About Singapore (EN)
The word “Singapore” might sound like an exotic bird’s cawk or an animal’s roar. Singapore has gained its independence in 1965, and despite lacking natural resources, the nation developed rapidly, based on external trade and human capital.
Singapore today is a country of fascinating contrasts and is probably the most prosperous country in South-East Asia, which is said to have its head in the future and its soul in the past. Singapore is known as the “Gate of Asia”, where East meets West, and the latest technology advancement blends with ancient traditions. It is one of the safest and most hospitable places to visit in the world. You will never face problems with currency exchange, and calling home, sending a fax to a business partner, or responding to an email will not be hard. The public transport system is perfectly adjusted and functions with punctuality. Crimes, especially serious ones, are a big rarity. Pollution, dirt, and tropical deceases are non-existent in Singapore. Everyone speaks English fluently, so you don’t need to worry about being misunderstood, even if your English is far from perfect.
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The island city-state of Singapore is located in Southeast Asia and consists of the main island area of 714 square kilometers and few dozens of small islands. It is just 1 degree north of the equator. The island’s size is 50 × 27 km. Singapore and Malaysia are separated by the Straits of Johor from the north, and by the Singapore Straits from Indonesia in the south. It borders the South China Sea in the east and the Straits of Malacca in the west.
Singapore’s tropical rainforest climate is hot and humid, with no distinct dry and rainy seasons. The weather throughout the year is mainly clear with occasional tropical rains and short thunderstorms. Average daily temperature is 29-32C. In order to withstand the heat, Embassy Alliance Travel team advises to wear light cotton clothing. Also, do not forget about the air-conditioning system, which is found in almost every shop and office building in Singapore; you might need a light sweater if you are not used to such contrasts in temperature.
Singapore is the country of constitutional freedom of religion. Four major religions are practiced here: Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.
Official languages are English, Malay, Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil. Those who speak little English will be able to get around the city easily as most locals speak English, and all direction signs are in English.
Despite the abundance of skyscrapers, bridges, and excellent roads, it seems as if the city has grown in the park. It is the only metropolis in the world where the landscape is consistent with principles of Feng Shui. Numerous fountains and waterfalls are designed to attract wealth to the residents f the city. Strict lines of buildings without excess parts save space for the free flow of energy. Gleaming skyscrapers and bright ethnic neighborhoods with Buddhist and Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and Christian churches are intricately intertwined in this city.
Singapore is renowned for its exceptional cleanliness. The authorities have made great efforts to make people obey the orders. Trash cans are placed everywhere, therefore there is no excuse for littering. Cleanliness, order, lush tropical gardens, as well as an extraordinary variety of entertainment and shopping make Singapore a very famous tourist destination.
The official currency in Singapore is Singapore Dollar (SGD). Singapore dollar equals 100 cents. The bank notes in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000 and 10,000 Singapore dollars are in circulation. Coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 dollar. There are no restrictions on the import of foreign currency. Banks and Money Changers offer a better exchange rate than the hotels. Exchange offices can be found in shopping centers, at MRT stations, business centers, restaurants and cafes. The exchange rate in those places is usually better than the one in banks as they charge less commissions. International credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, and in fact are the main method of payment. You will not face any problems with traveler’s checks either.
Banks are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 16:00, on Saturday – from 9:30 – 13:00. Many offices of major banks in the Orchard Road operate on Sundays from 9:30 to 15:00. Exchange offices are located in most shopping malls, but their opening hours are from 10:00 – 18:00, some – to 20:00 or 21:00.
Singaporean time is the same for East and West territories and is GMT +8 hours.
The country code is 65. Cellular communications in Singapore provided by three operators SingTel, M1 and StarHub.
Voltage is 220-240V with frequency of the current at 50Hz. Ground pins outlets are used in the majority of the country. This problem can be easily solved by asking the adapter from the attendants in the hotel.
Singapore is one of the cleanest cities in the world, you can drink water straight from the tap and not worry about your stomach. Yet, some Singapore citizens prefer to purchase drinking RO water.
Changi Airport in Singapore offers a free city tour to guests planning on spending more than seven hours waiting for their flight! If you’re lucky, you might be able to see the largest passenger aircraft in the world – the A380 in the Singapore airport.
A service known as the “Visit Center” is intended to assist guests with directions.
There are plenty of taxis in the city. They are mostly located at taxi stands around shopping malls or business center areas. If there is none, just thumb for a ride to taxis that have a green light at the top. Taxis in Singapore operate strictly by a meter. You may also call, sms a cab or use your smart phone application to find one.
Singapore’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is probably the fastest way to go around the city. The extensive rail network means that most of Singapore’s key attractions are within walking distance from an MRT station. You can buy tickets for single trips, but if you intend to use the MRT and basic bus services frequently during your visit, you can buy a Singapore Tourist Pass, a special EZ-Link stored-value card which will allow you unlimited travel for one day (S$10), two days (S$16) or three days (S$20). The cards can be bought at the Transit Link Ticket Office at the following MRT stations: Changi Airport, Orchard, Chinatown, City Hall, Raffles Place, Ang Mo Kio, Harbour Front, Bugis, Lavender and Bayfront. More information on the pass: http://www.thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg/ Singapore’s trains and stations are accessible to wheel chair users and the visually impaired, as well as families with strollers.
