Basic Information About Singapore
The climate is tropical, with an average daytime temperature around 80บF (26บC). Evening temperatures are only slightly lower. Rainstorms occur on about 40% of all days in Singapore, with heavy rainfall from November to January. Rainstorms are usually short and intense.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The feel of the island comes from the cultural diversity of Singapore. The population is made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Although citizens of all races think of themselves as Singaporean, there are still certain areas that are inhabited by specific ethnic groups. Each area has its own culture celebrating its own religion. Each religion has many colorful festivals to commemorate days of special significance.
Ethnic Groups: 75% Chinese, 16% Malay, 7% Indians and 2% other.
Languages: The four official languages of Singapore include Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil.
Religion: Singapore’s main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.
Do not use first names unless you are invited to. Use Mr., Mrs. or Miss as titles.
Obey the laws, as they are strictly enforced. Fines will be levied for such acts as littering, smoking in restricted areas and not wearing a seat belt.
It is common courtesy to ask permission to take pictures of people, mosques or temples.
When entering a Singaporean’s house or a mosque, remember to take off your shoes.
Do not eat or offer anything with your left hand when with Muslims.
Business cards are exchanged at the beginning of a meeting. Remember to give and receive the card with both hands. It is polite to look the card over and hold it while speaking.
The currency unit is the Singapore dollar (S$). Approximately S$1.80 = US$1.
Coins are in denominations of: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 cents.
Notes are in denominations of: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $10,000.
Brunei notes are interchangeable with Singapore notes and are quite common.
THINGS TO KNOW
Singapore Travel Guide, Map of Singapore, Photos of SingaporePopulation: 2,700,000
Flag: Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white (bottom); on the hoist side of the red band is a white crescent that is partially surrounding a circle of five white, pointed stars.
Shop Hours: Shop hours vary, although Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm are the most common. Some department stores, Chinese Emporiums, and stores that cater solely to tourists stay open as late as 9pm seven days a week.
Bank Hours: Generally10am to 3pm, Mondays to Fridays and 11am to 4:30pm, Saturdays.
- January 1 – New Year’s Day
- January 31 ~ February 1 – Lunar New Year
- March 3 – Hari Raya Puasa
- April 14 – Good Friday
- May 1 – Labor Day
- May 10 – Hari Raya Haji
- August 9 – National Day
- October 23 – Deepavali
- December 25 – Christmas Day
Singapore Travel Guide, Map of Singapore, Photos of SingaporeTime: Singapore Standard Time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, and 16 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Tipping is not very common in Singapore. It is prohibited at the airport and discouraged at hotels and restaurants, as most have already added a 10% service charge to the bill.
Taxis: Taxis drivers do not get tipped.
VISAS AND PASSPORT
A visa is not required for U.S., European and Australian citizens for a stay of up to 14 days. All visitors are required to have a valid passport and onward ticket.
Duty-Free Items: Personal effects and food preparations not exceeding $50 in value. Visitors over 18 and not coming from Malaysia are allowed to bring in duty-free 1 liter of spirits, 1 liter of wine and 1 liter of beer, also 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco.