When he visited the city in 1885, the zoologist William Hornaday likened Singapore to “a big desk, full of drawers and pigeon holes, where everything has its place and can always be found.” Amazingly, in spite of the turbulent history Southeast Asia has witnessed over the past century or so, the remark remains as pertinent today as it was when it was made.
The city on the diamond-shaped peninsula is indeed supremely well organized and spotlessly clean. Critics argue this orderliness has come at the cost of Singapore’s soul (most of downtown’s antique buildings have been bulldozed to make way for malls and offices) but the pay offs are plain for all to see.
Chief among them is an all pervasive prosperity that’s decidedly untypical for Asia. An ultra-modern skyline bristling with glass-sided towers bears witness to the record-breaking economic growth of the past four decades – though huddled beneath them, if you look hard enough, are characterful remnants of the colony’s 19th beginnings, including some sumptuous Chinese temples and clan halls. The shopping’s every bit as terrific as they say, too, whether you’re after a designer item of quirky souvenir from a local street stall.
Efficient and modern, but with a fascinating multi-ethnic makeup and plenty of sights to keep you busy, Singapore is the obvious choice for extended layovers on longer tours, or for a quick side-trip if you’re exploring other countries in the region.
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Singapore Places and Experiences
A Singapore Sling at Raffles
Bartender, Ngiam Tong Boon, is credited with inventing the world-famous Singapore Sling, a smooth, slow, sweet cocktail with a complex flavour which aficionados will best enjoy in Raffles’ old-world Billards Room bar. Opened in 1887, the h…
Sentosa Island & the Cable Car
Sentosa is the most accessible and visitor-friendly of the small islands scattered immediately south of Singapore. Cable cars from Mount Faber on the mainland shuttle visitors across and back to the harbour-front through the day. Attracti…
The Thian Hock Keng Temple
Thian Hock Keng was where Chinese immigrants to Singapore used to come to give thanks to Ma Zu (‘Goddess of the Sea’) for their safe passage. Built in 1842 in traditional south Chinese style, with roofs crowned by writing polychrome dragons…
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Whilst we stay at home, there is no better time to start thinking about your next holiday. Our Travel Specialists are ready to start planning your dream trip whether that is for some winter sun or a 2021 holiday. We don't need to confirm dates or lock-in deposits, let's just get the conversation going.
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