Singapore (Chinese: 新加坡; Malay: Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர்) is a city-state in Southeast Asia. Modern Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819, and since independence, it has become one of the world's most prosperous countries and boasts one of the world's busiest ports. Singaporean food is legendary, with bustling hawker centres and 24-hour coffee shops offering affordable food from all parts of Asia. Combining the skyscrapers and subways of an affluent, futuristic and modern city with a medley of different Asian cultures such as the Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate, with tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene, this Garden City makes a great stopover or springboard into the region.
The country has a partly deserved reputation for its sterile predictability and neutrality. Nevertheless, the "Switzerland of Asia" is for many a welcome respite from the chaos, dirt and poverty of much of the neighbouring Southeast Asian mainland. If you scratch below the squeaky clean surface and get away from the tourist trail you'll soon find more than meets the eye in one of the few city-states in the world.
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