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Singapore Travel Guide
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Travel guides
Singapore Travel Guide

Singapore Travel Guide

Bustling and hustling cities, beautiful and romantic landscapes, along with a history deeply rooted in trade and commerce are the main attractions which help Singapore becomes one of the most ideal destinations in the Southeast Asia for tourists all over the world. Singapore located in the southern tip of Malay Peninsula, about 137 kilometers north of the equator

This Lion City, official known as the Republic of Singapore, is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. In which, ethnic Chinese accounts for 76.2% of the citizen population, Malays is 15% and ethnic Indians make up 7.4%. The territory of Singapore includes one mainland and 62 other islets. Since independence, the land has increased its total size by 23%, which is 130 square kilometers or 50 square miles.

Undoubtedly, Singapore is the most urbanized and developed country in Asia. Capture the most amazing sights in Singapore such as Garden by the Bay (a nature spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in the Central Region of Singapore), Marina Bay with the unique structure or the iconic Merlion, half fish and half lion statue resides at the waterfront Merlion Park. Take on a river cruise and enjoy the wonderful night view of Singapore

Quick facts

Capital:                                                Singapore

Language:                                           English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil

Ethnic groups:                                    Singaporean, Chinese, Indians and Malays

Religion:                                              Buddhism (33%), Hinduism (5.1%), Christian (18.3%), Muslim (14.7%), Taoism (10.9%), Atheist (0.9%)

Currency:                                            Singapore Dollar (SGD)

Time zone:                                          UTC +8

Electricity:                                           110V/ 50Hz

Calling code:                                      +65

Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate due to its geographical location and maritime expose. Uniform temperature and pressure, abundant rainfall and high humidity are the main characteristics of this land. The average temperature is between 25 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius. The humidity is quite high, which usually ranges from 70% to 80%

April is the hottest month in the year. January is the coolest month while November is the wettest month. You should bring along an umbrella when travelling Singapore as rainfall is almost an everyday phenomenon, even during the non-monsoon period

Getting to Singapore

There are 2 ways to get to Singapore: by air and by land

By air

The easiest way to enter Singapore is by air. There are total 8 airports in Singapore, but seven of which are not open to the public. Now, Changi Airport is the main terminal for foreign visitors. Changi Airport is the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia in general and the major civilian airport for Singapore in particular. At present, Changi Airport handles over 100 airlines worldwide. In which, 3 local carriers that we highly recommend are Singapore Airlines, budget airlines Tiger Airways and Scoot 

By land

If you are Malaysian, then you can drive into Singapore from West Malaysia. Singapore has 2 land checkpoints that operates 24 hours a day

·       Tuas Checkpoint

Address: 601 Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, Singapore 018956

·       Woodlands Checkpoint

Address: 21 Woodlands Crossing, Singapore 018956

Not only the cheapest way to get to Singapore, it’s also a perfect way to relax and enjoy the scenic way on the road

Getting around Singapore

Explore Singapore and its attraction will be much easier using public transportation. The public transport system is very fast and efficient.

By train

The fastest way to travel around the city is MRT, or it is called mass rapid transit. You can easily find rail network in everywhere in the city. Travel by MRT also convenient because most of Singapore’s key attractions are within walking distance from MRT station

You can buy tickets for single trip of if you want to use MRT frequently during your trip, you can buy a Singapore Tourist Pass, a special card allows tourist unlimited travel for one day.

By bus

The most economical way to get around is by bus. Singapore’s bus system can connect most places in the country. Almost buses have air-conditioning and TV, which will help you a lot in the hot weather.

By taxi

Like many other countries, taxi can be easily found in Singapore. Taxis here are metered but the price will be different depending on which company’s taxi you board. Therefore, you should tell the driver the destination you want to go then check the final fare with them before getting on the taxi.

Passport

Visitor must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival into Singapore.

