Singapore is a fascinating melting pot of East and West. Here the hypermodern buildings of the financial district blend with Chinatown’s classic small houses. As an old trading town, Singapore is the natural place for anyone who wants to shop – the range is enormous. In addition, Singapore offers a cuisine with influences from all corners of Asia that exceeds the highest expectations.
Singapore dollar (SGD or S$)
Emergency/Ambulance/Fire Brigade: 995
The Straits Times – www.straitstimes.com
The New Paper
The Business Times – www.businesstimes.com.sg
Most shops in the city are open from 10.00 until 20.00 or 21.00 every day of the week.
5.7 million (2020)
Singapore Visitors Centre,
216 Orchard Road (Next to orchardgateway@emerald)
Daily 10.00 to 19:00
Chinatown Visitor Centre
2 Banda Street (Behind Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum)
Daily 10.00 to 19:00
Toll-free in Singapore: 1800 736 2000
From Overseas: +65 6736 2000
Singapore is clean, safe and efficient and the inhabitants are as proud of this as they are of the city’s great financial heart beating around the clock. The harbour is the busiest in the world and capital flows on the stock exchange. All the world’s banks, insurance companies and investors are represented here.
In 200 years, Singapore has gone from being a deserted island to an eminent industrial nation and major financial power, as reflected in the flourishing townscape.
A good start for anyone who wants to experience Singapore today, with its mixture of old and new, is to have a drink on Boat Quay in the late afternoon. The renovated harbour district is packed with bars and restaurants. People from the financial district also meet here after work to socialise.
Another traditional watering hole is Raffles Hotel, built in the Colonial style. Is there anything more embedded in mystic than to drink a Singapore Sling in the hotel’s Long Bar? It is a fantastic environment for a drink, the perfect way to experience Singapore and perhaps the very best way of all to experience the meeting between the city’s exciting history and modern times.
Anyone who is looking for the original Singapore might like to head for the crowds of Chinatown where fortune-tellers, calligraphers and temple visitors are a permanent feature of everyday life. In Little India you will find the best Sari fabrics and lots of exciting spices. Don’t miss the small shops on Arab Street either.
The development of Singapore into a Garden City began all the way back in the 1960s when then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew suggested the creation of softening the harsh urban environment with green spaces. Since then, Singapore has evolved into a bustling metropolis nestled in a lush embrace of tropical greenery.
In 2021, the country's government launched its Green Plan 2030 — the next step that is focused not only on creating and maintaining green spaces, but also places importance on sustainability, conserving the natural heritage and involving the local community.
Some key programs of the Green Plan include setting aside 50% more land (around 200 hectares) for nature parks which will all be within a 10-minute walk to a respective household and aiming to plant one million more trees across the island to absorb more CO2, resulting in the population enjoying cleaner air, and cooler shade.
The Green Plan charts ambitious and concrete targets over the next 10 years, strengthening Singapore’s commitments under the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement. The city-state is getting ready to achieve the long-term net zero emissions aspiration as soon as viable.
For all the hard work, Singapore is widely recognised as the most eco-friendly city in Asia.
Singapore is a hectic metropolis with bustling street life. There are many sights to see here, and you can experiences everything from a drink at legendary Raffles Hotel to meeting tigers at one of the world's finest zoos.
Singapore is an unparalleled city when it comes to food – a number of major Asian cuisines blend with the best of the Occident. Indian, Malay, Japanese, Chinese and Singapore’s own cuisine meets in Singapore and the result is a fantastic choice, both in terms of the number of restaurants and the quality. In Singapore, you can eat cheap and tasty at one of the hawker centres, which used to be open air complexes selling a variety of foods, and are today slowly being replaced by indoor air-conditioned food courts.
Kopitiam - meaning "coffee shop" in Hokkien - are the local variety of neighbourhood cafes, and can be found all over the island. They’re not just good for breakfast, but will serve a nice light meal any time of the day. Outlets offering breakfast as well as other savoury delights are the historic Killiney Kopitiam and the relatively new Toastbox franchise.
Arina P Habich/Shutterstock.com
Those who want to dance and enjoy themselves all night long have plenty of options in Singapore. Often, the visitor who is looking for something to drink in Singapore, is tipped off to try a Singapore Sling at Raffles, but there are lots of other alternatives.
Locals joke that shopping is a national sport in Singapore, and there really is an enormous range in all price brackets to choose from. The artery of Singapore’s shopping life is naturally Orchard Road, where the largest and most well-known department stores are lined up. Moreover, there are lots of shopping centres and markets around the city.
Like nearly everything else in the city, the Singapore Changi Airport is a miracle of efficiency. All services are provided locally and it is recognised as one of the best airports in the world. Both its terminals are linked by a skytrain which operates both at the transit and public areas and Terminal 3. Obviously, the shopping is high class here as well.
Transportation to and from the city is excellent as the end station of one of the routes on the MRT tube is at the airport. The tube is also the cheapest and fastest way to the city. A taxi to the city takes around 30 minutes. Budget transport to the city and other parts of the island can also be by bus or by train. Terminals are located at the basement of airport terminals 1 and 2. Prepare the exact fare for buses as no change will be given. If you choose to go by train, you would have to switch trains at EW4 - Tanah Merah MRT Station to get downtown.
A Ground Transport Centre (GTC) is available at the Arrival Hall of both Terminals.
For more details on time tables and fares, pick up a copy of the MRT brochure at the Changi Airport MRT Station.
Address: Airport Boulevard, Singapore
Phone: +65 6595 6868
Passport / Visa
Citizens of the overwhelming majority of world countries do not require a visa for tourism stays of 30 to 90 days. Nationals of some countries do require a visa, which can often be easily obtained online and received in printable format. In orde to be granted entry into Singapore, all visitors must produce a passport valid for 6 months from the date of departure, proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, a return or onward ticket, visa for the following destination (if applicable), and a yellow fever vaccination certificate (please consult the up-to-date list of countries whose national require vaccination at your planned travel dates).
Best Time to Visit
Singapore meets visitors with warm temperatures and nice weather nearly all year round, but the likelihood of rain is likewise present at all times. Be aware that indoor temperatures in malls and the subway are often significantly lower than outdoors, so those especially sensitive to such changes might want to carry a light jacket or sweatshirt. November through June are most popular with visitors, and with Chinese New Year also falling on that period, it might be reasonable to arrange for accommodation well in advance. Various festivals are held throughout the year.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) tube with its driver-free trains is the artery of Singapore’s local transport. The network comprises three main lines which link up the city. The train runs from early in the morning until midnight and it is clean, fast and very safe. Tickets and different types of reduced rate tickets can be bought at all stations.
Singapore also has an extensive network of buses that cover local transport in areas to which MRT does not go. Buses are cheap and proportionately comfortable. There are buses both with and without air conditioning.
Flexible and easy – there are a great many taxis in Singapore which all use taximeters. Taxis are cheap even if there is a surcharge at night time and for driving through certain areas during rush-hour traffic. There are a few large taxi companies of which Comfort is the largest.
+65 6552 2222
+65 6552 1111
+65 6555 8888
+65 6555 3333
+65 6363 6888
+65 6485 7777
Singapore Post has 1,300 offices spread across the island. These offer all postal services and telecommunications. General opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30–17.00 and Saturdays 8.30-13.00.
Singapore Post (main office):
Address: 10 Eunos Road 8, Singapore
Phone: +65 6741 8857
There are pharmacies in most supermarkets, department stores, hotels and shopping centres and they are usually open from 9.00-18.00. Many hotels have their own 24-hour doctors, while other doctors are listed under Medical Practitioners in the Yellow Pages.
Country code: +65
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