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Singapore

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Places of Interest - Singapore

Ethnic Districts

Little India

Little India stretches from Rochor Canal to Lavendar Street. While early Indians resided in Chulia Street near Chinatown, most of them resettled to the present Little India because of the introduction of cattle rearing on the fertile land of Rochor River. Immigrants from Madras, Calcutta and Malaya joined them soon after. Today, Little India is the emotional and commercial center of the local Indian community. The best time to visit Little India is in the early morning when you can enjoy the spicy aromas, the colorful traditions, the strains of sitar music and colorful garlands being made. Don't miss the vibrant Indian-inspired murals painted by Singaporean youths next to Sri Veeramakalimman Temple. To see Little India at its vibrant best then you should visit between 6pm-9pm on a Sunday evening but be ready for a crush!

Chinatown

Chinatown's history dates back to 1819, when Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore. The Chinese, who Raffles anticipated would compose the single largest group, were given the entire area southwest of the Singapore River. The Hokkiens concentrated their trading efforts along Telok Ayer Street, China Street and Chulia Street. The Teochews continued their farmer-fishermen tradition, occupying Circular Road and South Bridge Road (near present-day Boat Quay). The Cantonese, traditionally goldsmiths, tailors and restaurateurs, constructed their shop-houses along Temple Street, Pagoda Street and Mosque Street. Today, Chinatown is the venue of lovingly conserved buildings, century-old beliefs and intriguing contrasts. For instance, Singapore's oldest Hindu temple is right smack in the middle of Chinatown.

Arab Street/Kampong Glam

Embroidered materials, semi-precious stones, basketware, accessories for a pilgrimage, natural oils and perfumes abound in this area, that got its name from the Glam trees that once grew here. Medicinal oil was extracted from the tree and its bark used by the Buginese and Malays to caulk their boats.

Built in 1928 the Sultan Mosque is one of the best examples of Muslim architecture and is in the city of Singapore in North bridge Street. It was built with the contributions of many from the Muslim community, that included the rim of glass bottle bases that can be seen at the edge of the dome.

Museums

Asian civilisations Museum

The museum highlights important socio-political-economic developments throughout Chinese history, and houses the best examples of Chinese furniture, ceramics, jade and works of art.

Singapore Art Museum

The museum houses modern and tranditional art from Singapore and Southeast Asia and is housed in the former St. Joseph's institution that was originally the first all boys school in Singapore built by French Catholic priest-acrhitects. One attraction within this building is the E-mage Gallery featuring interactive programmes involving 20th century Southeast Asian art on large high definition monitors.

Singapore History Museum

The museum traces the heritage of the people of Singpaore. This highlights trends and developments that have moulded the way of life in Singapore starting back in the 14th century featuring the ethnic and religious diversification along with the struggle for the establishment of the identification of Singapore as a nation. Included within the bounds of the museum is a walk within through an early 20th century Peranakan house that would be the typical habitat of the Nonyas and Babas. The early Chinese immigrants intermarried with the local malay women from which evolved a unique culture, language, cuisine.

Islands

Pulau Ubin

The island derived its name from the word 'Zubin' that means granite. The island is still in a semi-wild state, the graniet quarries, prawn farms, villages and lush vegetation starkly contrast this island from mainland Singapore.

Sentosa Island

Known as the isle of peace and tranquility Sentosa is the beach resort of Singapore, a stark contrast to the frantic hubbub of Singapore. The isalnd contains many attractions such as Images of Singapore (a series of diorams depicting life in early Singapore, the surrender of the japanese and other festivals and customs), Underwater World, Fort Siloso (an epitaph to World War 2 and the defence of Singapore), Merlion Tower, and the Musical Fountain.

Attractions

Raffles Hotel

The hotel has been restored to its 1920's grandeur and is renowned for its charm and elegance. It was one of the first 20 bungalow houses to be built along Beach Road and is Singapore's oldest hotel. In its time it has played host to many famous celebrities and writers including Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. There is also a free museum, The Raffles Museum, that has the hotel's memorabilia from its start on display.