Visa

Depend on different countries, citizens of almost 80% of the world’s countries may travel to Singapore for a period of 30 days or 90 days without a visa. Countries requiring visa are divided into 2 types: countries eligible to apply for an electronic visa and countries need a visa vignette

To obtain a visa, your passport should be valid for more than six months from the date of arrival into Singapore. Besides, you also need show an onward or return ticket, entry documents as well demonstrate financial documents

The countries are allowed to enter Singapore without a visa (for a maximum stay of 30 days) consists of All European Union citizens, Australia, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, United States and Vietnam

Singapore approve electronic visa from citizen/ passport holders of these countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Citizens from other countries which is not listed above must obtain a visa in advance. They may apply for a visa through a local Singapore Embassy or one of its authorized visa agents outside Singapore. Normally, visa will be processed and sent back after 3 days of working and a visa vignette is affixed on the passport.

Currency & money

The official currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar (sign: S$, code: SGD), which is divided into 2 types: paper money and coin.

There are 3 set of notes to be issued for circulation in Singapore: The Orchid Series, the Ship Series and the Bird Series. The orchid series notes are the most popular and came in denominations of S$1, S$5, S$10, S$25, S$50, S$100, S$500, S$1,000 and S$10,000. On 21 February 2013, a new series of coin was announced in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 dollar. This new series went into circulation on 26 June 2013 

Electricity, telephone & internet

Electricity: 230V/50hz, the power sockets are of type G.

Telephone & Sim card

Purchasing a local SIM card will keep you in communication with friends, family, co-workers, and prospective employers (if you’re here looking for work).

Buying a SIM card in Singapore is as easy as walking into a gas station, grocery store, post office, airport or phone shop. All you have to do is select the SIM card you want, present your passport, and pick a phone number, which is then registered with your passport details.

There are 2 types of Sim card that we highly suggest. If you stay at a local hotel in a short term (with free Wi-Fi) and don’t make too many calls, then you should choose a simple $8 Starhub Happy prepaid sim card. On the other hand, if you come on a business trip and need to check the work all the time, you can pick up a $15 Sim Card with up to 100GB of data. Just come and explore with the staff, then they will give you advice.

Internet access

Singapore is a connected nation, so internet and Wi-Fi is widely available throughout the country. Most hotels, restaurants, cafes and shopping malls offer Wi-Fi for free, but do not expect a fast-flowing as many people access at the same time.

Business hours

Opening hours can change throughout the year

Office: 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Some agencies include a half day on Saturday (often from 9.00am to 1.00pm)

Restaurants:  vary

Banks:  Mostly from 9.30am to 3.00pm, close on Saturdays and Sundays

Temples and pagodas: 9am–6.30pm

Shops: 8am–6pm

Public holidays

Like China and Vietnam, some public holidays in Singapore are subject to change every year based on the lunar calendar. There are total 10 national public holidays:

 New Year’s Day

1 Jan

 Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year

Jan or Feb

 Good Day

March/ April

 Labor Day

1 May

 Vesak Day, a holiday observed traditionally by Hindus and Buddhists

May

 National Day

9 August

 Hari Raya Haji. This holiday to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his young son Ismail in submission to Allah (God)

August

 Deepavali, Hindu festival of lights celebrated yearly in Autumn

October/ November

 Christmas Day

25 December

 Hari Raya Aidilfitri, an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm).

Moveable

Traveling with children

The Singaporean love children. It is one of the easiest Asian countries in which to travel with children as it's safe and clean, with efficient public transport. Kids are welcomed everywhere, and there are facilities and amenities catering to children of all ages. Oh, and don't be surprised if locals fawn over your little ones!

Big cities have a lot of attractions to keep your children’s attention such as the Zoo, the Night Safari, River Safari or Jurong Bird Park, where your child can feed brightly colored birds. Besides, Sentosa Island, national museum and gallery, Garden by the Bay are also big highlights 

Women travelers

You can’t pick a safer country to travel than Singapore. The country always welcomes to international guests around the world. Singapore is a clean, extremely safe and wonderful city to explore. Laws are very strict, such as you will be fined from the little thing such as throwing garbage or gum on the floor. People are friendly and willing to help you if you have any problem. That’s the reason why Singapore is an ideal location for women wanting to travel alone

Following are some advices you should take into consideration to ensure a perfect trip in this Asian country:

·       Pack simple, light, cotton/linen clothing to suit the warm and sticky weather

·       Remember to bring along an umbrella as you may catch a rain  

·       Female solo travelers are likely to become victims for pick pockets, bag snatchers and frauds. It is always necessary to pay attention to your luggage and valuable items.

