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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 tour.

Downtown Singapore

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.

Raffles Hotel

Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel

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.


Singapore Flyer at Chinese New Year

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 Big Durian.

The Big Durian, Singapore Esplanade

Clarke Quay

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.

Little India

Sri Thandayuthapani Temple

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.

Shopping mall on Orchard Road

Sentosa Island - End of Asia

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.

Singapore South Bridge

Singapore by 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.

Tankers at Singapore

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2007-2010