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6th April 2004
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 Holiday | Programmes | 50


Best time to go: Singapore is hot year-round, with high humidity. It's wettest from November to January

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Craig Doyle
The port of Singapore was one of your favourite places to see, in at number 39.

Once a sleepy colonial backwater, Singapore is now the largest port in Southeast Asia. It is located about 85 miles north of the Equator where the Indian Ocean meets the South China Sea, so if you are planning a trip there, be prepared to have a hot and sticky time as humidity levels can get pretty high.

Singapore is now known as the Lion City, and although it is a bustling metropolis, it maintains a delightful colonial flavour, and thanks to its colourful multicultural population the city has many exciting areas to discover, from aromatic Little India to the atmospheric Arab quarter, and from crowded Chinatown to the downtown Colonial District.

Singapore�s colonial charm is never more evident than in the Raffles Hotel, famed for its luxury, elegance and of course, the Singapore Sling cocktail which we are told was invented by a Raffles bartender in 1915. Raffles has been welcoming guests since 1887 and Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad are reported to have enjoyed Raffles hospitality in their time.

Raffles certainly isn�t short of claims to fame. It was the first building in Singapore with electric lights and fans, and it has been reported that the last tiger to be killed on the island was actually shot inside the hotel. If you are visiting Singapore, it would be a shame to miss out on this piece of history, and even if you don�t stay there, you could always drop into the bar for a quick Singapore Sling.


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Price: About £500 return

Approx flight time: 13 hours

  • in Singapore, you can be fined for jay-walking, chewing gum, eating on the pavement and failing to flush a public toilet
  • during World War II, Raffles Hotel was a Japanese Officers� quarters
  • apparently the Singapore Sling was originally meant as a ladies drink, hence the pink colour
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