Singapore or officially the Republic of Singapore is an island state consisting of 50 islands. It is situated in Southeast Asia. It shares its borders with Riau islands and Johor Sultanate. The capital city is Singapore.
The temperature does not vary significantly during the year. The temperature can be as high as +32°C in the daytime and +23°C at night. From November to January is the period of heavy showers. It is hot and humid and this can bring discomfort for the tourists. Generally, you can come to Singapore at any time of the year but it is recommended to avoid the season of the showers.
The majority of the population are the Chinese but there are also the Malays, the Tamils, a small number of the Japanese, the Thia and the Arab. Singapore is a country with many religions. About 40% of the population are the Buddhists. There are also the followers of the Christianity, Islam, Confucianism and Daosism. The official language is Malay. However, there are 4 languages having an official status in Singapore. They are Putonghua (standard Chinese), Tamil, English and Malay.
Singapore attracts those who like to spend time on the white-sand beaches. The largest island Sentosa is known for its 3 km beach area. In Singapore, one can try different water sports (except diving). The Bintan island is ideal for the lovers of active tourism. There are many hectares of jungles, amazing gardens, spa procedures and sports courts.
The water in the Strait of Malacca is clean and warm all the year round. The Strait is the best place in the country for water sports. If you get tired of water sports, you can go hiking, play golf, tennis or ride a bike.
Singapore is a true Mecca for those who loves shopping. The shops do not charge VAT here. In Singapore, one can buy many goods for a much cheaper price. May is the season of sales and it lasts until July. The tourists can buy goods by famous brands 80% cheaper.
The best way to get to Singapore is a flight. Singapore Airlines have regular flights to the Republic from CIS countries and European capitals. Airlines of Asia and Europe also offer transit flights to Singapore.
The Singapore Changi Airport is 20 km to the north-east away from the city of Singapore.
One can take a train in Thailand and Malaysia to get to Singapore.
Singapore is a large international port and cruise ships regularly stop here.
There is a ferry route between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
The tourists must obtain a visa to travel to Singapore. To obtain a short-stay visa, the tourists can apply to the authorized company such as a visa center, airlines Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Pony Express. The citizens of CIS countries who want to obtain a visa in an Asian visa center should fill in an online form first.
The travelers from EU countries can travel to Singapore visa-free. They should have a valid international passport, confirmation of financial sufficiency and a return ticket.
There are no restrictions concerning import and export of national and foreign currency. The sums exceeding 30.000 Singapore dollars (SGD) must be declared.
The tourists of the age of majority can bring in Singapore cigarettes, alcohol and chocolate but the total cost of these goods must not be over 50 SGD. The cost of other personal belongings must not exceed 300 SGD.
It is prohibited to import food products, rare plants and animals, forged (toy) banknotes and coins, lighters imitating guns, certain types of chocolate and alcohol.
The cuisine of Singapore is a mix of various cooking traditions of the world. There is Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai influences and also some elements of the French and English cuisines. Nutrition specialists say that cuisine of Singapore is one of the healthiest in the world.
The lovers of the Chinese cuisine will find something to their taste in any restaurant in Singapore. For example, the chefs fry the vegetables in a wok cooking vessel and they add some oyster sauce. You will recognize the Indian influence by curry which the locals generously add to any meat and fish dishes. Instead of bread, they usually serve the Indian flatbread Roti.
Malay cuisine brought such dishes as skewered chicken with peanut sauce, coconut water and aromatic herbs. Outside Singapore, you will never try the dishes of the Peranakan people. Peranakan is blend of two cultures where the people are ethnic Chinese but culture and language are predominantly Malay-influenced. The cuisine of the Peranakans is based on the Chinese ingredients prepared with coconut water, curry and hot spices. In Singapore, you will be offered a traditional dish of these people Laksa Lemka (soup with coconut water, Tofu and noodles).
The most popular sides in Singapore are rice and noodles. Fish and seafood are also very popular. Being in Singapore, you should try Otak-Otak, mackerel soaked in coconut water, wrapped in a banana leave and steamed.
The locals eat a lot of meat both traditional meat like chicken and duck and exotic meat of crocodiles, monkeys and turtles. The vegetables are fried in animal fat.
Chinese jelly balls Tapioki and a French cake Mille-feuille. In Singapore, they drink juice, tea and white coffee without sugar. The locals do not like alcoholic drinks and usually they drink gin cocktails.
The official currency is Singapore dollar (SGD). You can exchange currency at banks and in exchange offices.
Rate fluctuations of traveler’s checks are not significant. The tourists can cash traveler’s checks in exchange offices, large travel agencies and at banks. It is more convenient to cash checks in sterling pounds.
Almost any mall and entertaining facilities accept credit cards.
There are ATMs in banks, malls, small cafés and souvenir shops.
If within 24 hours a tourist spent 100 SGD and over for purchases, he or she is entitled to VAT refund. The money can be returned at the Singapore Changi Airport after. A tourist must have the purchased goods and a purchase receipt.
Details of interest
Singapore is a multi-national state and city and each ethnic group keeps its customs and traditions.
When one enters a temple or a private house, he or she must put off the shoes. If locals invite you to their house, buy a small gift for the owner of the house.
The Singaporeans eat with chopsticks but in any restaurant or eatery you will be offered European flatware.
Legislation of Singapore prohibits the movies with erotic episodes.
Sightseeing in Singapore
Colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers exist in harmony in Singapore. The Institute of St. Joseph is considered to be the most beautiful monument of the colonial architecture. It is situated in the center of Singapore city. There, at the very heart of the country, the tourists can see magnificent churches and the oldest of them is the Armenian Church of St. Gregory.
If you like big cities and city entertainments, go to the museums and have a walk along the districts if Singapore such as Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. Both districts are the center of shopping. Orchard Road is a famous Singaporean street with many skyscrapers. In this street, the tourists can also see magnificent palaces and temples. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are also on this street.
After colonial downtown, head to the ethnic districts. You will see Chinese and Indian districts and the Arab street. Each district has its own peculiar architecture and traditions.
The parks in Singapore are beyond imagination. The most popular of them are the Telok-Blanga Hill and Tiong Bahru. The Singapore Zoo is unique because the animals are not kept in the caves there. In Jurong district, there is the largest in Southeast Asia park of birds and reptiles, and Discovery Research Center. The best entertaining infrastructure is on the largest island Sentosa.
Souvenirs in Singapore
In Singapore, the tourists buy an extraordinary souvenir. This is the toilet maps from the World Toilet Organization and Restroom Association of Singapore. A fan will be very useful in hot Singapore and it will remind you of the country at home.
‘Singing vases’ are a very popular souvenir. The locals use these vases for meditation.
An expensive but very beautiful gift is a Singaporean ‘Golden flower’ in a vase. The local jewelers cover an orchid with a thin layer of gold and put it into a vase. One can buy this flower in the Risis stores.
The tourists also like to buy Singaporean stone pictures.