I chose Singapore to start my SE Asia trip because of the cheap flights and location. However, Singapore was a great place to start for many reasons including the transportation infrastructure, prevalence of ATM's, Internet cafes, and hostels full of people from all ages, great food and shopping, friendly people, cheap flights to almost anywhere, cleanliness, nice weather, and not to mention that English is the dominant language especially in the tourist related businesses.
According to Malay legend the country/city was named by a Sumatran prince who saw a lion during his visit and called it Singapura (Lion City). But it was Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who arrived in 1819 and transformed the island into a prosperous trading hub as a bastion of the British Empire attracting many Chinese workers.
I spent four days in Singapore and stayed in Chinatown for two days and Little India for the other two. Chinatown makes up a good portion of the city given that 77% of all Singaporeans are Chinese most of which are Buddhists or Taoists. Malay Singaporeans make up 14% of the population subscribing to Islamic customs, and Singaporean Indians make up most of the remaining population.
Sentosa Island is located off the south coast and has been overdeveloped into a major tourist destination. Since there are a series of bridges and causeways connecting it to mainland Asia, Sentosa Island is considered the 'Southern Most Point of Continental Asia'.
Next up Indonesia (see Blog).
SE Asia in general is known for being a cheap place to travel and Singapore is supposed to be on the high side compared to the other countries.
Daily Budget 50 SGD – ($33 US)
Hostel Room 25 SGD – ($16 US)
Internet (free wireless in hostel)
Dinner 8 SGD – ($5 US)
Beer 1.5 SGD – ($1 US)
Flight to Indonesia 65 SGD – ($42 US)