Singapore General Information
Region: South East Asia
Most Chinese profess some degree of attachment to Confucianism, Buddhism, or Taoism. Malays and some Indians practice Islam; the remaining population is either Christian or Hindu.
The official languages are English, Mandarin (Chinese), Malay, and Tamil.
Area (sq. km):
710 square meters
GMT +8 hours.
When To Travel
Singapore's average monthly temperatures are uniformly high throughout the year and vary from 25ºC in January to 27ºC in June. Annual rainfall, though fairly evenly distributed during the year, averages more than 250mm per month during the November-March northeastern monsoon and approximately 178mm during the May-September southern monsoon.
All year round in Singapore tends to be humid and with rainy periods, so there is no good or bad time to visit. The rain is not a bad thing, as it tends to cool things down.
Useful Travel Facts
Changi International Airport is located 20km from the city centre. It is serviced by the MRT (rail) and costs approximately S$1.35 (26 minute trip). Public buses are also available and cost approximately S$1.50. Taxes take around 10-15 minutes to the city centre and cost approximately S$12 (there may be a supplementary charge in addition to the metered fare.
The international dialling code for Singapore is +65.
If you are bringing along any plug-in appliances you should take an international adapter with you. Round two-pin plugs are the most common types in the region.Voltage is 220V/50 cycles.
Food, glorious food abounds in Singapore. It is a melting pot of cuisines, ranging from Thai and Indonesian to Malaysian, to Chinese and Indian, English and Korean, Swiss and Japanese. Malay cuisine is a favourite, famed for its use of spices and coconut milk. Satay (skewers of marinated meat cooked over charcoal) served with peanut sauce, cucumber, onion and rice is popular. Hot, spicy or sweet Indonesian cuisine includes beef rendang (coconut milk beef curry), chicken sambal and gado gado (a fruit and vegetable salad in peanut sauce). One of the best ways to eat in Singapore is in the open, at one of the ubiquitous street foodstalls. Some are quiet and casual while others are in areas bustling with activity. All have a vast selection of cheap, mouthwatering food. Newton Circus and La Pau Sat are food centres where all types of Asian food can be sampled cheaply.
Singapore has an extremely clean and efficient transport system. The MRT rail system is the quickest, easiest and most comfortable way to get around. The bus system is extensive and usually the wait between buses is not more than a few minutes. A different way to tour the streets of Singapore is to take a trishaw ride. It’s best to avoid hailing a trishaw off the road. If you do, make sure that you agree on the fare to your destination before the trip commences. We travel by bus overland from Malaysia into Singapore.
The vast range of available goods, mixed with competitive prices have led to Singapore being known as a shopper’s paradise. Special purchases include Balinese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian and Malay antiques; batiks; cameras; Chinese, Indian and Persian carpets; imported or tailored clothing; jewellery and specialised items made of reptile and snake skins, including shoes, briefcases, handbags and wallets. Silks, perfumes, silverware and wigs are other favourite buys. Orchard Road is the main shopping street, although many of the large hotel complexes, such as Marina Square, have shopping centres attached. Although most outlets operate Western-style fixed pricing, bargains can still be made in some places but generally only after good research and shrewd negotiating. Electrical equipment of all types can be bought at Sungei Road, but caution is advised as there are many imitation products around. For more information on shopping in Singapore, see the Singapore Shopping brochure published by the Singapore Tourism Board.
Visa: Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Singapore. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
Useful Words & Phrases
Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei-Lonely Planet A History of Singapore-C.M. Turnball Raffles-Maurice Collins No Man is an Island-James Minchin Portraits of Places-Brenda SA Yeoh