Singapore lies at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and this “Lion City” is world-renowned for its adherence to strict laws. Do not even consider gum-chewing, or littering, or spitting here, because hefty fines are levied for these transgressions. Otherwise, however, Singapore is a very modern and prosperous city and has much to offer the tourist.
Orchard Road is both the major shopping street and also one of the major arteries of the city, running east to west. Because Singapore has matured into a melting pot of cultures, there are several distinct ethnic or cultural districts which should be explored. The three most prominent are the Colonial District, the hub of the city and scene of its most elegant architecture, Little India, in the northern part of the city, and Chinatown, which lies across the Singapore River, to the south.
Specific sights which should not be missed include the Raffles Hotel, a huge, white structure which is a National Monument, Chijmes, a complex of outdoor shops and cafes, the Kwan Im Temple (Goddess of Mercy Temple), with its golden exterior and fortune-telling monks, and Singapore’s Red Light District, the area around Desker St. and Petain Rd. On the fringes of the city are the Singapore Zoo, which ranks just behind the San Diego Zoo, in the USA, for number of species and completeness, and the Botanic Gardens, with their incredible collection of orchids.