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Lion King Singapore Tourism:
|Singapore Tourism | Singapur | Singapore Weather|
Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the second century AD. It hosted a trading post of the East India Company in 1819 with permission from the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826. Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in World War II and reverted to British rule after the war. It became internally self-governing in 1959. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963 and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy heavily depends on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas: it is the world's fourth leading financial centre, the world's second biggest casino gambling market, the world's top three oil refining centre. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world, most notably being the busiest transshipment port in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party (PAP) has won every election since the British grant of internal self-government in 1959. The legal system of Singapore has its foundations in the English common law system, but modifications have been made to it over the years, such as the removal of trial by jury. The PAP's popular image is that of a strong, experienced and highly qualified government, backed by a skilled Civil Service and an education system with an emphasis on achievement and meritocracy; but it is perceived by some voters, opposition critics and international observers as being authoritarian and too restrictive on individual freedom.
Some 5 million people live in Singapore, of whom 2.91 million were born locally. Most are of Chinese, Malay or Indian descent. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. One of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, Singapore also hosts the APEC Secretariat, and is a member of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth.
Names of Singapore:
The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay Singapura (Sanskrit सिंहपुर Lion City), hence the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City. Lions probably never lived there; the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama, founder of ancient Singapore, who gave the city its name, was most likely a tiger.
Fast Facts About Singapore:
Singapore Land Area:
Singapore Founding Year:Modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles.
Singapore Climate:Tropical climate. Temperature ranges from a maximum of 31-34°C (88-93°F) and minimum of 23-26°C (73.5-79°F). Abundant rainfall all year round, with the wet season from November to January.
Singapore Geographical Location:136.8 km north of the equator. Between latitudes 1 degree 9’N and 1 degree 29’N, and longitudes 103 degree 36’ E and 104 degree 25’E.
Singapore Population:5,183,700 (of whom 3,257,000 are Singapore citizens)
Singapore Language:Four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Widely spoken and understood, English is the working language for business and administration.
Singapore Religion:Main religions are Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism
Busiest Port In The World:With approximately 200 shipping lines connecting to about 600 ports, Singapore is the busiest port in the world in terms of total shipping tonnage.
World Class Airport Singapore:One of the finest airports in the world, the Changi International Airport is about 20 km from the city centre. The airport has three top-notch terminals and 1 budget terminal, handles traffic from approximately 60 countries and operates flights to more than 200 cities. Some 100 airlines operate at the airport.
Singapore People:Population Make-Up:
74.1% Chinese, 13.4% Malays, 9.2% Indian, 3.3% Eurasians and people of other descent.
Singapore Currency:Singapore dollar (SGD)
Time zone in Singapore:SST (UTC+8)
Google Map Singapore:
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Transport within Singapore is mainly land-based. Many parts of Singapore are accessible by road, including islands such as Sentosa and Jurong Island. The other major form of transportation within Singapore is rail: the Mass Rapid Transit which runs the length and width of Singapore, and the Light Rail Transit which runs within a few neighbourhoods. The main island of Singapore is connected to the other islands by ferryboat services.
Singapore also has many links to the rest of the world. There are two bridges which link Singapore to Malaysia — the Causeway, and the Second Link. The Singapore Changi Airport is a major aviation hub for many airlines, and Singapore is a major transshipment port.
Singapore Air:Singapore is one of Southeast Asia's largest aviation hubs, so unless you're coming from Peninsular Malaysia or Batam/Bintan in Indonesia, the easiest way to enter Singapore is by air. In addition to flag-carrier Singapore Airlines and its regional subsidiary SilkAir, Singapore is also home to low-cost carriers Tiger Airways, Jetstar Asia and Scoot.
In addition to the locals, every carrier of any size in Asia offers flights to Singapore, with pan-Asian discount carrier AirAsia and Malaysian regional operator Firefly operating dense networks from Singapore. There are also direct services to Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, North America, and even South Africa. Singapore is particularly popular on the "Kangaroo Route" between Australia and Europe, with airlines like Qantas and British Airways using Singapore as the main stopover point.
