Singapore, known as the Lion City, is a fascinating blend of pan-Asian cultures, ethnicities and cuisines, exquisite natural beauty and fine British colonial architecture. Above all, it is a high-tech modern city where Asian traditions eagerly embrace both the benefits of global tourism and the challenges of tomorrow.
The gleaming skyscrapers that tower over Singapore shield a plethora of Chinese and Hindu temples and Islamic mosques that stud this multicultural city, whose origins were defined by mass immigration from across Asia in the 19th century.
A curious blend of ancient and modern, Singapore is home to an ethnic mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians, as well as expats from all over the world, in a predominantly English-speaking society.
From its world-beating Changi Airport to its superb museums, tourism facilities, heritage architecture and natural attractions, Singapore is a beacon of efficiency, cleanliness and high technology.
Add in a constant flow of festivals and events in the ethnic quarters of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, and the result is one of Asia's most compelling tourism destinations, and one of the most diverse and delicious culinary scenes on the planet.
Culture and History:
This tropical tip of the Malay Peninsula was settled in 1299 by a Malay Sultan, who built a palace at Bukit Larangan (now Fort Canning). Five centuries later, in 1819, globe-trotting adventurer Thomas Stamford Raffles claimed Singapore for the British East India Company, and the foundations of one of the world's most prosperous trading centres were established.
Since becoming an independent Republic in 1965, Singapore has enjoyed a vigorous free trade policy, as introduced by its then Prime Minister (now Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew. This led to an unprecedented rise in the standard of living and exponential economic growth.
The economy and tourist industry have enjoyed robust health though Singapore's economy was dented between 2001 and 2003, during the global recession. It rebounded to grow steadily through the bullish early-21st century. Despite falling into recession in late 2008, many analysts believe Singapore is capable of rebounding once more.
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