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Singapore

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 23, 2009 at 18:01:11

Colorful Clark quay at Singapore. Clarke quay is a delightful mix of modern and traditional.Singapore (Chinese: 新加坡; pinyin: Xīnjiāpō; Malay: Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர், Cingkappūr), officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island microstate located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Its geographical location is 136.8 km north of the equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. Singapore is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia and one of four remaining true city-states in the world.

Singapore is made up of not just one island but a main island with 63 surrounding islets. The main island has a total land area of 682 km2. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapore's many smaller islands.

Singapore is linked to Johor, Malaysia by two causeway bridges: Johor-Singapore Causeway in the north and Tuas Second Link in the west. The highest natural point of Singapore is Bukit Timah Hill at 166 m (545 ft).

Singapore's resident population of over 4.2 million inhabitants is comprised of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indian and 1% others. Official languages are English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. English is widely spoken.

Little India is an ethnic neighbourhood found in Singapore that has Indian cultural elements, east of the Singapore River, across from Chinatown, and north of Kampong GlamBefore European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived along the nearby coast, rivers and on smaller islands. In 1819 the British East India Company, led by Sir Stamford Raffles, established a trading post on the island, which was used as a port along the spice route. Singapore would become one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire, and the hub of British power in Southeast Asia. The city was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, which Winston Churchill called "Britain's greatest defeat". Singapore reverted to British rule immediately after the war, in 1945. Eighteen years later (1963) the city, having achieved independence from Britain, merged with Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However, less than two years later it seceded from the federation and became an independent republic on 9 August 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on 21 September that same year. It is also a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Singapore districts:
- Riverside (Civil District), Singapore's colonial core, with museums, statues and theaters, not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs.
- Orchard Road (乌节路), retail and entertainment hub of Singapore.
- Bugis and Kampong Glam, north of the Singapore River, Singapore's old Malay district, now largely taken over by shopping.
- Chinatown Singapore (牛車水), featuring distinctly Chinese cultural elements and a historically concentrated ethnic Chinese population.
- Little India (小印度 - Tamil லிட்டில் இந்தியா), ethnic neighborhood that has Indian cultural elements. Little India lies to east of the Singapore River and north of Kampong Glam.
- Balestier, Newton, Novena and Toa Payoh, budget accommodations and Burmese temples within striking distance of the center.
- North and West, The northern and western parts of the island, also known as Woodlands and Jurong respectively, from Singapore's residential and industrial hinterlands.
- East Coast, the largely residential eastern part of the island contains Changi Airport, miles and miles of beach, and many famous eateries. Also consists of Geylang Serai, the true home of Singapore's Malays.
- Sentosa (聖淘沙), which means peace and tranquility in Malay, is a popular island resort in Singapore.

The Merlion is one of the most well-known tourist icons of Singapore. Its landmark statue, once at the Merlion Park, was relocated to the front of the Fullerton Hotel in April 2002.What to see in Singapore:
- CHIJMES, popular dining, shopping and entertainment site. CHIJMES Hall, the restored chapel, provides a breath-taking backdrop for musicals, recitals, theatrical performances and weddings.
- Dalhousie Obelisk, built to commemorate the visit to Singapore in 1850 by Marquis Dalhousie, Governor-General of India.
- Merlion Park, first designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 1964.
- Others landmarks and memorials include the Supreme Court and City Hall, the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, the Statues of Sir Stamford Raffles (斯坦福•莱佛士), the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the National Library Singapore, the National Library Singapore Garden Walks, Lau Pa Sat and much more.
- The Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari, the Jurong BirdPark, the Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom and the Underwater World on Sentosa island.
Sentosa was once known as Pulau Blakang Mati. Sentosa means tranquillity in Malay.- Many museum such as the Army Museum of Singapore officially opened by Prime Minister on 27 Sep 2007, the Art Retreat Museum founded by Indonesian collector Kwee Swie Teng in 2003, the Asian Civilisations Museum (heritage of Asian cultures), the Changi Chapel & Museum and the Chinatown Heritage Centre, life of the ethnic Chinese in early Singapore.
- Places of worship like the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque, the Armenian Church in Hill Street, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum in the heart of Chinatown, the Central Sikh Temple, built to commemorate the 518th anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque built in 1846 and named after a Malacca-born Malay who married a wealthy Bugis Sultan, Jamae Chulia Mosque, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple, Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple, Maghain Aboth Synagogue, Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple (Hindu temple, 马里安曼兴都庙 - ஸ்ரீ மாரியம்மன் கோவில்), Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, Sri Thandayuthapani Temple, St Andrew's Cathedral designed by Colonel Ronald MacPherson in 1856, Sultan Mosque, Tan Si Chong Su Temple (Hokkien temple), Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Thekchen Choling Tibetan Buddhist Temple founded by Singapore-born Lama Thubten Namdrol Dorje in 2001, Thian Hock Keng Temple (Taoist temple), Veeramakaliamman Temple...
- Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay around the Singapore River.

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