As befits the country's main airport and major regional hub status, Changi Airport (IATA: SIN; ICAO: WSSS) is big, pleasant, and well organized, and immigration and baggage distribution is remarkably fast. The airport is split into three main terminals (T1, T2 and T3) plus a dedicated Budget Terminal for low-cost airlines (currently only Tiger Airways, Cebu Pacific, Firefly and Berjaya Air).
Figuring out which terminal your flight arrives in or departs from can be complicated: for example, Singapore Airlines uses both T2 and T3, and only announces the arrival terminal two hours before landing. Fortunately transfers are quite easy, as the three main terminals are connected with the free Skytrain service, which can be used without passing through immigration. Terminal 1 is physically connected to Terminals 2 and 3 by walking that you will notice you're in a different terminal except by reading the signs. The Budget Terminal, on the other hand, can only be reached by passing through immigration and taking a shuttle bus from the basement of T2. Your departing terminal is more straightforward as Singapore Airlines designates T2 as departures for destinations in South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East (including Turkey) and Africa while all other destinations will use T3. When you return to the airport and are leaving Singapore via Singapore Airlines, be sure to at least tell the driver your destination so he knows which terminal to take you to.
Unlike most other airports, there are no separate zones for departing and arriving passengers in the main terminals prior to passport control hence arriving passengers are free to shop and eat at the airside establishments if they are not in a hurry to meet someone or catch prearranged transportation. In addition, if they have no luggage checked-in from their point of origin, they can clear passport control at any other terminal.
If you have over 5 hr to spare there are free city tours six times a day, check in at the Singapore Visitor Centre in any terminal. Even if stuck in the airport, there are plenty of ways to kill time, as each terminal has a unique design and the airside areas of T1, T2, and T3 are attractions in themselves. T2, arguably the most interesting, has an indoor garden, a music listening area with couches and mood lighting, a computer gaming room, a small movie theater, paid massage services, and of course plenty of duty-free shops. T3, the newest, has a butterfly garden and plenty of natural light, but fewer entertainment options. T1 has a swimming pool for $13.91 and jacuzzi, both open until 11PM. You can travel between the main terminals without passing through immigration and, if you have no checked-in luggage to collect, you can clear passport control and customs at any terminal. The Budget Terminal, on the other hand, is strictly functional.
In all terminals, internet access is provided free of charge, both wirelessly and via some 200 terminals and kiosks, there are some Xbox systems set up to keep gamers entertained, and there's live lounge music at times. There are also SingTel and Starhub payphones that offer unlimited free local calls. ATMs abound and money changers offer reasonable rates as well, although you pay a small premium compared to the city. Food options are varied and generally reasonably priced, with some choice picks including the Peranakan-themed Soup Restaurant (T2 landside), which serves much more than just soup, and Sakae Sushi (T2 airside). If you're up for a little adventure, seek out the staff canteen at level 3M of the carpark next to T2, it's open to the public (with discounts for airport staff) and serves local food. It is relatively cheap compared to other food options in the airport but not exactly cheap compared to elsewhere in Singapore. There are also staff canteens in Terminals 1 and 3.
Terminals T1, T2 and T3 all have airside (i.e., accessible without passing through immigration) transit hotels. ☎ +65 65419106 or book online via the Ambassador Transit Hotel website. A 6 hr "block" for a single/double/triple costs $73.56/82.39/110.35, budget singles (shared bathroom) $51.50, extensions $17.65 per hr. You can rent a shower (without a room) to freshen up for $8.40. The Plaza Premier Lounges also offer a basic but functional gym with shower for $8.40 with a Singapore Airlines boarding pass.
From the airport there are a number of ways to get into the city:
Taxi (cab) is easiest - simply follow the signs after clearing customs. Meters are always used in Singapore and prices are reasonable. A trip to the city during the day will be between $20-$30 including $3-5 airport surcharge. An additional 50% surcharge applies between midnight and 6AM.
Limousines charge a flat $50 to anywhere in the city and are a pretty good deal after midnight, as you can skip the queue and avoid the surcharge. The same pricing applies to chartering van-sized MaxiCabs, which are good for large families or if you have lots of baggage.
Shuttle - Shared six-seater MaxiCab shuttle service to designated areas/hotels costs $7 and can be booked in advance or in the arrivals hall. 6AM-2AM, every 15-30 min.
