Singapore Travel Guide

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Singapore is a tiny insular nation located in South East Asia, basically a city state. It was established initially as a British colony  in the 19th century, more exactly in 1819 but since then it gained its independence and today’s Singapore is an affluent, super-high tech city, bursting with life and filled with awesome people.

Singapore’s population of 5 million people is a melange of Chinese, Indian and Malay influences and they live their busy lives on the island’s petit surface of only 716 square kilometers. Given its small size, Singapore is a densely populated, some say even crowded city, falling behind Monaco, which is the world’s leader when it comes to population density.

In the past, Singapore was often criticized as being, how should I put it…dull. But, in recent times, the tiny island nation has reinvented itself and today, Singapore is the pearl of South Asia, being among the most modern and dynamic metropoles in the region. This place is a fantastic mix of oriental cuisine, a melange of different cultures which manage to live together harmoniously, combining a plethora of architectural styles and high end tourist developments. If you’re traveling to Singapore, you’ll be amazed by the city’s modern infrastructure, its marvelous shopping avenues and malls, the riverside bars and food courts, not to mention the old-style temple dotted neighborhoods and civic buildings.

Okay, this is not Bangkok, not by a long shot, however Singapore is an excellent travel destination from all points of view. The climate is very pleasant and mild, the crime rate is insignificantly low, the cultural mix makes Singapore an epic destination for food enthusiasts, the prices are affordable and in the recent years, I noticed that the local authorities are pushing for establishing their city as a top-notch international tourist destination, which is great in my book.

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What to see, What to do in Singapore

The Heritage Centre located in Chinatown is an excellent place to visit while in Singapore, if you’re interested in learning historical facts about the Chinese community that helped build the place from day one. This beautiful and fascinating museum will help you understand the harsh conditions people used to live in, and compare that to the modern Singapore. You’ll be totally flabbergasted, just like yours truly, about how much things evolved in less than 100 years.

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Marina Bay is one of the latest land reclamation projects of the tiny insular nation, along with the Gardens by the Bay. If you’re into gambling, you’ll be delighted to visit the Sands, one of Singapore’s largest casinos, along with an impressive array of restaurants, bars which host all kinds of interesting events. The Gardens by the Bay are just across the river and they’re the perfect place for taking a stroll after a copious and delicious meal.

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Baba House will teach you all there is to know about the Peranakan community in Singapore, which is the result of local women marrying Chinese traders.

While visiting the city, you’ll benefit from the best things of our modern civilization, i.e. world-class shopping in Orchard Road, the equivalent of Oxford Street or Fifth Avenue. This place is absolutely filled with top-notch cafes, luxury malls, restaurants, local vendors of clever souvenirs and so on and so forth.

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The Changi Museum and Chapel is the local  equivalent of the Polish Auschwitz, a memorial place built for keeping alive the dark memories of the Japanese occupation of Singapore. James Clavell wrote his first book detailing his prisoner-life during the hard years he was imprisoned in Changi in  World War 2, and that’s a must-read if you want to visit Singapore some day.

Singapore is home for almost all world religions, with an emphasis on Hindu and Buddhist temples; there are lots of places where you’ll be able to enjoy a deep religious experience, including Catholic and Anglican churches, but also mosques and cathedrals, all sitting together in a splendid testimonial of Singapore’s religious diversity and tolerance.

For water sports enthusiasts, a trip along Singapore river using a bumboat can be a life-changing experience, offering the traveler an epic way of seeing the country’s contrasts, i.e. the historical architectural styles which are in a total  antithesis  with the modern city infrastructure and way of life.

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Food and Drink

If you are a gourmet, Singapore can be described as paradise for your taste buds. Malay food is well known for using lots of spices and coconut milk. However, since most people are of muslim faith, pork is rarely used. Specialties include coconut milk and beef curry, rice noodles fried in soy sauce with added chili, prawns and clams, fresh crab with chilli, veggie salads in peanut sauce, steamed chicken served with rice with ginger and chilli, fresh fish cooked in tamarind sauce, noodle soup coconut based, vegetarian pancakes with curry and all sorts of marinated meats. Regional drinks include Bandung (milk and syrup), bubble tea, coffee, root beer, gin based cocktails, Cointreau, cherry liquors, soya bean milk, sugar cane juice and lots of local beers.

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Visa Requirements

To enter and visit Singapore, you’ll require a valid passport, but no Visa.

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