At the southern tip of the south-east Asian peninsula is the small independent nation of Singapore,
financial centre, business hub and effective city-state. It was a British colony until 1965 when it
gained independence. The founder, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, is well remembered to this day throughout
the city for his dream of a tax-free haven for trade on the Malacca Straits.
For a very long time I'd only been to Singapore once, in 1988. It was only for one night and I distinctly
remember not wanting to go, as singing a pore (whatever that was) sounded really boring. I eventually
returned in the early part of 2009 to visit friends, whilst I was living in China. As well
as the pics below, Singapore has one of the best zoos I've ever been to, with a great night safari
Downtown Singapore makes the city's status as a commercial and trading centre highly apparent. The
city is highly developed.
In honour of Sir Stamford, the Raffles Hotel still bears his name. It's probably the best known hotel
in the country, and has a colonial style.
The Raffles Hotel also has the distinction of being the birthplace of the Singapore Sling, that delicious
cocktail served in the Long Bar, but it's certainly not the cheapest place to pick one up.
The Merlion is a tourist symbol of Singapore, there are a few of them dotted about the city. This one
spurts out seawater in front of the downtown skyline.
The Singapore Flyer is the city's answer to the London Eye, but at the time of my visit it had embarrassingly
ground to a halt. The surrounding streets were dressed for Chinese New Year.
Theatres on the Bay at the Singapore Esplanade is the official title for the Fly Eye concert hall, or
Clarke Quay, one of a number of collections of watering establishments around town. We went to a place
where you get served on hospital beds. Just hook it up to my veins!
Singapore has a few ethnic areas, such as Arab Town and Little India, as shown here. Great curry can
be had for small potatoes here.
Not far from Orchard Road is the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, the Hindu temple built in 1859. Singapore
is a very ethnically diverse place.
The favourite pasttime of Singaporeans seems to be shopping, certianly if the number of malls on Orchard
Road is any indication. The whole city seems to be one great shopping centre.
As well as taking issue with the standard of English on this sign, I'm not sure how the edge of Sentosa
Island counts as the southernmost point of the Asian continent. It's an island, and so is Singapore
itself, but if we're counting islands, shouldn't it be Sumatra or somewhere in Indonesia...? Perhaps
it's the furthest south you can drive in Asia.
South Bridge by downtown Singapore, nicely lit up at night.
A night view of central Singapore, from the Equinox Bar on the 72nd floor of Swiss˘tel The Stamford
Hotel, another hotel named for good ol' Mr Raffles.
Singapore is one of the world's busiest ports, so much so that tankers are piled up outside the harbour
by the dozen.