Fabulous Singapore

 

“ Exhilaration never ends at the Garden City”

 

Singapore, the amazing centerpiece of Southeast Asia, is a cultural potpourri that leaves the surprised visitor dazzled by the containment of so many influences and cultures all on one small island. Singapore is both an island and a country, located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.

Singapore City, known as the Garden City, is a dynamic urban environment with entertainment, dining and energy. The city ranked first in Asia and eleventh in the world for quality of life by the economists. Singapore has something for everyone, from families to business travelers.

Beguiling Singapore is a modern city-state embracing economic progress against the backdrop of age-old tradition. The customs that underpin community life are created out of a cultural mix that includes predominantly Chinese, Indian and Malay ethnic groups.

One of the charming aspects about Singapore is that it is a blend of modern times and the colonial days.

Singapore is a happy clashing of opposites – classy and fantastic at the famed Raffles Hotel, but laid-back and low-priced in the food markets of Bugis Junction and Clarke Quay. City Sites include superb shopping in Orchard Road, the cultural quarters of Chinatown, Geylang Serai and Little India containing the world’s first night safari. An impeccably clean city, nothing is permitted to dull the shine – even down to the banning of chewing gum.

 

When to Visit

Singapore can be visited anytime. Climate is not a major concern.


 

SINGAPORE’S PLACES OF INTEREST


 

 

 

LANDMARKS & MUSEUMS

Singapore abounds with fascinating historical sites left behind by early migrants and the British.The Singapore city showcases the best of British colonial architecture and memorials dedicated to World War II heroes.


 

ANIMAL KINGDOM

One of the top activities for families to partake in during their Singapore holiday is to visit Singapore’s animal kingdom. The city-state is full of animal parks, zoos, and aquariums. One will be surprised to find so many different types of animals here in Singapore. Visitors can even observe nocturnal animals in their natural surroundings.

 

 

PARKS, GARDENS & NATURAL RESERVES

Singapore is justifiably known around the world as the “garden city”, where half of the island is covered in greenery. Meandering tree-lined roads interspersed with lush parks and gardens create a unique green ambience that has drawn accolades from around the world.

 

 

ETHNIC QUARTERS

Explore the wonderful cultures and traditions that Singapore has preserved since the 19th century. Being a multi-racial society provides the visitors an insight into the cultural fabric of Singapore.

 

 

PLACES OF WORSHIP

In Singapore, the religions of different ethnic communities flourish harmoniously alongside each other, a good way to immerse yourself in Singapore’s diverse cultures is to step into one of the many mosques, temples, churches or synagogues here.

 

 

MUSEUM  & THE ARTS

Singapore has much to offer in terms of reconciling the past with present and future generations, as well as a growing scene in the arts and culture. The pure economically-driven development of post-independence Singapore has given way to a more holistic view that values the importance of preserving the rich heritage and culture of the nation and promoting Singapore as a world-class venue for the arts.

 

 

SINGAPORE FLYER

Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel. Standing at a stunning 165m from the ground, the Flyer offers you breathtaking, panoramic views of the Marina Bay, the island city and beyond.

 

 

MARINA BAY SANDS

Marina Bay Sands is the latest attraction in Singapore and its unique designed architecture lets you get a panoramic view of the spectacular sights of Singapore known as Sands Sky Park, the rooftop landscape sits 200m in the sky, housing swimming pools, restaurants and bars, and decorated with rich lush greenery.

 

 

 

AMUSEMENT & THEME PARKS

The Amusement Parks in Singapore are perfect spots where you can have unlimited fun and frolic with your family members, the parks are thronged by the locals as well as the tourists all throughout the year. This city-state in the south east of Asia has a large number of Amusement Parks that will surely provide you with a great deal of entertainment.

 

SENTOSA ISLAND

The Sentosa Island is Singapore’s premier island resort getaway with plenty of attractions and filled with events all year round. Once you step afoot the Sentosa island, you can find your own slice of paradise among the many exciting attractions – history and culture come alive, entertainment by day and night, lush green surroundings to explore, manicured gardens and dancing fountains.

 

 

CLARKE & BOAT QUAY

Singapore is a beautiful and clean country. Walking along the river and the quays is a sensory and cultural explosion.  Neon lights dance up and down buildings and across the streets, while people from seemingly every culture imaginable live and relax together.

 

 

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

 

 

 

OFFICIAL NAME : Republic of Singapore

The Republic of Singapore is an independent nation in Southeast Asia. Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, separated only by the narrow Strait of Johor from the mainland, it is a prosperous nation whose people enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Asia.

