Travel Guide Asia Singapore



Red Bridge

Red Bridge

© dgarbely

Bite-sized Singapore raked in over US$40 billion in trade surplus in 2011[3], an amazing amount for a country without any natural resources and a profound testament to the city-state's amazing ability to grow and develop at an unprecedented rate. The modern look and feel of Singapore is that of a metropolis propelling itself headlong into the 21st century, symbolised most blatantly by the army of skyscrapers towering over the horizon.

Anthropologists will be disappointed to find this technological madness in what was once a minor trading port, but Asian culture still impresses its influence into the cosmopolitan face of Singapore. Singapore is an ethnically diverse city and areas like Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India highlight this variety. So does the food: from typical modern sky-rise food like McDonald's, to traditional Indian chapatis or Chinese dishes, Singaporean cuisine is as delicious as it is varied.



Brief History

Early history of Singapore

The island located at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula was once an outpost of the Empire of Srivijaya (7th to 13th century) which was based in southern Sumatra. The present Singapore was then known as Temasek, which means "Sea Town" in Javanese.

According to a tale from the Malay Annals, a prince of Srivijaya landed on the island after surviving a shipwreck in the 13th century. On the island, the prince was told that a strange creature he saw was a lion. Trusting it as a good omen, he started a settlement there and named it Singapura, which means lion (singha) city (pura) in Sanskrit. Since lions are not native to this part of the world, it is thought that the creature he saw was most likely a tiger, probably a Malayan tiger, which continued to roam on the island until early in the 20th century.

Temasek became part of the Sultanate of Malacca during the 15th and early 16th centuries. After the invasion of Malacca by the Portuguese in 1511, an heir to the sultanate succeeded the last Malaccan Sultan and created the Sultanate of Johore in the south of the peninsula, which included Temasek between the 16th and early 19th century.

Modern Singapore

During a throne-dispute in the Johore Sultanate during the early 19th century, the British took the opportunity to gain control of Singapore. As a result, Singapore was ceded to the British East India Company in 1819. The British Empire took full control of the island in 1824. In 1826, Singapore was added to the newly formed Straits Settlements, a collection of territories of British East India Company, which included Penang, Malacca, Dinding, Province Wellesley and Labuan. The Straits Settlements became a British crown colony in 1867. During this entire time the British who also controlled the rest of of the Malay peninsula, encouraged open immigration to fill in the needs of mining and agricultural workforce. Large numbers of Chinese, mainly driven to seek greener pastures from civil war and famine in southern China, and Indians were brought into the region. Most settled down in more developed towns such as Penang and Singapore which subsequently made them culturally different from the rest of mainland because of the large Chinese majority and large Indian minority.

In 1942, Singapore fell to the hands of the Japanese during World War II. The defeat of the ill-prepared British was described by British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill as "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history."[4] At the end of the war, the Japanese retreated and the British returned to rule Singapore. But Singaporeans envisaged a different future and started demanding self-governance.


Singapore became a self-governing crown colony in 1959. On 31 August 1963, it declared independence from Britain to establish the Malaysian Federation, a merger of Malaya, North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore, in conjunction with Malaya's Independence Day. However, the event had to be postponed until 16 September 1963 due to delays on the Borneo side. In the years after the merger, heated ideological differences on racial issues ensued between the Singapore government and the federal government in Kuala Lumpur.[5] This is because the predominantly-Chinese PAP, the ruling party of Singapore led by Lee Kuan Yew, cried for a "Malaysian Malaysia", a policy to serve all regardless of race, whilst the Malay-based UMNO party in Alliance, the ruling coalition in the federal parliament, believed in affirmative action for Malays as a policy of positive racial discrimination.[5][6] In 1965, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, bowed down to the pressure of his own party, UMNO, and expelled Singapore from the federation. Singapore officially became an independent republic on 9 August 1965.

Large-scale development programs were carried out over the years to eradicate problems in the country and to improve the life of the nation. Singapore's economy thrived, mainly due to its trading port, and subsequently became a financial centre in Asia. Also Singapore's leadership took a different approach to socialism and took the philosophy of being a socialist government that makes money. It is now one of the wealthiest countries in the world.




Singapore is an island-nation located at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula. It consists of 63 islands, including mainland Singapore. It is linked to Malaysia by a man-made 1,056-metre-long causeway and a bridge on the Straits of Johore. In the south, it is separated by Straits of Singapore from Indonesia's Riau Islands.

Urbanisation and development in this land-scarce island has caused the country to resort to land-reclamation, which is an on-going process. As a result, the total land area has increased by over one-fifth since the 1960s (581.5 km²) to over 700 km² today. About one-fifth of the land area is forests and nature reserves. Most of these areas are situated in the geographic centre of the island.




  • Balestier, Newton, Novena and Toa Payoh are home to some Burmese temples.
  • Riverside is packed with cultural institutions and a good number of bars, clubs and restaurants.
  • Orchard Road is Singapore's shopping Mecca and is packed with malls.
  • Bugis and Kampong Glam are the old Malay district, now home to numerous malls.
  • Chinatown includes the Buddha Tooth relic temple, and a covered food street.
  • Little India is home to a large section of the Indian population. Visit in the evenings to find it at its most vibrant.
  • Kampong Glam is home of the Islamic part of town, with many Arabian restaurants and mosques
  • North and West Singapore are more residential / industrial.
  • East Coast is a largely residential neighbourhood, close to East Coast Park (SIngapore's largest beach) and Katong (Foodie heaven).
  • Sentosa Island is a separate island off Singapore and has been developed into a resort getaway.



Sights and Activities

Cloud Forest

Cloud Forest

© Herr Bert

Gardens by the bay

The gardens by the bay are located at reclaimed land, and divided in seperate parts. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. At the Bay South Garden you will find the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. In the Flower Dome shows flowers and trees from all over the world. In the Cloud Forest the micro climate of a cloud forest has been recreated on several floors, and amongst the green, also includes a waterfall. On the terrain itself the most eye-catching features are the 'Supertrees', with their multifunctional use (recycling rainwater, light show etc). Between a couple of these supertrees a canopy walk has been created.

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

© Busy Brabander

Maybe the most recognisable building in Singapore must be the Marina Bay Sands, which incorporates a Hotel, Shopping Mall, Art Museum and Observation Deck. Although the building was opened only a couple of years ago in 2010, the view of the three towers with a boat on top of them became famous very fast. When walking around the bay area, you can't miss it. On the top there is an observation deck, with a bar, and surprisingly as well a swimming pool.

