Singapore consists of 63 islands at the Southern tip of the Malaysian peninsular. The main island is widely known as Singapore Island but also as Pulau Ujong. There are ongoing land reclamation projects, which have so far increased Singapore’s land area by over 125 square kilometres.
Singapore enjoys warm and fairly humid summertemperatures throughout the year (approximately 30°C/ 86°F during the day and 23°C/ 74°F in the evening). There is no distinct wet/dry season. Most rain falls during the northeast monsoon (November to January) and showers are usually sudden and heavy.
Facts and Figures
659.9 sq km (254.8 sq miles).
5,076,700 (2011 estimate)
The four official languages are Malay (the national language), English, Chinese (Mandarin) and Tamil. Most Singaporeans are bilingual and speak English, which is used for business and administration.
Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim.
GMT + 8
A fascinating and exciting selection of traditional culture exists in pockets of the city; Chinatown, Arab Street, Serangoon Road (centre of the Indian community) and Padang Square are all well worth visiting.
One of Singapore’s main attractions is the incredible diversity of restaurants on offer, from plush venues in the more famous five star hotels to more colourful Chinese night market restaurants where ordering a meal, without a true comprehension of Cantonese or Mandarin, is an exciting and often rewarding experience.
Chinatown’s most interesting temples are the Thian Hock Keng Temple on Telok Ayre Street, the Sultan Mosque on North Bridge Road (biggest mosque in Singapore), Temple of a Thousand Lights (15 Mts. seated Buddha) and the Hindu Temple on Serangoon Road.
Singapore has a large selection of parks and gardens including a fine botanical gardens on Clung and Holland Roads. The zoo is one of the best in Asia, with the world’s biggest bird aviary and largest collection of South East Asian birds, as well as birds from Arctic dwellers to birds of paradise, flamingos and vultures.
The National Museum is the best place to learn about Singapore’s unique history and the The Van Kleef Aquarium has an interesting collection of tropical fish. Raffles Hotel is a must! Although not the most luxurious of hotels anymore it is regarded as Singapore’s most historic monument. You can sip a Singapore Sling at the Writer’s Bar or enjoy a cup of tea on the lawn.
Thriving on international trade, banking, tourism, a fast growing light industrial set-up and hard work, Singapore island has grown to support one of the world’s most unique societies. This tropical tip of the Malay peninsular is a high-tech modern city peppered with British colonial architecture, where Chinese and Hindu temples next to gleaming sky scrapers. It is also the cleanest city and probably the most efficiently run city in the world.
The one thing everyone raves about on returning from Singapore is the superb cuisine – world class food at reasonable prices, a sumptuous pan-Asian feast of flavours.
The name ‘Singapore’ means ‘Lion City’, paying tribute to a Sumatran prince who thought he was a lion.
Until 1819 the island supported a quiet fishing community. The arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles, who decided that Singapore was the perfect place to base a naval port and trading zone, led to a change beyond all recognition. Just like Hong Kong, Singapore survived as one of the Empire’s more important Asian bases.
In 1959 Singapore became a self governing city state, then four years later joined up with Malaysia only to split away again forming an independent nation in 1965. Trade, tourism and industrialisation took over as the dominant market forces after the British military bases had disappeared.
The government became fanatical in its drive to advance Singapore to the forefront of modern day society with an extensive promotion of birth control programmes, a clean up of the island’s water system and an obsession with litter control unparalleled anywhere else in the world. The government is democratically elected to power, although locals have learnt that speaking out against the government is not recommended – the elected opposition party consists of just two people.
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