CAPITAL: Singapore

TIME ZONE

GMT +8 (Standard Time)

COUNTRY CODE:  + 65

GEOGRAPHY
Singapore, a small island with over 60 surrounding islets, is located in Southeastern Asia. Its land area is 647.5 square kilometers. It is linked to Malaysia by two causeway bridges, while Indonesia is just a quick ferry trip away. Thailand and the Philippines are a short plane ride away.

POPULATION
4.6 million

ETHNIC GROUPS

Singapore’s population of almost five million comprises 77% Chinese, 14% Malays, 8% Indians and 1% people of other descent.

LANGUAGE

Malay is the national language. Chinese (Mandarin), Malay, Tamil and English are the official languages. English is the language of administration and widely used for business dealings. Singlish — a Singaporean version of English that has its own grammar — is also widely used.

RELIGION

With this mixture of people, Singapore is also a mixture of religions. Singapore’s skyline boasts the distinctive minarets of mosques, spires of gothic cathedrals, intricate figurines of Hindu temple gods and distinctive roof architecture of Chinese temples. The main religions are Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism.

CLIMATE

Singapore’s climate is warm and humid, with only slight variations between the average maximum of 31 degrees Celsius and minimum of 23 degrees Celsius. This makes it ideal for those who enjoy sunbathing, swimming, sailing and other water sports. The monsoon season lasts from November to January, with December being the wettest month.

GOVERNMENT

Parliamentary. The parliament is unicameral; executive power nominally rests with the president but effectively lies with the prime minister and the Cabinet.

PRIME MINISTER - Lee Hsien Loong

ECONOMY OVERVIEW

Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. Real GDP growth averaged 6.8% between 2004 and 2008, but contracted 2.1% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. The economy has begun to rebound in 2010 and the government predicts growth of 3-5% for the year.

CURRENCY
The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore dollar also known as the Sing dollar. In stores prices are marked as S$. Notes are issued in denominations of S$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. The denominations of the coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and S$1.

The Brunei currency is accepted as equal to the Singapore dollar because they have a currency interchangeability agreement. Other than the Singapore Dollar and Brunei currency, the US and Australian Dollars, Yen, Deutsch Mark and British Pound are also accepted in most major shopping centers and big departmental stores. All banks and hotels offer to exchange money but you will always get a better rate if you go to one of the many authorized moneychangers that can be found at any place.

Establishments all around accept major cards like American Express, Diners Club, Japanese Credit Bank, Master Card and Visa in Singapore. Should any shop insist on adding a surcharge, contact the respective card company to report the errant shop-owner.

MAJOR EXPORTS

Computer equipment, rubber and rubber products, petroleum products, telecommunications equipment.

MAJOR TRADING PARTNERS

Malaysia, U.S., Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

Manufacture of electronic equipment; financial services; oil drilling equipment; petroleum refining; rubber processing and rubber products; production of processed foods and beverages; ship building and repair; biotechnology

ELECTRICITY

220-240 volts, 50 cycles. Wall outlets are for three- or two-pronged plugs. If your appliances are dual-voltage, you’ll need only an adapter

BUSINESS HOURS

Most private offices are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Banks are open on weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Malls are generally open the whole week from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m..

AIRPORT

Changi Airport is about 20 km. from the Central Business District. The airport is linked by two expressways — the East Coast Parkway and the Pan Island Expressway — to other parts of Singapore, providing easy access by taxi, public bus, or car. Travel time to the city is about 25 minutes by car or taxi, 45 minutes by bus.

 

 

PASSPORT & VISA

 

Foreigners who would like to enter Singapore need a valid passport.

Generally tourists may stay 30 days in Singapore with a social visit pass. If you would like to extend your stay, apply at the Singapore Immigration Department. Visitors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand don’t need to have a visa.

 

 

CURRENCY

There is no restriction on the amount of currency you can bring in.

DUTIABLE GOODS

  • Intoxicating liquors including wine, beer, ale, stout and port
  • Tobacco including cigarettes and cigars
  • Motor spirit

NON-DUTIABLE GOODS

  • Electronic and electrical goods
  • Cosmetics
  • Cameras, clocks and watches
  • Jewellery, precious metals and precious stones
  • Footwear
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX  (GST)

There is a 5% Goods and Services Tax levied on all goods imported into Singapore.

