During recent years, Asia has impressed the world with the speed and scope of its numerous financial success stories. None have been more remarkable than that of Singapore. Perhaps even more impressively, alongside this race for success, it has also managed to also turn itself into one of the world´s greenest cities thanks to a range of innovative initiatives during recent years. As one of the world´s greatest cities, with masses to see and do, this one has to be on your list of places not to miss!
Most of the ancient historical documents pertaining to Singapore´s history are buried somewhere in the past, but a Chinese document dating from the third century describes this island state as”Pu-lou-Chung” or “the island at the end of the peninsula”. Later, when the first settlers arrived (in around1298-1299), the city on the peninsula was known as Temasek (The City on the Sea). During the 14th century, the area was renamed. According to legend, it was named by Prince Sang Nila Utama from Srivijaya´s capital, Palembang. The prince was out hunting one day and caught sight of a huge lion – an animal the prince had never seen before. He founded a city on the very spot where he has seen the lion, or so the story goes. He named this city “Lion City”, which in Sanskrit became Singapura from Simha (lion) and Pura (city). The city was later ruled by five kings from ancient Singapura. Lion City flourished as a center of commerce and natural trading hub due to its location at the tip of the peninsula. Modern Singapore was founded in the 1800s following various political deals, trading agreements and, not least of all, the efforts of a man called Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. This was the period when the British Empire was looking to establish a port in the area to develop its commercial activity, and also prevent the Dutch from expanding further in the region. Singapore, already a well-established trading port in the Malacca Strait, was, therefore, the ideal choice.
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then governor of Bencoolen (now Bengkulu), arrived in Singapore on the 29th. January 1819. It didn´t take long for him to grasp how huge the potential of this city was, so he quickly drew up a treaty securing Singapore´s place as an important center of trade and commerce. The city grew incredibly fast as workers flooded in from China and India. In 1822, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles put into action a plan known as the “Raffles Town Plan”. Today, the hotel of the same name is famous throughout the world.
The residential areas of the city were divided into 4 different sections based on ethnicity. The European section of the town consisted of European traders and rich Asians. The Chinese who moved into the city lived in Chinatown (where Chinatown is still located today), southeast of the Singapore River. The Indians settled north of Chinatown, in Chulia Kampong, and the Kampong Glam quarter housed mainly Muslims and Arabs who had migrated here. The city continued to grow and, as it blossomed into a successful trading center, large banks, commercial businesses and a Chamber of Commerce soon followed. In 1924, a new road linking Singapore´s northern region with Johor Bahru opened. And that paved the way for the dynamic metropolis we know today.
Read more about Singapore, its cuisine, hotels, and what there is to see and do – not only in the city but also in the rest of Asia here on traveltalk.dk. For example, read the fascinating story about just how and why the city became the greenest city in the world.
Singapore is a mecca for food-lovers, whatever your taste! More than 6,000 restaurants and cafes are waiting to welcome you. And yes, if you must, you can probably find a hot dog or fish and chips somewhere :)
Read about the world´s cheapest Michelin star food. A street seller, what they call a “hawker”, selling chicken couldn´t believe his own ears when Michelin included him in their prestigious guide. Singapore chicken with a Michelin star.
You can also read all about a sporting fixture that brings Singapore to a standstill every September. The only Formula1 race in a city centre at night.
Singapore also boasts a museum that houses one of the largest collections of modern Asian Art anywhere, displayed in the most beautiful frames: National Singapore Gallery.
See below for more suggestions.
Fly direct with Singapore Airlines. Nominated several times as the world´s best airline, you´ll enjoy world-class service and a travel experience that will set the tone for all the fantastic experiences that await you! So kick off your shoes and relax – you´re in good hands. Direct connections from all over the world, and the obvious choice if you are traveling onwards in Asia.
Read about one of the most famous hotels in the world here, the Raffles Hotel.