Orchard Road

Orchard Road is where you have to go if you like shopping. Orchard Road turns into Bras Basah Road as it heads east and this is probably the better part if you don't like shopping at all, with some fine museums and colonial architecture. Museums include the national museum of Singapore, Battle Fox, and the Singapore Art Museum.

Sentosa Island

The artificial beach of Sentosa Island - Singapore

The artificial beach of Sentosa Island - Singapore

© snatterand

If you want to escape the city, Sentosa is the right place to go. Sentosa is an island theme park that features a multitude of activities from indoor skydiving, zip lines into the ocean, alpine slide rides, laser shows, and beach activities. It is one of the most visited parks in Singapore. The island also has a casino, Universal Studios, Underwater World, and a number of resorts to stay at overlooking the ocean. While it all sounds rather like Singapore's version of Disneyland, there are also some beaches where you can relax.

Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is a giant ferris wheel, which is located at the Northwestern point of the Marina Bay area. At the time of opening in 2008 it was the largest ferris wheel in the world, a title that was lost to the Las Vegas High Roller in 2014. Beneath the wheel there is a small shopping center with several restaurants, shops and a small tropical garden.

Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

Occupying an area of 28 hectares within a forest, the Singapore Zoo is home to over 300 species of animal. It displays animals in "open" exhibits where visitors are separated by moats or in some cases, glasses-enclosures. It also houses one of the world's largest captive colonies of orang-utans. The Night Safari, located adjacent to the Singapore Zoo, is the world's first wildlife park built for visits at night to enable visitors to watch nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. There are some 1,000 animals of more than 100 species within the 40-hectare secondary forest. Lastly, the Jurong Bird Park is Asia’s largest bird park with a collection of more than 5,000 birds across 380 species. The park and its line-up of award-winning exhibits, located at the west-end of Singapore, offers 20.5 hectares of exploratory landscape and gives visitors the opportunity to meet and interact with the live birds.

Southern Ridges

The Southern Ridges are a number of hills, south west of the city center. It is the place to escape the city. There is a trail on the Southern ridges that connects various parks. It runs from Mount Faber, over the Henderson waves, to Hortpark, to Kent ridge Park. An alternative route takes you to Labrador National Park, with very nice views over the sea. Don't expect small muddy paths, but very well maintained canopy walks instead.

Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore is among the newest attractions in the city focused on family fun. This world renowned Hollywood theme attraction is located on the northern side of the Sentosa island. It features different rides, shows, and the famous characters from Universal Studios like Shrek, Madagascar, Transformers, Jurassic Park, and Waterworld. This theme park is part of a bigger integrated resort under the Resorts World Sentosa.

Other sights and activities



© zags

  • The Merlion - The Merlion is the symbol of Singapore and the original statue spouts water into Marina Bay from the Merlion Park. Two other replicas can be found in Mount Faber and in Sentosa.
  • Mount Faber - Mount Faber is Singapore's highest peak and provides a 360-degree view of the island state. It is also the starting point for the cable car that makes the crossing to Sentosa Island and the Southern ridges trail.
  • Raffles Hotel - Raffles Hotel is famous for the Singapore Sling cocktail.
  • China Town - China Town is the location of the original Chinese settlement on Singapore and the centre of traditional Chinese culture with several temples, including the Buddha tooth relic temple.
  • Little India - Little India is the location of the original Indian settlement and is home to the a large percentage of the Indian population. There are several nice temples and some great food to be found in this area of town.
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens - The Singapore Botanic Gardens are a welcome escape from the buzz of the city and are lovely to stroll around. Hours: They are open from 5:00am to 12 midnight daily, Price: admission is free.
  • 1-Altitude - 1-Altitude located at Raffles Place is the highest observation deck in the country. Set 282 metres above sea level the place offers a great 360-degree view of the whole island. Hours: Open daily 8.00am-10.00pm.

Interesting Info

Smokers may notice something interesting here. Locals only light up near one of the many large communal ashtrays that are atop most garbage receptacles spread around the city. Locals also tend to only have a few puffs on a cigarette before putting what looks like a whole cigarette in the ashtray.



Events and Festivals

Cultural and Religious

  • Chinese New Year - With Chinese residents making up about three quarters of the population in Singapore, Chinese New Year is one of the most highly celebrated festivals in the city. Chinese New Year occurs every year in January or February (depending on the lunar calendar). During this highly celebrated event, Chinese families gather for dinners, parties, and parades. Traditional food is served during this time, and it is also customary for Chinese elders to give their children and grandchildren little red packets that contain money. This packet, or hóngbāo, symbolizes good luck and good fortune in the new year. The next New Year (2014) will be year of the Horse. New Year celebrations last for two weeks.
  • Chingay Parade - Chingay Parade is a spectacular event held during the Chinese New Year celebrations on Orchard Road. This is one of Singapore's most extravagant street festivals, with the parade including crowd favorites like, lion dancers, samba dancers in traditional costumes, stilt-walkers, and elaborately decorated floats. Visitors will be sure to enjoy watching this lively event.
  • River Hong Bao Festival - A popular location to celebrate Chinese New Year is at River Hong Bao. Every year, a huge event is thrown here that includes a large parade with decorated floats and a beautiful fireworks display.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival - Alternatively known as the Moon Festival, Lantern Festival, or Mooncake Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the full moon day (15th day) of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar - usually in September. During this festival, people eat "moon cakes" - which are a small dessert cake filled with ground lotus, sesame seeds, and egg yolk. Along with the dessert, visitors will enjoy colorfully decorated streets and lanterns of many shapes and sizes.
  • Diwali/Deepavali - Diwali is the most anticipated Hindu holiday of the year. It's celebrated by the Indian residents of Singapore, which make up about 10% of the city's population. Diwali is known as the "Festival of Light", where Hindus hold candle lighting rituals to ward off evil spirits and celebrate the victory of good over evil. The epicenter of this celebration is found in Singapore's Little India, where the streets are decorated in vibrant colors, and beautiful lanterns are on display everywhere.
  • Eid ul-Fitr - Eid ul-Fitr is one of the most celebrated Muslim festivals of the year. Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a religious fasting month. This annual festival is celebrated by family gatherings, lavish dinners, and general merriment.
  • Christmas (25 Dec 2014) - During the Christmas season, downtown Singapore is illuminated with a truly spectacular light display, with some shopping centers even competing for the most spectacular light presentation. Christians make up just under 20% of Singapore's population, and this holiday is the joyous celebration of Christ's birth. Streets are filled with carolers, street performers, and Christmas shows during this holiday season.
  • Vesak Day - A little over a third of the population of Singapore profess to be practicing Buddhists, so Vesak Day is very popular among the locals. Vesak Day, or Buddha's birthday, is the day where Buddha's life, enlightenment, and death are celebrated. Many Buddhist temples hold events on this day, monks offer chants and prayers, and devotees bring gifts and other offerings to the temples where incense is burned. Popular locations to watch this festival are: Buddhist Lodge at River Valley Road, Thai Buddhist Temple at Jalan Bukit Merah, and Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple at Jalan Toa Payoh. Vesak day is typically celebrated on the first full moon in May.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Singapore Fashion Week - This dynamic fashion event draws acclaimed fashion designers, celebrities, and leaders in the fashion industry from all over the globe. This highly publicized event showcases the latest and greatest in international fashion trends. In between fashion events, be on the look out for specials at local shops and restaurants who offer good deals during this festival.
  • National Day - National Day is on 9 August and is a public holiday. Singaporeans celebrate the country's independence (9 August 1965) with a big parade, fireworks, and other festivities.
  • Singapore International Festival of Arts - The Singapore International Festival of Arts, started in 1977, is one of Asia's most popular arts festivals. Visitors can choose from an array of arts-focused events including: music, theater, dance, spoken word, etc. This Arts Festival is sure to please a variety of artistic tastes.
  • Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix - During this event, thousands gather to watch exciting drag races and cheer on their favorite driver! The Grand Prix is accompanied by a variety of other events around the city including music concerts featuring big-name international artists, parties, and exhibitions.
  • Singapore Food Festival - Singapore is the perfect location for foodies to visit, as it is a literal "melting pot" of culture and cuisines from all over Asia. This summer food festival (held annually in July) boasts some of the most decadent and delicious cuisine the region has to offer. Featuring locally caught and prepared seafood, this festival is sure to satisfy the palates of all its visitors.
  • Great Singapore Sale - Attention shoppers! This event is for you! Shops all across the city participate in this great event, where all of your favorite things are available for purchase, but at a discounted cost! Along with great deals, this event also includes shopping competitions, runway shows, bridal events, late night shopping, and much more!




