BBC History Magazine - - 2017 Historical Travel Guide -

For some­where that epit­o­mises mod­ern Asia, some­thing time­less re­mains at the heart of Sin­ga­pore. Yes, there are sky­scrapers and dra­matic mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture, but there’s also the same world-in-a-city at­mos­phere that has be­guiled vis­i­tors for cen­turies. Within min­utes you can travel from Lit­tle In­dia to China

town and end up in the Colo­nial Dis­trict, with the in­stant changes in sights, sounds and smells that come with ram­bling around the city. Sin­ga­pore cel­e­brates its her­itage with con­fi­fi­dence, of­fer­ing the Asian

Civil­i­sa­tions Mu­seum and Na­tional Mu­seum, as well as thor­oughly old-school rem­nants like the fa­mous

Raf­fles Ho­tel and Botanic Gar­dens. One of the key events in the city-state’s his­tory, the Fall of Sin­ga­pore has its 75th anniversary this year. Ja­pan’s oc­cu­pa­tion of the city led to the sin­gle largest sur­ren­der of Bri­tish-led troops in his­tory. The Mem­o­ries at Old Ford

Fac­tory ex­hi­bi­tion is a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into this time and the later trans­fer of Sin­ga­pore back to Bri­tish rule af­ter the war. Sin­ga­pore even­tu­ally be­came in­de­pen­dent in 1965 fol­low­ing ex­pul­sion from Malaysia.

Im­mers­ing your­self in the city’s his­tory will give you plenty to chew over at its fa­mous hawker mar­kets, where food from around the world is cooked fresh be­fore your eyes.

A dif­fer­ent view of the re­gion is on of­fer over the bor­der in Jo­hor Bahru, Malaysia. Known as JB, it is home to the Royal Abu Bakar Mu­seum, a Vic­to­rian-era palace dis­play­ing the trea­sures of the Sul­tans who lived here. JB is an easy hour-long bus jour­ney from var­i­ous points in Sin­ga­pore – just don’t for­get your pass­port as it’s in Malaysia.

Walk back in time as sky­scrapers give way to the neoPal­la­dian build­ings of Sin­ga­pore’s colo­nial dis­trict

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