SINGAPORE

Capital city: Singapore
Official languages: English, Malay, Tamil and Standard Mandarin
Currency: Singapore Dollar

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Population
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Times Singapore has changed its name since 1905

Welcome to Lion City!

Okay so it might be pint-sized when compared with other tourist hotspots in Southeast Asia such as China and Thailand, but that by no means makes Singapore any less intriguing. Step inside and be amazed by the mosaic of contrasting cultures peacefully coexisting in the breathtaking natural environment. The dazzling mix of colonial, traditional and modern life integrates seamlessly in this island-city state just off the coast of Malaysia. What was once called a “dull” country has since risen to become one of Southeast Asia’s most modern cities. On offer here are some of the most fascinating touristic attractions, world class cuisine, splendid shopping malls, the famous Chinatown and Little India and a fascinating array of different cultures just waiting to be discovered.

The reason behind Singapore’s wealth and fame lies mainly in the Central Business District, with things like the skyscrapers, the 19th century Raffles Hotel and the convention centers in Marina Square. Singapore has really come a long way and have fought very hard to prove to the rest of the world that they are more than just a stopover point en-route to Malaysia, and really do deserve to be a called a top-notch tourist destination. With their modern manmade marvels and colonial buildings, this country proving itself on a daily basis.

For a country to have gone from third-world ranking, jungle stop-over destination to a world class city state means that there’s something very special lurking under the “bland” blanket that once covered Singapore. So what makes it so unique? Well, for one, the country has a magnificent blend of cultures, cuisines, customs and traditions you won’t likely find anywhere else. The locals have their own dialect called ‘Singlish’, which is a mix of Malay, Mandarin, English and Tamil. It’s also considered one of the cleanest countries in the world and have a contingency plan to make the natural environment a part of their city life! How’s that for unique?

Must see places in Singapore

Marina Bay

Marina Bay

If you really want to see all the splendor of Singapore, then Marina Bay is the place to be. The epic building and resort has an array of attractions to keep you entertained such as the Science Museum, Casino and a collection of shopping, dining and nightlife entertainment opportunities.

Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay

Think riverside meets busy nightlife scene and you’re right up the alley of Clarke Quay. With an array of bars and restaurants, boutique shops and nightclubs, it’s one of the biggest attractions after dark.

Chinatown

Chinatown

If you want to purchase some souvenirs, get a cultural experience and sample some Chinese food, Chinatown is a must visit destination.

Gardens By The Bay Singapore

Gardens By The Bay

This massive, colorful, futuristic park in the Bay won the award for World Building of the Year in 2012, and is home to the famous Supertrees and over-sized shell-shaped greenhouses that house hundreds of plants.

Botanic Gardens ingapore

Botanic Gardens

Nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site, the botanic gardens perfectly showcases Singapore’s wilder heritage. On offer here is the National Orchid Garden, the Eco Garden, Eco Lake, the Bonsai Garden and sculptures.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island

This is where you can find the Universal Studios, an impressive aquarium, cable car rides, the Sky Tower, nature trails and more than enough bars and restaurants to keep you entertained.

Little India Singapore

Little India

Little India and the Arab Quarter has a rich display of tradition, food and culture to entice the senses. Surrounded by music, food and amazing sights, the age old Indian community is at its best in these areas

Changi

Changi

The chapel and museum located here tells the tale of those who suffered under the Japanese rule during WWII.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

This world-class zoo with its open enclosures and lush landscaped grounds is the ideal destination for a great day out in Singapore.

Orchard Road

Orchard Road

Orchard Road is the main shopping strip in Singapore and the selection of international designer labels, mid-market brands and concept stores seems endless. The most popular malls in the area are Ngee Ann City, The Paragon, Centrepoint, Wheelock Place and Wisma Atria.

Things to do in Singapore

Orchard Road

Go shopping on Orchard Road

Go shopping on Orchard Road - this is pretty much like the Fifth Avenue or Oxford Street of Singapore and it’s just as bustling as you could imagine. With some of the most luxurious malls - home to everything from megastores to souvenir shops - Orchard Road offers a shopping experience second to none.

Take a walk on the wild side - at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

Take a walk on the wild side - at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari you can experience some of the best zoological attractions. The zoo’s great open enclosures make for a stunning up-close experience with the animals.

