It would be easy to think that Singapore has one thing on its mind: money, and how to make more of it. You don’t get a booming economy, towering skyscrapers, and a thriving electronics and manufacturing industry by taking your eye off the dime. But visitors who take the time to walk around street markets or drop into the Raffles Hotel for afternoon tea will see that this highly regulated city-state has more than that to offer, with more to come. Aware that it needed to glitz up a bit to compete with its archrivals Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, and South Korea, the government in 2005 legalized gambling and authorized two casino resorts to be built, but they won’t see the light of day until 2009. So-called hawker centers, areas offering ethnic foods, are ideal for experiencing the cuisine that reflects Singapore’s Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Tamil mix. Getting around is made easy by the state’s train, bus, and highway systems, and taxis are plentiful and inexpensive. Pack light, by the way; Singapore is warm and humid all year round, and rain is never far away.
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