While Asia is not my most knowledgeable destination, I must say that when it comes to service few cities offer the cleanliness, friendliness and luxury of Singapore. I was assisted in this section by our very good customer from Singapore, Dr. Gloria Loke.
The Lion City
Singapore, a small, tropical island just north of the Equator, is a dynamic, modern metropolis with skyscrapers breaking into the horizon. Expressways arch across the harbor and tree-lined boulevards separate ultra-modern shopping centers and luxurious hotels. At the same time, Singapore is a visual history book. Its beautiful gold-domed mosques, incense-filled temples and bustling bazaars are all reminders of its fascinating past. Along the river, once the source of Singapore's livelihood, the warehouses jostle for position. Singapore has gracious old colonial buildings and peaceful green parks. It has state-of-the-art design in its new buildings. It has discotheques open until three o'clock in the morning. And it is one of the world's best places for shopping. For such a little island, it has everything. Founded by the farsighted Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore very quickly attracted people from far and wide. Malay, Javanese, Chinese migrants, Arab traders, Indians, Armenians, Ceylonese and British all flocked here, eager to capitalize on its success as a trading port. This cosmopolitan beginning has given Singapore its appealing character. All these traditional cultures and their customs live on. Singapore is alive with variety, charisma and local color.
Asia's Success Story
Singapore is a tourist's haven, a dazzling blend of cultural influences. Here travelers can buy everything from vibrant batiks and mirrored cloths, hand-woven gold fabrics, to French designer ties, priceless antiques and, of course, an infinite array of electronic products. The focal point of Southeast Asia, Singapore is an island covering an area of 617 sq kms. The surface of the island is mostly developed but there are still some parts that are thick with jungle vegetation. It contains a little bit of every country and society in Asia. Turbaned Indian Sikhs, Persian carpet sellers, wealthy entrepreneurial business people and young Singaporeans dressed in the latest fashions are all quite at home here in this exciting Oriental blend of peoples and their customs. Singapore is an ultra-modern configuration of new skyscrapers, thousands of government-built apartments, clean streets and a complex society with a passion for organization.
Where To Dine
In such a culturally diverse city, it is easily assumed that the variety and quality are easy to find in its food. With this in mind, there are a few restaurants that shine above and beyond the rest as per our very loyal Singaporean customer, Dr. Gloria Loke.
- For those who wish varied tastes, Raffles Grill specializes in international cuisines.
- Les Amis offers the best French food to be found in Singapore, and presents one of the best wine lists in Asia.
- Au Jardin, presents a breathtaking atmosphere along with its wonderful food, being set within Singapore's Botanical Gardens. A sight best enjoyed from a window table.
- The Crystal Jade Palace, who serves its wine in Riedel glasses, offers some of the best Cantonese cuisine in Singapore.
- The Lei Garden Restaurant, who also serve their customers magnificent Cantonese food, specializes in seafood.
A City With A Big Garden
Singapore's eastern and western shorelines overlooking the southern islands and waterways have a special, quiet charm. The north is still lush with jungle and the center of the island has peaceful reservoirs and a magnificent nature reserve. The island lies at the end of the mainland Malaysian Peninsula, separated only by a small strip of sea, the Johore Strait. These waters, the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea are actually vital sea links between the Middle East and the rest of Southeast Asia. Singapore relies on tourism, trade and industry alone, so its position at the meeting point of these bodies of water is well suited to its status as a bustling world emporium.
What To Speak
The official languages of Singapore are Malay, English, Mandarin, Chinese and Tamil. Virtually everyone in Singapore speaks English. The Chinese community also speaks up to six distinct dialects and the ethnic Indians speak five, including Hindi and Urdu. The Government is currently campaigning to encourage more people to use Mandarin. In Singapore, English is the language of business and administration.
Talk About The Weather
Just a hundred kms from the Equator, Singapore is closer to it than any other city in Asia. The Island's temperature averages 26.6°C and rarely varies by more than one or two degrees a month. The average maximum temperature during the day is 30.6°C, dropping marginally to an average overnight minimum of 23.5°C. The biggest weather changes Singapore experiences are monsoons. November, December and January are usually referred to as the monsoon season. In these months, there is more rain than usual - 220.8 cm on average - and it comes down in buckets for short periods of time, leaving the air freshly washed and pleasantly cool.
Photo shown is of Rex Lexington in Singapore