Central District, Singapore
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Central District, Singapore

© 123rf.com / Yong Hian Lim

Singapore travel guide

The city-state of Singapore, blending a heady mix of Asian cultures with a constant drive for progress, has been hosting travellers from around the world since Stamford Raffles established it as a trading post of the British East India Company in 1819.

Remnants of the British colonial era can still be found in some fine 19th-century architecture, although the country’s skyline is constantly changing with new buildings springing up like sprouting pea shoots after a night of rain. At the moment, the futuristic triple-towered Marina Bay Sands is widely considered as the most iconic building in Singapore.

Although earlier settlements had existed on the island, the real development of Singapore came after 1965 when the country, led by the visionary Lee Kuan Yew, took control of its own destiny and slowly but steadily, morphed into a global commerce, finance and transport powerhouse over the next few decades.

Today, Singapore is home to an ethnic mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians, as well as expats from across the world. Naturally, there are four official languages in Singapore: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. All ethnic groups live harmoniously in this compact country and major ethnic holidays are considered national public holidays. Underpin this achievement is Singapore’s relentless effort on a fair multiracial meritocracy.

The country’s multi-ethnic culture and heritage are reflected in a multitude of flavourful cuisine. The best part is, you don’t need to spend big to eat well as pot-steaming hawker stalls are ubiquitous (one of the hawkers was even awarded one Micheline star). Equally, there is no shortage of classy restaurants offering creatively presented dishes that will make a small dent in your wallet.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.