Singapore: All you need to know
The sovereign city-state and island country Singapore is one of the most travel-friendly countries in the world. It offers the most-chic experience of shopping, dining topped with thrilling adventure. Over the years Singapore has managed to transform itself into an ultimate 21st-century metropolitan city. Year by year it has managed to top the charts in terms of its popularity. If you are planning to visit the city, then below is an all you need to know a guide that’ll help you plan your entire holiday and learn something too.
Currency: Singapore dollar (SGD)
Official Languages: Singapore has four official languages, English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. English is widely spoken around the city too.
Official Name: Republic of Singapore
Time: UTC + 8 (13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time)
Population: 5.61 million
Cash and Credit card: Credit cards are readily accepted. However, you should carry some cash with you in case of an unforeseen situation.
Wifi: Visitors can enjoy free internet services by registering for a public Wi-Fi account with their foreign mobile number at any Wireless@SG hotspot. Overseas charges may be applicable.
The climate of Singapore is usually weird throughout the year. The day is usually warm and humid with a slight chance of rain in the latter part of the day that usually occurs from November to January. So, make sure you pack light and breathable wear if you are travelling during that time as you wouldn’t want to be suffocated by your own clothes. July to October is also a great time to visit if you’re hoping to avoid all the tourist crowd.
If you are a big fan of car races then you should plan a trip around September as Singapore hosts the only F1 night race in the world. Not only for the F1 but, this time all sees many popular artists hold their own concerts that attract a huge crowd from around the city.
Festivals of Singapore
With its varied culture and languages, Singapore is marked and appreciated for its diversity. One of the most beautiful aspects of the people of Singapore here is how they celebrate their festivals with love and rejoice. The most famous include the:
- In the middle of January, people come together to celebrate the Chinese New year. They clean their house, decorate it with lanterns and eat delicious food. People can be seen visiting the temples, eating some raw fish salad and much more.
- The Chinese Moon Festival is a favourite holiday for the Chinese and Vietnamese people around the world. The festival involves the baking of mooncakes that they further share with people they love. Celebrated in between September to October, people celebrating take some time out to appreciate the beautiful full moon on what is considered the clearest night of the year symbolizing peace and tranquillity.
- The festival of Ramadan is celebrated by fasting for 30 days until the new moons show up. It has night bazaars, family gatherings, games, special sweets and enjoying the occasion. Many malls and restaurants offer great sales and discounts. Tourists are often invited to come to gatherings and feasts in the evenings. The finish of Ramadan is a celebration known as Eid al-Fitr.
Travelling in Singapore
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only one to be so. It spreads to an area of 82 hectare that has over 10,000 range of plants and trees. One of the main attractions inside the arena is the National Orchid Garden, and Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (world’s first garden for children). Other great attractions include the Learning Forest interactive rainforest exhibit, herbariums, statues, fountains, a Botany Centre and various museums too. People who love spending time near nature will surely fall in love with this place.
Gardens by the Bay
Located in the heart of Singapore, the Gardens by the Bay is a famous nature park that is visited and loved by every tourist around the world. The park has been divided into three three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden (largest among the rest gardens), Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The Gardens by the Bay was created as an initiative for raising the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city. The bay also houses the largest glass greenhouse in the world, the Flower Dome.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is a popular resort in Singapore that has been marked as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at USD 5.88 billion. The resort houses a 1,300,000 sq ft convention-exhibition centre, the world’s largest atrium casino, museums, theatres, restaurants, art-science exhibits, and 2,561 hotel rooms. Further, the Marina Sand Bays top a 1,120 ft SkyPark and an infinity swimming pool that has been set up on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform. Relax at one of the most luxurious properties to witness the panoramic view of the city’s skyline. The place also has the world’s best celebrity chefs serving exquisite cuisine rolled out of their hands and a great mix of luxury brands to shop.
Sentosa Island is a famous island that is located in the central part of Singapore. Before being popular, the Sentosa island was a British military fortress. After the Japanese Occupation in World War II, Singapore returned to British rule, and the island was renamed to Sentosa which translates to peace and tranquillity. Over the years the Sentosa island has been transformed into one of the most popular places for tourists. Its beaches, resorts and adventure sports receive more than twenty million visitors per year. Especially if you are a fan of sports or activities that get your heart pumping and blood racing then the Sentosa island is perfect for you. iFly Singapore, the world’s largest wind tunnel for indoor skydiving, Mega Adventure Park, Cable Car Sky Network and many more. Nature lovers will love the island as it is host to some of the most pristine beaches in Singapore. Other famous spots include the Sentosa Nature Discovery and the S.E.A. Aquarium.
Once a spot for racing, cattle and brick kilns, Little India in Singapore is a buzzing historic area of Singapore that showcases the best of Singapore’s Indian community. A rich amalgamation of culture and traditions while on a visit here you will get to explore a great mix of Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches. Little India lets you soak into the rich culture and entertain your taste buds by trying out some delicious Indian cuisine that includes delicious dosas, paranthas, tandoori dishes, with some Teh Tarik to go alongside. Don’t forget to drop by the famous 24-hour shopping mall Mustafa Centre offers everything such as electronics, groceries, gold and saris.
