation is excellent and walking is a good way to explore the city . All major attractions are also accessible by tour bus. Since the city is only 60 miles (100k) from the equator, the tropical temperatures do not vary much. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed through the year. No matter when you choose to visit, warm weather will be abundantly available. The visitor is struck immediately by Singapore’s abundance of parks, nature reserves, and lush, tropical greenery.

Singapore’s progress over the past three decades has been remarkable, yet the island has not been overwhelmed by development. Visitors will discover a wealth of historical treasures from the past, in the beauty of older buildings, values and traditions that have survived in the face of profound social and geographical change.

Lacking any noteworthy natural resources, Singapore’s early prosperity was based on a vigorous free trade policy, put in place in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles first established it as a British trading post. Later, mass industrialization bolstered the economy, and today the state boasts the world’s second busiest port after Rotterdam, minimal unemployment, and a super efficient infrastructure. Almost the entire population lives in upscale new apartments, and the average per capita income is over US$12,000. Singapore is a clean, safe place to visit, its amenities are second to none and its public places are smoke-free and hygienic.

Forming the core of downtown Singapore is the Colonial District. Each surrounding enclave has its own distinct flavor, from the aromatic spice stores of Little India, to the tumbledown backstreets of Chinatown, where it is still possible to find calligraphers and fortune tellers, or the Arab Quarter, whose cluttered stores sell fine cloths and silks.

North of the city, are two nature preserves, Bukit Timah and the Central Catchment Area, along with the splendid Singapore Zoological Gardens. The East Coast Beach features good seafood restaurants set on long stretches of sandy beach. In addition there are over fifty islands and islets within Singaporean waters, all of which can be reached with varying degrees of ease. Day trips are popular to Sentosa, the island amusement arcade which is linked to the south coast by a short causeway and cable car. Music, theater, nightlife: all are abundant in this remarkable city. Singapore used to be considered a “stop over” on the way to larger Asian cities. This is no longer true! Visitors seek out Singapore for business and finance and also for a fascinating and satisfying vacation for the whole family.

Things to do

Singapore Art Museum

www.nhb.gov.sg/SAM
71 Bras Basah Road
Tel +65 6332-3222
Admission: S$3 adults, S$1.50 children
Open Mon – Sun 10am – 7PM. Housed in a grand colonial building topped by a giant silver dome. Included in its collection are 20 dioramas depicting the republic’s past; the Revere Bell, donated to the original St. Andrew’s Church in 1843 by the daughter of American patriot Paul Revere. Exhibits rotate among Singapore’s museums.

Changi Chapel and Museum

Changi Chapel

www.changimuseum.com
Upper Changi Rd. North
Tel +65 6214 2451
Chapel and museum open Mon.-Sat. 10 am-5 pm (Closed Sunday).
Built in 1927 by the British, and used by the Japanese in World War II to inter some 70,000 prisoners of war; today it is still a prison. A few organized tours can take you into a part of the prison on weekdays and possibly through the old British barracks areas to the former RAF camp at Changi. The walls of the Changi Prison Chapel hold poignant memorial plaques to the regiments and individuals imprisoned here during the war. Next door is the Chapel Prison Museum, with drawings, sketches, and photographs by the POWs depicting their wartime experiences. One of their murals is especially poignant, conveying a spirit of hope in the midst of despair.

Chinatown Heritage Centre

www.chinatownheritagecentre.com.sg
48 Pagoda Street
Chinatown
Tel +65 6325 2878
Daily 10am-7pm
Admission charged
Located in three newly restored shophouses at the ethnic quarters of Chinatown, the Chinatown Heritage Centre houses a wealth of memories and untold stories of how Singapore’s early forefathers had settled in this area after their perilous journey from afar.

Wild Wild Wet (Downtown East)

Wild Wild Wet

www.wildwildwet.com
1 Pasir Ris Close
Tel +65 6581 9128
What better way to escape the sweltering heat of tropical afternoons than hours of exhilarating fun in the water? Located in Downtown East, Singapore’s newest and biggest water theme park, Wild Wild Wet features many terrific water rides, some of them found nowhere else in Asia!
With a wave pool, water rafting boats, hair-raising water slides, the amazing adventures to explore guarantee to exhilarate and leave you wanting more in a day out in the sun.
Wild Wild Wet will feature a host of exciting rides suitable for little ones, teens and adults; some of which will be the first in Asia.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

www.sbg.org.sg
Corner of Napier and Cluny Rds.
Tel +65 6471 7361 / 6471 9933 / 6471 9936 / 6471 9956 / 6471 9932
Admission free
Open weekdays 5am – 12midnight. These beautifully maintained 127 year old gardens cover some 74 acres, with a large lake, masses of shrubs and flowers, and examples of many species of trees, including 30-meter-high fan palms. An extensive orchid bed boasts 250 varieties, some of them very rare.