Located at just over 1º north of the Equator, Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons. Singapore enjoys year-round tropical temperatures averaging around 32 °C during the day. November to January is the peak of a monsoon season at which time there is higher than average rainfall, while the hottest months are April and May. Visitors should bear in mind that the combined humidity (70–80%) and heat takes quite a toll when spending time outside.

Avg Max29.9 °C31 °C31.4 °C31.7 °C31.6 °C31.2 °C30.8 °C30.8 °C30.7 °C31.1 °C30.5 °C29.6 °C
Avg Min23.1 °C23.5 °C23.9 °C24.3 °C24.6 °C24.5 °C24.2 °C24.2 °C23.9 °C23.9 °C23.6 °C23.3 °C
Rainfall198 mm154 mm171 mm141 mm158 mm140 mm145 mm143 mm177 mm167 mm252 mm304 mm



Getting There

By Plane

Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN, ICAO: WSSS) is a major hub in South East Asia and located about 17 kilometres from Singapore's commercial centre. Singapore Airlines is the national airline and services routes throughout the world. A budget off-shoot of Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways services routes through Asia. AirAsia flies from Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi, Miri, Penang, Tawau) Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket), Indonesia (Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Bali) into Singapore, LOT flies from Warsaw.

There are several modes of transport between the city and the airport:

  • Train (MRT) - approximately half an hour
  • Bus (SBS Transit Route 36 to city, SMRT Bus Route 858 to Woodlands, near Malaysian border). By bus to the Johor Bahru CIQ Border complex (close to the train station, for the Larkin bus terminal take SBS Transit bus 170 or any other bus which has Larkin writhen in the window) with Transtar TS1 for S$ 10 (with some airlines, Scoot for instance, free if you show your bording pass) every 2 hours and taking about 2 hours.
  • Taxi - approximately half an hour
  • Limousine Taxi
  • Airport Shuttle (to Hotels)
  • Car Rental

The Changi Airport Skytrain operates between Terminals 1, 2 and 3, with a total of seven stations. The service is free of charge and operates between 5:30am and 2:30am daily. Transportation is also provided to passengers and visitors between Terminal 2 and the Budget Terminal in the form of zero-fare shuttle buses. zero-fare buses are also deployed to run every 20 minutes during the non-operational hours of the Skytrain; that is, from 02:30am to 05:30am hours between all three terminals.

By Train

The Malayan Railway (Malay: Keretapi Tanah Melayu, KTM) operates several train services daily from major cities and towns in Peninsular Malaysia to Singapore. The iconic 1932 Art Deco style Tanjong Pagar station near the city centre has ceased operations from 1 July 2011. Trains to Singapore now terminate at the Woodlands station at the causeway border checkpoint. Journey times are usually longer than the bus due to the single-track railway in most parts of the network.

All times are departure except the final destination. Both Malaysia and Singapore are in the same time zone (GMT+8). For routes on the reverse direction, refer to the Malaysia article.

1Ekspres RakyatButterworth 0800 – Ipoh 1121 – Kuala Lumpur 1406 – Gemas 1703 – Johor Bahru 2002 – Woodlands 2025
13Sinaran SelatanKuala Lumpur 0900 – Gemas 1204 – Johor Bahru 1527 – Woodlands 1600
25Senandung Sutera (with sleeper berth)Kuala Lumpur 2300 – Gemas 0159 – Johor Bahru 0552 – Woodlands 0635
15Sinaran TimurTumpat 0700 – Wakaf Bharu 0804 – Gua Musang 1051 – Jerantut 1348 – Gemas 1708 – Johor Bahru 2058 – Woodlands 2120
27Senandung Timuran (with sleeper berth)Gua Musang 2030 – Wakaf Bharu 2047 – Gua Musang 0024 – Jerantut 0313 – Gemas 0628 – Johor Bahru 0955 – Woodlands 1015
61ShuttleGemas 0145 – Kluang 0349 – Johor Bahru 0519 – Woodlands 0550
91ShuttleKuala Lipis 0815 – Jerantut 0908 – Gemas 1244 – Kluang 1515 – Johor Bahru 1710 – Woodlands 1725

There are now only shuttle trains (about 10 per day, more expensive then the bus) from Woodlands station to Johore Bahru Sentral station.
From there you have a direct overnight train to Kota Bharu, but to Kuala Lumpur you have to change in Gemas, no overnight train anymore.

By Car

There are two ways to drive from Malaysia into Singapore. The first and most common way is from Johor Bahru, Malaysia via the causeway to Woodlands, Singapore. The other way is on the west side via the the Second Link bridge linking Tanjung Kupang in Malaysia and Tuas in Singapore.

