Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, Singapore joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963. Two years later, it became an independent island-state, developing into one of the world's most prosperous countries. With ultra-modern skyscrapers combined with a medley of Chinese, Indian and Malay influences, Singapore is a dynamic city rich in contrast and color, exhibiting a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture. Explore Condé Nast Insider Tips for Singapore
Off the Beaten Track
Changi Village: Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Singapore with a trip to nearby Changi Village. Although void of traditional kampong houses, the village atmosphere lingers. Visit the Changi Prison, on your way to this seaside village, for a look at the Changi Chapel and Museum which holds a replica of the chapel used in WWII by the Allied prisoners. History comes alive in this building where memorabilia and notes pinned to the walls of the chapel are stark reminders of the country's war history. From Changi Village, you can also board a bum-boat for a short ride to the northern island of Pulau Ubin where tranquil beaches and popular seafood restaurants abound.
A mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences give Singapore a cosmopolitan feel with a myriad of different cultures that collide harmoniously. Each racial group has its own designated area where individual cultures and traditions live on in perpetuity. Religious tolerance is important in Singapore. Modern churches sit side by side ancient Chinese temples and Taoist and Buddhists worship side by side Christians and Muslims. Meeting & greeting: Always use a person's formal name unless invited to do otherwise. Handshakes are not the norm. Bowing, salaaming, saluting or shaking one's own clasped hands are common forms of greeting. If you are offered a handshake, however, be prepared for it to be gentle and prolonged as Asians are not accustomed to firm handshakes. Handing over money: When passing money or a business card to a Singaporean, do so with with both hands. Using one hand is considered disrespectful.