Singapore – Gateway to South East Asia

Singapore – Gateway to South East Asia

Sands Infinity Pool Photo by: Nsaa CC BY-SA 3.0
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Chinatown Photo by: Yeowatzup CC BY-SA 2.0

This month takes us to the vibrant, fascinating island country of Singapore.  This city-state consists of one main island and 62 smallerislands located off the tip of the Malay Peninsula. A melting pot of cultures, Singapore is a densely populated mixture of  Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicities with significant expatriate populations from many other countries. A city of 5.5 million people, Singapore is nevertheless known as the ‘garden city’ due to it’s extensive parks and green areas. For many years it was the world’s busiest port. Now, at number two, according to Forbes, it is remarkably clean, with a low crime rate and high quality of life, due to strict laws and policies.

Singapore was established as a trading post of the British East India Company in 1819. It was previously populated by a few fisherman. The name, meaning ‘Lion City’, goes way back to when a prince by the name of Sang Nila Utama landed on the island and saw a creature which he thought was a lion. It is likely that it was a tiger or a wild boar as lions do not frequent the area, but the name ‘Singa Pura’ and the symbol of the lion have stuck.

Singapore, Hdr, Victoria Theatre with statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
Singapore, Hdr, Victoria Theatre with statue of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
A Night Perspective on the Singapore Merlion Photo by: Erwin Soo CC BY 2.0
A Night Perspective on the Singapore Merlion Photo by: Erwin Soo CC BY 2.0

After annexation by Japan during World War II, Singapore became a British colony in 1945 until joining the Federation of Malaysia for two short years (1963-1965). Independent since 1965, Singapore has developed into a prosperous trade and financial center and is considered the gateway to South East Asia.

Singapore, the 'Red Dot', gateway to South East Asia
Singapore, the ‘Red Dot’, gateway to South East Asia

Singapore is located 1.5 degrees north of the equator and enjoys sunshine throughout the year. Short daily showers and thunderstorms are the norm, which contribute to the beauty of Singapore’s 50 parks and green areas.

English is the common language, but most Singaporeans are bilingual and also speak Mandarin, Malay or Tamil.


Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Shopping is a favorite pastime here and the hawker food stalls are famous the world over for the cheap and delicious food specialties

Abdul Gafoor Mosque, Little India Photo by: William Cho CC BY-SA 2.0
Abdul Gafoor Mosque, Little India Photo by: William Cho CC BY-SA 2.0

offered. Explore Chinatown, Little India, Merlion Park, Gardens by the Bay and the Waterfront Promenade to start.  The Botanic Gardens, Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Art Museum should also be high on the itinerary list.  Admire the ultra modern architecture of the Marina Bay Sands which contains the world’s largest atrium casino, shops, theaters, skypark and roof top infinity pool. There is a lot for us to explore, old and new, as we visit this spectacular destination.

Gardens by the Bay South Photo by: Balou 46 CC BY-SA 3.0
Gardens by the Bay South Photo by: Balou 46 CC BY-SA 3.0

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8 thoughts on “Singapore – Gateway to South East Asia

  1. What beautiful pictures. I’ve wanted to go to Southeast Asia since the 1970s, but life took me in other directions. An Army buddy is retired in Thailand and keeps asking me to visit. Maybe when I retire.

    John, you have created a stunning website that has rekindled my traveling dreams.

  2. I’ve always wanted to visit Singapore and it’s definitely on my list of travel destinations. I’m from Hong Kong and my parents would tell me the history of Singapore, how the policies are extremely strict and punishment is very severe for different crimes. But that’s good since it keeps the country safe relatively and people can live in a more peaceful environment. It’s really awesome to see a country like this get tourist attention because it definitely deserves it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Wing. The policies definitely do make it a cleaner and safer place to visit, but a tourist needs to be aware of the rules. I hope you will get to go there sometime soon!

  3. Hi there,

    This looks absolutely stunning! Ugh, how much I wish I could travel to this part of the world and experience their rich cultures! It’s a dream I’m working on seeing to reality one day!

    Thanks for this informative site and the beautiful pictures, it really does want to make you go that much more badly! 🙂

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the site Sarah. There are so many unique and spectacular places to see. I enjoy reading and learning about them, but, like you, I would love to just go!

  4. Hi John,
    You have done an excellent job by highlighted the various popular spots around the Garden City, Singapore. Thanks a lot for the hard work in selecting those beautiful pictures for the website. On top of that, I would like to add an important event held yearly i.e. the Formula 1 Night Race. Something not to be missed if one is planning to visit Singapore in September. One other thing that is distinctively Singapore is that we are a multiracial society where the 4 different races live harmoniously together as one united people and as one nation.

    1. Thanks Kelsey,
      The race sounds exciting, and you are the second to mention it. The different ethnicities that make up Singapore definitely fascinate me. The fact that the different races blend and coexist so comfortably and peacefully is probably one reason that Singapore is such a thriving place.

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