Motorists with foreign-registered vehicles are required to pay tolls and Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) at the border checkpoints when they drive into Singapore. Payment for tolls and VEP have to be made using Autopass Card, an electronic smartcard, which is sold at the checkpoints. The VEP fee costs SGD20 a day, Monday to Friday, from 02:00am hours to 5:00pm. It is not required on Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and weekdays from 5:00pm to 02:00am. Tolls are only charged at the checkpoints. The Autopass Card can be topped up at convenience stores, ATMs, petrol stations and Autopass Card top-up booths.

More information on driving into Singapore

By Bus

Buses frequently drive between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as well as other Malaysian destinations. The trip from Kuala Lumpur takes roughly five hours, depending on the operator and traffic condition. The quality of the buses is generally very high and prices are affordable. Unfortunately, there is no central bus terminal in Singapore and the various operators stop in different parts of the city. It is also much cheaper from the Johore Bahru Larkin bus terminal, you have to carry all your luggage in any way through customs and you have to wait until everyone else managed to get through.

By Boat

Ferries connect Singapore to the Riau Islands in Indonesia and Johor in Malaysia.

To Johor, there are frequent bumboats leaving for Tanjung Pengelih by various privately-owned companies. Ferries leave when full (12 people). Daily boat services between Changi Point and Pengerang (Johor); Tanah Merah and Sebana Cover Resort (Johor). Ferry Link offers boats between Changi Point and Tanjung Belungkor.

Penguin Ferries offers frequent ferry services between Singapore and Batam, Sekupang, Tanjung Balai, Tanjung Pinang and Lobam.



Getting Around

StreetMap@Singapore is a free service provided by Singapore Land Authority to find a location map using address, postal code, road name or the nearest MRT/LRT stations.

By Plane

Although of course there are no internal flights, you can do a sightseeing tour in small plane or helicopter with the Singapore Flying Club.

By Car

A valid national driving licence or international driving permit is required for driving in Singapore. Vehicles in Singapore are driven on the left side of the road.

Electronic Road Pricing
The Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is a scheme to help reduce congestion on Singapore roads by charging a fee on vehicles in the zone. Certain major roads, particularly those in the Central Business District, and expressways in the city state fall under the ERP.

By Public Transport

Singapore has an advanced and efficient public transportation network of trains, buses and taxis. SBS Transit is the largest bus company in Singapore. SMRT operates the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains and also buses on the island city.

For the convenience of frequent commuters, a stored value ticket known as the EZ-Link card is available. The EZ-Link card can be purchased from any ticket office at most MRT stations for S$15, which is inclusive of S$5 non-refundable deposit, S$3 refundable travel deposit, and S$7 stored value. The stored value can be topped up at many locations. Alternatively, if you are going to use the public transport extensively during your stay, you may opt for The Singapore Tourist Pass instead. This pass offers unlimited travels on all MRT trains and basic bus services. It comes in the options of 1-, 2-, or 3- day pass, at S$8 per day. A S$10 deposit for the card will be charged and is refundable if returned within five days. The pass can be extended, if required, by simply topping up S$8 for each day.

The ultra-modern Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train network connects the whole island quickly and efficiently. A cheap and convenient way to travel, tickets can be purchased on the spot at all MRT stations around the island via a machine for immediate travel. The (hard plastic) ticket includes a S$1 deposit which can be recovered after your trip at one of the MRT machines. For longer term use, stored value cards can be purchased at selected stations and topped up at any station for further travels. The trains can at times be crowded, even at off-peak times of the day.

Singapore is connected by an efficient bus network - the same MRT stored value cards (EZ-link cards) can be used for bus rides (through tapping on card readers positioned at the entry and exits of buses). Alternatively, the fare can be paid by cash (ask the driver how much it is to the destination) and no change will be given. Normally bus routes and stops are posted on a display board at bus stops. Bus and train guides can be bought cheaply at virtually all news stands and bookstores around the island. Buses operate from 06:00am to midnight. .

Bus Fares [7]

  • Non air-conditioned buses: S$0.70 to S$1.40
  • Air-conditioned buses: S$0.80 to S$1.70

Taxis are a very nice way to get around Singapore. To be a Taxi driver in Singapore, you must be born in the country, speak English and pass some sort of certification tests that include driving skills and knowledge of the city/country among other things. It is a very sought after job there. Due to this taxi drivers are very personable, knowledgeable and eager to please tourists. It is not uncommon for tourists leaving Singapore to realise their favourite local they met was their taxi drivers. Like anywhere they may take you a slightly longer route, but you won't need to deal with the questionable practices that you will encounter in that profession elsewhere in the world.

Taxis are available at reasonable cost. Fares are charged according to the meter. The following are the rates of a standard taxi: [8]

  • Flag-Down (inclusive of 1st kilometre or less): S$2.80 to S$3.00
  • Every 385 metres thereafter or less, up to 10 kilometres: S$0.20
  • Every 330 metres thereafter or less, after 10 kilometres: S$0.20
  • Every 45 seconds of waiting or less: S$0.20
  • Peak-hour Surcharge (Monday - Friday: 7:00am to 9:30am; Monday - Saturday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm): 35%
  • Midnight Surcharge (Midnight - 6:00am): 50%
  • Central Business District (CBD) Surcharge (Monday - Saturday : 5:00pm to Midnight): $3.00
  • Public Holiday (major ones only) Surcharge: S$1.00
  • Airport Surcharge: S$3.00 to S$5.00 (depending on time)
  • Booking fee: S$2.50 to S$5.20
  • Toll: According to charged rates

By Foot and Bike

The city of Singapore itself can be explored on foot easily, although taking a taxi, bus or train once a while is recommended in the hot and humid weather. Renting a bike is a possibility as well. There are also rickshaws, mostly catering to tourists in Chinatown and several city centre streets.

By Boat

The Singapore Cruise Centre is located at the World Trade Centre, a short taxi ride from the city centre. There are both leisurely harbour cruises as well as ferry services to Singapore's islands. There are also ferries from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at Changi. A ferry for Sentosa leaves every 20 minutes starting at 7:30am. Pulau Ubin is another popular place to go from the latter terminal.

Both motorised sampans as well as luxurious junk tours are a nice way of travelling along the Singapore river.



Red Tape

Citizens of Australia, the European Union, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less.

Citizens of most other countries can stay without a visa for 30 days or less, so that's the case if your country is not named here.

An exception is in place for citizens of the following countries who have to apply for an advance, online visa: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen have to apply for an advance visa at a Singaporean embassy or consulate.

