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Singapore

Singapore is one of the most exciting cities in the world; it is forever changing, reinventing itself to shine in the modern digital age.
Singapore has become THE top destination in Asia for shopping and eating, and has some of the best hotels in Asia. This small island state is a fantastic first step into this extraordinary region - an introduction to all the smells, sounds and sights of Asian culture -  making Singapore the stopover destination of choice on any Asian trip, such as a Borneo holiday or an Indonesia honeymoon.

Things to see and do:

The majority of the population are of Chinese descent in Singapore, so it is strange to think that there is an area known as Chinatown. But this was the area where the original immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong provinces settled in the 19thCentury; an ancient and traditional Chinese Quarter  which has seen a massive redevelopment programme over the years, lovingly restoring the antique shops and houses to their former glory. The majority of the shops now cater to the tourist industry, selling everything from trinkets to plastic Buddhas to dried seahorses, but the real charm in Chinatown is the historic area itself. Wander at random down small side streets, lose yourself discovering ancient Clan Halls, Chinese Temples and traditional medicine shops that still survive today, and as you sit down with a plate of Singapore chilli crab at a local Chinese food hall, you may even forget for a moment that you are not in Singapore of yesteryear.
 
In a different frame of mind entirely, we highly recommend taking a ride on the newly constructed Singapore Flyer, which is the largest in the world, and located in the Marina Promenade area, standing at an amazing 165 metres, 30 metres taller than the London Eye. Enjoy a 360 degree visual feast of the iconic sights of Singapore as you rotate, looking out further to see the island of Sentosa, as well as the Indonesian islands of Bintan and Batam and if it is a clear day even towards Johor in Malaysia.

Singapore is known for being one of the best places in the world to eat out - its hardly surprising, considering its geographical position at the centre of South East Asia with Indonesia and Malaysia as direct neighbours and India, Thailand and Vietnam just a stone’s throw away, and a melting pot population of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures - you get the tastiest food on the planet!

You could not go hungry in Singapore, there are so many options for gourmet delights, from the large neighbourhood Hawker Centres, to one of the many Indian restaurants in Little India, to the many noodle shops floating around the city, or really quite delicious street food. All of these make Singapore a gastronome's paradise. As Singapore is a new city, it doesn’t have long standing traditions but Singaporeans have taken two dishes to heart and called their own - Hainan Chicken is one, and the other, which you have to try, is the super delicious Singapore Chilli Crab, which we claim to be one of the most amazing dishes in the world!
  
Nothing typifies Singapore more than sipping a Singapore Sling at the famous Long Bar at the iconic Raffles Hotel. This famous cocktail was developed around 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, one of the bartenders who  was working at the Long Bar at the time. Since then, many bartenders have tried to replicate the original recipe to mimic the heyday of Colonial rule. As you sit sipping your cocktail in the Long Bar, with its wicker chairs, slow buzzing fans overhead and the floor strewn with monkey nut shells, you are easily transported back to the age of Noel Coward and Kipling, and, if like us,  you may not much want to return!
 
Chulia Kampong was originally a division of colonial Singapore where Tamil immigrants would reside under the British policy of ethnic segregation. But, as Chulia Kampong became overcrowded and competition for land escalated, many ethnic Tamils moved into what is now known as Little India. As you enter this district let your senses guide you...  you’ll find the many streets and narrow lanes teeming with restaurants serving hot naan and spicy curries, including the local speciality... Fish Head Curry! The local stores are laden with fresh produce and the proprietors can be seen arranging brightly coloured flowers to be worn as garlands on festive occasions. There is quite a bustling atmosphere here; shops and market stalls sell an array of outfits and souvenirs and people make time to visit the local temples. The impact of visiting Little India is not like that experienced on the streets of Old Delhi, but a visit here will offer something to all, whether an experienced traveller or a complete newcomer to Asia.
 
The recently opened Sky Park is another choice for those with a head for heights, offering panoramic views of Singapore and beyond, an alternative or even compliment to the Singapore Flyer, again providing an opportunity to view and photograph the skyline of Singapore at your leisure. Wander around the large viewing platform, which also has a restaurant, and take in the views out to sea and over the city. This is a place to take your time, and, as the sun sets on another day, settle in at the bar and watch the twinkling of boats floating out at sea and the city skyline come alive with colour.
 
It is well worth it if you can fit in a visit to the Changi Museum museum, next door to the new Changi prison, dedicated to Singapore’s history during the Second World War. Inside are a collection of paintings, photographs and personal effects all donated by former POW’s, each telling the story of their brutal captivity by the Japanese Army after the fall of Singapore in 1942. Several novels have been written by former POW’s detailing their experiences, the most famous being “King Rat” written by the British novelist James Clavell.

AT A GLANCE

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