It is a well-known fact that most countries in the world are big. Countries with major cities such as the USA and England boasts its vast size and space. However, there is one country that is comparatively small but still retains its modernity. A country that is not even as big as Indonesia’s capital Jakarta but still miles ahead of Indonesia itself. This country where regardless of its size still has a very diverse culture. A country deemed as Asia’s Little Treasure. That country is Singapore.
A brief history of Singapore
It is hard to trace back to the early days of Singapore as its history is dissolved in ruins. However, a third century Chinese scripture describes it as “Pu-luo-chung”. It refers Singapore to “Pulau Ujong”. Pulau Ujong itself means the “island at the end of the peninsula” in Malay language. Later on, this tiny island came to be known as Temasek (Sea Town). It happened when the first settlements were established in 1298-1299.
During the 14th century, this island was given a new name. This happened when a prince from Palembang was on a hunting trip when he saw an animal. This animal was never seen before in his eyes. Assuming that it was a good sign, he founded a city where the animal had been spotted. The city was named “The Lion City” or Singapura. The word Singapura came from the Sanskrit words “simha” which means lion and “pura” which means city.
The city was then ruled by the five kings of ancient Singapura. Located at the edge of the Malay peninsula, this city flourished. This was due to the fact that its location was the natural meeting point of sea routes and ships. Singapore then became a trading post for different ships and vessels.
Fast forward to the 19th century, modern Singapore was founded. This was all courtesy of a man known as Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Back then, the British empire was scouting a port in the region to capture it and establish a new base. This was also to stall any moves made by the Dutch. Raffles then landed in Singapore on 29 January 1819. He recognized the potential of Singapore. With this, he then helped negotiate a treaty with local rules. Through that treaty, he was able to establish Singapore as a trading center. Singapore then quickly grew as a trading hub, attracting merchants and immigrants from China to India.
After years of grueling and bloody war, Singapore tried pave its way towards independence. In 1963, Malaysia was formed. It was comprised of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo. It was meant to foster closer ties. However, Singapore dismissed the merger. Less then two years later, on 9 August 1965, it left Malaysia to become an independent nation. Fast forward to today, Singapore is now one of the leading countries in modernity and technological advancements. Regardless, they still retain their history with different monuments, museums and memorials.
Regardless of its size, different exciting attractions can be found in Singapore. Be it wandering around the beautiful city or treat your tastebuds to a delicate cuisine, Singapore won’t bore you.
To kick it off, visiting Gardens by the Bay will please the eyes of nature lovers. Gardens by the Bay is a futuristic botanical garden with supertrees and biodomes. Here, enormous biodomes rise out of the greenery. It houses over 800 species of plants from different climate zones.
In the hot climate, a giant cactus can be found in the desert dome. For a more chilling one, a waterfall cascading from a 35m mountain is found in the Cloud Forest Dome. For a Mediterranean climate, an ancient olive grove can be found in the Flower Dome. The garden is also decorated with different whimsical sculptures. Walking around the garden makes you feel like exploring the beauty of nature.
Shopping is a must in Singapore, and that can be done on Orchard Road. Orchard Road is Singapore’s main shopping street which is notable for its fashion stores. Step in to it and you are faced with mega malls, department stores and designer shops. Your eyes will be all over the place, as the shops offers premium goods that you can’t resist. If you are hungry, worry not. The malls nearby serve to you excellent food with its huge food court where amazing food can be found.
Lastly, walking around the Marina Bay is must do. Marina Bay is a popular waterfront sightseeing walk. You can start by making your way through the iconic Marina Bay Sands. Walk north alongside the Marina, you’ll cross the Helix Bridge. Here, you will get a wonderful view of Singapore’s skylines. Head west along the Marina Promenade, you will spot Glutton’s Corner – an open-air food court teemed with different delicacies. Head south along the Esplanade Bridge and you will see the famous Merlion statue. Stop by and take a picture to freeze the memories and make it a day to remember.
Singapore is a truly diverse country. Its population is made up of a mixture of different races – from Chinese, Malay to Indian. Having close ties to Europe due to the result of colonialization, it also influences Singapore’s development.
There are different places you can visit to learn more about the culture of Singapore. The National Museum of Singapore is a great option. Being Singapore’s oldest museum, it gives an insight towards the history of Singapore as early as the 13th century.
High Risk, High Stakes – Gambling in Singapore
Singapore is also well known for its extra luxurious casino. Gambling in Singapore is a dream for some. While it has different casinos, Marina Bay Sands Casino is arguably the best one.
Marina Bay Sands is well known to be a mega-resort of incredible levels, but its casino is no less. Boasting its 15,000-square-meter size, the Marina Bay Sands Casino is truly a paradise. The casino arena upholds its modern architecture and is decorated with a futuristic touch. This makes Singapore a true gambling city.
There are different games available here. About 500 gaming tables can be found which features games such as poker and blackjack. Other games include slot machines which are ahead of the curve. There are also more than 30 private gaming rooms. For non-gamblers wanting to enjoy the casino as well, other facilities can be found here. Those include restaurants, shopping centers and a convention center. Entry is free for foreigners.
While being relatively small in size, Singapore is still able to go toe to toe with other countries in terms of development. Singapore will never cease to amaze tourists and its local people alike. It is truly Asia’s Little Treasure.