Haw Par Villa Dragon World

262 Pasir Panjang Road
Tel +65 6774-0300
9am-6pm daily
MRT to Buina Vista station and bus 200 to Haw Par Villa
A Chinese mythological theme park featuring age-old silent statues, exhilarating rides, live performances and theatre shows. A roller coaster ride is very popular, but the main attractions are the telling and reenacting of the myths and the famous statues.

Jurong Bird Park and Jurong Crocodile Paradise

Jurong Bird Park

www.birdpark.com.sg
Jurong Hill
Jurong Town
Tel +65 6265-0022
9am-6pm Mon-Fri. 8am-6pm weekends.
MRT to Boon Lay station and special loop bus 194 to No.251
Jurong Bird Park – This park features more than 5,000 birds from all over the world in a lush parkland setting.
Jurong Crocodile Paradise – A crocodile farm featuring underwater viewing areas and crocodile wrestling shows daily.

Singapore Zoological Gardens

www.zoo.com.sg
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore 729826
An open-concept zoo which is home to more than 2,000 creatures, has attracted international acclaim because of its clever use of rock walls and streams as natural barriers.

Night Safari

www.nightsafari.com.sg
80 Mandai Lake Road
Singapore 729826
Tel +65 6269 3411
7.30pm to midnight daily
This is the world’s premier night zoo. The twilight holds many surprises … and more so at Night Safari, where you can look a rhinocerous in the eye or hear the howls of a pack of striped hyenas. There are over 1,200 animals of over 110 exotic species to watch out for. The animals are in 8 zones that recreate various geographic regions like the Southeast Asian rainforest, African savanna, Nepalese river valley, South American pampas and Burmese jungle.

Underwater World

www.underwaterworld.com.sg
Sentosa Island
Tel +65 6275-0030
Asia’s largest tropical oceanarium and Dolphin Lagoon – Swim with the Dolphins!

Mandai Orchid Gardens

www.mandai.com.sg
200 Mandai Lake Road
This is Singapore’s largest commercial orchid garden. It’s worth a visit for the colourful displays and the method and manner of cultivation. The 4-hectare Gardens features a whole hillside covered with flowering orchids in the open sunshine, including Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. There is also a landscaped Water Garden at the valley with many plants of botanical interest.

Sentosa Island

www.sentosa.com.sg
Ferries running from World Trade Center in daily 7:30am – 10pm
A former military base, this island is now devoted to entertaining its guests. Within the island are museums, gardens, a butterfly park, swimming lagoons, golf courses, a large roller skating rink and various rides.

Little India

Little India

www.littleindia.com.sg
Serangoon Road
An area full of stores, restaurants and antique dealers specializing in Indian goods. The area most representative of Singapore’s past. It remains largely untouched by renovation and modernization.

Chinatown

South Bridge and New Bridge area.
A maze of streets with shops that sell almost everything, perfect for gifts back home, shops are usually bargainable.

Arab Street

This is the Muslim center of Singapore. Attractions include the gold-domed Sultan Mosque and a variety of shops selling textiles.

Singapore River

The heart of the city lined with one of Singapore’s most successful redevelopment projects. Boat Quay and Clark Quay. Boat Quay is Singapore’s premier nightspot. Clarke Quay is a family oriented area of restaurants and shops.

Tang Dynasty City

Tang city

Yuan Ching Road and Jalan Ahmad Ibrihim
MRT to the Lakeside station and then bus 154 or 240
9:30am-6:30pm
Admission charged
This multimillion dollar theme park is a recreation of the Tang Dynasty capital which was the center of China’s golden age from the 6th to 8th centuries. Behind the high walls the main street features a courthouse, geisha house, shops, temples, restaurants and theaters. Camel rides, craft demonstrations, antique displays are all part of the experience. The park has shops selling refreshments, antiques, a wax museum of Chinese notables, kung fu demonstrations and other street performances.

Kusu Island

Kusu is located 7 km (4.5 miles) south of Singapore
Take the ferry from the World Trade Center.
A small island that, according to legend, was a turtle and transformed itself into land to save drowning sailors.

Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden

Yuan Ching Road
MRT to Chinese Garden station
Jurong
Mon-Sat. 9am-7pm Sunday 8:30am-7pm
Over 35 acres (14 hectares) of beautiful scenery. Stone gardens, bonsai display, goldfish ponds, stone lanterns and small pagodas. Very colorful, pavilions, bridge, beautiful setting.

National Museum

Stamford Road
Tel +65 6337-7355
This museum has extensive collections focusing on regional history, cultures and crafts. Exhibits include archaeological finds from the Asian region, articles relating to Chinese settlement and trade, Malaysian and Indonesian arts and crafts. It also has superb examples of jade including the 380 piece Haw Par jade collection.

New Ming Village and Pewter Museum

49A Duxton Road
Tel +65 6221-4436
MRT to Clementi Road and then bus 78 to Pandan Road
Free admission.
8:30am-5:30pm
Examples of both old and modern works are on display here. Reproductions of porcelain from the Ming and Qing dynasties are crafted here. Watch craftsmen at work. there is also a small pewter museum.