Goodwood Park Hotel

The hotel stands on a hillock and is obe of the landmarks on Scotts Road, originally constructed in 1900. Renowned as the Teutonia Club for the German community in Singapore, it was modelled after the castles along the River Rhine. When World War 1 broke out in 1914 the club was seized as "enemy property". It was sunsequently auctioned off in 1918 and three Jewish brothers, the Manaesseh brothers, became its owners. Then during World War II, during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, the hotel was converted into a residence for high-ranking Japanese officers. After the war it was used as a British war crimes court before it was returned to vivian Bath, a Manasseh descendant, in 1947. During the 1960s the hotel saw rapid expansion, and air-conditioned wine cellar was added and the hotel's distinctive tower block received a new pinnacle in 1977. In 1989, the historic tower of the Goodwood Park Hotel was gazetted a national monument.

The Fullerton Hotel

Fort Fullerton previously occupied the site on which The Fullerton Hotel now stands. Named after Sir Robert Fullerton, the first governor of the Straits Settlement of Singapore, it was built in 1829, to defend the town at the mouth of the Singapore River. The Fullerton building was designed by the Shanghai based architectural firm of Keys & Dowdeswel and built in 1928. It was then the largest building in Singapore, costing over four million Singaporian dollars. On the top of the building is the original lighthouse used to guide mariner's into the harbour. The hotel became the centre of Singapore's commercial, social and official life. At one time it housed three of Singapore's more important institutions; the General Post Office, the Singapore Town Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

Singapore Discovery Centre

This centre houses an interactive account of Singapore's history and its technological endeavours. there are virtual reality games and iWERKS Theatre that contains a 5-storey high giant screen with a 3-D capability. There is a shooting gallery and a 6-DOF (degree of Freedom) motion simulator as well as several interactive games.

Singapore River

The banks of the Singapore River originally housed the the first immigrants to the island. Here Singapore was transformed from a fishing village into a major seaport. It was at Raffles Quay that Sir Stamford Raffles landed and founded Singapore in 1819 from this stat Singapore's rise to riches began. Here can be found Parliament House, the oldest mosque on the Island, Omar Kampong Melaka Mosque and the Taoist Tan Si Chong Su temple.

Malay Village

In the Geyland area of Singapore is the Malay Village, a recreation of the village lifestyle of Singapore Malays in the 1950s. It reflects the lifestyle of the kampung including traditional activities such as batik and kite-making, and various kampung games.

Tiger Balm Gardens (Haw Par Villa)

The gardens allow you to enter the mythical world of ancient Chinese legend with dragons and demons included. One of the most notable scenes is the Ten Courts of Hell depicting figures in a chilling tale of death and rebirth. The gardens were built in them 1930's.

World War II

The Battle Box

This was the bomb-proof World War 2 bunker where Lieutent-General Percival made the decision to surrender to the invading Japanese on 15th February 1942. The bunker is now a museum containing robotic wax figures and virtual reality viewing of the actual footage of the events that led up to the surrender of Singapore.

Fort Siloso on Sentosa

The fort is Singapore's only preserved fort that affords visitors the chance to re-live the Fort's history from its humble beginnings to its role in the fierce battle for Singapore in 1942. The fortress has been modified to provide a sensory adventure of the life of a recruit, complete with the sounds of costal guns, and Assualt Course, was games, tunnels and soldiers.

Kranji War Memorial

Located off Woodlands, in the northern section of Singapore, the Kranji War Cemetery including the Singapore Memorial is the final resting place of thousands of Allied troops who died throughout Southeast Asia during World War 2. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commision. A register containing the names of deceased soldiers is available. Kranji is also the resting place for past Singaporian Presidents.

Changi Prison Chapel

Originally the prison that housed many of the Allied prisoners of war the prison has now been upgraded to a museum memorial.

Transport

The MRT/LRT covers a large part of Singapore and maps can be obtained from any of the stations along the line. Various types of ticket are available but for single trips ensure you have enough correct loose change to buy the necessary ticket. Alternatively Singapore is served by superb bus system again ensure that you have the correct loose change before boarding. Other than these forms of transport you can always use a taxi, just find a taxi stop and stand and wait.

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