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Singapore is a river, a city, an island and a country. The history of the city goes back to a past a so much dark as it pierces in passing of merchants and pirates, until Raffles realized the strategic importance of the small island for the control of the trade among China, India and Europe.
From the moment in that you put the feet in this city, you realize that Singapore doesn't resemble any other place of the planet. The order, the cleaning, the facilities to move, everything is thought to please the citizen.
The level of life overpasses their neighbours. It social services, transport, parks, restaurants, hotels are comparable to that any advanced western country.
Town houses a wide foreign colony. The city spirit is multicultural and modern. Everybody speaks English, the education it is in this language, although Chinese is also widely spread.
The city shows proud its respect toward its founder, because when Raffles convinced the sultan of Johor so that gives him the territory to the British Company of Indies, the human establishment was formed by some simple dispersed shacks by the bank of the river.
Soon the ascent of a star began in the strait of Malaca. The city of Singapore is today an emporium of shopping centres you buy, but also a cultural hub of first magnitude, envies of Malay and Indonesian.
Next to their historical centre, with beautiful colonial buildings, as the parliament, the Museum of Asian Culture and the hotel Fullerton, the financial district of the city runs off with, with headquarters of the big world banks. The gap between both worlds are abrupt.
The Museum of Asian Culture is attractive and interesting and it shows of the past of the city and of the communities that form it.
The Chinatown is the city soul; point of souvenirs purchases and, together with the Quays, the places with more density of restaurants and where better you can eat.
Little India is the heart of another big community of the city and magnify place for shopping that also extends for the axis of the near Orchard Road.
The Quays and the river, they are the old jetties and warehouses of discharge of goods. Their buildings have been restored with a lot of success and, today, they are restaurants and modern bars. The area is mostly pedestrian and it is lively almost at any hour of the day.
Orchard Road, Raffles Road and the Bay of Singapore: luxury hotels, shopping centres, but hotels, but shopping centres… and the beautiful and modern building of the Cultural Centre of the Bay like counterpoint to the world of money of plastic.
The zoological one and the park of the orchids is a good place to enter in contact with the animal wealth and vegetable of the area. It includes orang-utans among other threatened species.
Island of Sentosa: it is the resting place and refuge for the urban citizens. Beaches, parks, some museum, hotels and top restaurants are located there. A small island embedded to another small island.
Singapore enjoys a magnificent service of transports. The efficient Changi International Airport is linked by train, meter, bus and taxis with the city. It is a hub of communications among Europe, Asia and Oceania.
The underground allows arriving to almost all the corners of the island. The taxis are abundant, with moderate price and all of them working with taximeter.
The travellers in transit in the airport have the possibility to consent to tours and gratuitous transports to see the city. The distance between airport and city centre covers in half hour or three quarters of hour.
Visa, Politics, Legislation and Human Rights
Most of the western citizens don't need previous Visa to visit Singapore. When entering to the country, a permission of stay of 90 days is granted, easily renewable.
The laws in Singapore are quite strict, applying you high fines to the offenders.
The death penalty exists and for example it is applied by traffic of drugs.
The chewing gums are prohibited in the country and their import can be paid with years of jail.
The country is a lay republic, but the election system and the party freedom is still an utopia. The freedom of speech is controlled.
Photos and Text: A. De Cara. 2007
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