Travel guide to Singapore

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» Singapore
Singapore is a country that has recently been witnessing massive redevelopment. Yet it is still filled with attractive temples, huge amusement parks, and truly beautiful wildlife reserves.

Facts

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Local name
Singapore
Capital
Singapore City
Principal Languages
Chinese, Malaysian, Tamil, and Mandarin-Chinese are the official languages. Malaysian is the national language.
Principal Religion
Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism are the three main religions.
Inhabitants
4,151,264 (2000)
Government
Republic
Geography
Singapore is cmposed of more than 50 small islands. The main island is about 42 km long and 23 km wide. Most of the island used to be covered by forest, but today only 4% of it still remains, while 50% of the island has been urbanized. In the north, Singapore is connected with Malaysia by a one-kilometer long dam.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

You can visit Singapore all year around, and you don't have to worry about weather conditions because it is warm and sunny all the time. Festivals and celebrations take place all year in Singapore, and it is possible to plan your holiday according to which festivals you want to experience.

Literature

Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Fodor's Singapore Culture Shock! Singapore Footprint Singapore Handbook Frommer's Singapore & Malaysia

Local conditions

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Currency

Singapore Dollars (S$), 1 S$ = 100 cents.

Net cafes

There are numerous Internet cafés in Singapore, both in the capital and in the other bigger cities.

In case of emergency

In case of emergency, call the following numbers: Police (999) Hospital & Fire Department (995)

Tipping

It is not normally expected of you to tip in Singapore, and in some places, it is even considered an insult if you do so. At hotels and in restaurants where 10% automatically is added to the bill, it is downright illegal to tip. The only people you can tip without causing trouble, are the taxi drivers even though they do not expect you to.

Timezone

When the time is 12:00 p.m. in the UK (summer time), it is 07:00 p.m. in Singapore. When the time is 12:00 p.m. in the UK (winter time), it is 08:00 p.m. in Singapore.

Weight and Measures

The following weight and measure units are used in Singapore: Length: metres Weight: kilos Temperature: Celsius Cubic content: liters

Photography

There are no photography restrictions in Singapore. However, you should avoid taking pictures of military installations and airports. Films and film development is inexpensive in Singapore.

Drinking water

It is safe to drink the tap water in Singapore.

Electricity

The following power sources are used in Singapore: 220-240V/Ac, 50 Hz

Behaviour

It is illegal to chew chewing gum in Singapore, and therefore it is illegal to bring it into the country. Also spitting and littering the streets, smoking in public, not flushing the toilet, crossing the street outside pedestrian crossings and the like is illegal. Violations of these regulations can result in fines of up to $1000.

Business Hours

The banks are open between 09:30 a.m. and 03:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday), and between 09:30 a.m. and 01:00 p.m. (Saturday). The stores have different business hours, but mostly they are open between 09:00 a.m. and 06:00 p.m. all the week.

Food and drink

Food from all over the world is served at good restaurants in Singapore. If you want to try the local cuisine, it is recommended that you visit one of the many hawkers shops where a wide variety of different dishes are served. The local cuisine is based on Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian cuisine.

Disabled travellers

There are good facilities for the disabled at most hotels and in most restaurants. On Sentosa Island you'll find special facilities for wheelchairs to enable easy mobility around the island.

Holidays

New Years Day, 1st January Labor Day, 1st May National Holiday, 9th August Christmas Day, 25th December Changing holidays: Chinese New Year, February.

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

The closest you'll get to actual camping is on Pulau Island where it is possible to rent a tent for up to four persons - and on Sentosa Island where it is also possible to rent a tent.

Hotels

Hotels can be found in all price categories in Singapore. It is possible to stay at everything from international luxury hotels to inexpensive Chinese hotels with shared bedrooms.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

Most guesthouses are located on Bencoolen Street and Beach Road in Singapore City. However, this mode of accommodation is not as nice as one would imagine. Mostly the rooms are small, the water cold, and the bathroom shared!

Hostels

Instead of actual hostels, you'll find the so-called "Crash Pads", which are really public dormitories, where you can buy a bed cheaply.

Local transport

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Planes

There are no domestic flights available in Singapore.

Bus

Singapore has an extensive and efficient system of bus routes. Always remember to carry exact change for the fare. A Singapore Explorer Ticket allows you to use the buses as much as you like for an entire day. These tickets can be bought in kiosks and bookstores everywhere.

Trains

Trains to different destinations in Malaysia depart on a daily basis from Singapore City.

Taxi

There are more than 10,000 air-conditioned taxis in Singapore, and most of them have a meter. You do not normally hail a taxi in the street in Singapore. Instead there are cab-ranks everywhere. You are charged extra when leaving or entering the business district in the city during daytime. If a taxi is flashing a red sign with a certain destination written on it, this means that the driver is just about to quit for the day, and would prefer to make a fare towards that particular destination.

Car rental

The biggest car rental companies are represented in Singapore, but since the public transportation system is both cheaper and faster, it is not worth the trouble to rent a car.

Other Transport

Singapore has a very extensive and efficient metro system that is constantly being expanded. It is both cheap and fast to use this mode of transportation.

Special conditions

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In Singapore, you drive in the left side of the road. Local calls are free of charge. It is recommended that you drink at least six glasses of water due to the high temperatures.

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