Thursday, October 8, 2009

Singapore Travel Guide

Singapore is an island city located at the southernmost tip of the Malaysian Peninsula in South East Asia. It is well-known for being one of the richest, most well organised, efficient countries in the world, with a very high standard of living and an excellent skyline by the water. Singapore is an island with "1,000 shopping malls" or so they say. Despite the hot climate, it is a tropical paradise for most tourists. This great diversity of lifestyles, cultures, and religions thrives within the framework of a regulated society. Singapore's "FINE" city reputation is well-earned, and in fact, many will admire at once the clean, modern metropolis. Surrounded by artificially 'ordered' parks, its tall housing projects are populated by more than 80% of the population -- whose smiling native charms often belie underlying tensions about the way the island is progressing after 30 years of development.
Highlights of Singapore include some of the ethnic parts of town: Arab Street, Chinatown, Colonial District, Orchard Road and Little India. South of Singapore are a few beautiful islands that are well worth visiting. The most visited is Sentosa island. It is a playground for people of all ages. See the Sentosa island section for more information.
This is incorrect: [A common misconception is that chewing gum is strictly not allowed into Singapore and that you will be arrested for that 'crime.' However, THAT IS COMPLETELY WRONG! The law states that chewing gum cannot be sold in Singapore, but it is PERFECTLY OKAY for you to bring in chewing gum for your own personal consumption. But if you improperly dispose of the gum, just as you would litter any other thing, you might be fined.]
It is actually NOT okay to bring in chewing gum for own personal consumption. Refer to:
"Chewing gum is banned in Singapore under the "Regulation of Imports and Exports (Chewing Gum) Regulations." Except for chewing gum of therapeutic value, the "importing" of chewing gum into Singapore is absolutely banned.
A common misconception among citizens is that personal use quantities of chewing gum are allowed into Singapore. However, according to the set of Regulations, "importing" means to "bring or cause to be brought into Singapore by land, water or air from any place which is outside Singapore ..." any goods, even if they are not for purposes of trade. The set of Regulations also does not make any provisions for personal use quantities to be brought into Singapore. Therefore, bringing chewing gum into Singapore, even small quantities for whatever purpose, is technically prohibited. "
Please note that, like all countries in the region, visitors are not exempt from strict laws pertaining to drug possession and trafficking. The death penalty will be prescribed if you are caught with more than a Singapore fifty cent coin's weight of narcotics.
Singapore, the diamond-shaped island off the southern tip of Malaysia, is an unlikely success story. Once a simple fishing village, it was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, an official of the British East India Company, who decided it was the perfect location as a trading station. Since then it has become one of the world's most successful and prosperous cities, known as the Lion City.The Central Business District (CBD) is located in the heart of the island of Singapore. Here, especially at the mouth of the Singapore River, Asian tradition meets modern technology -- gleaming skyscrapers tower over traditional architecture, while squat Chinese and Hindu temples stud the city. A curious blend of ancient and modern, the city is home to an ethnic mix of Chinese, Malaysians and Indians, as well as ex-pats from all over the world, in a predominantly English-speaking society. These different races live harmoniously thanks to religious tolerance, increased prosperity, stringent no-nonsense laws and a constant balmy equatorial heat.Since the island became an independent Republic in 1965, it has enjoyed a vigorous and successful free trade policy, as introduced by its then Prime Minister (now Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew. This has led to an unprecedented rise in the standard of living (most city dwellers own their own homes) and exponential economic growth, due mainly to the export industry. Its healthy economy was dented between 2001 and 2003 during the global recession and slump in the technology sector, and it suffered a heavy loss in tourist numbers after the terrorist attacks of September 11. There was a further drop in the number of visitors to the region during the SARS outbreak in the beginning of 2003. A subsequent recovery, however, has seen unemployment fall from 6% in 2002 to 3.4% in 2004.
Having had its successful streak, Singapore leaders seem hellbent to not allow Singapore to go through the lifecycle of most successful states -- one of rise, torpor and decline. As such, Singapore, with intensive government backing, has launched multiple bids to maintain a continued relevance globally. Much has been made about the relaxation of its image and regulations -- the controversial bartop dancing, the much debated sanctioning of casinos, and the promotion of Singapore as an arts and cultural centre.
The island of Singapore keeps growing, due to land reclamation. Since the early 70's there have been couple hundred square kilometers added...for instance, Changi Airport as well as some of those downtown skyscrapers sit on reclaimed land.
The most beautiful area of Marina Bay is where the most activities will be in the next few years. Besides Singapore's first Integrated Resort, up and coming attractions include the Singapore Flyer, the world's largest giant observation wheel, which allows visitors a panoramic, spectacular views of Singapore and beyond. For more information, please visit

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