Subway - MRT trains run from a station between T2 and T3, but you'll need to change trains at Tanah Merah to a city-bound train: just exit through the left hand side door and cross the platform. The 30 min ride to City Hall station costs $1.90 plus a refundable $1 deposit, and trains run from 5:31AM-11:18PM.
Bus - Bus terminals can be found in the basements of T1, T2 and T3. 6 AM to midnight only. Fares are sub-$2.00, exact fare required (no change given) if you pay cash.
Seletar Airport (IATA: XSP; ICAO: WSSL), completed in 1928 and first used for civil aviation in 1930, is Singapore's first airport. While later airports like Kallang and Paya Lebar have been closed and turned into a military airbase respectively, Seletar is still in use to this day.
Currently, Seletar Airport is only used for general aviation, so if you're flying your own aircraft to Singapore, you'll most probably land here. The only practical means of access to Seletar is taxi, and trips from the airport incur a $3 surcharge.
Singapore is linked by two land crossings to Peninsular Malaysia:
The Causeway is a very popular and thus terminally congested entry point connecting Woodlands in the north of Singapore directly into the heart of Johor Bahru. While congestion isn't as bad as it once was, the Causeway is still jam-packed on Friday evenings (towards Malaysia) and Sunday evenings (towards Singapore). The Causeway can be crossed by bus, train, taxi or car, but it is no longer feasible to cross on foot after Malaysia shifted their customs and immigration complex 2 km inland.
A second crossing between Malaysia and Singapore, known as the Second Link, has been built between Tuas in western Singapore and Tanjung Kupang in the western part of Johor state. Much faster and less congested than the Causeway, it is used by some of the luxury bus services to Kuala Lumpur and is strongly recommended if you have your own car. There is only one infrequent bus across the Second Link, and only Malaysian "limousine" taxis are allowed to cross it (and charge RM150 and up for the privilege). Walking across is also not allowed, not that there would be any practical means to continue the journey from either end if you did.
Driving into Singapore with a foreign-registered car is rather complicated and expensive; see the Land Transport Authority's Driving Into & Out of Singapore guide for the administrative details. Peninsular Malaysia-registered cars need to show that they have valid road tax and Malaysian insurance coverage. Other foreign cars need a Vehicle Registration Certificate, Customs Document (Carnet), Vehicle Insurance purchased from a Singapore-based insurance company and an International Circulation Permit. All foreign registered cars and motorcycles can be driven in Singapore for a maximum of 10 days in each calendar year without paying Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fees, but after the 10 free days have been utilized, you will need to pay a VEP fee of up to $20/day.
Go through immigration first and get your passport stamped. Then follow the Red Lane to buy the AutoPass ($10) from the LTA office. At the parking area, an LTA officer will verify your car, road tax and insurance cover note and issue you a small chit of paper which you take to the LTA counter to buy your AutoPass and rent an In-vehicle Unit (IU) for road pricing charges (or opt to pay a flat $5/day fee instead). Once that is done, proceed to customs where you will have to open the boot for inspection. After that, you are free to go anywhere in Singapore. Any VEP fees, road pricing charges and tolls will be deducted from your AutoPass when you exit Singapore. This is done by slotting the AutoPass into the reader at the immigration counter while you get your passport stamped.
Driving into Malaysia from Singapore is relatively uncomplicated, although small tolls are charged for both crossing and (for the Second Link) the adjoining expressway. In addition, Singapore-registered vehicles are required to have their fuel tanks at least 3/4 full before leaving Singapore. Do be sure to change some ringgit before crossing, as Singapore dollars are accepted only at the unfavorable rate of 1:1. Moreover, be prepared for longer queues as Malaysia introduced a biometric system for foreigners wishing to enter that country.
In both directions, note that rental cars will frequently ban or charge extra for crossing the border.
Direct to/from Malaysian destinations There are buses to/from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and many other destinations in Malaysia through the Woodlands Checkpoint and the Second Link at Tuas. Unfortunately, there is no central bus terminal and different companies leave from all over the city. Major operators include:
Aeroline, ☎ +65 62588800, Luxury buses with meal on-board, power sockets, lounge area etc, to Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. Departures from HarbourFront Centre.
