- Travel and Places»
- Visiting Asia»
- Southeastern Asia
Travel to Singapore
Unique is the word that best captures Singapore, a dynamic city rich in contrast and color where you'll find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture. Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry. Located in the heart of fascinating Southeast Asia, Singapore is the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines sending super tankers, container ships and passenger liners to share. Brimming with unbridled energy and bursting with exciting events, the city offers countless unique, memorable experiences waiting to be discovered.
Singapore's location on the major sea route between India and China. The strategic position has made it grow into an excellent harbor for trade and tourism. Its geographical location is 136.8 km north of the equator, between latitudes 103°38'E and 104°06'E.
Singapore's Central Business District actually spreads across both the central and southern parts of the island (you'll know when you're there - it boasts striking high-rise structures). You can get a good visual orientation to the city as you cross the Benjamin Sheares Bridge on the East Coast Parkway, which links the airport to the city center.
Tropical climate with temperatures ranging from a low of 24°C to a high of around 31°C. Rainfall usually takes the form of sudden showers and storms. June-August is considered to be the best time to visit.
The population is just over 4 million, and around 77.2% are Chinese, 14.1% Malay and 7.4% Indian. The remaining 1.3% comprises of people from all over the world who have chosen to make Singapore their home.
English is the common language spoken by all. Signs in Singapore are also written in English.
Singapore is consequently a cosmopolitan place where people from all over the world sit down to enjoy each other's cooking. Each culture has brought with it unique cooking styles including Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Peranakan, Indian, Thai, Japanese and Korean. There is a vast array of hawker stalls and restaurants, ranging from global franchises to gourmet delis to fancy six-star settings.
Orchard Road, would be the most popular and mostcommonly heard names if anyone should mention about shopping. This place is the central hub, also known as the 'city' of Singapore, and it is well known among tourists. Orchard Road offers major departmental stores, supermarkets, movie theatres, restaurants. famous hotels and other entertainment outlets.
Singapore uses the "Type G" (British 3-pin rectangular blade) electrical plug. Voltage is 230 V, 50 Hz.
Goods and Services (GST) Tax
When you shop in Singapore, a 7% Goods and Services (GST) Tax is applicable and is normally included in the price of items. Tourists may claim refund of GST paid on goods purchased from retailers participating in the Toursit Refund Scheme. GST is refundable if visitors spend a combined sum of at least S$100 from the same retailer, and the Refund Form should be obtained from the retailer. The goods must be taken out of Singapore within two months from the date of purchase.
You may cash your refund at Changi International Airport or the downtown cash refund counters. Before departing Singapore, show your purchases, receipts and passport to the custom officials and have your Global Refund cheque stamped. GST Customs Inspection counters are available at the airport, either before check-in (for checked-in goods) or after check-in and clearing immigration (for hand-carried goods). You must return the endorsed Global Refund Cheque to the staff at the Global Refund Counter which is near to the customs.
Tipping is not usual in Singapore. Restaurants typically add a 10% service charge and may actively discourage any additional gratuity, but if none is added, leave 10%. Service personnel in the larger hotels can be offered around SGD 1.00 for good service, and taxi fares should be rounded up to the nearest dollar. Tipping is prohibited at the airport.
Ambulance/Fire Brigade: 995
The monetary unit in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (US$1 = S$1.40, Eur 1= S$2.30). The local currency is in dollars and cents. Foreign currency and traveller cheques can be exchanged at the Changi International Airport, hotels, shops and licensed money changers. Better rates are provided by money changers spread in the shopping areas. No commission is charged.
Visitors are discouraged from changing money with unlicensed money changers.