Travel to Singapore

Singapore Singapore Singapore Singapore Singapore
Singapore

It is often said that Singapore has its head in the future but its heart in the past.  An island state, Singapore is clean, organized and compact and in a few days visitors can explore the entire island from city to beach.  First impressions of Singapore are the dramatic contrast of historical buildings standing majestically beside towering modern skyscrapers, along the Singapore River.  Further exploration reveals Singapore’s melting pot of enthralling Asian cultures, influences, lifestyles and cuisine.

 

Originally founded as a small British trading post in the early 1800s, Singapore has morphed into one of the world’s most prosperous nations, a tiny powerhouse hurtling toward the future.  What was, and is, behind Singapore’s growth is the island’s location, which made its sea port the busiest in the world. Offering a mesmerizing blend of Asia and Europe with Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western influences, visitors will discover a unique destination that is deeper and richer than they anticipate.

In 2015, Lonely Planet listed Singapore as their top world destination to visit. Due to its compact size and proximity to Malaysia, Indonesia and China, Singapore makes an excellent add-on destination.

People

The population of Singapore is 5.5 million. About 74% of residents are of Chinese descent, 13% of Malay descent, 9% of Indian descent and the rest, of various other origins, including European.

Language

Official languages are English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. English is the common language.

History

There is a nice - but likely untrue - legend that says Singapore was founded when a 14th century Sumatran price landed on a small island and saw a lion. He named the island Singapura, which means Lion City. It is possible that the price saw a Malayan tiger upon his arrival in the island which was no more than a simple fishing village.

Singapore’s modern history starts in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles was sent by the British East India Company to establish a trading station.  The island was swampy and mostly jungle, but the location was fortuitous.  Raffles did a deal with the Sultan of Johor and agreed to make an annual payment, which was later renegotiated to a lump sum for ownership of the island.

The new trading post grew rapidly, and people from all over the world flocked to work there. In 1867 Singapore became a Crown Colony ruled by the British Government rather than the East India Company. Prosperity led to the construction of many grand buildings such as the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, which stands today.  Several temples were also built, such as the Thian Hock Keng Temple, the Sri Marimman Temple, the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and the Leong San See Temple.
With the opening of the Suez Canal, Singapore’s location was further enhanced as a gateway between Europe and East Asia.
In January 1942 the Japanese conquered Malaysia to the north,  and Singapore had no choice but to surrender. Japan only remained in power until September 1945, but their reign was a bloody one and thousands of Chinese Singaporeans were executed.
Singapore achieved self government in 1959, briefly joined with Malaysia but became completely independent in 1965. Through the 1980s Singapore grew rapidly but the government was authoritarian and highly controlling.  A more liberal regime was introduced by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and since 1990 Singapore has enjoyed prosperity and growth. 

Currency

The local currency is the Singapore dollar. US dollars are accepted in most major stores. For shopping in markets, and local restaurants, Singapore dollars are required. ATMs are easily located.

Weather

Singapore has no distinct seasons. Temperatures are usually in the 72 – 95 degree range year round, with April and May being the hottest months.  Humidity is high. The monsoon season starts in November and continues through January, during which time there is more rainfall.

Health Requirements

There are no required shots or medications for travellers arriving from the US into Singapore.  Please check with your travel clinic for their recommendation based on your personal health history.

Visa Requirements

US nationals are eligible for a complimentary visa on arrival. You will be required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of return and at least 2 blank visa pages.  This is subject to change without notice.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is expected and appreciated.  A Tipping Guide will be provided with your final Trip Packet.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, even by taxis. American Express slightly less so.  Cash is needed for shopping at street markets.

Electrical Appliances

Singapore operates on 230 volts, 50 hertz and requires plug type G.
For information on plugs and voltage, please visit http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/   

Water

Water in Singapore is considered potable but even locals boil it before drinking. Safer to use bottled water.


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This Destination

Singapore

Related Destinations

Bali & Indonesia
Bhutan
Cambodia
China
Hong Kong & Macau
India
Japan
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
Nepal
Northern India
Philippines
Singapore
South Korea
Southern India
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam

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