Nationals of several former Soviet countries (Georgia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the Commonwealth of Independent States) are eligible for visa-free transit for up to 96 hours if you have an onward plane ticket. Nationals of India are also eligible but with more complicated requirements.

All foreigners aged 6 and above are electronically fingerprinted as part of immigration entry and exit procedures. This may be followed by a short interview conducted by the immigration officer. Entry will be denied if any of these procedures are refused.

Most citizens of African and South American countries, and travellers who have recently been in a country with yellow fever, require a yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry into Singapore.

Women from countries such as Ukraine may have trouble getting a visa, due to problems with "illegal activity" (presumably prostitution). Males who enter Singapore illegally or who overstay their permits by more than 14 days face a mandatory sentence of three strokes of the cane.

Singapore has very strict drug laws, and drug trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty — which is also applied to foreigners. Even if you haven't entered Singapore and are merely transiting (i.e. changing flights without the need to clear passport control and customs) while in possession of drugs, you would still be subject to capital punishment. In Singapore, it is an offense even to have any drug metabolites in your system, even if they were consumed outside Singapore, and Customs occasionally does spot urine tests at the airport! In addition, bringing in explosives or firearms without a permit is also a capital offense in Singapore.

Bring prescriptions for any prescribed medicines you may have with you, and obtain prior permission from the Singapore Health Sciences Authority before bringing in any sedatives (e.g. Valium/diazepam) or strong painkillers (e.g. codeine ingredients). If you can scan and attach all required documents (called for by HSA) to an e-mail note, you may receive written permission in as little as 10 days, certainly in 3–4 weeks. By regular mail from any great distance, allow a few months.

Duty free allowances for alcohol are one litre each of wine, beer and spirits, though the 1 L of spirits may be replaced with 1 L of wine or beer, unless you are entering from Malaysia. Travellers entering from Malaysia are not entitled to any duty free allowance. Alcohol may not be brought in by persons under the age of 18. There is no duty free allowance for cigarettes: all cigarettes legally sold in Singapore are stamped "SDPC", and smokers caught with unmarked cigarettes may be fined $500 per pack. (In practice, though, bringing in one opened pack is usually tolerated.) If you declare your cigarettes or excess booze at customs, you can opt to pay the tax or let the customs officers keep the cigarettes until your departure. Importing non-medical chewing gum is illegal, but in practice customs officers would usually not bother with a few sticks for personal consumption.

There is no restriction on the amount of money that can be brought in or out of Singapore. However, Singapore customs requires you to declare if you are bringing in or out anything more than $20,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency, and you'll be asked to complete some paperwork. Not declaring exposes to you to arrest, heavy fines and possible imprisonment.

Pornography, pirated goods and publications by the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church may not be imported to Singapore, and all baggage is scanned at land and sea entry points. In theory, all entertainment media including movies and video games must be sent to the Board of Censors for approval before they can be brought into Singapore, but that is rarely if ever enforced for original (non-pirated) goods. Pirated CDs or DVDs, on the other hand, can land you fines of up to $1000 per disc.




See also: Money Matters

The Singapore Dollar (S$) is the official currency, and Singapore has a currency interchangeability agreement with Brunei so the S$ is pegged 1:1 with the Brunei Dollar. One Singapore Dollar is divided into 100 cents.

  • Banknotes: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $10,000.
  • Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, $1.




Work Holiday Programme

Singapore has a Work Holiday Programme which allows one to live and work in Singapore for up to six months. This program open to university students and recent graduates, between 17 and 30 years of age, in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.




Singapore a several world-ranked Universities including the largest, the National University of Singapore (NUS). This University has over 36,000 students, and is located on the Yellow MRT line with a stop called Kent Ridge MRT at the National University Hospital (located on campus). Other Universities include Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), SIM University, Singapore Institute of Technology, and Singapore University of Technology and Design.




See also: Malay phrasebook

Singapore has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. English is the medium of instruction in schools, and is widely spoken. However, the national language of Singapore is Malay and is used in the national anthem "Majulah Singapura" (Onward, Singapore). As the majority of the population is ethnic Chinese whose ancestors came from southern China, several Chinese dialects from that region such as Hokkien (Min Nan) and Teochew are also in use. Most Singaporeans also speak a localised version of English known as "Singlish", which is easily identifiable by terms such as "lah" and "lor" at the end of sentences.




Singaporeans are known to love their food. Besides the traditional cuisines of each ethnic group, hybrid dishes like Fishhead Curry (Indian and Chinese) have also been developed over the years. This has created a rich gastronomical scene in Singapore.

There are a number of top-notch restaurants like the Michelin star La Dolce Vita at City Hall. However, true Singaporean food is found cheaply in the hawker centres and coffee shops. These are akin to the street food stalls that exist in other Asian countries, but in the 1950s and 60s the government brought the stalls together as hawker centres or food centres, mostly to deal with hygiene issues.

Make sure to try at least a few favourite Singaporeans dishes like Hainanese Chicken Rice or Mee Rebus. Check out this not-yet-fully-developed list for some ideas or use to search more. There are a number of famous hawker centres (with a number of famous stalls) like Maxwell Food Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre, Bedok Block 85 that you can go for a one-stop-shop dining experience.

One tip from a local: if you're still jet-lagged, awake in the middle of the night and starving, try some famous supper places like Swee Choon (dimsum) in Jalan Besar. Unfortunately by around 12am public transport has closed, and taxis have a night surcharge. But if it's nearby or you have a car, it's worth the travel.

