The island nation of Singapore rises like a glistening gem above the blue waters of the South Pacific. Known globally as a beehive of industry and innovation, it is also a haven of neutrality on international and regional issues. The original Sanskrit name of Southeast Asia’s smallest—and wealthiest—destination translates as Lion City, a name still applied today. It is also called the Garden City for its many botanical parks, urban oases, and greenways.
This sovereign city/state lies at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 85 miles (137 k) north of the Equator. It is comprised of one main island, Pulau Ujong, and 62 islets sitting on the Singapore Straight. Once a key British outpost of the East India Trading Company, the country’s historic Colonial center is the Padang, an 1830’s cricket field surrounded by grand government buildings.
Travelers can find much to suit their inclinations in this unique place: lush parks; sprawling estates; pristine beaches; ethnic neighborhoods; historic Colonial and Asian buildings; temples, shrines, and mosques; modern skyscrapers, innovative civic buildings, and a vibrant waterfront. In short, all the bustle and excitement of a major international capital. Much of the city’s architecture is extreme and breathtaking: it includes such wonders as the Supreme Court, the Esplanade Theatre, the Interlace, Sky Habitat, the Sports Hub, LaSalle College of the Arts, and ION Orchard Mall. By day, the traveler has a choice of sightseeing, cruises, nature and sporting adventures, or city tours. Then at night, with its blend of Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine, its outstanding seafood, and its many hotspots, casinos, and performing arts venues, Singapore offers that rare evening out that one wants never to end.
The city is also proud of its reputation of one of the cleanest and safest metropolises in the world. This might be due to the mandatory $1,000 fine imposed for littering and even harsher penalties for drunkenness or out-of-control behavior. While there may be relatively strict codes of behavior expected from residents and visitors alike, there is no limit to the amount of enjoyment that can be experienced during your stay.