<p>Photo: Raffles Hotel</p>

A Sikh guard stands in front of the Raffles Hotel, opened in 1887 and declared a National Monument a century later.

Photograph by Heimo Aga

Singapore is the great success story of modern Asia. Since gaining its independence from Malaysia in 1965, the tiny city-state has gone from a poor trading port to one of the wealthiest states in the world. And it shows: high-rise condos and skyscrapers dominate the landscape, and shoppers peruse the latest designer goods in a seemingly endless lineup of malls and boutiques along Orchard Road. Once known for its strict fines and uptight demeanor, Singapore is loosening up, transforming into what former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew hopes will soon be, “a tropical version” of New York, Paris, and London all in one.

Related Features

  • Photo: Woman shopping at Union Square Greenmarket in New York

    Top 10 Food Markets

    Scruffy and chaotic or orderly and refined, the world's street markets offer local—and often cheap—seasonal produce alongside a slice of local life.

  • Photo: Hikers in the Andes Mountains near Machu Picchu

    Photos: World's Best Picnic Spots

    Have a snack while you're soaking in the sights. Here are some of the most beautiful spots for a picnic.

  • <p>Photo: Botanical Gardens</p>

    Singapore Must-Dos

    Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Singapore—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.

  • 350019.jpg

    The Singapore Solution

    How did a sleepy little island transform into a high-tech powerhouse in one generation? It was all in the plan.

  • Photo: Waiter serving coffee

    Photo Gallery: Classic Cafés

    The barista may call the shots, but history takes the (coffee) cake at these classic city cafés.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities

2015 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of a tree under night stars in Deadvlei, Namibia

    See the Winners

    Explore the top photos, share your favorites, and browse all entries.