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Singapore sights.

Culture and beauty bring out the tourist in any business traveler

FOR AN ISLAND ITS small size, Singapore is not lacking in activities for tourists. Located on the southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore is home to a melange of diverse peoples -- Chinese (77 percent), Malays (14 percent), and Indians (7 percent). And it is this cultural diversity that has naturally given rise to a popular multitude of sights in the city and surrounding harbor.

To fully experience the island, take a bumboat cruise along the Singapore River. From this vantage point, many historic sights will come into view. Or, take a cable car ride offering spectacular views of the city skyline and neighboring islands. Then there is always shopping -- the mainstay activity since colonial trade days. Afterwards, spend some time on Bugis Street, site of Asia's most famous outdoor food and entertainment spot.

Several interesting historical sights can be found near the convention center. The Parliament House, on North Boat Quay, is Singapore's oldest government building. Built in 1827, it was originally designed by the renowned colonial architect George Coleman as a private mansion before eventually becoming the home of Singapore's Parliament.

The Empress Place Building, located on the banks of the Singapore River across from the Parliament House, was initially built as a courthouse in 1864. Named in honor of Queen victoria, the building housed several government departments after 1875. Following a recent multimillion dollar restoration, the building now serves as a museum and exhibition center that features cultural and archeological treasures from the People's Republic of China. 1 Empress Place. Open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

After two years of renovations, the "Grand Old Lady of the East" -- the Raffles Hotel -- has once again opened her doors. Visitors can now rediscover the majesty of this 19th century hotel, located on Beach Road, through the photographs and objects in its museum, while reliving the past in a reproduction of its famous Long Bar where the Singapore Sling, a drink of gin, benedictine and cherry brandy, was first concocted.

Built back in 1928 as a power station, the Substation on Armenian Street no longer supplies electricity to the neighborhood, but it does generate a powerful supply of artistic and cultural energy. This is a popular meeting place of professional and budding artists, writers, dancers and dramatists. There are also an art gallery and regularly held cultural workshops and seminars.

To take a break from the downtown hustle and bustle, peace and serenity can be found from dawn to dusk at the tropical Bukit Timah Reserve atop Singapore's highest hill or at the tranquil Chinese and Japanese Gardens, located off Yuan Ching Road in Jurong. The 74-acre Botanic Gardens, at the corner of Napier and Cluny Roads, and the colorful Mandai Orchid Garden, on Mandai Lake Road, promise a breathtaking look at Singapore's national flower. The Chinese and Japanese Gardens are open Mort. through Sat. from 9 a,m. to 7 p.m. and Sun. from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Botanic Gardens are open Mon, through Fri. from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sat. and Sun from 5 a.m, to midnight.

Jurong Bird Park is a 50-acre hillside haven for over 4,500 birds from 420 species that live in simulated habitats. Exotic feathered species can be found, such as the Bird of Paradise, Cock-of-the-Rock and the American Bald Eagle, ostrich and kiwi. Also housed here are the world's largest collections of South American Toucans and Southeast Asian Hornbills. Next door is the Jurong Crocodile Paradise where visitors can view over 2,500 crocodiles. Jurong Hill, Jalan Abroad Ibrahim. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

At the Singapore Zoological Gardens -- one of the few open zoos in the world -- one can experience the closest thing to actually being in a wild animal habitat. This lush jungle setting has over 1,600 creatures separated only by rock walls and streams. Be sure not to miss having breakfast or afternoon tea with Ah Meng, matriarch of the zoo's endangered orangutan breeding program. Other endangered species that call the zoo home include the Bawean hog deer, Sumatran tiger, clouded leopard, golden lion tamarin and the 10 foot-long Komodo dragon. There is also a polar bear exhibit, a sea lion and penguin gallery, and an underwater crocodile exhibit. 80 Mandai Lake Road. Open Mon. through Sat. from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. and holidays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Changi Prison, located on the scenic East Coast, is well worth a stopover. Still used today to imprison convicts, this infamous POW camp represents the site where Japanese occupation forces interned some 70,000 prisoners during World War II.

Visitors have access to a replica of the Changi Prison Chapel built by the prisoners and a museum that chronicles the brutal hardships endured by the Allied POWs. Please check with your hotel's tourist desk for operating hours, which fluctuate from day to day.
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Title Annotation:Special Section
Publication:Risk Management
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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