The most identifiable cuisine in the region is Peranakan or Nonya cuisine, born from the mixed Malay and Chinese communities of what were once the British colonies of the Straits Settlements (modern-day Singapore, Penang and Malacca).
Chilli crab is a whole crab ladled with oodles of sticky, tangy chilli sauce. It's spicy at first, but the more you eat, the better it gets. Notoriously difficult to eat, so don't wear a white shirt: just dig in with your hands and ignore the mess. The seafood restaurants of the East Coast are famous for this. For a less messy but equally tasty alternative, ask for black pepper crab.
Kaya is a jam-like spread made from egg and coconut, an odd-sounding but tasty combination. Served on toast for breakfast, canonically accompanied by runny eggs and strong, sweet coffee (kopi). Exists in two distinctive styles; the greenish Nonya version, coloured with pandan leaf, and the brownish Hainanese version.
Laksa, in particular the Katong laksa or laksa lemak style, is probably the best-known Singaporean dish: white noodles in a creamy, immensely rich coconut-based curry broth, topped with cockles or shrimp. The common style found in hawker centres is very spicy, although you can ask for less/no chilli to dial down the heat. The Katong style is much less spicy and is generally found only in Katong itself (see the East Coast page). Despite sharing the same name, the dish bears almost no resemblance to the varieties found in neighbouring Malaysia.
Mee siam is rice flour noodles served in a sweet-sour soup (made from tamarind, dried shrimp and fermented beans), bean curd cubes, and hard boiled eggs. Though the Chinese, Malays and Indians all have their own versions, it is the Peranakan version that is most popular with Singaporeans. You will largely find this at Malay stalls.
Popiah (薄饼), or spring rolls, come fresh or fried. They consist of a filling of boiled turnip, fried tofu, pork, shrimp with a slew of condiments, wrapped in a thin crepe smeared with sweet dark soy sauce and eaten like a fajita. They are related to the lumpia and runbing of other Chinese communities in Asia.
Rojak means a mixture of everything in Malay, and there are two very different types. Chinese rojak is a salad of pineapple, white turnip, cucumber, tau pok (fried bean curd) with thin tiny slices of bunga kantan (torch ginger flower buds), tossed in shrimp paste sauce and sugar, then sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Indian rojak consists of mainly fried fritters made from flour and various pulses with cucumber and tofu, with sweet & spicy sauces.
Satay bee hoon is rice vermicelli (bee hoon) served with the same peanut and chilli sauce used for satay, hence the name. Usually cockles, dried squid and pork slices are added.
Ice cream is just as it is in Western countries. However, in Singapore, there are various local flavours such as durian and red bean which are not available outside the region and are certainly worth a try. To impress the locals, try asking for ice cream in roti (bread).

The Malays were Singapore's original inhabitants and despite now being outnumbered by the Chinese, their distinctive cuisine is popular to this day. Characterised by heavy use of spices, most Malay dishes are curries, stews or dips of one kind or another and nasi padang restaurants, offering a wide variety of these to ladle onto your rice, are very popular.
Mee rebus is a dish of egg noodles with spicy, slightly sweet gravy, a slice of hard boiled egg and lime.
Mee soto is Malay-style chicken soup, with a clear broth, shredded chicken breast and egg noodles.
Nasi lemak is the definitive Malay breakfast, consisting at its simplest of rice cooked in light coconut milk, some ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, a slice of cucumber and a dab of chilli on the side. A larger ikan kuning (fried fish) or chicken wing are common accompaniments. More often than not, also combined with a variety of curries and/or sambal (see below).
Otah/Otak is a type of fish cake made of minced fish (usually mackerel), coconut milk, chilli and various other spices, and grilled in a banana or coconut leaf, usually served to accompany other dishes like nasi lemak.
Rendang, originally from Indonesia and occasionally dubbed "dry curry", is meat stewed for hours on end in a spicy (but rarely fiery) coconut-based curry paste until almost all water is absorbed. Beef rendang is the most common, although chicken and mutton are spotted sometimes.
Sambal is the generic term for chilli sauces of many kinds. Sambal belacan is a common condiment made by mixing chilli with the shrimp paste belacan, while the popular dish sambal sotong consists of squid (sotong) cooked in red chilli sauce.
Satay are barbecued skewers of meat, typically chicken, mutton or beef. What separates satay from your ordinary kebab are the spices used to season the meat and the slightly spicy peanut-based dipping sauce. The Satay Club at Lau Pa Sat near Raffles Place is one popular location for this delicacy.

Other cuisines frequently seen in Singapore are those from China and India.

Hawker Centers

The cheapest and most popular places to eat in Singapore are hawker centers, essentially former pushcart vendors directed into giant complexes by government fiat. Prices are low ($2.50–5 for most dishes), hygiene standards are high (every stall is required to prominently display a hygiene certificate grading it from A to D) and the food can be excellent. Ambience tends to be a little lacking though and there is no air-conditioning either, but a visit to a hawker centre is a must when in Singapore, if you wish to experience authentic local food culture in the heartlands themselves. However, be leery of overzealous pushers-cum-salesmen, especially at the Satay Club in Lau Pa Sat and Newton Food Centre at Newton Circus: the tastiest stalls don't need high-pressure tactics to find customers. Touting for business is illegal, and occasionally a reminder of this can result in people backing off a bit.

To order, first chope (reserve) a table by parking a friend at the table, or do what the locals do: place a packet of tissue paper on the table. Note and remember the table's number, then place your order at your stall of choice. Employees deliver to your table, and you pay when you get the food. Some stalls (particularly very popular ones) are "self-service", and this is indicated by a sign, but if it is quiet or you are sitting nearby, you need not deliver your own food to your table. At almost every stall you can also opt for take-away/ take-out (called "packet" or ta pao (打包) in Cantonese dialect), in which case employees pack up your order in a plastic box/bag and even throw in disposable utensils. Once you are finished, just get up and go, as tables are cleared by hired cleaners, or if you are particularly thoughtful, return your food tray by yourself to designated collection points.

Every district in Singapore has its own hawker centres and prices decrease as you move out into the boonies. For tourists, centrally located Newton Circus near (Newton MRT Exit B), Gluttons Bay (near Esplanade MRT Exit D) and Lau Pa Sat (near Raffles Place MRT Exit I, the River), are the most popular options - but this does not make them the cheapest or the tastiest, and the demanding gourmand would do well to head to Chinatown or the heartlands instead. A dizzying array of food stalls with a large South Indian representation can be found in the bustling Tekka Centre at the edge of Little India. Many of the best food stalls are in residential districts off the tourist trail and do not advertise in the media, so the best way to find them is to ask locals for their recommendations. Good examples closer to the city centre include Old Airport Road Food Centre (near Dakota MRT Exit B) and Tiong Bahru Market (near Tiong Bahru MRT), both of which are sprawling and home to a number of much-loved stalls. Botak Jones in several hawker centres offers reasonably authentic and fairly sized American-restaurant style meals at hawker prices.


Singapore offers a wide variety of full-service restaurants as well, catering to every taste and budget.

As the majority of Singapore's population is ethnic Chinese, there is an abundance of Chinese restaurants in Singapore, mainly serving southern Chinese (mostly Hokkien, Teochew, or Cantonese) cuisines, though with the large number of expatriates and foreign workers from China these days, cuisine originating from Shanghai and further north is also not hard to find. True local Chinese restaurants generally serve dishes little seen in Chinese restaurants internationally and in Mainland China, due to the combination of their southern Chinese roots and local influences.

Depending on where you go and what you order, prices can vary greatly. In ordinary restaurants, prices usually range from $15 ~ $35 per person, while in top-end restaurants in luxury hotels, meals can cost $300 per person when they involve delicacies such as abalone, suckling pig and lobster. As with Chinese restaurants anywhere, food is eaten with chopsticks and served with Chinese tea.