First Coach, ☎ +65 68222111, No frills, but the buses have good legroom and use the Second Link. Another selling point is convenient public transport: buses depart from Novena Square (Novena MRT) in Singapore and arrive right next to Bangsar LRT in Kuala Lumpur.
NiCE, ☎ +65 62565755, Over 20 daily departures from Kuala Lumpur's old railway station. Double-decker NiCE 2 buses (27 seats) RM80, luxury NiCE++ buses (18 seats) RM88. Departures from Copthorne Orchid Hotel on Dunearn Rd.
Transnasional, ☎ +60 2 62947034 (Malaysia), Malaysia's largest bus operator, offers direct buses from Singapore through the peninsula. Departures from Lavender St.Executive/economy buses RM80/35.
Transtar, ☎ +65 62999009, Transtar's sleeper-equipped Solitaire ($63) and leather-seated First Class ($49) coaches are currently the best around with frills like massaging chairs, onboard attendants, video on demand and even wifi. More plebeian SuperVIP/Executive buses are $25/39, direct service to Malacca and Genting also available. Departures from Golden Mile Complex, Beach Rd (near Lavender MRT).
Most other operators have banded together in two shared booking portals. Many, but by no means all, use the Golden Mile Complex shopping mall near Bugis as their Singapore terminal.
Easibook, ☎ +65 64440745. Six bus companies including major budget operator Konsortium.
Bus Online Ticket. Another six companies, including major operator Fivestars Express, Hasry Express and AirAsia-affiliated StarMart.
In general, the more you pay, the faster and more comfortable your trip. More expensive buses leave on time, use the Second Link, and don't stop along the way; while the cheapest buses leave late if at all, use the perpetually jammed Causeway and make more stops. Book early for popular departure times like Friday and Sunday evening, Chinese New Year, etc, and factor in some extra time for congestion at the border.
An alternative to taking a direct "international bus" is to make the short hop to Johor Bahru to catch domestic Malaysian long-distance express buses to various Malaysian destinations from the Larkin Bus Terminal. Besides having more options, fares may also be lower because you will be paying in Malaysian ringgit rather than Singaporean dollars. The downside is the time-consuming hassle of first getting to Johor Bahru and then getting to Larkin terminal on the outskirts of town.
Singapore is the southern terminus of Malaysia's Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railway or KTMB) network. There are two day trains (the Ekspres Sinaran Pagi and Ekspres Rakyat) and a sleeper service (Ekspres Senandung Malam) daily from Kuala Lumpur, and also a day train (the Lambaian Timur departing Singapore at 4:45AM) and sleeper (Ekspres Timuran departing at 6PM) daily along the "Jungle Railway" between Singapore and Gua Musang (Lambian Timur) or Tumpat (Ekspres Timuran), near Kota Bharu in the East Coast of Malaysia. Trains are clean and fairly efficient, but slower than buses. See Malaysia#By train for details about fares and travel classes.
Singapore is one of the few countries that you can enter or leave by taxi. While normal Singaporean taxis are not allowed to cross into Malaysia and vice versa, specially licensed Singaporean taxis permitted to go to the Kotaraya shopping mall (only) can be booked from Johor Taxi Service, while Malaysian taxis, which can go anywhere in Malaysia, can be taken from Rochor Rd.
In the reverse direction, towards Singapore, you can take taxis from Kotaraya to any point in central Singapore or Changi Airport. The main advantage here is that you do not need to lug your stuff (or yourself) through Customs at both ends; you can just sit in the car.
A combination ride from anywhere in Singapore to anywhere in Malaysia can also be arranged, but you'll need to swap cabs halfway through: this will cost S$50 and up, paid to the Singaporean driver. The most expensive option is to take a limousine taxi specially licensed to take passengers from any point to any destination, but only a few are available and they charge a steep RM150 per trip. Advance booking is highly recommended, ☎ +60 7 5991622.
Ferries link Singapore with neighbouring Indonesian province of Riau Islands, and the Malaysian state of Johor. Singapore has four ferry terminals which handle international ferries: HarbourFront (formerly World Trade Centre) near the southern part of the Central Business District, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on the East Coast, as well as Changi Ferry Terminal and Changi Point Ferry Terminal, at the eastern extremity of the island.
