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The second most densely populated independent country in the world, Singapore is made up of not just one island but a main island with 63 surround islets. This main island is a diamond-shaped and is connected at its north side to the Malaysian state of Johor by a man-made causeway, known as the Johor-Singapore Causeway, which crosses at the Tebrau Straits. The Tuas Second Link bridge also connects to Johor from the West.
One of Singapore's most outstandingly unique attributes is its ongoing planning process, and the results of 6+ decades of such planning. The locations of communities, working-shopping-eating-entertainment facilities and infrastructure have been fine-tuned since the design and creation of Singapore's first “New Town” of Queenstown, from 1952. Prior to that there was a problem of unplanned squatter settlements which were characterized in 1947 as “one of the world's worst slums” – which was energetically addressed and eradicated in an attempt to evolve world-leading planning approaches, and benefits therefrom to the people.
Now, the typical Singaporean lives in a comfortable self-owned leasehold apartment unit adjacent to groceries, eateries, other shopping, bus and/or urban rail transport. Schools, parks and open space, a public sports complex (with running/jogging track, olympic and recreational swimming pools, fitness equipment and other facilities available at nominal cost), are often within walking distance or a short bus-rail ride of one's home. If the visitor were to stop at a MRT station like Bedok or Pasir Ris one could wander through neighbourhoods and see how these facilities all fit together.
There are actually 55 urban planning areas that make up the nation state, and today some of this is on land that has been reclaimed from the sea. Earth obtained from hills, the seabed and even neighboring countries have been used in recent years to allow Singapore to increase in size by nearly 40 square miles in the past 50 years.
The ultra-modern Downtown Core is primarily concentrated on the southern part of the island, around the mouth of the Singapore River. This is an area of high-rise office towers and features some of the finest hotels in the city, if not the world.
In addition, there are several ethnic neighborhoods that make up the city, including Little India and Chinatown. While these were once used to segregate the immigrant population, today they are maintained as places to experience the goods, food and culture.
Away from the ever-moving Downtown district there are plenty of places to see the other side of Singapore including Changi Village, which is a sleepy district of fisherman and sun-drenched beaches. Holland Village, which has been dubbed a “bohemian enclave” is a curious mix of old and new, where traditional coffee shops share blocks with upscale wine bars and fine dining restaurants.
The satellite suburb of Yishun on the northern coast of the island offers a modern shopping mall to satisfy even the most die-hard spendthrift.