Singapore - Modern but Full of Great History


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Asia » Singapore
September 22nd 2007
Published: September 22nd 2007
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Singapore SkylineSingapore SkylineSingapore Skyline

Clean, clean, clean
Greetings to everyone from beautiful Singapore!
After spending the better part of 24 hours traveling to Singapore via Tokyo, we arrived tired but eager to start our new adventures here on the other side of the planet. We were pleased to find that the flight from Seattle to Japan was only 10 hours, as we thought it was 12 and only another 6 ½ to Singapore.

And we were not disappointed! Singapore is a wonderfully enchanting and diverse place. It is actually a city and a country all rolled up into one. More on that later.

The people of Singapore come from many cultures and have worked hard to understand each others cultures and differences which have created a symbiotic atmosphere. School age children take field trips to other temples and mosques to better understand all the different religions. The people of Singapore adapt and adopt.

We toured the city courtesy of the “Hippo” buses which allow you to get off and on all day long for one price, as well as the mass transit system (MRT), which is extremely efficient and clean. Yes, we have mastered the MRT and it is less than $1 each way to
Orchard RoadOrchard RoadOrchard Road

Famous for shopping, shopping and shopping. The city planner have done a wonderful job adding trees, parks and flowers to add beauty.
travel across town. Public transportation in this city is easy, safe and comfortable.

The city itself is quite clean, with none of the usual trash and graffiti found in most major North American cities. The architecture is a mixture of the new and opulent mixed with the colonial architecture which is a symbol of its past. Singapore is a very cosmopolitan city.

It is a major financial city, but also will have the world’s largest Ferris wheel when it opens next year. It is quite modern, but has not forgotten its roots. The food is equally wonderful and diverse. It is a mixture of Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese. Sadly, western cuisine is easily found. You don’t have to work very hard to find a Starbucks either.

Shopping center abound. It is said that Singaporeans like two things: eating and shopping. If you are a shopper and haven’t been to Singapore, than you haven’t really been shopping. Singapore has over 200 shopping malls!

The crime rate is extremely low, as the penalties are quite stiff. Most have heard of the punishment known as “caning.” Plus they have the death penalty.

Singapore is the perfect place for those who want to experience budget travel or a luxury experience at Raffels Hotel which charges $600 to $6000 per night for their suites. Backpackers can find a room for about $20 a night. We found a very basic hotel room with private bath for $47 per night. The walls in the room needed to be painted but it was a clean room and the bed was comfortable!

The meals can be expensive in the top rated restaurants but most places the food is reasonable to cheap. ($2 to $15) Our most expensive meal was $30 for both of us and we had a couple of meals $2.50. At Raffles Hotel, where the Singapore Sling was invented you can sit in the bar and sip on this specialty for a mere $20.

We’ve had a couple of meals down the street from our hotel (not in a tourist location) No one in the restaurant speaks English, except the owner who can say fish, chicken and coffee. We’ve had a great time pointing at food and pictures- we have some amazing food. This morning we had a bowl of breakfast noodles that were scrumptious. We loved being exposed to new taste treats.

Travel to Asia requires you to try new things.

We happened to arrive in Singapore at the perfect time as 3 festivals are currently going on. The mid-Autum festival, preparation for Ramadan celebrations and the Salamat Hari Raya. We are so happy to have been here at this time as the lights and decorations were beautiful. It is a very festive time.

School teachers and nurse are respected professionals and are paid well starting the minute they finish school. They generally start at $2000 to $2500 per month (Singapore dollars) and receive raises quickly with more tenure in the profession.

We took an interesting walk through the red light district….always an education. It is well regulated for health issues.

Singapore has 4.5 million people living very well in a small space. They welcome expatriates so if you are looking for a new place to live this may be worth checking out.

We think most people can see everything they want to see in Singapore in 4 days, unless you want to go in all of the museums or spend a lot of time shopping.

What do you know about Singapore?
Tiger BeerTiger BeerTiger Beer

Singapore is hot and very humid - Tiger beer helps to cool off! It is very humid here.
You might enjoy reading the September 2007 article in the Smithsonian Magazine. Thank you Sheila Ball.
Singapore Background Information: read on if you want some history & geography.

Singapore is 264 sq. miles. Singapore is approximately ¼ the size of Rhode Island. Singapore is a city-state which means that the city is the country. The population in 2006 was 4.48 million people (very crowded). It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world! Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil are official languages. English is widely used in professional settings and is the primary language used in their school systems. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.

In 1824, the British purchased Singapore island. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 ensured that Singapore became a major port and prospered. The island was under Japanese control from 1942 to 1945 when the British regained control. In 1959 Singapore became self-governing.

The People’s Action Party (PAP) is in office. Singapore. Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Political authority rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. The current Prime
BreakfastBreakfastBreakfast

These noodles and the soup were wonderful and they were served for breakfast. Yummy!!
Minister is Lee Hsien Loong. The PAP has been in office continuously since 1959!!
You may want to get out an atlas and take a look at Singapore. It is surrounded by water; Marina Bay, Straits of Singapore, Straits of Pandan, Straits of Jurong, and the Straits of Johor.

The Port of Singapore is among the world’s busiest and ranks second globally as a center for containerized transshipment traffic, after Hong Kong. The country also is linked by road and rail to Malaysia and Thailand.

Let’s talk money: The local currency is the Singapore dollar. Nicknamed the sing dollar. The current exchange rate is $1.00 to $1.66 S
What time is it? Singapore is 13 hours ahead of New York and 16 hours ahead of Seattle.

Hope you enjoyed this blog………..we’re off to Brunei.



Additional photos below
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ChinatownChinatown
Chinatown

Beautful and lively
Lunch in ChinatownLunch in Chinatown
Lunch in Chinatown

Ok-- a really bad hair day but did I mention the humidity?
Shopping in Little IndiaShopping in Little India
Shopping in Little India

Trust me I'll make you a good deal.
Raffles Hotel - Very FamousRaffles Hotel - Very Famous
Raffles Hotel - Very Famous

Their bar created the Singapore Sling
The city is beautifulThe city is beautiful
The city is beautiful

Greenery everywhere
City StreetCity Street
City Street

More trees
Festival DecorationsFestival Decorations
Festival Decorations

Beautiful Lights
Food Vendors are everywhereFood Vendors are everywhere
Food Vendors are everywhere

Great food and safe to eat!!
BumboatsBumboats
Bumboats

A ride on the Singapore River
ParasolParasol
Parasol

Shading the shopping
TransportationTransportation
Transportation

Many people ride bikes in the modern city
ChinatownChinatown
Chinatown

Festival preparation
The Four SeasonsThe Four Seasons
The Four Seasons

Beautiful grounds
RecycleRecycle
Recycle

These are proud people who all work to take care of the city.


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