Sin­ga­pore, a cos­mopoli­tan star amongst 63 is­lands

Avion Luxury International Airport Magazine - - TRAVEL -

One of Sin­ga­pore’s most in­ter­est­ing as­pects is the cos­mopoli­tan na­ture of its pop­u­la­tion, a nat­u­ral re­sult of the coun­try’s ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion and the flour­ish­ing com­mer­cial re­la­tions wo­ven over time. Founded by Thomas Stan­ford Raf­fles as a com­mer­cial base in 1819, the small sea­side town of Sin­ga­pore at­tracted mi­grants and mer­chants from China, the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent, In­done­sia, the Malay Penin­sula and the Mid­dle East. Founded as a hum­ble fish­ing vil­lage, in­hab­ited by an in­dige­nous set­tle­ment up un­til the end of the nine­teenth cen­tury, it has be­come one of the most cos­mopoli­tan cities in Asia, with Chi­nese (74.2%), Malay (13.4%), In­dian (9.2%) and Eurasian eth­nic groups. As a re­flec­tion of this cul­tural col­lage it has adopted four lan­guages: English, Chi­nese, Malay (the national lan­guage) and Tamil. Lo­cated in south-east Asia and cov­er­ing an area of about 710 square kilo­me­tres, it is one of the small­est coun­tries in the world, the small­est in the re­gion, and in­hab­ited by around 5 mil­lion peo­ple -hence it’s nick­name “The Lit­tle Red Dot”. To­day Sin­ga­pore is a vi­brant city with sky­scrapers and pic­turesque gar­dens, which are part of a thriv­ing ecosys­tem. Here you can ex­plore the rain­for­est or sim­ply stroll amongst the is­land’s flower gar­dens and parks, like the Botanic Gar­dens and National Orchid Gar­dens, which has over 3000 species of or­chids. The na­ture re­serves are home to thou­sands of crea­tures, in­clud­ing many species of birds and in­sects, whilst tak­ing part in a Night Sa­fari or vis­it­ing the Jurong Bird Park you can ex­pe­ri­ence close en­coun­ters with some of the rarest species in the world. Abound­ing with cul­ture, art and ar­chi­tec­ture, Sin­ga­pore is a dy­namic city full of con­trasts and colours with nu­mer­ous shop­ping malls, mu­se­ums and places of in­ter­est: shop­ping on Orchard Road or par­ties in Clarke Quay and Boat Quay are a prime ex­am­ple. There are many an­nual events like the Chin­gay Pa­rade, the Mo­saic Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and the night time For­mula 1 Grand Prix. The Ma­rina Bay quar­ter, south of River­side, fea­tures malls, congress cen­tres, a 6 star ho­tel, casi­nos, restau­rants, bars, the Es­planade Theatres by the Bay, the Art-science Mu­seum, Sands Sky Park and Sin­ga­pore Flyer. For trendy shop­ping, Orchard Road has many renowned shop­ping malls: Ion, Paragon, Ngee Ann City, Man­darin Gallery and Knights­bridge. The cul­tural dis­tricts of Kam­pong Glam, Lit­tle In­dia and Chi­na­town of­fer eth­nic prod­ucts, jewellery, tex­tiles and an­tiques. Th­ese ac­com­pany the favourable culi­nary lo­ca­tions, a union of Chi­nese, Malay and In­done­sian flavours. There’s also plenty of in­ter­na­tional cui­sine: Thai, Korean, Mon­go­lian, Ja­panese, Ital­ian and the ca­sual at­mos­phere of a French Bistro. In the sur­round­ing ar­eas, ac­ces­si­ble via a two-hour ferry ride, are the beaches of Langkawi, Tlo­man, Miri, and Makas­sar. Di­rect fer­ries to the main Asian cities with stops in Malacca, Pe­nang, Lom­bok, Bali, Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok, are also avail­able.

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