As one of the few thriving city-states in the world, Singapore sets itself apart from neighboring areas. Located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, The Republic of Singapore is considered a micro-state of Southeast Asia. Although Singapore has only been independent for approximately 45 years, it can already boast of being the 5th wealthiest country in the world by its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita due to its strong market economy. Thanks to its success, Singapore currently attracts attention from people everywhere.
Singapore started out as a Malay fishing village, but became a British colony after the British East India Company established a trading post on the site in 1819. Soon afterward, Singapore became an important military and commercial spot for the British Empire. The Japanese, however, occupied the area during World War II until it reverted back to the British in 1945. By 1963, Singapore became independent of foreign rule. It briefly became part of Malaysia along with Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak before seceding 1965. Not long after it was admitted as an independent republic into the United Nations.
As prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew proved to be the dominant figure from 1965 - 1990. Lee Hsien Loong is the current leader, now known as the senior minister. While Singapore operates by a parliamentary democracy, it is stricter than most other democracies in the world. For example, free speech is somewhat limited in order to avoid internal conflicts. The government also shows little tolerance for criminal activity, so punishment is often swift and severe. As a result, Singapore offers the impression as a very clean and orderly place to live.
Today this island city-state, which consists of 63 small islands and the mainland of Singapore, stands out as a cultural hot spot. In a place where the official languages include English, Malay, Tamil, and Chinese, one can expect to find a diverse group of people. Not surprisingly, the area is also open to multiple religions, including Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.
Like other major metropolitan areas, Singapore offers guests plenty of things to do. Visitors can find a wide array of accommodations, unique restaurants, impressive museums, cable cars, and numerous shopping districts. The Singapore Zoo, Dolphin Lagoon, and Singapore River Cruises are just a few other popular attractions for both guests and locals.
Whatever the incentive is for the visit, travelers should prepare for warm weather when packing. Temperatures rarely fall below 70° F and often stay in the 80s and 90s. June and July tend to be the hottest months. Haze usually dominates the autumn, while November and December are known as the monsoon season because of the heavy rains.