Singapore is a located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and was founded in the early 1800s as a British trading colony. Since then it has grown to become one of the world’s most successful countries with the world’s busiest port. The weather in Singapore is the same all year round and is generally sunny and warm – with the most rainfall recorded in November, December and January.
There are more than 5 million people living on the island, making it the second most densely populated country in the world; particularly as more than 50% of the island is covered by parks and reserves.
The mixture of tropical climate, fantastic food, great shopping and Chinese, Malay and Indian influences make Singapore an ideal holiday destination.
Things to see and do
In the centre of Singapore you will find Orchard Road, well known around the world for its fantastic shopping experiences; and Marina Bay, which features the famous boat-shaped 'SkyPark', perched atop the three towers that make up the world's most expensive hotel, and also includes casino, shopping mall, convention centre and museum. On the Riverside you can explore some of Singapore’s best museums, theatres, restaurants and clubs; and if you want to check out the Singapore skyline, the financial district of Shenton Way is best known for its commercial skyscrapers on both sides of the road.
OUTSIDE THE CITY
Woodlands is the northern part of Singapore and is home to Singapore’s residential and industrial neighbourhoods; while the north-west is jungle and is ideal for the military training that is completed here. If you venture into the western part s of the island or along the east coast, you will find mostly residential precincts as well as many kilometres of beach (on the east coast). If you want to see the “real Singapore” away from the tourist spots and the Central Business District, these are ideal.
If it’s fun you’re after, Sentosa is the place for you. Sentosa is a small island that is accessible by skyrail or monorail from the mainland and was transformed from a military fort, into a resort and theme park. With more than 5 million visitors each year, you can visit Fort Siloso, a 2 kilometre sheltered beach with restaurants and resorts, and Resorts World Sentosa, which includes Universal Studios theme park, a casino, and the world's largest oceanarium.
The Botanic Gardens will have you wandering through the rainforest and walking among more than 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrids. It was founded in 1859 by a horticultural society as a leisure garden and in 1990 it came under the management of the National Parks Board which helped to bring it to the forefront of botanical and horticultural activity.
One of the most notable historical museums is the Changi Chapel and Museum - an important monument in Australian history. The museum is associated with the former Changi Prison, which was built in 1936 by the British, and commemorates the World War Two Allied POWs who suffered horrific treatment at the hands of the invading Japanese. In 1942, 3,500 men, women and children were forced into the prison, where conditions were so bad that many did not survive. Their stories are told through some rather emotional photographs, letters, drawings and murals.
As it is so culturally diverse, there are also many festivals and events held throughout the year in Singapore, including the Singapore Food Festival in July, the Singapore Grand Prix, Hungry Ghost Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Chingay Parade, Dragon Boat Festival, Singapore Sun Festival and World Gourmet Summit.
Taking a tour around Singapore is a great way to experience a range of cultures, with Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Joo Chiat and Katong filled with many forms of Chinese, Malay, Middle-Eastern, Indian and European influences. Singapore is also home to a number of temples and mosques, including Thian Hock Keng Temple - a taoist temple dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea, which was built in the 1830′s; Sri Mariammamn Temple - Singapores oldest Hindu temple which dates back to 1827; and Abdul Gaffoor Mosque – a south Indian style mosque which was built between 1891 and 1919.
Don't Miss Singapore
Haji Lane is great if you love laneway or boutique shopping and want something with character. The lane is located in Kampong Glam neighborhood, historically home of the Malay aristocracy. The heritage district, once an empty street of pre-war shop houses, has been restored and many of the shop houses have new tenants, including a range of design and IT firms, art galleries and restaurants; blending in with more traditional businesses like textiles, carpet stores and blacksmiths.
PARCO MARINA BAY
Parco Marina Bay is a shopping centre which specialises in classy fashion and lifestyle. It is a three level centre, located in the Millenia Walk above Promenade MRT station and measures 85,000 square feet, providing a great alternative to overcrowded malls with its quirky stores. Shops are open until 9.30pm, when you might take a walk along Marina Bay, also called “Garden City by the Bay” - a greenfield site surrounded by water and gardens, with more than 250,000 rare plants.
Mustafa Centre is not only one of the best shopping malls in Singapore, but it is also the only one which open 24 hours a day. Mustafa Centre is in the Little India district and there are more than 300,000 items, covering an area of 400,000 square feet within this six storey building. You will find almost everything in this market, including jewellery, household appliances, books, CD, DVDs, souvenirs, watches, electronic goods, footwear, clothes and even groceries.
SUNGEI ROAD THIEVES
Sungei Road Thieves Market is the biggest and oldest flea market in Singapore and has operated since the 1930s. It is located between Serangoon Road and Jalan Besar, and is one of the most popular flea markets in the country for tourists and locals alike, and has more than 400 vendors. It is said the markets were originally the place where stolen goods were sold, but today the market sells mostly old bric-a-brac or second-hand goods.