An ex-British colony, Singapore is an island city/nation located at the southern
tip of the Malay Peninsula, south of the Malaysian border. It spans only 424 sq.
miles(683 km2). Its small size (it’s about 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC)
allows for quick and easy travel throughout the country. Due to it being a former
colony and a multicultural nation (Chinese make up 77% of the population, East Indians
8%, Malays 14%), Singapore offers an amalgamation of culture, cuisine, architecture,
religion, language, and art.
Subsequent to its independence, Singapore became one of the most prosperous nations
with strong international trading ties. For example, its GDP is on par with prosperous
Although medical care is more expensive than India and Thailand (it is still more
than 50% cheaper than the U.S.), Singapore draws medical tourists with its world-class
and familiar medical infrastructure, cleanliness, order, and English speaking medical
staff. Also, Singapore´s outside environment is in stark contrast with the poverty
and lack of development in India, and the pollution and chaos of Bangkok, which
in turn mitigates foreigners´ feelings of culture shock.
The Joint Commission International has accredited 15 hospitals and medical centers
in Singapore, which offer a variety of services from dental, orthopedics, urology,
dermatology, cardiology, sports medicine, ophthalmology, endocrinology, and cosmetic
procedures to alternative medicines such as traditional Chinese medicine that includes
acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Singapore has many official languages: English, Malay, Tamil, and Chinese (Mandarin).
Singapore´s official language of business is English.
TSingapore is only 1 degree north of the equator and thus its climate is tropical. The
weather is hot and humid all year round. The high daytime temperature is usually
86oF (30oC) with humidity above 75%. Singapore has two
monsoon seasons: the South Western season from June to September and the North Eastern
season from December to March. The rainy season occurs in November and December.
Visa / Entrance Requirements
U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a valid passport (good for at least 6 months
from the date of entry) and return ticket, but no visa is required if staying for
less than 30 days (can be extended to 90 days).
Airlines Servicing this Destination
Changi International Airport (airport code: SIN) is considered one of the best airports
in the world with a handling capacity of over 70 million passengers per year. It
is served by over 80 airlines that go to 180 cities and over 50 countries.
The following airlines have flights to Singapore:
- Air China
- Air France
- Air India
- Air Lanka
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- China Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Gulf Air
- Indian Airlines
- Korean Air
- Northwest Airlines
- Philipines Airlines
- Quantas Airways
- Royal Brunei Airways
- Royal Dutch Airlines
- Royal Nepal
- Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways International
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
For budget travelers Singapore offers an array of hostels and guesthouses that range
in price from $11 to $45 USD per person per night for a private room with most in
the $20-$30 range. For those seeking mid-priced, 3 star dwellings; those range
from $96 to $150 USD per night. Last but not least, for travelers with more
luxurious taste, five star hotels cost $165-$650 per night. Since Singapore
has 193 km of coastline it also offer beach hotels, resorts and spas that costs
$150 or more per night.
The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar (SGD).
The exchange rate of U.S. dollars to Singapore dollars is $1 USD to S$1.46 SGD (exchange
rate subject to change).
The international access code for Singapore is 65.
In order to call Singapore from the U.S. or Canada you must dial 011 (exit code)
then 65 (country code for Singapore), then the phone number (8 digits). The
first digit is either 3 or 6 for landlines.
To call the U.S. from Singapore you must dial 001 + 1 + area code + phone number.
To call a cell phone in Singapore from the U.S. and Canada you must dial 011 + 65
+ 8 + the seven digit phone number OR 011 + 65 + 9 + the seven digit phone
Cyber-cafes are widely available in major cities and towns. Larger hotels
and most private hospitals throughout the country offer Broadband Internet connection.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
U.S. Embassy in Singapore: (65) 6476-9100.
Singapore has been described as a tourist´s mecca which was made possible
by the enterprising skills of its inhabitants, and despite its lack of size, there
are many different sightseeing activities to choose from. Suntec City has the
biggest man-made fountain, and the world´s tallest man-made waterfall is located
in Jurong Bird Park. Night Safari boasts its designation as the first nighttime
zoo. Like Malaysia, Singapore has a vibrant Chinatown and Little India, and
for those interested in modern architecture Orchard Road is a must see.
Aside from its urban splendor Singapore, which is referred to as the garden city,
has many areas of greenery. The Singapore Zoological Gardens, the Botanic Gardens,
the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve are popular
destinations. If you are not scared of heights and want to have a good view
of the city, ride the Singapore Flyer, which is an enormous ferris wheel with stunning
panoramic views of the skyline.
Orchard Road offers modern hotels and malls that house international department
stores, boutiques, spas, salons etc., which during Christmas time are decorated
with dazzling lights and ornaments; while Chinatown, Arab Street, and Little India
offer an ethnic flair. During the middle of the year, shopping venues throughout
Singapore offer significant discounts during the Great Singapore Sale. Even
during the rest of the year certain stores have comparatively lower prices such
as those found in Lucky Plaza, Sim Lim Square, and Far East Plaza.
If you are leaving Singapore by air and spend more than $100 on one receipt then
you can get a refund on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at Global Refund Singapore
Pte Ltd and Premier Tax Free (Singapore) Pte Ltd.
Nightlife and the Arts
Singapore offers and array of nighttime entertaining including Jazz bars, hip-hop
clubs, and European style discos that play house and techno music with some clubs
featuring guest appearances by international artists. Orchard Road which is home
to modern architecture and shopping plazas is also home to a sea of dance clubs
and bars. For a more laid back scene, go to Mohammed Sultan Road. Female
travelers who have an affinity towards partying and nightlife will be pleasantly
surprised in Singapore because Wednesdays is ladies’ night at most bars, but
even if you are not female drinks are generally inexpensive.
For those who shy away from the hustle & bustle of discotheques will be pleasantly
satisfied with Singapore´s cultural venues. The country has an impressive
collection of museum and theaters. The Singapore Art Museum specializes in
20th century South East Asian art and the Singapore Science Center houses
an Omni Theater and even an indoor snow center that hosts organized snow-ball fights
and has facilities for snowboarding and skiing. For a great opera performing
head to the Esplanade Theater and for musical performances check out the Victoria
There are many English language newspapers in Singapore including:
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- The Straits Times: General daily
- Today: Daily tabloid
- The Business Times : Daily financial
- The New Paper : Daily tabloid
- The Sunday Times: General weekly
- Tabla! : Weekly tabloid
- My Paper : Daily tabloid