Many people marvel at the beauty of Singapore and her progressiveness. Most impressive to note is that she was formerly just a humble fishing village, inhabited by an indigenous settlement. Fast forward to today. Singapore is a bustling cosmopolitan city populated with high-rise buildings and landscape gardens. Brimming with a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture, Singapore is a dynamic city that’s rich in contrast and colour. In fact, you can even say that Singapore embodies the finest of both East and West.
Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a land area of about 710 square kilometres, making her one of the smallest countries in the world and the smallest in the region – hence the moniker “The Little Red Dot”. Although small in size, Singapore commands an enormous presence in the world today with its free trade economy and highly efficient workforce. Also, her strategic location in the region has enabled her to become a central sea port along major shipping routes.
At present, Singapore’s population stands at about five million people, with English as the main language of instruction, and a mother tongue for each major ethnicity. One of the distinctly Singaporean things you’ll notice on our island is a ubiquitous collage of cultures. Coming together as a society and living in harmony, there are four major races – namely the Chinese (majority), Malay, Indian and Eurasian. Each community offers a different perspective of life in Singapore in terms of culture, religion, food and language.
The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (S$). Money changing services can be found not only at the Singapore Changi Airport but also most shopping centres and hotels around the island. You can also access the automated teller machines (ATMs) located everywhere (even in the most obscure bits) in Singapore, that accept most of the main credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Singapore is known for its hot and humid weather, with little variation throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 31ºC (88ºF), dropping to around 24ºC (75ºF) in the evenings. The monsoon season can bear down pretty heavily on our tropical weather from November onwards, so be prepared for rain on a daily basis during this period.
Singapore’s international dialing code is +(65). While in Singapore and if you have international roaming service on your cell phone, you don’t have to press +(65) as it will automatically connect you to the local numbers here.
To enjoy tax-free shopping in Singapore, simply look out for retailers that display the “Tax Refund” logo on their shop front and spend SG100 in a single receipt to qualify. About the tax refund schemes:
The voltage used is 220-240AC, 50 hertz. The plug sockets tend to be 3-pronged pins more often than not, but adaptors are cheap and easy to buy.