Star Cruises offers multi-day cruises from Singapore to points throughout Southeast Asia, departing from HarbourFront FT. Itineraries vary widely and change from year to year, but common destinations include Malacca, Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Penang, Langkawi, Redang and Tioman in Malaysia, as well as Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui and Bangkok in Thailand. There are also several cruises every year to Borneo (Malaysia), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and even some 10 night long hauls to Hong Kong.
Singapore is also a popular stop for round-the-world and major regional cruises including those originating from as far as Japan, China, Australia, Europe and North America. Many of those cruises embark/disembark passengers here, while others pay port visits. Check with cruise companies and sellers for details.
Singapore is a small country on a small island, but with just over five million people it is a fairly crowded city and in fact second only to Monaco as the world's most densely populated country. However, unlike many other densely populated countries, Singapore has over 50% of its area covered by greenery and with over 50 major parks and 4 nature reserves, it is an enchanting garden city. Large self-contained residential towns mushroomed all over the island, around the clean and modern city center. The center of the city located in the south — consisting roughly of the Orchard road shopping area, the Riverside, the new downtown Marina Bay area and also the skyscrapers-filled Shenton way financial district known in acronym-loving Singapore as the CBD (Central Business District).
Riverside (Civic District) — Singapore's colonial core, with museums, statues and theaters, not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs.
Orchard Road — Miles and miles of shopping malls.
Marina Bay — The newest feature of Singapore, dominated by the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (hotel, casino, shopping mall, convention center and museum) and the Marina Barrage.
Bugis and Kampong Glam — Bugis and Kampong Glam are Singapore's old Malay district, now largely taken over by shopping
Chinatown — The area originally designated for Chinese settlement by Raffles, now a Chinese heritage area popular with tourists.
Little India — A piece of India to the north of the city core.
Balestier, Newton, Novena and Toa Payoh — Budget accommodations and Burmese temples within striking distance of the center.
North and West — The northern and western parts of the island, also known as Woodlands and Jurong respectively, form Singapore's residential and industrial hinterlands.
East Coast — The largely residential eastern part of the island contains Changi Airport, miles and miles of beach and many famous eateries. Also covers Geylang Serai, the true home of Singapore's Malays.
Sentosa — A separate island once a military fort developed into a resort, Sentosa is the closest that Singapore gets to Disneyland, now with a dash of gambling and Universal Studios thrown in.
Tourism in Singapore is a major industry and contributor to the Singaporean economy, attracting 11,638,663 tourists in 2010, over twice Singapore's total population. Its cultural attraction can be attributed to its cultural diversity that reflects its colonial history and Chinese, Malay, Indian and Arab ethnicities. It is also environmentally friendly, and maintains natural and heritage conservation programs. Along with this, it also has one of the world's lowest crime rates. As English is the dominant one of its four official languages, it is generally easier for tourists to understand when speaking to the local population of the country, for example, when shopping. Transport in Singapore exhaustively covers most, if not all public venues in Singapore, which increases convenience for tourists. This includes the well-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.
The Orchard Road district, which is dominated by multi-story shopping centres and hotels, can be considered the center of tourism in Singapore. Other popular tourist attractions include the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, which allows people to explore Asian, African and American habitats at night without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals. The Singapore Zoo has embraced the 'open zoo' concept whereby animals are kept in enclosures, separated from visitors by hidden dry or wet moats, instead of caging the animals. Jurong Bird Park is another zoological garden centred around birds, which is dedicated towards exposing the public to as much species and varieties of birds from around the world as possible, including a flock of one thousand flamingos. The tourist island of Sentosa, which attracts more than 5 million visitors a year, is located in the south of Singapore, consists of about 20-30 landmarks, such as Fort Siloso, which was built as a fortress to defend against the Japanese during World War II. Guns from the World War II era can be seen at Fort Siloso, from a mini-sized to a 16 pound (7 kg) gun. Moreover, the island has built the Tiger Sky Tower, which allows visitors to view the whole of Sentosa, as well as the Sentosa Luge, a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleighs supine and feet-first. Steering is done by shifting the weight or pulling straps attached to the sled's runners. Singapore has two integrated resorts which house casinos, namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
Underwater World Singapore:
Underwater World (Chinese: 新加坡海底世界), also known as Underwater World Singapore Pte Ltd, is an oceanarium located on the offshore Singaporean island of Sentosa. Opened in 1991, it has more than 2,500 marine animals of 250 species from different regions of the world. The oceanarium is mostly underground and it is owned by the Haw Par Corporation. The Underwater World's ticket includes admission to the Dolphin Lagoon at Palawan Beach.
