Singapore - The Green Metropolis
Futuristic parks, an excessive nightlife in the midst of architectural masterpieces and numerous opportunities for shopping and enjoyment - Singapore offers high-end holidays and is not sparing with spas, amusement and cultural beauty. Welcome to Singapore - the Lion City.
Geography - A small island under tropical sunshine
The island and city state Singapore only measures 712 km² but over 10 million people visit the small island every year. Singapore is the smallest South East Asian state and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The attractive island lies south of the Malay Peninsula and constitutes the most southern point of the Asian mainland. Besides the main island, three other bigger islands and over 50 small ones belong to the territory. The state is divided into five Community Development Council Districts - short CDCs - altogether. These mostly correspond to the cardinal directions in addition to one central district. The climate is tropical all year and the temperatures are rarely lower than 28°C. It can only get a little cooler during the monsoon and rainy seasons from October to February.
Nature - Home to turtles and crocodiles
Nature and city go hand in hand in Singapore. It is not called the green city for no reason. The image is dominated by gigantic trees, which compete with breathtaking skyscrapers. Singapore actually contains more species of trees than North America. The highest point Bukit Timah Hill only reaches a height of 176 metres. About 4.4 percent of the country's area are protected, the native tropical rainforest made way for the increasing urbanisation. Although only a very small proportion of the natural rainforest could be preserved, Singapore is a city of nature. The many national parks and gardens are only one underground station away and create the island's charm. While there are several mangrove forests along the coast, the heartland is mostly covered in scrubland and grassy landscapes. Singapore is home to animals such as tupaias, megabats and dugongs as well as turtles, geckos and crocodiles.
Natural sights - Orchids, Technopark and Chinese influence
Singapore would not be Singapore without its stunning parks and gardens. The Jurong Bird Park is populated by over 600 species of birds, the legendary Singapore Botanic Gardens accommodate an unbelievable collection of orchids and visitors get close to the country's nativeness in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve with its scenic mangrove forests. Travellers find isolation on the remote Ubin Island, which is mostly untouched and constitutes a great contrast to the other parts of the country. Ubin Island can be explored by bike. The phenomenal sciencetainment park Gardens by the Bay comes across distinctively more modern, not to say futuristic. Its supertrees look like formations from another planet and outline the future of park design. The whole complex is in techno baroque style. Of course, cultural influences also had an effect on the parks. You find a wonderful Chinese garden with the typical pagodas and stone statues on an island in Jurong Lake.
Culture - Of lions, pirates and immeasurable wealth
According to legend, a young prince was chasing a lion in the deep jungle. When the lion stopped in front of him, the prince was so impressed with the animal's majestic beauty that he spared it and the lion also went its way peacefully. Moved by this experience, the prince called the jungle "Lion City" - or as it is called in Sanskrit: Singapore. Today the country holds one of the most important harbours worldwide. The population owes its wealth to this gigantic handling place and the resulting powerful economic position. The inhabitants of Singapore are among the most wealthy people on earth. In 2014, the island state was listed as the world's most expensive metropolis. The significance of Singapore's harbour as a trading point was also known to other nations in the course of history. In the 19th century, the Britons built their East India Company at this convenient position and pirates used the island as a hiding place and anchorage ground. The indigenous population lived much more modestly on fishing. Nowadays, 76 percent of the population are Chinese and 14 percent Malay. Singapore has been independent since 1963 and is developing into a popular tourist magnet.
Cultural sights - A melting pot of cultures
Singapore City takes up a major part of the main island and accommodates most cultural highlights. The different ethnic groups, which left traces everywhere, are particularly appealing. The ethnic diversity is displayed, for example, in the Indian quarter Little India with the old Abdul Gaffoor Mosque, in Chinatown, in the Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple or in the parliament on Fort Canning Hill in the old colonial quarter. Due to the country's small size, the buildings of different ethnic groups are often located next to each other. Travellers who want to get an overview should visit the lookout on Mount Faber, which offers an impressive 360° panoramic view over the whole island. Worthwhile attractions are Singapore's many museums. You can discover traditional Asian art in the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore provides insights into the country's indigenous culture.
Experience - Singapore Flyer, casino nights and roti prata
The island is small but the variety of leisure facilities is great. You can already see one the country's most important landmarks from the plane: the Singapore Flyer. A ride on the world's greatest big wheel is the best way of admiring the region's beauty - if you are free from giddiness. A much more calm but equally impressive experience is a ride on the Singapore Cable Car on Mount Faber. Especially families and children like using the cable car to reach the resort island Sentosa. Picnics, walks, an aquarium, the Butterfly Park and the theme park Vulcano Land are popular with all age groups. Singapore City offers an exciting nightlife. Discos, pubs and bars string together in the entertainment district Clarke Quay at the Singapore River. The Mohamed Sultan Road is also known for its excessive nightlife. You find various casinos, night clubs and theatres in the resort Marina Bay Sands and visitors who want to enjoy the original Singaporean cocktail Singapore Sling can go to the Long-Bar in the Raffles Hotel. Great shopping miles in Singapore's city centre invite holidaymakers to long shopping tours at day. Orchard Road, for example, is a popular address. Of course, visitors do not have to go without international food in Singapore but those who value authenticity should try the delicious traditional dishes. National dishes are laksa (noodle soup), yong tau foo (consisting of fried or braised tofu and meat) or roti prata (a pancake).
Activities - Wellness, fitness and out to sea
Singapore is a great destination for relaxation. Holidaymakers find opportunities of having massages, spa treatments and relaxation programmes for body and soul at every corner. Furthermore, fitness plays a major role. Joggers and cyclists use the wonderful paths in the city and at the harbour, hikers explore Saint John's Island and in the MacRitchie Reservoir - the city's "green lung" - visitors can move around by canoe, dragon boat or kayak. The waters around the island are without doubt excellently suited for water skiing, wakeboarding and pleasure crafts. Its beaches, however, are only suitable for bathing to a limited extend. The smaller islands offer much better conditions for that. An important attraction is Singapore's zoo, which is 28 hectares large and offers the world's only night safaris. Those who like it more extravagant can visit Singapore's Snow City. Small and grown-up winter sports fans enjoy going skiing and snowboarding on pistes with over 70 metres of length under the tropical sun.
Singapore has four official languages but English is most commonly used in transportation and business. The Singapore Changi Airport is one of the most important airports in the whole of Asia. To date, it is used by 64 international airlines. Singapore has a dense network of public transport. The underground network is well-developed and excellently suited for city trips. Those who want to drive a car should note that Singapore has left-hand traffic. It is recommended that travellers boost the standard vaccinations before they set on their journey.
Singapore is the platform for party, action and shopping fans, the perfect holiday destination for families and a paradise for lovers of nature who are looking for something special and like seeing beyond their own nose.