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Singapore is an island city located at the southernmost tip of the Malaysian Peninsula in South East Asia. It is well-known for being one of the richest, most well organised, efficient countries in the world with a very high standard of living and an excellent skyline by the water. Singapore is an island with "1000 shopping malls" or so they say. Despite the hot climate, it is a tropical paradise for most tourists. This great diversity of lifestyles, cultures and religions thrives within the framework of a regulated society. Singapore's "FINE" city reputation is well-earned, and in fact, many will admire at once the clean, modern metropolis. Surrounded by artificially 'ordered' parks, its tall housing projects are populated by more than 80% of the population - whose smiling native charms often belie underlying tensions of the way the island is progressing after 30 years of development.
Highlights of Singapore include some of the ethnic parts of town: Arab street, Chinatown, Colonial District, Orchard road and Little India.
South of Singapore are a few beautiful islands that are well worth visiting. The most visited is Sentosa island. It is a playground for people of all ages. See the Sentosa island section for more information.
A common misconception is that chewing gum is strictly not allowed into Singapore and that you will be arrested for that ''crime''. However, THAT IS COMPLETELY WRONG! The law states that chewing gum cannot be sold in Singapore, but it is PERFECTLY OKAY for you to bring in chewing gum for your own personal consumption. But if you improperly dispose of the gum, just as you would litter any other thing, you might be fined.
Please note that, like all countries in the region, visitors are not exempt from strict laws pertaining to drug possession and trafficking. The death penalty will be prescribed if you are caught with more than a specific weight of narcotics.
Singapore, the diamond-shaped island off the southern tip of Malaysia, is an unlikely success story. Once a simple fishing village, it was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, an official of the British East India Company, who decided it was the perfect location as a trading station. Since then it has become one of the world’s most successful and prosperous cities, known as the Lion City.
Singapore City is by far the largest and most significant island alongside 63 others that make up Singapore state. Here, especially at the mouth of the Singapore River, Asian tradition meets modern technology – gleaming skyscrapers tower over traditional architecture, while squat Chinese and Hindu temples stud the city. A curious blend of ancient and modern, the city is home to an ethnic mix of Chinese, Malaysians and Indians, as well as ex-pats from all over the world, in a predominantly English-speaking society. These different races live harmoniously thanks to religious tolerance, increased prosperity, stringent no-nonsense laws and a constant balmy equatorial heat.
Since the island became an independent Republic in 1965, it has enjoyed a vigorous and successful free trade policy, as introduced by its then Prime Minister (now Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew. This has led to an unprecedented rise in the standard of living (most city dwellers own their own homes) and exponential economic growth, due mainly to the export industry. Its healthy economy was dented between 2001 and 2003 during the global recession and slump in the technology sector, and it suffered a heavy loss in tourist numbers after the terrorist attacks of September 11. There was a further drop in the number of visitors to the region during the SARS outbreak at the end of 2003. A subsequent recovery, however, has seen unemployment fall from 6% in 2002 to 3.4% in 2004.