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In 1819 Singapore's founder, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, designated certain downtown areas of Pulau Ujong to different communities to help them settle in more easily. These ethnic quarters, as they are known, remain a vibrant insight into Singapore's heritage.
Walk through the bustling streets of Chinatown, where traditional architecture and floating red lanterns line the streets and elegant calligraphy warns away evil with messages of good fortune. Visit the exquisite Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, then sample some Chinese cuisine at the local market. Be sure to save space though, as Singapore's diverse dining options are difficult to resist.
Equally vibrant is the district of Little India. Follow the scent of delicate jasmine and aromatic spices and you'll soon come face to face with the popular Mustafa Centre, where bargain hunters can shop to their hearts’ content. Sitting proudly in the centre of Little India is the House of Tan Teng Niah, quite likely Singapore's most colourful building. Walk a little further and discover Sri Srinivasa Perumal and Sri Veeramakaliamman. These two incredible temples are very similar, but tell two different stories about aspects of religion.
In Kampong Glam, you'll find the gloriously grand Sultan's Mosque, a focal point of the Muslim community, as well as the Malay Heritage Centre. Learn about the island's rich history here, in the grounds of Istana Kampong Glam – the historic seat of Malay royalty. Pick up a souvenir at Arab Street, where Persian carpets, handmade perfumes and sumptuous fabrics are aplenty.
The breathtaking skyline is Marina Bay's main attraction, with towering skyscrapers and futuristic architecture dominating your view. Greenery grows from rooftops to reinforce the island's moniker as the Garden City, while the Gardens by the Bay overflows with flowers, ferns and shrubs. Hop on a boat for a close-up look at the iconic Merlion statue, enjoy panoramic views from the Singapore Flyer or experience the city's unique sights, sounds and lights by night. For a truly exciting time, visit during the Singapore Grand Prix and experience the carnival atmosphere of its exhilarating night race.
Though just 31 miles wide and 16 miles from top to bottom, there's so much to see and do. If you get the chance, take a trip to one of the other 62 islands in the archipelago.