Underwater World is also involved in several environmental and educational projects, such as the Living in the Ocean Programme, Ocean Ambassador Programme and the Coral Club.
The Underwater World also provides exclusive venues to host events, such as ocean-themed functions.
The Singapore Zoo, formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens and commonly known locally as the Mandai Zoo, occupies 28 hectares (0.28 km²) of land on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore's heavily forested central catchment area. The zoo was built at a cost of S$9m granted by the government of Singapore and opened on 27 June 1973. It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manage the neighbouring Night Safari and the Jurong BirdPark. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16% are considered threatened species. The zoo attracts about 1.6 million visitors each year.
From the beginning, Singapore Zoo followed the modern trend of displaying animals in naturalistic, 'open' exhibits with hidden barriers, moats, and glass between the animals and visitors. It houses the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world. In 1977, primatologist Dr Francine Neago lived inside a cage with eighteen orangutans for six months to study their behavior and communication.
Sentosa, which translates to peace and tranquility in Malay (derived from Santosha in Sanskrit), is a popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some five million people a year. Attractions include a two-kilometre long sheltered beach, Fort Siloso, two golf courses and two five-star hotels, and the Resorts World Sentosa, featuring the theme park Universal Studios Singapore.
Beaches and tourist resorts:
Head to one of the three beaches on Sentosa or its southern islands. Other beaches can be found on the East Coast.
Culture and cuisine:
See Chinatown for Chinese treats, Little India for Indian flavors, Kampong Glam (Arab St) for a Malay/Arab experience or the East Coast for delicious seafood, including the famous chilli and black pepper crab.
History and museums:
The Bras Basah area east of Orchard and north of the Singapore River is Singapore's colonial core, with historical buildings and museums.
Nature and wildlife:
Popular tourist attractions Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the Botanical Gardens are all in the North and West. Finding "real" nature is a little harder, but the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (located in the same district as the zoo) has more plant species than that in the whole of North America. Pulau Ubin, an island off the Changi Village in the east, is a flashback to the rural Singapore of yesteryear. City parks full of locals jogging or doing tai chi can be found everywhere. Also check out the tortoise and turtle sanctuary in the Chinese Gardens on the west side of town for a great afternoon with these wonderful creatures. $5 for adult admission and $2 for leafy vegetables and food pellets.
Skyscrapers and shopping:
The heaviest shopping mall concentration is in Orchard Road, while skyscrapers are clustered around the Singapore River, but also check out Bugis and Marina Bay to see where Singaporeans shop.
Places of worship:
Don't miss this aspect of Singapore, where Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha'i faith, Christianity, Islam and even Judaism all exist in sizeable numbers. Religious sites can be easily visited and welcome non-followers outside of service times. Particularly worth visiting include: the vast Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery near Ang Mo Kio, the colorful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple in Chinatown, the psychedelic Burmese Buddhist Temple in Balestier and the stately Masjid Sultan in Arab Street.
Singapore Night life:
According to the Singapore media, Singapore is among the top five countries in the world for night-life, fine dining and shopping. Some popular nightspots in Singapore include:
Boat Quay is a historical quay in Singapore which is situated upstream from the mouth of the Singapore River. Shophouses on it have been carefully conserved and now house various bars, pubs and restaurants.
Lot of options available for drinks, dining from across the world. Most popular are the dining bars along the river. After a nice dinner one can head to one of the many pubs and discs around. Also popular are the Hindi Music lounges with beautiful Indian dancers who dance to the tunes of famous Bollywood songs in their shining attire.