·       Do not chew gum on the road, you may be fined strictly

·       Do not bring food & beverage on MRT

·       Friends in Singapore do not hug or kiss each other as greetings. So not to make any misunderstanding for your local male friends. Be sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with friends or family at your hometown and keep in touch with them regularly.

Health and safety

Singapore is regarded one of the most modern cities in Asia. Therefore, it also has an efficient and widespread system of healthcare. The specific features of the Singapore healthcare system are unique and have been described as a "very difficult system to replicate in many other countries." Many Singaporeans also have supplemental private health insurance (often provided by employers) for services not covered by the government's programs. Pharmacies can be found in almost town.

Recommended vaccinations: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Yellow Fever

During your travel, you should

- Get vaccinated

- Keep away from animals

- Avoid sharing body fluids

- Eat and drink safely

- Reduce your exposure to germs

- Avoid non-sterile medical or cosmetic equipment

- Don’t travel without health insurance.

Shopping

Undoubtedly, Singapore is known as one of the “Shopping Paradise” in Asia. When it comes to visit Singapore, you will have a great experience with multi-choices of boutique shops, shopping malls and street markets, which is full of consumer goods and merchandise. Singapore has more high-end shopping mall than anywhere else in Asia. Moreover, the famous name brands in these malls offer cheaper prices than other cities around the world. That’s the reason why Singapore attracts a lot of shopaholics every year.

Some of the most popular shopping sites include Orchard Road, Mustafa Centre, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Thieves Market, Bugis St Market, etc.

Tips:

Best time for shopping

For those who don’t know, the best time for shopping in Singapore is during the Great Sale. This biggest sale festival starts in June and lasts until July, with the best bargains picked up in the first month. This time of the year appeals to a large crowd of shoppers from neighboring countries

Bargaining

If you go shopping at local market or shop, make sure to ask the price before purchasing. Walk around and draw a comparison between shops with similar items in case you’re not sure. Bargaining should be good-natured, smile and don’t get angry or argue. In some case, you will be able to get a 50% discount or more, at other times this may be only 10%.

Singapore is the world’s most diverse nation in cuisine due to its multi-cultural. Its cuisine is the harmonious combination of the native Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. Below are top 8 dishes you should not skip during your trip in Singapore

Chili Crab: If you want to try a real taste of Singapore, then this signature dish will not let you down. Hard shelled crabs cooked in semi-thick gravy with a chili-hot tomato sauce. The steamed crabs are partially cracked, then lightly stir-fried in a paste comprising of chili sauce, ketchup and eggs. Served with a bowl of rice or fresh bread to help soaking up the gravy of the dish. 

Hainanese Chicken Rice: this dish is listed at No.45 on the World’s 50 most delicious food by CNN Go in 2011. Chicken rice can be found anywhere in Singapore, from the local stalls to luxury restaurants. It is a simple dish; steamed chicken will be served with rice cooked and eat along with chicken stock

Laksa: A Singaporean thick rice noodles in a coconut curry gravy with prawn and egg. Sometimes chicken, tau pok (bean curd puffs) or fish cake may be added. It is a perfect blend between Chinese and Malay cuisine.

Hokkien Prawn Mee: an iconic dish in Singapore’s cuisine. Stir-fried Hokkien noodles with prawns, slices of chicken or pork, squid and fish cake, seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar and chili. Each serving comes with sambal sauce and a lime wedge, to tone down the oily taste. The Singapore version uses thick, flat egg noodles.

Char Kuay Teow: Broad white noodles fried with black Soya sauce, bean sprouts, fish cake, clams and Chinese sausage.

Satay: When talking about Singapore’s cuisine, we can’t not skip this signature dish. Skewered grilled meat served with rice cake (ketupat), peanut sauce and cucumber-chili relish. This popular side dish makes an excellent starter or party platter. It has a strong turmeric scent and flavor, as this spice is the key marinade ingredient. Choose from pork, chicken, beef or mutton.

Fish Head Curry: A huge fish head and vegetables (potato, carrot, eggplant, etc.) stewed in curry soup consisting of coconut milk and tamarind juice. The dish is usually served with rice or bread

Oyster Omelette: If you used to travel Taiwan or China, this dish will be familiar with you. Flour mixed with egg then fried with a generous helping of small oysters garnished with coriander leaves. The smell absolutely will make you fall in love

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