Being a maritime city, one common speciality is seafood restaurants, offering Chinese-influenced Singaporean classics like chilli crabs. These are much more fun to visit in a group, but be careful about what you order: gourmet items like Sri Lankan giant crab can easily push your bill up to hundreds of dollars. Menus typically say "market price", and if you ask they'll quote you the price per 100g, but a big crab can easily top 2kg. The best-known seafood spots are clustered on the East Coast, but for ambience, the riverside restaurants at Boat Quay and Clarke Quay can't be beat. Again, always enquire about the prices when they aren't stated in full, and be wary of touts.

Singapore also has its share of good Western restaurants, with British- and American-influenced food being a clear favourite among locals. Most of the more affordable chains can be found in various shopping centres throughout the island, and prices for main courses range from $14 ~ 22. For a more localised variant of Western food, one should try Hainanese Western food, which traces its origins to the Hainanese migrants who worked as cooks for European employers during the colonial period. French, Italian, Japanese and Korean food is also readily available, though prices tend to be on the expensive side, while Thai and Indonesian restaurants tend to be more affordable.

One British import much loved by Singaporeans is high tea. In the classical form, as served up by finer hotels across the island, this is a light afternoon meal consisting of tea and a wide array of British-style savoury snacks and sweet pastries like finger sandwiches and scones. However, the term is increasingly used for afternoon buffets of any kind, and Chinese dim sum and various Singaporean dishes are common additions. Prices vary, but you'll usually be looking at $35–80 per head. Many restaurants only serve high tea on weekends, and hours may be very limited: the famous spread at the Raffles Hotel's Tiffin Room, for example, is only available from 15:30-17:00.

Singaporeans are big on buffets, especially international buffets offering a wide variety of dishes including Western, Chinese and Japanese as well as some local dishes at a fixed price. Popular chains include Sakura and Vienna.

Most hotels also offer lunch and dinner buffets. Champagne brunches on Sundays are particularly popular, but you can expect to pay over $100 per head and popular spots, like Mezza9 at the Hyatt on Orchard, will require reservations.




Accommodation in Singapore is expensive by South-East Asian standards. Particularly in the higher price brackets, demand outstrips supply and during big events like the F1 race or some of the larger conventions it's not uncommon for pretty much everything to sell out. Lower-end hotels and hostels, though, remain affordable and available throughout the year.

Unless you're a shopping maven intent on maximizing time in Orchard Road's shopping malls, the Riverside is probably the best place to stay in Singapore.

Backpackers' hostels can be found primarily in Little India, Bugis, Clarke Quay and the East Coast. backpacker hostel cost from $12–40 for a dorm bed.

Cheap hotels are clustered in the Geylang, Balestier and Little India districts, where they service mostly the type of customer who rents rooms by the hour. Rooms are generally small and not fancy, but are still clean and provide basic facilities such as a bathroom and television. Prices start as low as $15 for a "transit" of a few hours and $40 for a full night's stay. The two major local chains, with hotels throughout the island, are:

  • Fragrance Hotel, ☎ +65 6345 6116. Chain of 13 hotels and one backpackers' hostel. Rooms from $58, discounts on weekends and for ISIC holders.
  • Hotel 81, ☎ +65 6767 8181. A chain of over 20 functional hotels with rates starting at $49 for two.

Much of Singapore's mid-range accommodation is in rather featureless but functional older hotels, with a notable cluster near the western end of the Singapore River. There has, however, been a surge of "boutique" hotels in renovated shophouses here and in Chinatown, these can be pretty good value, with rates starting from $100/night.

Singapore has a wide selection of luxury accommodation, including the famed Raffles Hotel. You will generally be looking at upwards of $300 per night for a room in a five-star hotel, which is still a pretty good deal by most standards. Hotel rates fluctuate quite a bit: a large conference can double prices, while on weekends in the off-peak season heavy discounts are often available. The largest hotel clusters can be found at Marina Bay (good for sightseeing) and around Orchard Road (good for shopping).

For securing possibly cheaper rates for luxury hotels, consider using the HotelQuickly app (available for free in GooglePlay and iTunes); only stays for the same day and the next day are available.

Being spoilt for choice in the lion city as far as luxurious accommodation is concerned is quite an understatement.

Housing in Singapore is expensive, as the high population density and sheer scarcity of land drives real estate prices through the roof. As a result, you would generally be looking at rentals on par with the likes of New York and London.

Apartment hotels in Singapore include Ascott, which also operates under the Somerset and Citadines brands. Prices are competitive with hotels but quite expensive compared to apartments.

Renting an apartment in Singapore will generally require a working visa. While over 80% of Singaporeans live in government-subsidised Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, their availability to visitors is limited, although JTC's SHiFT scheme makes some available with monthly rents in the $1700–2,800 range.

Most expats, however, turn to private housing blocks known as condos, where an average three-bedroom apartment will cost you anything from $3,200 per month for an older apartment in the suburbs to $20,000 for a top-of-the-line deluxe one on Orchard Road. Most condos have facilities like pools, gyms, tennis court, carpark and 24 hr security. As the supply of studio and one-bedroom apartments is very limited, most people on a budget share an apartment with friends or colleagues, or just sublet a single room. Landed houses, known as bungalows, are incredibly expensive near the city centre (rents are commonly tens of thousands) but can drop if you're willing to settle outside the city centre — and remember that you can drive across the country in 30 minutes.

One or two-month security deposits are standard practice and for monthly rents of under $3,000 you need to pay the agent a commission of 2 weeks per year of lease. Leases are usually for two years, with a "diplomatic clause" that allows you to terminate after 1 year. Singapore Expats is the largest real estate agency geared for expats and their free classifieds are a popular choice for hunting for rooms or apartment-mates. You might also want to check the classified ads in the local newspapers.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Singapore's nightlife isn't quite a match for Patpong, but it's no slouch either. Some clubs have 24 hr licences and few places close before 03:00. Any artists touring Asia are pretty much guaranteed to stop in Singapore, with superclub Zouk in particular regularly clocking high on lists of the world's best nightclubs. Singapore's nightlife is largely concentrated along the three Quays - Boat, Clarke and Robertson - of the Riverside, with the clubs of Sentosa and nearby St James Power Station giving party animals even more reason to dance the night away and the casino on Marina Bay also entering the fray. Gay bars are mostly found around Chinatown. The legal drinking age is 18, and while this is surprisingly loosely enforced, some clubs have higher age limits.