Khazana, Bollywood Dhoon, Club Colaba, Tarana, Ghungroo, Krish, Table, Haldi, etc, etc
Clarke Quay is a historical riverside quay and a buzzing party central in Singapore, and is situated even further upstream from the mouth of the Singapore River than Boat Quay is. Currently, five blocks of restored warehouses house various restaurants and shops such as antique shops. There are also moored Chinese junks (tongkangs) that have been refurbished into floating pubs and restaurants. Crazy Horse Paris opened their third cabaret show worldwide in Clarke Quay in December 2005, but ended operations in February 2007 owing to poor business. The Ministry of Sound opened at Clarke Quay in December 2005, but has also gone out of business.
Clarke Quay also boasts more than 50 eateries offering over 20 different types of cuisine, and more than 20 bars, clubs and pubs. Some of the world's best pubs are located in Clarke Quay.
Things to do in Singapore:
While you can find a place to practice nearly any sport in Singapore — golfing, surfing, scuba diving, even ice skating and snow skiing — due to the country's small size your options are rather limited and prices are relatively high. For watersports in particular, the busy shipping lanes and sheer population pressure mean that the sea around Singapore is murky, and most locals head up to Tioman (Malaysia) or Bintan (Indonesia) instead. On the upside, there is an abundance of dive shops in Singapore, and they often arrange weekend trips to good dive sites off the East Coast of Malaysia, so they are a good option for accessing some of Malaysia's not-so touristy dive sites.
On the cultural side of things, Singapore has been trying to shake off its boring, buttoned-down reputation and attract more artists and performances, with mixed success. The star in Singapore's cultural sky is the Esplanade theatre in Marina Bay, a world-class facility for performing arts and a frequent stage for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Pop culture options are more limited and Singapore's home-grown arts scene remains rather moribund, although local starlets Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin have had some success in the Chinese pop scene. On the upside, any bands and DJs touring Asia are pretty much guaranteed to perform in Singapore.
Going to the movies is a popular Singaporean pastime, but look for "R21" ratings (21 and up only) if you like your movies with fewer cuts. The big three theatre chains are Cathay, Golden Village and Shaw Brothers. Censorship continues to throttle the local film scene, but Jack Neo's popular comedies showcase the foibles of Singaporean life.
In summer, don't miss the yearly Singapore Arts Festival. Advance tickets for almost any cultural event can be purchased from SISTIC, either online or from any of their numerous ticketing outlets, including the Singapore Visitor Centre on Orchard Rd.
Gambling in Singapur:
Singapore has two integrated resorts with casinos. Marina Bay Sands at Marina Bay is the larger and swankier of the two, while Resorts World Sentosa at Sentosa aims for a more family-friendly experience. While locals (citizens and permanent residents) have to pay $100/day to get in, foreign visitors can enter for free.
Besides the casino, there are other forms of legalised betting which are more accessible to the locals. This includes horse racing, which is run by the Singapore Turf Club on weekends, as well as football (soccer) betting and several lotteries run by the Singapore Pools.
Mahjong is also a popular pastime in Singapore. The version played in Singapore is similar to the Cantonese version, but it also has extra "animal tiles" not present in the original Cantonese version. However, this remains pretty much a family and friends affair, and there are no mahjong parlours.
Despite its small size, Singapore has a surprisingly large number of golf courses, but most of the best ones are run by private clubs and open to members and their guests only. The main exceptions are the Sentosa Golf Club, the famously challenging home of the Barclays Singapore Open, and the Marina Bay Golf Course, the only 18-hole public course. See the Singapore Golf Association for the full list; alternatively, head to the nearby Indonesian islands of Batam or Bintan or up north to the Malaysian town of Malacca for cheaper rounds.
The inaugural F1 Singapore Grand Prix was held at night in September 2008, and will be a fixture on the local calendar until at least 2012. Held on a street circuit in the heart of Singapore and raced at night, all but race fans will probably wish to avoid this time, as hotel prices especially room with view of the F1 tracks are through the roof. Tickets start from $150 but the thrilling experience of night race is definitely unforgettable for all F1 fans and photo buffs. Besides being a uniquely night race, the carnival atmosphere and pop concert held around the race ground as well as the convenience of hotels and restaurants round the corner, distinguish the race from other F1 races held remotely away from urban centers.
