The tiny island of Singapore lies just south of the Malay peninsula, 137 kilometers or 85 miles north of the equator. Even though it is only a small island nation, the country is an economic power house and many countries particularly in Asia look to Singapore as a model for economic development.
With few natural resources Singapore been able to build an amazing economy based on international trade, finance, exports and is popular tourist destination, hosting several world class events, including the Formula 1.
Singapore is just 710 square kilometers in size, but is in many top ten lists in the world, including:
- the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world (2009)
- is one of the least corrupt countries in the world according to Transparency International
- it is the third most densely populated country in the world (after Macau and Monaco)
- is the fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre
- has been rated as the most business-friendly economy in the world
- has one world's busiest ports
- it's airport Changi Airport is frequently ranked as one of the world's best
Singapore or 'Singa Pura' literally means Lion City. Of course there have never been any lions in the region, but the name might come from a royal prince who visited the island in the 14th century, who may have mistook a tiger to be a lion.
Sir Stamford Raffle, who the famous Raffles Hotel was named after, created a trading station in Singapore in the 18th century. It was then that Singapore became an important trading hub. During the second word war, Japan over took the island, but in 1965 Singapore became an independent repulic.
Around 74 per cent of the population is ethnic Chinese, 13 per cent Malay and 9 per cent Indian. The mix in ethnicities reflects the diverse culture and religions found in Singapore. It also reflects the diverse range of eating options available and is sure to delight gourmet buffs.
The government has placed tourism high on agenda and in 2008, Singapore attracted over 10 million tourists. Theme parks, zoos, historical buildings, casinos and numerous shopping malls are just some of the tourist attractions in Singapore. Orchard Road is the main shopping street, with mall after mall lining both sides of the street. Most international brands are represented and the shops are open until late at night.
Singapore has a
Singapore is sometimes described as the Swizerland of Asia. It is a major financial center and transport hub in Asia. Despite being just a small island country, it is an economic powerhouse in Asia and a popular tourist destination.