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Michael Portillo: Great Asian Railway Journeys #19 – “Raffles Place to Botanic Gardens”


Michael Portillo’s south east Asian railway tour reaches its final stop – the phenomenally successful island city state of Singapore.

In the historic centre, Michael discovers Singapore’s maritime origins and the vision of the 19th-century Englishman who put it on the map. In the Long Bar at the iconic Raffles Hotel, Michael treats himself to a Singapore sling, now a world-famous cocktail. A boat trip along the Singapore River reveals how trade flourished under British colonial rule. And Michael marvels the scale of shipping today on a visit to a vast construction site, where a new mega port will strengthen Singapore’s position as a global trading hub.

In Chinatown, Michael dines with an artist and his family and learns about the history of the Chinese community. At the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Michael helps to keep the orchids blooming, and later, he enjoys an extraordinary spectacle at gardens of a very different kind down by the bay.

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