GST-FREE/DUTY-FREE CONCESSIONS

New articles, souvenirs, gifts and food preparations up to values below:

  • SGD 50 if traveller has been away from Singapore for less than 24 hrs
  • SGD 150 if traveller has been away from Singapore for 24 hrs or more but less than 48 hrs
  • SGD 300 if traveller has been away from Singapore for 48 hrs or more

The following duty-free concessions are granted to travellers arriving from countries other than Malaysia and who have been away from Singapore for 48 hrs or more:

  • 1 litre spirits (brandy, whisky, gin, rum, vodka, etc.)
  • 1 litre wine
  • 1 litre beer or stout or ale

Duty-free concessions are granted for personal consumption only. It is an offence to sell or give them away. There is no GST relief and duty-free concession on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Travellers arriving from Malaysia will not be granted GST relief and duty-free concession on cigarettes, tobacco products, intoxicating liquors and motor spirits. The items may be brought in only on payment of duty and GST.

GST and duties must be paid on goods brought in for trade, commercial or business purposes and goods carried on behalf of other persons. Cars and vans carrying such goods should proceed to the lorry lane where the goods together with the relevant Customs permits and supporting documents should be produced for Customs clearance.

EXCESS GOODS

Goods exceeding the GST/duty-free concessions can be brought in only on payment of GST and Customs Duty.

Transit passengers arriving by air at the Changi Airport may keep their excess items in the Customs Bond pending departure through either Terminal 1 or 2 of the same airport. Warehouse rent is chargeable.

PHOHIBITED ITEMS

The following items are not allowed to be brought into Singapore:

  • Intoxicating liquors and cigarettes marked with the words “SINGAPORE DUTY NOT PAID” on the labels, cartons or packets
  • Cigarettes with the prefix “E” printed on the packets
  • Chewing gum
  • Chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products
  • Cigarette lighters of pistol or revolver shape
  • Controlled drugs and psychotropic substances
  • Endangered species of wildlife and their by-products
  • Firecrackers
  • Obscene articles, publications, video tapes/discs and software
  • Reproduction of copyright publications, video tapes, video compact discs, laser discs, records or cassettes
  • Seditious and treasonable materials

 

DO’S AND DON’T

 

Don’ts

  • Do not chew gums, which are banned in Singapore and may get you arrested. Leave it home before you travel.
  • Do not litter while in Singapore. Laws are strictly enforced relating to littering.
  • Do not smoke in public. Smoking is illegal in enclosed public places (including restaurants). Dropping a cigarette end in the street or smoking illegally can lead to an immediate fine.
  • Do not get involved in any drugs. Singapore carries a mandatory death penalty for drug-trafficking and harsh penalties for possession and use within the country.
  • Do not discuss religion or politics. Do not make jokes either.
  • Do not touch someone’s head. The head is considered sacred.
  • Do not show the bottoms of your feet or use your feet to point. Feet are considered dirty.
  • Do not bring in food into MRT (Mass Rapid Transport). Offenders will be fined up to S$200.
  • Do not point at someone with your index finger, which is considered very rude.
  • Do not take cabs which are very expensive in Singapore. The Singapore transportation system is exceptionally well planned.
  • Do not eat or offer anything with your left hand when with Muslims and do not use your left hand when shaking hands with a Muslim.
  • Do not tip. Tipping is not customary in Singapore and it’s even frowned down upon by the government.
  • Do not open a gift immediately in front of the giver. Do not wrap gifts in white, which is a mourning color.
  • Do not, for a Chinese descent, give clocks, handkerchiefs or flowers to as they are associated with death and funerals. Do not accept a gift immediately; refuse a gift two to three times before accepting to show that you’re not greedy.
  • Do not, for a Malay descent, give alcohol, or anything made of pigskin, as Malays are Muslim. Give the gift upon departing, not arriving, and use your right hand or both hands to give or receive presents. Never use only left hand.
  • Do not, for an Indian descent, give alcohol or something made of leather. Use your right hand to give or receive presents and not your left. If it’s large, you may use both hands.

Dos

  • Do address someone using the title of Mr., Mrs. or Miss with the surname. Do not use first names unless you are invited to.
  • Do shake hands for a warm greeting, but be aware that Malays will not always shake hands. Muslims will not shake hands with the opposite sex. Do give a slight bow for older Chinese people.
  • Do remove your shoes while entering a private home, a temple or a mosque.
  • Do leave a little on the plate when you have finished eating.
  • Do be conservative in your behavior. Dress conservatively for business functions and dress casual in other situations.
  • Do have coins with you when you need to use the public toilet.
  • Do stay on the left side of the escalator. The right lane is for all those people in a rush. Do drive on the left hand side too.
  • Do have some handy cash ready to use. Do not rely on your credit cards.

Source : Do’s & Dont – Pass Planet