Friday is generally the biggest night of the week for going out, with Saturday a close second. Sunday is gay night in many bars and clubs, while Wednesday or Thursday is ladies' night, often meaning not just free entrance but free drinks for women. Most clubs are closed on Monday and Tuesday, while bars generally stay open but tend to be very quiet.

For a night out Singapore style, gather a group of friends and head for the nearest karaoke box - major chains include K-Box and Party World. Room rental ranges from $30/hour and up. Beware that the non-chain, glitzy (or dodgy) looking, neon-covered KTV lounges may charge much higher rates and the short-skirted hostesses may offer more services than just pouring your drinks. In Singapore, the pronunciation of karaoke follows the Japanese "karah-oh-kay" instead of the Western "carry-oh-key".

Alcohol is widely available but expensive due to Singapore's heavy sin taxes. On the other hand, tax-free at Changi Airport has some of the best prices in the world. You can bring in up to one litre of liquor and two litres of wine and beer if you arrive from countries other than Malaysia. Careful shopping at major supermarkets will also throw up common basic Australian wine labels for under $20.

Alcohol is haram (forbidden) to Muslims, and most Muslim Singaporeans duly avoid it. While most non-Muslim Singaporeans are not puritanical and enjoy a drink every now and then, do not expect to find the binge-drinking culture that you will find in most Western countries. Unlike in many Western countries, public drunkenness is socially frowned upon in Singapore, and misbehaving yourself under the influence of alcohol will certainly not gain you any respect from Singaporean friends. Do not allow any confrontations to escalate into fights, as the police will be called in, and you may face prison and possibly caning.

Liquor laws were tightened in 2015, and public drinking is now heavily restricted between 10.30 pm and 7.00 am. While most bars, nightclubs and restaurants are an exception to the rule, this means that supermarkets and liquor stores will not be able to sell alcohol during that period.

Prices when drinking out vary. You can enjoy a large bottle of beer of your choice at a coffee shop or hawker centre for less than $6 (and the local colour comes thrown in for free). On the other hand, drinks in any bar, club or fancy restaurant remain pricey, with a basic drink clocking in at $10–15 while fancy cocktails would usually be in the $15–25 range. On the upside, happy hours and two-for-one promotions are common, and the entry price for clubs usually includes several drink tickets. Almost all restaurants in Singapore allow bringing your own (BYO) wine and cheaper restaurants without a wine menu usually don't even charge corkage, although in these places you'll need to bring your own bottle opener and glasses. Fancier places charge $20–50, although many offer free corkage days on Monday or Tuesday.

Tourists flock to the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel to sample the original Singapore Sling, a sickly sweet pink mix of pineapple juice, gin and more, but locals (almost) never touch the stuff. The tipple of choice in Singapore is the local beer, Tiger, a rather ordinary lager, but a microbrewery boom has led to outlets such as, Archipelago (Boat Quay), Brewerkz (Riverside Point), Paulaner Brauhaus (Millenia Walk) and Pump Room (Clarke Quay) offering interesting alternatives.




See also: Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Singapore. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering the Singapore) where that disease is widely prevalent.

It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Singapore. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and when travelling longer than 2 weeks also typhoid.

If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk (travelling by bike, handling of animals, visits to caves) you might consider a hepatitis B vaccination.

There is no malaria, but Dengue sometimes occurs, so use mosquito repellant (50% DEET).

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.




See also: Travel Safety

Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. Even so, travellers should still use common sense for their own safety and security.

The emergency numbers to call:

  • 999 - Police
  • 995 - Civil Defence (Ambulance, Fire Engine)
  • 1777 - Non-emergency Ambulance

The country lives up to its name as a fine country, a local joke. Law enforcers will not hesitate to slap fines on those who flout the rules. So be aware of sign boards with strict rules against smoking, jay-walking, littering, spitting, drinking and eating (on public transport), etc.

Vandalism comes with caning as a punishment. The most famous case of caning for vandalism is the one in 1994 involving American teenager Michael P. Fay. [9] Caning is also sentenced for corruption, illegal entry, overstaying for more than 90 days and sexual-related offences (e.g. rape, sexual assault, etc).

Singapore prescribes capital punishment for very serious offences. Drug trafficking is punishable with a mandatory death sentence by hanging upon conviction. [10][11] Possession of illegal drugs over a certain amount, depending on the category of drug, will be classified as trafficking. [12] Other drug-related offences (possession, abuse) come with severe punishment of imprisonment or caning, or both.[11]



Keep Connected


Internet cafes charging around $2/hr, but are not particularly common since almost all locals have broadband Internet access at home, work, and/or school. Head to Chinatown or Little India if you need get on-line, or check out the top floors of many suburban malls, which feature Internet cafes doubling as on-line gaming parlours. Alternatively, all public libraries offer cheap Internet access ($0.03/min or $1.80/hr), but you need to jump through registration hoops to get access.

The first phase of the nationwide free Wireless@SG system is now operating and visitors


  1. 1 Singapore is a city-state.
  2. 2 Mid-2016 Estimate. Latest Key Indicators, statistics Singapore. Retrieved on 2016–12–07.
  3. 3 WTO Trade Balance Data. List of countries by net exports. Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2013–05–19.
  4. 4 1942: Singapore forced to surrender. ON THIS DAY (15 February 1942). BBC. Retrieved on 2008–08–29.
  5. 5.1 5.2 PAP-UMNO relations. Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2008–08–31.
  6. 6 Malaysian Malaysia. Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2008–08–31.
  7. 7 Buses. Uniquely Singapore. Singapore Tourism Board. Retrieved on 2008–09–01.
  8. 8 Taxis. Uniquely Singapore. Singapore Tourism Board. Retrieved on 2008–09–01.
  9. 9 Michael P. Fay. Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2008–08–30.
  10. 10 Misuse of Drugs Act. Singapore Statutes OnLine. Attorney-General's Chambers. Retrieved on 2008–08–29.
  11. 11.1 11.2 Second Schedule: Offences Punishable on Conviction. Misuse of Drugs Act. Singapore Statutes OnLine. Attorney-General's Chambers. Retrieved on 2008–08–29.
  12. 12 Presumption concerning trafficking. Misuse of Drugs Act. Singapore Statutes OnLine. Attorney-General's Chambers. Retrieved on 2008–10–12.

Quick Facts

Singapore flag

Map of Singapore


Local Name
Chinese: 新加坡; Malay: Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர்
Parliamentary Republic
5 610 000[2]
Chinese (Mandarin), Malay, Tamil, English
Buddhism, Islam, Christianity
Singapore Dollar (SGD)
Calling Code
Time Zone
  • Latitude: 1.289407
  • Longitude: 103.849962


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