Information & Facts
Singapore's attractions reflect the diverse people who live
there. In Downtown, communities of Little India and the Arab
district give an exotic spice to Singapore. Chinatown stands out
with its traditions and decoration in contrast to a very modern
city. The edges of this modernity can be viewed at the Red Dot
Design Museum and at the many shopping malls. To escape the feel of
the city tourists can enjoy the Singapore Botanical Gardens, the
Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Jurong Bird Park or the Singapore
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the best way to experience nature
while still inside city limits. For others ferrying between islands
can be the best escape. Sentosa Island is a fun theme park to let
loose of city congestion. The more relaxing Palau Ubin island is
both interesting for its Malay culture and an ideal spot to soak up
beach sun especially in the rare sunny months of April and May.
Business in Singapore is conducted formally. The adherence to a
dress code is strict, with suits the preferred business attire.
Punctuality is essential in all business meetings, unlike social
engagements where a 'fashionably-late' policy is observed.
Appointments should be made at least two weeks in advance. The
exchange of business cards is vital at introductions and the
ceremony of it is important for creating good relations. Business
cards are to be treated with respect and not folded, written upon
or vandalised in any way. Shaking hands is the common form of
greeting for both men and women and may last up to 10 seconds. The
person is to be addressed by their respective title followed by
their surname. It is a good idea to ask beforehand how the person
is correctly addressed as this may vary depending on the different
cultures within Singapore. Business hours are generally 9am to 5pm
Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.
Singapore's climate is mostly hot and humid with average
temperatures ranging between 79°F (26°C) and 86°F (30°C) during the
day with cooler temperatures at night. The wettest months are
between November and January (the monsoon period); however rainfall
occurs throughout the year. Rainstorms are usually short but heavy,
so remember to take an umbrella.
The international access code for Singapore is +65. The outgoing
code is either 001, 002, 008 or 018, depending on the service
provider, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00144 for the
United Kingdom). City or area codes are not used. Public phones are
good for local and international calls; they take credit cards or
phonecards, which can be bought at newspaper kiosks and Telecom
shops. Calls made from hotels are free of any surcharges. Several
local mobile phone operators use GSM 900/1800 networks. Email and
Internet access is available at Internet cafes throughout the
Singapore is a fairly diverse society and has been moulded by
its immigrant population, primarily Malay, Chinese and Indian,
along with the large expat community. The city is incredibly
efficient and the citizens very law-abiding - there are fines
issued for just about any offence in Singapore, including S$500 for
smoking in public places, S$50 for jaywalking, S$1,000 for
littering and S$500 for eating, drinking or chewing gum on the MRT.
There are even fines for not flushing public toilets so it goes
without saying that getting involved in illegal drugs is not
advisable; trafficking carries a maximum penalty of death. Chinese
Singaporeans have three names, the first of which is their surname,
or family name. As a result visitors should be prepared for hotels
mistakenly reserving rooms under their first names. For clarity
surnames may be underlined.
Travellers to Singapore over 18 years do not have to pay duty on
1 litre of wine, spirits and beer. Chewing gum and tobacco products
must be declared on arrival. Strictly prohibited is the trafficking
in illegal drugs, which carries the death sentence. Prohibited
items include meat and meat products, and firearms and explosives
without a permit.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin,
square-shaped plugs are in use.
Travellers from countries where there is an incidence of yellow
fever need to have immunization records on arrival in Singapore.
There are excellent medical facilities in Singapore. There is a
high risk of dengue fever. Visitors should avoid poorly cooked
food, particularly seafood, and be cautious of certain types of
fish that contain biotoxins even if cooked. Health care is
excellent but also very expensive and medical insurance is
Singapores official languages are English, Mandarin,
Malay and Tamil. A patois called Singlish, or Singaporean English
is widely spoken. It is the by-product of mixing English, Chinese
and Malay syntax and idiom.
Singapore's currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD), which is
divided into 100 cents. The US and Australian Dollars, Yen and
British Pound are also accepted in the larger shopping centres.
Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants.
ATMs are widely distributed and banks advance cash against the
major credit cards. Travellers cheques can be cashed at banks or
licensed moneychangers and at selected hotels. Banks are open
daily, but some do not do foreign exchange on Saturdays.
Travellers should hold confirmed documents and tickets for
onward or return travel and enough funds to cover their stay. Male
travellers with long hair are advised to tie their hair back on
arrival. Women who are six months pregnant or more may be refused
entry. All nationals, regardless of visa requirements, may be
issued with a Social Visitor's Pass on arrival allowing for a stay
of 14 or 30 days provided their visit is for touristic or business
purposes. Extensions are possible for S$40, but the initial Pass is
free. Passports must be valid for at least six months from date of
arrival. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six
months validity remaining after your intended date of departure
from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply
different rules to those stated by travel agents and official
Singapore is a very safe travel destination with crime limited
to the odd theft. The Singapore Government has stepped up security
measures following the terrorist attacks in Bali and is committed
to maintaining Singapore's reputation as a safe destination.
Local time is GMT +8.
Tipping is not encouraged as most hotels and restaurants in
Singapore already levy a 10% service charge on customers' bills.
Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore, but is appreciated for