Singapore is approximately 136.8 km north of the equator, between latitudes 103 degrees 38’ E and 104 degrees 06’ E. It consists of the main island of Singapore and some 63 offshore islands. The main island has a total land area of 682 square km. Singapore is a vibrant and modern city-state with a population of four million people of different races. She is also a regional hub for trade, transportation, banking, tourism and communications.
It is linked to Malaysia by two causeway bridges, and the key islands of the Riau archipelago of Indonesia are just a quick ferry trip away. Thailand and the Philippines are a short plane journey away. Singapore, with an airport served by more than 69 airlines, is very much the gateway to Southeast Asia.
A valid passport or an international recognised travel document is required. Visas are required for citizens of some countries. All visitors are advised to check with the nearest Singapore Embassy or Singapore Diplomatic Mission for the most up-to-date entry procedures and requirements prior to departure
Generally, foreigners who do not require visas for entry and are visiting Singapore as tourists, may be given up to 30-day social visit passes upon their arrival in Singapore.
The official currency is the Singapore dollars and cents. Notes come in denominations of SGD 2, SGD 5, SGD 10, SGD 20, SGD 50, SGD 100, SGD 500, SGD 1,000, and SGD 10,000. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and SGD 1.
Most banks handle travellers’ cheques and change foreign currencies. However, some banks do not have foreign exchange dealings on Saturdays.
Passports are required when cashing in travellers’ cheques. A nominal commission may be charged.
Major cards like AMEX, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and JCB are widely accepted by establishments in Singapore.
A 7% Goods and Services Tax (“GST”) is levied in Singapore. Foreign visitors may claim the GST paid on goods and services purchased from shops with the “Tax Free” sign, if you spend at least SGD100 (including GST). You may accumulate up to 3 same-day invoices/receipts from retailers bearing the same GST registration number to meet this minimum purchase amount.
For more information, please visit https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/GST/Consumers/Tourist-Refund-Scheme
Tipping is not commonly practised in Singapore as most hotels and restaurants has already levy a 10% service charge on customers’ bills. Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore and is prohibited at the airport.
There are four official languages in Singapore: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. English is the language of business and administration, and Most Singaporeans are conversant in English, which is widely spoken and understood. Malay is the national language.
Singapore is 8 hours ahead of GMT
Singapore, being a tropical city, has a warm and humid climate all year round, with only slight variations between the average maximum of 31 degrees Celcius and minimum of 23 degrees Ccelcius. But for those who do not enjoy the tropical climate, Singapore is sheltered from the worst effects of the sun with air-conditioning in almost all of its shops, hotels, office buildings and restaurants.
Rain falls throughout the year, with more consistent rain coming during the monsoon season from November to January. Showers are usually sudden and heavy, but also brief and refreshing.
Light and summer clothing made from natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for the climate especially for outdoor activities. Casual dress acceptable for most situations and occasions but some establishments may require a more formal dress code. It is always advisable to check beforehand on dress regulations, if any.
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An efficient public transportation network of taxis, buses and the modern Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) / Light Rapid Transit (LRT) rail system ensures that Travelling around Singapore is hassle-free and extremely affordable
The MRT / LRT is a modern, air-conditioned passenger train service with a network of 142 stations across the island. It is one of the most popular modes of transport in Singapore with a ridership of well over 2 million passengers a day.
From Changi Airport station, the MRT ride to the city centre is only 27 minutes. The train service from the Changi Airport station operates at an average frequency of 12 minutes.
You may also hop onto a bus to get around Singapore. For maximum convenience, buy an ez-link card which can be used on bus and the MRT. SBS bus service 36 runs between Orchard Road and Singapore Changi Airport. The public bus stations are located in Terminal 1 at Basement 2, and in Terminal 2 at Basement Level. Details of bus routes and fares are displayed at bus stations.
Taxi provides another comfortable, hassle-free travel at a very reasonable cost. They can be flagged down 24 hours a day on most roads, with well-marked taxi-stands available outside most major shopping centres and hotels. At Singapore Changi Airport, the taxi stand is located just outside the Arrival Hall on Level 1 in Terminal 1 and at the end of the Arrival Hall on Level 1 in Terminal 2 (South Wing).
It is perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer mineral water, local supermarket and grocery stores carry a good range of mineral water.
Singapore voltage is 220-240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second. On request, most hotels will provide transformers to visitors with electrical appliances of a different voltage, such as 110-120 volts, 60 cycles per second. When shopping for electrical appliances, do remember to check the voltage of the item against the acceptable voltage in your home country. The power plugs used in Singapore are of the three-pin, square-shaped type.
Singapore is the culinary capital of Asia. There are endless of variety of food, served hot or cold, at any hour of the day (or night)! In this cosmopolitan and multicultural city, you can expect nothing less than a mélange of flavours from around the globe. It’s not just East-meets-West when it comes to feasting in Singapore – it is a tasty tale about a country’s unique cultural tapestry woven in with its distinct influences to capture the essence of Singapore’s multicultural heritage.
A good number of department stores and some smaller shops are open daily from 1000 hrs to about 2100 hrs, or even 2200 hrs. Singapore is one of the few countries in the world it is reasonably safe out in the streets even late at night. As long as basic precautions are taken, you can shop in peace.
Mustafa Centre in Little India is the only department store in Singapore that is open 24 hours a day, everyday