ENJOY YOUR VISIT TO THIS GREAT CITY
Singapore is an island national that has defied its small size to become an economic powerhouse. In this most modern city in Southeast Asia, skyscrapers, luxury hotels and mega shopping malls stand alongside reminders of Singapore's colonial past such as the iconic Raffles Hotel.
Shop for souvenirs in the crowded streets of Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street, or in designer stores on Orchard Road. Dine at street stalls or at the swankiest restaurants. Enjoy world-class arts at the Esplanade. Its unique multi-ethnic heritage and vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle make Singapore a fascinating destination to explore.
For more information on Singapore, visit www.yoursingapore.com.
Some useful information:
Museums, arts and culture:
- Culture & language: thanks to Singapore's strategic location and beginnings as a bustling port of call, its immigrant past has given rise to a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual society where Malay, Chinese, Indian and European heritages mix harmoniously. This ethnic diversity is an integral part of the Singapore identity with each ethnic group retaining its individual traditions, practices and festivals. The four official languages of Singapore are Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. While Malay is the national language, English is the language that unites the different ethnic groups and is used in schools, government and business.
- Currency: Singapore Dollars. The currency of Brunei is also legal tender: 1 Brunei Dollar = 1 Singapore Dollar.
- Tipping and taxes: tipping is not practised in Singapore as a 10% service charge is usually added on to bills at most hotels, bars and restaurants. GST (Goods and Services Tax) is 7% and visitors can apply for a GST refund on purchases above S100 (incl. GST) made at retailers participating in the Tourist Refund Scheme.
- Time Zone: Singapore's time zone is GMT +8.
- Weather: Singapore lies almost on the equator and, like most of Southeast Asia, is generally hot and humid all year round. Temperatures range from 24°C to 32°C (75°F to 89°F), and relative humidity averages around 70% - 80%. Most buildings are air-conditioned, but it's advisable to wear light, cotton clothing to beat the heat. Rainfall occurs all year round too, mostly as quick showers that are refreshing in the midst of the heat. The rainfall is more abundant though during the rainy season from November to January, when it's a good idea to have an umbrella handy whenever you go out.
- Food: Singapore is often referred to as a food paradise for its sheer variety and quality of culinary fare. For as little as a few dollars, you can dine on local favourites such as chicken rice, laksa and satay at one of the many hawker centres and coffee shops that dot almost every street. Or treat yourself to gourmet experiences at countless restaurants serving up the best of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines as well as a myriad of other Asian and international flavours.
- Chinatown: a vibrant and bustling enclave of Chinese culture and tradition. Designated conservation areas present an intriguing blend of past and present in old temples, markets and traditional trades alongside eclectic cafes, chic restaurants and boutique hotels.
- Little India: a cacophony of colourful sights and sounds, and the intoxicating aroma of spices arouse the senses in Little India. Taste some of the best Indian fare here. Shop all night long at the 24-hour Mustafa Centre emporium.
- Arab Street: situated in Kampong Glam, Singapore's Malay-Muslim quarter, Arab Street draws people from all walks of life with its eclectic mix of shops selling everything from spices and sweet perfumes to basketware, carpets and curios.
Museums, arts and culture:
- National Museum of Singapore: opened in 1887, Singapore's oldest museum is custodian of its national treasures. Its cutting-edge presentations of history and culture create a dynamic exploratory experience.
- Asian Civilisations Museum: showcasing the rich pan-Asian cultures and civilizations that contribute to the make-up of Singapore's multi-ethnic society, the museum's 11 galleries present over 1300 artefacts from the civilisations of China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia/Islamic.
- Chinatown Heritage Centre: Chinatown's colourful past is brought to life within three beautifully restored shophouses in the heart of the bustling Chinatown district, told through the real stories of the original tenants, such as the tailor, the coolies and Sumsui women
- Esplanade (Theatres on the Bay): take in dinner and a performance or tow at this magnificent performing arts venue. Throughout the year, the Esplanade's world-class theatre and concert hall hose some of the world's best shows and virtuoso performers.