The Malaysian island city-state of Singapore, with its modern appeal as a hot-list destination for world travellers, lies just to the south of Peninsular Malaysia, and is a popular destination for European, American, and Japanese tourists. Singapore heralds numerous must-see attractions, including Marina Bay and Clarke Quay, amusement parks such as Universal Studios Singapore, the futuristic Gardens By the Bay, shopping in Chinatown, and the leisure of Sentosa Island. With so many diverse attractions, combined with a rich mixture of Asian, Chinese, and Indian cultural influences, Singapore has everything to offer in an excitement-filled, modern, world-class city.
Rich Early History
The written history of Singapore can be dated back to as early as the third century in a historical Chinese account describing the island of Pu Luo Chung, or the “island at the end,” meaning the end of the Malaysia Peninsula. Early Singapore history includes a tale of one prince of Srivijaya, Seri Teri Buana (also known as Sang Nila Utama), who landed on the island of Singapore in the 13th century. The prince took the sighting of a lion as an auspicious sign and proceeded to found a settlement on the island which he called Singapura, which translates to “Lion City” in Sanskrit. Later, in the 14th century, the Kingdom of Singapura rose under the rule of Sultan Iskandar Shah as an important port, until the Majapahit invaded the kingdom in 1398, after which the king relocated to Meleka.
Singapore had become a Thai vassal state by the early 15th century, but the Malacca Sultanate, which had been founded Sultan Iskandar Shah, quickly extended its own authority over the island city. The Portuguese later seized Malacca in 1511 and destroyed the Singapore settlements in 1587, after which the island sank into obscurity for two centuries. The founding of modern Singapore would not be until the 19th century, when the Lieutenant Governor of the British colony at Bencoolen arrived.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, Singapore remained under the colonial rule of Britain. Following its role in World War II, it began a transition into self-governance, where it remains today. Singapore saw great economic success and GDP growth throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Singapore is now an incredibly popular holiday destination, famed for its rich cultural shopping and culinary experiences. Now, tourists can enjoy a diverse range of lodging from the budget-conscience suburban hotels to the luxury downtown hotels. A wide range of dining experiences can be had from the culturally rich local markets to the finest restaurants, and tourists can even find online groceries in Singapore today.
Getting to Singapore
Singapore is served by the ultra-modern Singapore Changi Airport, the primary civilian service airport for the island of Singapore and also one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. The airport serves numerous international airlines—more than 100 of them—including major airlines from the Americas, Europe, Asia, China, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia. The Port of Singapore provides numerous terminals serving domestic and international freight and ships, and it has played a major role in the economic development of the city. Singapore is also served by train from Peninsular Malaysia and by car via bridge.