The most beloved shopping street in Singapore, the Orchard road is everybody’s favourite. Unnamed in the 1830s, the Orchard Road is a retail and dining paradise, with over 5,000 establishments offering the ultimate lifestyle experience to tourists and locals alike. In 1958, Orchard Road’s first department store—TANGS—was set up by local merchant C.K. Tang which is even present today. It is known to pay tribute to idiosyncratic Eastern architectural features like its jade green pagoda-esque roof and iconic red columns. Walking down the Orchard road you will be able to spot the ION orchard that is one of the most popular shopping complexes. The mall houses over eight levels of stores, from luxury brands to high street fashion and entertainment stores. Don’t forget to visit the Far East Plaza, that is a known haven for street fashion enthusiasts and bargaining pros. Shop from a range of trendy street apparel stores, affordable beauty services and cheap electronic products
The Orchard Road is ideal for a perfect meal too. If you want to sit by a few and enjoy a cup of coffee with your meal then you should stop by the Oriole Coffee and Bar or the Wild Honey. If you want to experience a great drinking experience then the Regent hotel is perfect for you as it has also been marked in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list.
Things you need to know about Singapore
- Singapore is worldly famous for its economic policies and business-friendly. Then you won’t be surprised to know that it houses many billionaires too. As per a 2019 Forbes article, the fifty wealthiest people in the entire country have a combined net worth of $130 billion. The youngest person on the list is 38-year-old Eduardo Saverin who is the co-founder of Facebook, renounced his U.S citizenship and became a native of Singapore in 2012. Other include various real estate tycoons, private investors, restaurateurs and many more
- Can’t pass an hour without smoking or chewing gum and then spitting it on the floor? Then this is for you. Importing and selling of chewing gum is strictly banned in Singapore. Though in 2004, the ban was slightly lifted to allow pharmacies to sell gum only for medical purposes. Though you can chew gum, in case you are caught importing chewing gum then you could be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to one year for first-time offenders. Another strict ban on Singapore is smoking in prohibited areas. Technically, smoking has been banned in almost every conceivable public place, from common corridors to void decks to bus tops to sheltered walkways. If caught smoking you will be fined up to $1,000. Other fines of Singapore include drinking in public, littering around, caught jaywalking, while using someone else’s unsecured wifi network or while feeding the pigeons.
- Want to live or travel, Singapore is considered as one of the safest places to travel in the world. It has been reported that it is among the few cities with low crime and homicide rates in the world. Many solo women travellers who have travelled to Singapore one or more times have praised the city and its people. If you are out walking the streets alone, you won’t be subjected to any form of harassment or tease by the passersby. So, go party/bar hopping around the city till wee hours or stroll the streets for some greenery and fresh air.
- You must have heard, Singapore is one of the most expensive countries to travel and roam around in but, it’s not entirely true. Singapore has an extremely high population density. Hence, do not even think about travelling by hiring or renting a car as there is too much traffic and the Private ownership of cars in Singapore is very expensive. There are plentiful ways for you to travel without hurting your pocket. The most preferred being public transportation as it is one of the most convenient ways to travel around the city. Since you will be travelling and exploring around the city, the most important thing is to grab a Singapore’s excellent transportation card the minute you step foot. The bus system is easy to navigate around the city and through your EZ-Link transportation card, you will be able to save both time and money. Not only will you save time but also pay for the distance you have travelled and not the flat fare. Apart from that, you can easily get cheap meals and food and street halls and budget hotels to stay in.
- Have you ever seen an airport that is as magnificent and big as a mall? Well, that is what exactly the Changi airport is like. A true shopaholics paradise, the Changi airport has over 350 shops that range from offering luxurious to daily necessities. Wine at the Wines and Spirits Duplex store, fabrics at the Galeri Tokokita, fragrances from essentials, some vintage memorabilia from Loop Garms or vintage shopping at A Vintage Tale, you will be bestowed with numerous options under one single roof. Apart from great shopping stores, Changi airport also houses hotels, lounges, city tour guides, swimming pools, gardens, entertainment decks, movie theatres, and spa services. So if you have to spend some time waiting for your flight then don’t worry because you will surely not be more. Maybe a little overwhelmed with all the options but, you will surely not be bored.
- For most travellers around the world, a visa obligation may not be required. Unless you are planning to stay for more than 90 days then you should make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the time you plan to go. In places such as the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia, a visa might be required. Read all the specifics from the Singapore authorities website to gather more information and attain the visa form.
- Despite being tagged as an expensive country, the food here is greatly diverse and isn’t that expensive to get. You will be able to spot many food centres and hawker halls around that offer delicious Singaporean, Malaysian and Chinese-fusion meals.
- One of the most iconic places to have food in the Chinatown Food Center that offers great bites for around SGD 5. Local foods such as chicken rice, Hainanese chicken rice, satay, carrot cake, chilli crab and Laksa soup. If you want to have some fine dining experience in Singapore then you could opt for a meal at some of the world’s best restaurants. But, the price might be on the slightly higher side as compared to that of food stalls.