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