Chettiar Hindu Temple

Chettiar Hindu Temple

Tank and River Valley Roads.
Open daily 8-noon and 5:30-8:30.
This structure housing the image of Lord Subramaniam is a recent (1984) replacement of the original, built in the 19th century. The 21-meter-high gopuram (pyramidal gateway tower), with its colorful sculptures of godly manifestations, is astounding. The chandelier-lit interior is lavishly decorated; 48 painted-glass panels are inset in the ceiling and angled to reflect the sunrise and sunet.

Raffles Hotel

1 Beach Rd., Colonial Singapore
(dress standards apply)
Admission charged.
In 1896, the Armenian Sarkies brothers took over a “tiffin house,” or tearoom, and greatly expanded it, transforming it into one of the grandest hotels in Asia. Though rarely under British management, the hotel was long viewed as a bastion of colonialism. The hotel is no longer open for tours, but visitors can stroll around the lobby, and can visit the museum of Raffles memorabilia on the third floor; attend the multimedia show on the hotel’s history at the Jubilee Hall playhouse (show times are at 10,11,12:30 and 1. ) It is also possible to take refreshment in a reproduction of the Long Bar, where the famous Singapore sling was created in 1903 by the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon High tea is served daily in the Tiffin Room.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Coleman St. and St. Andrew’s St., Colonial Singapore.
The first church on this site was built in 1834; struck twice by lightning, it was demolished in 1855. Indian convicts were brought in to construct a new cathedral in 12th-century English Gothic style. Completed in 1862, the structure includes bells cast by the same firm that made Big Ben.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

Queen Street
A solid neoclassical building constructed from 1843-1846, this is the Catholic Cathedral.

Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple

Race Course Rd., Little India.
This is popularly known as the Temple of 1,000 Lights because, for a small donation, you can pull a switch that lights countless bulbs around a 15-meter (50-ft) Buddha. The entire temple, as well as the Buddha statue, was built by the Thai monk Vutthisasala, who also procured relics for the temple: a mother-of-pearl-inlaid cast of the Buddha’s footprint and a piece of bark from the bodhi tree under which he received Enlightenment.

Sri Mariamman Temple

South Bridge Rd. and Temple St., Chinatown
In the center of Chinatown, this is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Its pagoda-like entrance is topped by one of the most ornate gopurams (pyramidal gateway towers) you are ever likely to see. Hundreds of brightly colored statues of deities and mythical animals line the tiers of this towering porch; glazed cement cows sit, seemingly in great contentment, atop the surrounding walls.

Sultan Mosque

Sultan Mosque

North Bridge Rd., Arab District.
5am-8:30pm
Built in 1928 by the same architects who designed the Victoria Memorial Hall, the Sultan Mosque is a dramatic building with golden domes and minarets that glisten in the sunlight. The walls of the vast prayer hall are adorned with green and gold mosaic tiles on which passages from the Qur’an are written in decorative Arab script. It is the largest mosque in Singapore.

Thian Hock Keng Temple (Temple of Heavenly Happiness)

Telok Ayer St., Chinatown
Completed in 1841, this Chinese temple is one of Singapore’s oldest and largest. Thian Hock Keng is richly decorated with gilded carvings, sculptures, tiled roofs, and fine carved stone pillars. Outside, on either side of the entrance, are two stone lions: the female holding a cup, symbolizing fertility, and the male holding a ball, a symbol of wealth. Inside, a statue of a maternal Ma Chu P’oh, surrounded by masses of burning incense and candles, dominates the room. While the main temple is Taoist, the temple at the back is Buddhist and dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy.

Armenian Church

Armenian St., Colonial Singapore.
Officially the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator and the oldest surviving church in the republic, this church was built in 1835 but is no longer used for services. The Armenians are another minority group who came to Singapore in search of fortune; a dozen wealthy families supplied the funds for George Coleman, Irish architect of many early Singapore buildings, to design this church.

Empress Place

1 Empress Pl., Colonial Singapore
Tel +65 6336-7633
Admission: S$6 adults, S$3 children.
Open daily 9:30-9:30.
Constructed in the 1860s as the new courthouse, this huge Victorian building has had four major additions and housed nearly every government body. Now, after a S$22 million renovation, Empress Place is a cultural exhibition center. Most of the major exhibits are art collections from China.

Kuan Yin Temple

Waterloo St., Arab District
This is one of the most popular Chinese temples in Singapore, as evidenced by the incense-filled interior, its altars heaped with hundreds of small icons. According to legend, Kuan Yin was about to enter nirvana when she heard a plaintive cry from Earth. Touched with compassion, she gave up her place in Paradise to devote herself to alleviating the pain of those on Earth.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

An expanse of rainforest outside the city.

Orchard Road

A dazzling strip of luxury hotels, shopping centers, restaurants and nightspots, this is Singapore’s main tourist area.

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