Venture to the Far East – Singapore and Bangkok

Marwa Grimes

For travellers of East Asia, the prosperous nation of Singapore and the bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand, are two must-see gems. Singapore, a small tropical country of five million people, three-fourths of which are of Chinese descent, borders Malaysia. The country is well-developed and stable, boasting a low crime rate. Independent since 1965, the nation is a parliamentary republic. Prominent religions include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. The main languages spoken throughout Singapore are English, Mandarin, other Chinese dialects, Malay, and Tamil. The country boasts an excellent literacy rate-nearly 96%. The average life spans are impressive as well, 79 for men and nearly 84 for women. Singapore is truly a modern nation.

Singapore is an ideal travel destination. Numerous attractions, all with unique cultural flavour, await. There is something for everyone! Visit the nature gardens, see the countless varieties of animals at the Singapore Zoo, and marvel at landmarks and memorials, many of which hearken back to Singapore’s colonial era. For the gambler, there are several casinos, including the new Marina Bay Sands Casino. Temples and churches of the great religions of both the East and the West beckon the pious traveller to worship. Festivals throughout the year provide yet another attraction. Other entertainment destinations include Resorts World Sentosa, the Esplanade theatres, and Universal Studios Singapore. The nightlife of Singapore provides more opportunities for excursion as well. For an intercultural experience, visitors can spend time in Singapore’s Chinatown and Little India. Architecture, music, food, and merchandise from the respective nations can be found in these two popular areas.

There are several avenues of travel for those staying in, or even simply sightseeing, Singapore. Visitors have the option of travelling via SBS Transit buses, MRT trains, or taxis. Strolling through Singapore at a leisurely pace is always a welcomed option as well. For those staying overnight, there are hotels located throughout the island nation. Visitors with any budget and taste can find the right lodging accommodations.

Bangkok is the capital city, largest city, and main port of Thailand, a country in southeast Asia bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The Thai capital since 1782, Bangkok now has a population of over 9 million people. The official language of Thailand is Thai, which is also the dominant ethnic group. English is also used regularly. Over 90% of the people have a religious background in Buddhism. Thailand is overseen by a constitutional monarchy. The capital is not only the political, cultural, and economic center of the nation, it is a hotspot for tourism.

Bangkok, known as the “City of Angels,” rivals Singapore for attractions. Visitors should check out the Grand Palace and its accompanying chapel, known as Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Emerald Buddha. Other historical destinations include the National Museum, Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, and the temples of Wat Pho, Wat Traimit, and Wat Arun. Connoisseurs of the arts would enjoy a visit to the National Art Gallery and National Theatre. Bangkok also has a host of modern attractions-dance clubs, shopping centers, find dining, street entertainment, and an energetic nightlife. Bangkok has something for everyone!

Like Singapore, Bangkok has multiple avenues of travel in and around the city. Taxis, buses, ferries, the BTS Skytrain, and the MRT Underground provide both efficient and affordable means of transportation in Bangkok. Also like Singapore, the City of Angels has lodging accommodations throughout.

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