Singapore’s bus system has an extensive network of routes covering most places in Singapore and is the most economical way to get around, as well as being one of the most scenic. You can pay your bus fare using an EZ-Link stored-value card or the Singapore Tourist Pass, which you tap on the card reader located next to the driver as you board. Do remember to tap your card again, on the reader located at the rear exit, when you disembark. You can also pay in cash but you need to have exact change. Most buses in Singapore have air-conditioning – a much needed comfort in a tropical city.
The railway connects Singapore with the Malay Peninsula. Using the railway, you can travel to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
Passengers of 18 years of age or older, having been outside Singapore for at least 48 hours prior to arrival and not arriving from Malaysia are allowed to bring in alcoholic beverages not exceeding the following limits:
1 liter of liquor + 1 liter of wine + 1 liter of beer
2 liters of wine + 1 liter of beer
1 liter of wine + 2 liters of beer
All tobacco products must be declared on arrival as they are subject to tax and duty.
Free import of other goods, gifts, souvenirs and foods for stays outside Singapore of less than 48 hours: SGD 150.-; or for stays outside of Singapore of 48 hours or more: SGD 600.-.
Free import of liquor products is not allowed if arriving from Malaysia. Exempt are passengers coming from a third country transiting in Malaysia, who do not enter Malaysia.
Prohibited: chewing gum (except oral dental and medicated gum approved by Health Sciences Authority (HSA)); chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products (including electronic cigarettes); controlled drugs and psychotropic substances; endangered animals and their by-products; firecrackers; obscene articles and materials; reproduced materials infringing copyright.
Detailed information on the Singapore Customs official web site:
Food items for personal consumption are permitted. However, certain foods are prohibited or controlled depending on country of origin and may be limited to a maximum amount or weight. Detailed information can be found at www.ava.gov.sg
Warning: Trafficking of illegal drugs is punishable by death.
Free export of reasonable quantities of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.
Baggage Clearance regulations:
Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Singapore.
Currency Import regulations:
Local currency (Singapore Dollar-SGD) and foreign currencies: no limit. However, amounts exceeding SGD 30,000.- (or equivalent)(incl. traveller cheque, bearer cheque, bill of exchange, promissory note) should be declared on arrival.
Visa application is required for citizens / passport holders of the following countries:
Georgia, Guinea, India, Myanmar, People’s Republic of China, Sierra Leone, Commonwealth of Independent States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Holders of Hong Kong Document of Identity and Holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Travel Permit
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen
Please visit the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website for entry requirements into Singapore: www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=96
7% tax applies to all products. You can return the amount of tax, if you have purchased goods for at least $300 in Singapore. Ask the seller to fill in a form (Tax Free Refund Form), which you will need to show at the «GST Refund» or «Tax Refund» front desk at the airport, along with the purchases. This desk is located in each terminal of the airport, on the left side of the departure hall. The amount of tax will be refunded to you in the form of cash in Singapore dollars or debited to your account or credit card.
Be aware that in bars, restaurants and cafes tipping is usually included as 10% in the final billing. However, if you are very satisfied with the service of the waiter, you may give them an additional tip.
When you are in a temple, it is necessary to take off your shoes. You may take pictures for free almost in any temple, but sometimes ministers will ask for a donation (1-2 SGD). There is a possibility that you will be pointed to any deity that is not allowed to be photographed. Embassy Alliance Travel group suggests you to check with the temple workers before you enter or take pictures.
Tourists going on tours are recommended to wear light clothing – you are allowed to wear shorts and skirts in most temples but we suggest you to enquire before entry.
Tourists traveling to the “Raffles Hotel” are recommended not to wear sports clothing or slippers. Casual wear is ideal.
Indian and Malay food is to be eaten only with utensils or your RIGHT hand if you prefer a traditional method. Chopsticks should never be left in a plate of food, but be put on a special stand or on a table near the plate. If the serving contains two tablespoons, you need to use porcelain spoon for eating and silver one for adding food to your plate from the shared one. Take caution when ordering dishes as some of them might be unusually spicy.
There is a fine of 500 Singapore dollars for smoking in public places. Smoke only in strictly designated areas!
Do not practice jaywalking and do not cross the road during red lights, even if there are no cars around, as it can land you into the trouble and cost you a fine of 500 Singapore dollars or an arrest. You will have to pay the same amount a fine for driving without a seat belt on.
It is forbidden to eat and drink at an undisclosed location, import and chew gum, the fine for which is 300 Singapore dollars.
Littering, spitting on the sidewalk and the road are strictly prohibited. Singaporeans strive to keep their city perfectly clean and do not tolerate any pollution: Fine for littering – 500 Singapore dollars.
Unlike in other Asian countries, queues are to be respected in Singapore, so remember to stand in line at shops and taxi stands.
Finally, always remember that the most important thing in this journey is a camera and good vibes!
Our awesome team is passionate and technology oriented. We can’t live without constant innovation of the unique Destination Management products for our agents and clients to uncover UAE, Singapore and Malaysia to the extend much beyond of what is written in the travel books.
Majority of transfers operated by us are using our own vehicles and trained drivers to share maximum information to brief tourists on how they can best spend their time in Malaysia.
Our transport is often leased to other tour operators, so don’t buy it at higher price elsewhere when you can order it directly from us.