WHERE TO START: Lying almost on the equator, the prosperous city state of Singapore is a tourist paradise with world-famous hotels, delectable cuisine, fabulous shopping and guaranteed hot weather. But it's not all sophisticated modernity. Although Singapore is a city of concrete, glass and shopping malls, it also has a captivating history, which can be witnessed in ethnic enclaves such as Arab Street, Chinatown and Little India, in addition to a variety of excellent museums.
A good place to start your research is www.technofind.com.sg, the largest search engine for Singapore Web sites, with information on hotels and restaurants, as well as links to entertainment and business sites. Another excellent one-stop site is singapore-hotels.ws, with directories ranging from festivals, golf and nightlife to eco-tourism. The Singapore Infomap site, www.sg, has directories covering leisure, entertainment, economy and cuisine.
For the history and politics of Singapore, visit asnic.utexas.edu/asnic.html, the Web site for the Asian Studies Network Information Centre at the University of Texas. And to find out what's going on news-wise, visit www.asia1.com.sg, which has links to English daily newspapers in Singapore such as the Straits Times and the Business Times. For package deals and group bookings, visit Asia Travel's Web site at asiatravel.com/singapore.html.
WHERE TO STAY: Singapore has a wide variety of hotels ranging from grand colonial to modern luxury and historical boutique styles. When it comes to colonial opulence, Raffles Hotel (www.raffleshotel.com), built in 1887, is the grande dame of Singapore hostelries. To recapture the flavour of old colonialism, sip a Singapore sling in the bar and book a suite that pays posthumous tribute to the hotel's more famous guests, including Ava Gardner and Noel Coward. The Fullerton Singapore (www.thefullerton.com) has a classical facade and 400 deluxe rooms overlooking the Singapore river.
If modern luxury is more your style, the Ritz Carlton Millennia Singapore (www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels) is located in the business district and boasts a funky art collection, fantastic views and a spa. The G@llery Hotel is Singapore's first hip hotel. Situated on the river in the trendy Robertson Quay area, it has a neo-modernist exterior and cantilevered rooftop pool. Visit www.marimari.com where it's listed under its old name, the Gallery Evason Singapore.
There are a number of small private guesthouses situated in lovingly restored shophouses, including Perak Lodge in Little India (www.peraklodge.net), the Inn at Temple Street (www.theinn.com.sg), and the Royal Peacock Hotel (www.holidaycity.com/ royal-peacock-singapore), both in Chinatown.
WHAT TO DO: For information on historical sites, log on to www.visitsingapore.com, which has directories on the ethnic quarters, places of worship, museums, and landmarks and memorials. For lighter entertainment, visit www.zoo.com.sg, which has links to sites on the Zoological Gardens, night safaris at Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park. For information on the attractions at Sentosa Island, including rides, musical fountain displays and diving with sharks at Underwater World, visit www.travelforkids.com. Shopaholics are well-catered for in Singapore and www.newasia-singapore.com has extensive directories listing what to buy, where to buy it and discount stores. Culture vultures should go to www.happening.com.sg, which provides an arts guide to concerts, exhibitions, films and nightlife. Alternatively, www.asianpanorama.com has a good nightlife directory and www.zoukclub.com.sg lists forthcoming DJs at one of Southeast Asia's most happening dance clubs.
WHERE TO EAT: One of the best things about Singapore is the variety and quality of its cuisine. For restaurant reviews, visit www.sintercom.org, which has links to local, international and vegetarian eateries as well as information on places to eat after midnight, restaurants with great music, and out-of-the-way teahouses. There's also a gastronomic guide on www.expatsingapore.com, which also details the best places to eat and drink in the trendy Quays area.
WHERE TO DIVE: Singapore has some beautiful coral reefs. Visit www.scubayellow pages.com for listings of dive operators in the city, while www.geocities.com/Pipeline/3127 has information on the best dive sites in the southern islands, including Pulau Hantu, Raffles Lighthouse and Kusu Island.