Singapore gained independence from Britain in 1963 and its affiliation
with Malaysia ended in 1965, after it was expelled from Malaysia for
Although the country is made up of more than 60 islands, it is basically one
large island and one city, which is also known as Singapore. The
population exceeds 5 million while the land area is less than 700 sq km
(300 sq mi), making it one of the most densely populated areas in the
world. Singapore is bordered by Malaysia to the north, across
the Straits of Johor, and to the south, across the Singapore Strait, is
Indonesia. There is a causeway and a bridge connecting Singapore to
Various empires controlled Singapore over the last 2,000 years. It
was ruled by the British in the 1800s and by Japan during World War
II. Over the past few decades, Singapore
has become one of the wealthiest countries in Asia. The country is
extremely clean. Vandalism can result in physical punishment and it
is illegal to bring gum into the country. Singapore has four official languages - English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.
Buddhism is the most
predominant of many religions.
Most tourists staying less than 30 days will not
require a visa to visit Singapore. To see a list of countries that
will require a visa, visit the Singapore
Government site or check your specific country at VisaHQ.
For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.
The currency for Singapore is the Singapore dollar.
Singapore is subject to dengue fever and there is no vaccine, so make
sure to take steps to avoid contracting it. Exposure is unlikely in
the popular downtown areas around Orchard Road and the financial
district. Mosquito repellent is a good idea for the Botanic Gardens, Singapore
Zoo and Pulau Ubin. Here are some steps to reduce exposure:
Stay in air-conditioned or screened accommodation, especially at
Avoid outdoors at dawn and dusk.
Wear protective clothing in infested areas.
Use mosquito repellent.
Avoid areas with standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in small
puddles such as those found in abandoned car tires or tarps.
Singapore's location near
the equator in Southeast Asia creates remarkably consistent year round
temperatures. Expect average highs of 31 C (88 F) and average lows
of 24 C (75 F) with no distinct seasons. The high humidity makes air
conditioning very popular in Singapore. Rainfall in this tropical
rainforest setting often occurs daily in heavy short bursts.
Rainfall exceeds 150 mm (6 in) in every month of the year, with November
through December exceeding 250 mm (10 in).
Changi Airport ( SIN) is located at the eastern edge of the
island of Singapore about a half hour by cab from downtown attractions such
as the Marina Bay Sands. There is also an airport shuttle and the
subway is an inexpensive half hour ride to City Hall in the center of
downtown. Most of the attractions for Singapore are located in the
Things to see and do in downtown Singapore:
Marina Bay Sands - This consists of a ground level
complex and three hotel towers, resembling 3 decks of cards. The towers are connected by a 57th floor
roof top sky terrace called the Marina
Bay Sands SkyPark. The SkyPark has an observation deck but
the amazing infinity pool on the 57th floor is only open to hotel
At ground level, in front of the hotel, is a
mall with indoor sampan boat rides, two Broadway theatres, a
convention centre, the ArtScience Museum,
an ice rink and a casino atrium with 1,600 slot machines.
Near the Marina Bay Sands, visit Gardens
by the Bay and walk on the OCBC skyway suspended at over 70 feet high between the "trees" of the 16-story-high Supertree Grove. Also in the Gardens, escape to a cool Mediterranean climate in the Flower Conservatory or experience a rain forest climate in the Cloud Conservatory. Admission tickets always include both Conservatories for tourists. Then head to Marina Barrage
- a freshwater reservoir where you can picnic and participate in water
sports. The Double Helix Bridge connects pedestrians at the Marina Bay Sands
with Marina Bay Floating Stadium. The Ritz-Carlton
is beside the stadium and has artwork which can be viewed for no charge.
The Singapore Flyer
is nearby and is higher than the London Eye. Just after sunset, when the lights
of the city appear, is an excellent time to take this half hour pricey
ride. There's a SkyDining option. Hopefully their power problems from
2008 won't reoccur and you won't be forced to be
rappelled down. Also, wander along the
Esplanade at night and stop by the Esplanade,
Theatres on the Bay and then the Merlion fountain at Merlion Park.
Cruise the Singapore River on a bumboat. Visit the Asian Civilizations Museum
while on this side of the Bay.
Clarke Quay - popular,
especially at night, with tourists and locals for its
numerous restaurants, bars, clubs and a reverse bungee that rockets
you up at 200 kph.
Sentosa Island - with beaches, SEA Aquarium, a skyline lounge, a water park and Resorts World Sentosa
including 6 hotels (Hotel Michael, Crockfords Tower, Equarius Hotel,
Festive Hotel, Beach Villas and Hard Rock Hotel), Universal Studios, Marine Life Park and a casino.
Walk to Sentosa from the Singapore mainland on the Sentosa Boardwalk
or take the cable car from the Jewel Box.
Singapore's multicultural background is reflected in the diversity of
its cuisine. Head to Chinatown, Little India or Kampong Glam
Hawker Centres, such as the Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre, where you can
eat lunch for about $3. Former pushcart vendors have been moved to
giant permanent complexes by the government. Try a variety of
dishes such as Bak Ku Teh, Lor Mee or Chicken Rice.