Singapore

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Singapore

Singapore is both an island and a country, but perhaps its best description is that of city-state. It offers civilization and order in the highest degree. Though physically small, Singapore is an economic giant. It has been Southeast Asia's most modern city for over a century. The city blends Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures and religions. Its unique ethnic tapestry supports a wide array of sightseeing and culinary opportunities from which to choose. A full calendar of traditional festivals and holidays celebrated throughout the year adds to its cultural appeal.

Since the city is only 60 miles (100k) from the equator, its tropical climate means stable temperatures and evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. Singapore's abundance of parks, nature reserves, and lush, tropical greenery underpin its commitment to conserving natural resources and providing habitats for its unique flora and fauna. Its human residents are also well catered for with a variety of recreational facilities and locations available.

The island republic's excellent infrastructure enables visitors to enjoy its safe, clean and green environment. The train and subway systems are clean, fast and efficient. Cycling and walking is a good way to explore and commute.

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Singapore's progress over the past three decades has been remarkable, yet a wealth of historical treasures from the past, in the beauty of older buildings, values and traditions that have survived in the face of profound social and geographical change. Downtown Singapore is the Colonial District, with each surrounding enclave having its own distinct flavor, from the aromatic spice stores of Little India, to the tumbledown backstreets of Chinatown, where it is still possible to find calligraphers and fortune tellers, or the Arab Quarter, whose cluttered stores sell fine cloths and silks. The east coast features good seafood restaurants set on long stretches of sandy beach. In addition there are over fifty islands and islets within Singaporean waters, all of which can be reached with varying degrees of ease.

Its combination of Western-style development and Eastern-style calm seems to present the best of both hemispheres: It's a modern metropolis where you feel safe walking the streets, and it's an Asian business center that's a model of efficiency.