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With just 5.3 million people, city-state Singapore is one of the most technologically advanced states in the world. The very small island that was controlled by the British Government until 1959 is one of the world’s major commercial hubs, with the fourth-biggest financial centre and one of the five busiest ports. Singapore has developed rapidly, earning recognition as one of the Four Asian Tigers.
While Singapore is diverse, ethnic Asians predominate: 75 percent of the population is Chinese, with significant minorities of Malays, Indians, and Eurasians. There are four official languages, English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.
“The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay word Singapura, which means Lion City. A man named Sang Nila Utama came up with the name because he thought he saw a lion on the island. But that was impossible because lion’s never lived on the island, but tigers did, maybe be that is what he saw,” Hamed Marco, a man that works for a tour company says.
Starting from Changi Airport, the city’s internationally acclaimed airport, people can easily figure out that Singapore is a unique place. The airport was recognized as best in the world recently and has unique features that make it worthy of those recognitions.
Changi has the ambition to stay green, uses sustainable energy, and supports many green areas with in the terminals including a butterfly park. For traveler’s consideration, it also has several perks that makes traveling easier such as massage chairs around every corner, affordable hotels, free city tour service for passengers that transit as well as a free cinema hall with the latest films showing.
“We want to make everything easy for passengers, for such a small island, we have the best airport in the world, there is no visa required for passengers coming from almost all countries and the process of getting off the plane, going through immigration and exiting the terminal takes just 20 minutes,” said Marco.
The city is well planned, there are many public parks that have been efficiently put in place, there is an area filled with skyscrapers where all the financial giants are located and another with mixed architecture styles that belong to the older Singapore.
“A lot of people say that they do not feel like they are in Asia or Europe or the Americas. There are so many different cultures that are reflected in the way the city has been designed, that is one of the many things that makes it unique,” Marco continues.
Although Singapore is a very interesting place to visit, it is also one of the most expensive places on earth. In terms of purchasing power parity, Singapore has the third-highest per capita income in the world but one of the world’s highest income inequalities, this is a frustration for many.
“The most expensive things in Singapore are housing, health insurance and cars. Most of the cars you see are new and they are of well known brands. Most of them are not owned by the locals, they are owned by wealthy Chinese businessmen from China. The frustration of the cost of living has actually been the reason for an outbreak of a riot recently,” said Jack Kang, a locale whom Capital spoke to. Despite the frustration, Singapore is placed on 16th place on the Global Peace Index in 2013.
Although the city is considered to be expensive, Singapore still enjoys the visits of over 10 million tourists every year. The city offers enough excitement, amusement and relaxation to make one’s vacation a successes.
Ethiopian airlines also chose Singapore as its most recent destination about seven months ago and it is encouraging Ethiopian tourists to visit the city as well as encouraging Singaporeans to visit Ethiopia by providing different packages with Et Holidays. The airline is also encouraging trade and business relations between the two places
Singapore is known for a lot of things, one of which is the Marina Bay Sands. This mega architecture extravaganza has been named the world’s most expensive building constructed at the cost of USD 6 billion. The Marina Bay Sand is the biggest luxury hotel in the world with 2,561 rooms. It is also the home of all the well known fashion clothing brands.
Another major attraction in the city is the Gardens by the Bay. Visitors will find over 10,000 different varieties of plants that come from all over the world in two domes that are green houses. This public area is filled with interactive things to do. It has restaurants, cafes, informative displays, films on big screens…etc
“The Gardens by the Bay is not a place you can just see and finish in a couple of hours. You need at least a day to explore everything, and there are always new things that are added so people who have visited it before come back and find something new. That is why people keep coming back,” Marco stated.
Other things to do while in Singapore include visiting the Singapore Flyer which is a giant Ferris wheel also described as an observation wheel, Sentosa, a popular island resort and the many restaurants that offer cuisines from around the world.
“Sure, many say Singapore is very expensive. But think of it as a five star city, for all the things you get to see and experience, the cost is not that bad,” Marco concluded.