Lying almost on the equator, Singapore is a thriving city-state that has overcome its dearth of natural resources to become one of the juggernaut economies of Asia. In the crowded streets of Chinatown, fortune tellers, calligraphers and temple worshippers are still a part of everyday life. In Little India, you can buy the best sari material, freshly ground spices or a picture of your favourite Hindu god. In the small shops of Arab Street, the cry of the imam can be heard from the nearby Sultan Mosque.
Singapore may have traded in its rough-and-ready opium dens and pearl luggers for towers of concrete and glass, and its steamy rickshaw image for hi-tech wizardry, but you can still recapture the colonial era with a gin sling under the languorous ceiling fans at Raffles Hotel. It is this carefully stage-managed combination of Western modernity and treasured Eastern and colonial past that makes Singapore such an accessible slice of Asia.
Local Area Information
The Republic of Singapore is made up of the main island of Singapore and 60 other smaller islands.
With a total area of 253 square miles (655 square kilometers), the main island resides a population of 3.87 million. Singapore measures a maximum 26 miles (42 kilometers) from East to West and 14 miles (23 kilometers) from North to South.
Lying close to the southern part of Malaysia, the two countries are linked by 2 causeways.
Singapore lies close to the southern extremity of the Eurasian tectonic plate and the northeast extension of the Sumatra-Java oceanic trench.
English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil
Foreigners holding travel documents issued by certain countries require either a Business or Social visa.
(For more information, please visit the Singapore Immigration website : www.sir.gov.sg)
Travelers enjoy Duty-Free concessions if they:
• are at least 18 years old
• have arrived from countries other than Malaysia
• have been away from Singapore for at least 48 hours
The Singapore Customs and Excise Department collects a 3% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all goods imported into Singapore.
GST relief is given for all new purchases as a tourist or returning Citizen/Permanent Resident of Singapore.
The unit of currency is the Singapore dollar. Most shops and entertainment outlets accepted major credit cards and travelers' checks.
Use our Currency Converter to check the exchange rate that corresponds to your local currency.
There is a 3% Goods and Services Tax imposed in major shops and departments, with an additional of 10% service charge in restaurants, 1% government tax is also added in hotels.
There is no need to tip if a 10% service charge is already added to the bill. If not, tipping is up to one's preferences.
Most public phones accept coins or phonecards purchased from bookstalls and newsagents, with a minimum value of S$2.00.
Mobile phone network in Singapore is GSM 900/1800 and CDMA.
Check with your mobile phone company before leaving home about international auto roam services available in Singapore.
Shopping and Business Hours in Singapore
In general, the opening hours of most stores are Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10.30 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.
Most shops welcome all credit cards.
With shopping as one of Singapore's major attractions, the government has instituted several consumer's laws protecting buyers.
Shopping districts includes Colonial Singapore Area, Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street.
However, the main shopping district is the Orchard Road situated at the heart of the city, with major department stores and malls stretching up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers).
Banks and Government offices
Banking hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.
Majority of the offices is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
GMT +8 There is no summer time clock change.
Singapore has a relatively uniform temperature ranging from 250C to 320C (770F to 89.60F) throughout the whole year. Humidity ranges from an average of 66%.
More showers are expected from November to January and are usually sudden but brief.
Click here to view Current Weather Forecast
Dressing is informal and casual at most occasions.
Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and nightspots. Include a waterproof jacket if rain is expected.
Electricity is supplied throughout Singapore at 220-240 volts, 50 cycles AC system.
Medical facilities in Singapore are of high standard.
Tap water in the hotel is potable and if desired, may be boiled prior to consumption using the facilities provided in-room.
View Singapore Hospitals and Health Information
Emergency call numbers
Fire/ Ambulance 995
Police Hotline 1800 6225 0000
Samaritans of Singapore 1800 6221 4444
Non-emergency Ambulance Service 1777