Key Country Facts
Singapore is nicknamed The Lion City. Why? In 1299, a prince named Sang Nila Utama decided Singapore needed a new capital. While searching the jungle lands, he saw a wild orange animal with a black head and white breast that was believed to be a lion. Lions were considered to be a sign of good fortune, so the Prince decided to stay and build a city there near what is now the Singapore River.
Singapore, founded in 1819. The capital is also named Singapore, and the population is over 5.6 million (2015). There are many religions practiced in Singapore, with the main ones being Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Taoism/folk religion. Its main exports are electronics, chemicals, and wealth management services. Its economy is actually considered as one of the most open economies in the world and deals with a lot of foreign direct investment. Its time zone is 13 hours ahead of EST.
Another interesting fact about Singapore is that it has no aquifers or lakes, making water scarce. Yet its strategies for dealing with this problem are said to be the most successful in the world by using desalination (removing salt and minerals), artificial aquifers, and recycled water.
Was last here ~20 years ago with my dad, and at the time the downtown area was brand-spanking new, with awe-inspiring architecture. While its skyline has expanded it still looks the same, albeit a bit more dated.
The best place to stay for 1-2 nights is definitely the Marina Bay Sands, which is connected to what may be one of the top shopping malls on the planet. The 3-level mall has every store imaginable. I chose to catch the musical “Chicago” at the Mastercard Theatre, and checked out the 2-level casino afterwards.
I had planned to go to the zoo and then on to the horse track afterwards but rain put a damper on these plans.
I stayed at the Ritz Carlton, whose better days are behind her. The front desk was painfully understaffed at check-in and out, and the concierge couldn’t have been any less competent or accommodating, seemingly with other guests on her mind. The carpets throughout, like the exterior of the hotel, showed the property’s age. I rarely regret spending lavishly on a hotel but in this case I wish I had stayed elsewhere.