Location. Situated at one of the most important crossroads of the world, Singapore is a fusion of East and West, modernity and old world charm. Singapore represents a blend of cultures, customs and cuisines that is as diverse as it is captivating.
The total land area is 685.4 sq km. It comprises one main island(604.2 sq km) and a number of islets scattered off its norther-east and south.
Climate. Singapore has a tropical climate, with warm days and balmy nights all year round. Temperatures range from a low of 24 degrees celsius to a high of 31 degrees celsius everyday, and relative humidity is high.
Clothing. For your comfort, bring light summer wear to Singapore. Blouses, lightweight slacks or summer dresses are ideal for ladies, while for men, open-neck shirts and slacks are all that's needed. There is air-conditioning in most of the buildings, so those sensitive to changes in temperatures might want to bring along an extra layer.
People. What makes Singapore such a special destination is the multi-cultural mix of people. The population is just over 4 million, and around 77.2% are ethnically Chinese, 14.1% Malay, and 7.4% Indian. The remaining 1.3% comprises people from all over the world who have chosen to make Singapore their home.
Language. There are four official languages: English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. English is a common language spoken by most Singaporeans. Signs in Singapore are also written in English.
Currency. Roughly, 1 SGD = 0.74 USD = 0.57 EURO = 64 JPY
What and Where to Eat
Singapore is reputed to be a food capital of Asia. Singaporeans are passionate about food and eating. Look around and the proof is everywhere on the island!
|chilli crab||Hainanese chicken rice||curry fish head|
|roti prata||nasi lemak||satay|
An easy and affordable way of trying out local food is to go to a food court in a shopping mall. These food courts provide many choices in a relatively comfortable (air-conditioned) ambiance. Here are some recommended places: Food Republic at Wisma Atria, Food Republic at Suntec City, and Ion Orchard Food Court.
If you are adventurous, try the hawker centers, which may provide excitement in their own ways, but be ready to put up with the tropical heat.
A full restaurant guide is available here.
What to Do
|Night Safari. The world's first wildlife park built for visits at night, the Night Safari is not like any ordinary zoo illuminated by the night or a modern version of nocturnal houses found in many zoos around the globe. Nestled in 40 hectares of lush secondary forest, the Night Safari offers guests the unique experience of exploring wildlife in a tropical jungle at night. Through the use of subtle lighting technique, guests are able to view over 1,000 nocturnal animals of 100 species in vast naturalistic habitats.|
|Singapore Botanical Gardens. The Singapore Botanical Gardens sweep across an area of 52 hectares constituted by primary forest and specialty gardens in close proximity to the city centre. The park contains many rare plant specimens in addition to the specialty gardens decorated with frangipanis, roses, ferns and desert plants. Outdoor concerts in the gardens can be enjoyed on the Symphony Lake or French cuisine can be savoured at the Au Jardin restaurant.|
|Jurong Bird Park. The 20.2 hectare open-concept Jurong Bird Park is the largest in the Asia Pacific and one of the finest bird parks in the world. Its collection of more than 9,000 birds from 600 species is among the largest in the world. The Park specialises in birds from Southeast Asia and the more exotic and colourful tropical birds.|
|Asian Civilization Museum. While Singapore's forefathers came to settle in Singapore from many parts of Asia within the last 200 years, the cultures brought to Singapore by these different people are far more ancient. The Museum's collection centers on the material cultures of the different groups originating from China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia.|
|Fort Canning Park. One interesting attraction in the park is The Battle Box, which is located some 9 meters underground in one of the bunkers. It was the largest military operations complex in Singapore and was part of the Malaya Command Headquarters during World War II. Now it houses the re-enactment of the scene of 15 February 1942, when the British officers made the decision to surrender and Singapore fell to the Japanese.|
If you intend to visit several places, it may be worthwhile to consider buying a day pass for public transportation.
Sightseeing in Neighboring Countries
Singapore is the gateway to Southeast Asia. Many exciting places to visit are within 2 to 3 hours of flight.