Go Bird Watching

Go Bird Watching - in Jurong Bird Park that is! It’s home to the largest collection of birds in Southeast Asia and also boasts the world’s largest walk-in aviary

Eat on the cheap

Eat on the cheap - at any of Singapore’s Hawker Food Markets you can pick up some of the most tantalizing meals for a very attractive price tag.

Get a bird’s eye view

Get a bird’s eye view - hop on the Singapore Flyer and enjoy some stunning panoramic views of the entire area from the 165m high Ferris wheel. It’s the highest in the world and offers an awe-inspiring glimpse of the world around you.

Pick the time right

Tourist visit Singapore from December to January & April to May

Singapore has a tropical climate and stays hot and humid throughout the year with average temperatures of around 31°C during the day. The cooler months tend to be between December and January, with the hottest times of the year falling between April and May. The country has a Northeast Monsoon Season that takes place from December to March, which is when Singapore has the most rainfall. They also have the Southwest Monsoon season that produces a dryer climate which falls between May and September.

Did you know?

01
Singapore is one of the only three city-states in the world
02
The city-state consists of one main island and 63 (mainly uninhabited) smaller surrounding islands
03
Selling chewing gum in Singapore is a crime and the penalty for being caught is one year in prison and a fine of $5,500!

Travel Tips

Local dishes to try

 

  1. Chilli crab
  2. Beef Rendang - a delicious coconut milk beef curry
  3. Char Kway Teow - thick rice noodles that are stir fried in soy sauce and chilli with prawns and clams
  4. Gado Gado - a tantalizing fruit and vegetable salad dressed with a peanut sauce
  5. Laksa - a rich and spicy coconut-based noodles soup with prawns or chicken and tofu and beansprouts
  6. Masala Dosa - a vegetarian curry stuffed savory rolled pancake
  7. Teh Tarik - this regional drink is tea that has been poured from ne cup to another repeatedly to cool it down while condensed milk is also mixed in to produce a frothy top

 

Seasonal Specialties

January

Thaipusam Festival

This festival is a celebration to commemorate the Hindu god Subramaniam, and sees a lot of body piercings being done by large steel hooks and hot coal walking contests to name just two of the jaw-dropping celebratory events.

 

Mid-January through to Mid-February

Chinese New Year

Probably one of the most hyped traditional festivals in Singapore, the Lunar New Year calls for massive celebrations all across this city-state. Bright red ornaments and extravagant decorations fill the streets for this happy occasion. The Chinese New Year consist of a lot of individual festivals that help build up the atmosphere such as the River Hong Bao Festival and the Chingay Parade. There’s also the Chinese festival of arts.

 

August

Hungry Ghost Festival

Seen in the same light as Halloween but with a lot more emphasis being placed on respecting and offering food to the ghosts, this is a very serious traditional event. This festival also sees a lot of stages being set up for singing shows accompanied by bright lights and bold colors to entertain the ghosts as they roam the earth for one day a year.

 

August

Hari Raya Puasa

This traditional Maylay festival is held every year at the end of Muslim Ramadan and is treated like a Thanksgiving feast of sorts.

 

September

Mid-Autumn Festival

Also known as the Lantern Festival, this celebration commemorates a great harvesting season. Chinese cultural performances liven up the night time and the festive night bazaars offer more than enough entertainment. The Moon Fest goes hand-in-hand with the Mid-Autumn Festival and is also crammed full of traditional Chinese festivities and bright lights.

 

October

Deepavali

This is probably one of the most important dates on the Hindu calendar and is also known as the festival of lights. It commemorates the defeat of Narakasura by the Lord Krishna, and celebrates the defeat of good over evil. This is also known as the New Year for all Hindu devotees. A trip to Little India during this festival promises lots of loud music, bright lights, traditional costumes being displayed and an abundance of great Indian food being served.

 

Good to know!

 

  1. Brace yourself for the heat and humidity and make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated
  2. Always ask for permission before taking pictures of locals or festival offerings
  3. Always take off your shoes when entering a religious building or the home of locals
  4. Make sure you familiarize yourself with and stick to the crazy laws of Singapore such as the laws regarding jaywalking, littering and smoking.

 

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