The small island country of Singapore lies at the south of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. A modern city of endless skyscrapers and one of the world’s busiest ports, it is often just perceived as a business hub. The country is so small and compact that is usually also simultaneously referred to as a city, but there are hundreds of reasons for any traveller to visit this tiny country. It is home to a blend of traditional cultures plus an extensive amount of international expats, ensuring Singapore is an extremely diverse and fascinating destination.
Singapore fully became an independent republic in 1965 and quickly modernised to emerge as the economic superpower it now is. However much of its culture was shaped by its varying history, with the ethnic diversity a major example. The majority of the population are ethnically Chinese, with significant Indian and Malay minorities also present. Evidence of this diversity can be felt around the city, not least by the four official languages on display. For the most part the city is very integrated, but there are certainly culturally concentrated areas of the city, a prime example being the city’s Chinatown. Although very much a tourist hotspot these days, Chinatown does present a chance to feel the traditional setting and its unique atmosphere. The district also contains an array of markets and restaurants, offering a further cultural element. Visitors to the city can find a broad variety of Singapore hotels across Chinatown, including many backpacker orientated establishments due to the concentration of nearby bars. Thanks to the extensive public transport system, visitors can stay in a hotel in Chinatown and transfer to Singapore Airport with ease.
Although it is a huge sector of Singapore, the Chinese influence is only one part of a much wider cultural spectrum that gives the country its uniqueness. In terms of Indian influence, the cuisine can be found across the city but the district of Little India is the Indian community’s centre. Located to the north of the central core of Singapore, it is again a popular tourist area but with a vastly different atmosphere to Chinatown. It is an extremely colourful district with multiple Hindu temples, aromas of spices and incense, plus the sound of Bollywood in the air, all intensified during any of the Hindu festivals throughout the year. Again there is abundance of backpacker hostels in Little India’s surrounding streets but also several of the mid-range hotels Singapore offers are found here. Shopping centres are common across all of Singapore and it is not different in the Little India region; The Verge and Tekka Market are two of note. Further south lies the National Museum of Singapore and its neighbouring Fort Canning Park, a chance to understand more of Singapore’s history and then relax in an area of greenery amongst the urban core of the city.
One of the most modern areas of Singapore lies along the waterfront; the recently developed Marina Bay. An expanded area on reclaimed land, there are multiple of the luxury hotels in Singapore alongside the Sands Casino and SkyPark, plus the Singapore Flyer. These attractions all provide an opportunity to observe views across the city’s skyline and also to witness the thousands of ships lying off the coast in the Singapore Strait. Near to Marina Bay are the Riverside and Orchard Road districts, home to much of the international shopping as well as the city’s financial district. Hotels in this area of Singapore are popular with travellers heading from the airport on short breaks and business trips. For travellers looking for hotels near Singapore Airport can find multiple options on the East Coast region. Although further from the city centre, this area is home to much of the nation’s Malay population and thus offers a strong cultural element with many Malay restaurants and traditional architecture. Staying in a hotel here is not only near to Singapore Airport but often a smaller independent establishment with a local feel.
Despite all of the heavy development and dense population, Singapore is a surprisingly green country. There are countless areas offering respite from the city such as the many central parks, plus a variety of natural areas further away from the centre. With regards to the downtown, the area of Sentosa Island is a recent development of an old military base that is now a well-known family-friendly area of the city, plus the home of Universal Studios theme park. Sentosa can be accessed easily with the metro from any hotel in Singapore, enabling visitors to conveniently access the tranquillity of several beaches and pockets of forestry. There are countless more examples of large parks in the downtown, including Pearl’s Hill, Gardens of the Bay and Mount Faber Park. There is usually a significantly sized green area within walking distance of any Singapore hotel, something the nation is keen to promote. Further away from the centre, the Woodlands district in the north is home to Singapore Zoo, plus is provides the road link to Johor Bahru in Malaysia.