Singapore’s Super Trees rise high on the skyline.
Singapore’s Super Trees rise high on the skyline. Contributed

There is just so much more to see and do in Singapore

THERE are many exciting cities on this planet - New York, London, Paris, Rome, to name a few.

None are as vibrant, energetic and lively as Singapore.

At the crossroads of the East, Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world.

Its international airport rates as the very best.

It has the biggest Ferris wheel and one of the most unusual hotels.

Its mass transit system would be difficult to beat.

All of this in an island country with a population around 5.5 million in an area of 700sq km - about a third the size of the Australian Capital Territory.

Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819 by Stamford Raffles.

It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent.

It has since become one of the world's most prosperous countries.

In 2015 it celebrates 50 years of independence.

Many older Australians remember the dark days during the Second World War when Japanese forces controlled the island.

Changi prisoner of war camp was notorious for the harsh treatment handed out to Allied and Malayan soldiers. Today, Changi is the name of Singapore's main airport.

While not the busiest, Changi certainly takes the prize as the best. Its three passenger terminals have outstanding facilities.

While waiting for a flight you can take a shower, work out in a gym, watch movies for free, take a free sightseeing bus ride, let the kids play in the kids' zone or stroll around the many duty-free shops.

Access to the city is a breeze on the MRT - Mass Rapid Transit, a train system that is so efficient and so easy to use as well as being extremely economical.

Trains on the MRT run every few minutes.

Unlike Australian train stations, access to the tracks is prevented by a barrier with doors that open automatically when the train stops.

The trains are fast and clean and signs are in English. A ride from the city to Changi Airport costs less than $3.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, built on reclaimed land near the harbour, is the world's second most expensive building and one of the most unusual and recognisable.

It consists of three towers each with 55 storeys, capped by the SkyPark with 360 degree views of the city.

The SkyPark has restaurants, gardens, an incredible vanishing-edge pool and the world's largest cantilever observation deck.

One night will set you back around $500 for a standard room.

Adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands are the Gardens by the Bay, covering over 100 hectares.

The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest buildings house indoor exhibits.

The Supertree Grove features vertical gardens ranging from 25-50m, shaped like trees out of the movie Avatar. A walkway allows visitors to enjoy breathtaking aerial views.

The Singapore Flyer is the world's biggest ferris wheel at 165 metres tall. Its 28 air-conditioned capsules take about 30 minutes for one rotation and hold up to 28 passengers.

Rides start at $33 per person but you can take a high tea ride or a full dining ride complete with butler. Views from the top are excellent.

No visit to Singapore would be complete without going to Sentosa Island. Sentosa is accessible by cable car, causeway or monorail.

With numerous themed attractions a whole day is hardly enough to sample the delights on offer.

While Mandarin is the main language spoken, English is also an official language and most people understand it.

All tourist signs are in English.

Singapore is also a very clean city - harsh penalties deter litterers and graffiti artists.

Years ago, Singapore used to be a bargain-hunters paradise but today it is more upmarket although good deals can still be had.

There is just so much more to see and do in Singapore - a week is barely adequate.

Accommodation can be booked at hundreds of hotels.

With a flying time from Brisbane of about seven hours, Singapore is easily accessible from Brisbane and worth the effort.

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