The port plays a key role in the economy to this day, though the island now also thrives on high-tech industry, financial services and tourism, all bolstered by a super-efficient infrastructure.
Admission: Free, Open to Public Swiftlet Garden Museum showcases the swiftlet ecology and how famous Asian delicacy Bird Nest is produced, harvested and processed (Swiftlet Saliva! Free to browse the exhibits and watch a brief film.
Thus it is that since independence much of the population has been resettled from downtown slums and outlying (villages) into new towns, and the city’s old quarters have seen historic buildings and streets bulldozed to make way for shopping malls.
Yet although Singapore lacks much of the personality of some Southeast Asian cities, it has more than enough captivating places to visit, from elegant temples to fragrant medicinal shops to grand colonial buildings.
Much of Singapore’s fascination springs from its multicultural population, a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indian, which can make a short walk across town feel like a hop from one country to another, and whose mouthwatering cuisines are a major highlight of any visit.
The city also rejoices in a clutch of fine historical museums that offer a much-needed perspective on the many successes and sacrifices that made Singapore what it is today, plus a lively arts scene featuring no shortage of international talent and local creativity.