The Singapore Turf Club in Kranji hosts horse races most Fridays, including a number of international cups, and is popular with local gamblers. The Singapore Polo Club near Balestier is also open to the public on competition days.
Singapore has recently been experiencing a spa boom, and there is now plenty of choice for everything from holistic Ayurveda to green tea hydrotherapy. However, prices aren't as rock-bottom as in neighbors Indonesia and Thailand, and you'll generally be looking at upwards of $70 even for a plain one-hour massage. Good spas can be found in most 5 star hotels and on Orchard, and Sentosa's Spa Botanica also has a good reputation. There are also numerous shops offering traditional Chinese massage, which are mostly legitimate, and "health centres", which are mostly not.
When looking for beauty salons on Orchard Road, try out the ones on the fourth floor of Lucky Plaza. They offer most salon services like manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and hair services. A favorite of flight crew and repeat tourists due to the lower costs as compared to the sky high prices of other salons along the shopping belt. Shop around for prices, some of the better looking ones actually charge less.
Forget your tiny hotel pool if you are into competitive or recreational swimming: Singapore is paradise for swimmers with arguably the highest density of public pools in the world. They are all open-air 50 m pools (some facilities even feature up to three 50 m pools), accessible for an entrance fee of $1-1.50. Some of the visitors don't swim at all. They just come from nearby housing complexes for a few hours to chill out, read and relax in the sun. Most are open daily from 8AM-9PM, and all feature a small cafe. Just imagine swimming your lanes in the tropical night with lit up palm trees surrounding the pool.
The Singapore Sports Council maintains a list of pools, most of which are part of a larger sports complex with gym, tennis courts etc, and are located near the MRT station they're named after. Perhaps the best is in Katong (111 Wilkinson Road, on the East Coast): after the swim, stroll through the villa neighbourhood directly in front of the pool entrance and have at look at the luxurious, original architecture of the houses that really rich Singaporeans live in. If you get bored with regular swimming pools, head to the Jurong East Swimming Complex where you get the wave pool, water slides and Jacuzzi at an insanely affordable entrance fee of $1.50 on weekdays and $2 on weekends. For those who feel richer, visit the Wild Wild Wet water theme park with $16 and get yourself wet with various exciting water slides and a powerful tidal wave pool.
For those who don't like pools, head out to the beaches. The East Coast Park has a scenic coastline that stretches over 15 km. It's a popular getaway spot for Singaporeans to swim, cycle, barbeque and engage in various other sports and activities. Sentosa island also has three white, sandy beaches - Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach and Tanjong Beach - each with its own distinct characteristics, and also very popular with locals.
Besides the more regular water sports such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, canoeing and etc., Singapore also offers water sports fans trendy activities such as cable-Skiing and wave surfing in specially created environments.
While obviously not the best place on Earth for skiing, sunny Singapore still has a permanent indoor snow centre — Snow City offers visitors to the region a chance to experience winter. Visitors can escape from the hot and humid tropical weather to play with snow or even learn to ski and snowboard with internationally certified professional instructors.
Geography of Singapore:
Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, widely known as Singapore Island but also as Pulau Ujong. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia: the Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapore's smaller islands. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at 166 m (545 ft).
There are ongoing land reclamation projects, which have increased Singapore's land area from 581.5 km2 (224.5 sq mi) in the 1960s to 704 km2 (272 sq mi) today; it may grow by another 100 km2 (40 sq mi) by 2030. Some projects involve merging smaller islands through land reclamation to form larger, more functional islands, as with Jurong Island. About 23% of Singapore's land area consists of forest and nature reserves. Urbanisation has eliminated most primary rainforest, with Bukit Timah Nature Reserve the only significant remaining forest. Even though there is very little primary rainforest left, there are more than 300 parks and 4 nature reserves in Singapore. There are also many trees planted throughout Singapore and almost fifty per cent of the country is covered by greenery. Because of this, Singapore is also commonly known as the 'Garden City'.
Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 23 to 32 °C (73 to 90 °F). Relative humidity averages around 79% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon season from November to January. From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia. Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time, it follows time zone GMT+8, one hour ahead of its geographical location.
There are various shopping belts in Singapore, Marina Bay, Bugis Street, Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Kampong Gelam & Arab Street, Little India, North Bridge Road, Orchard Road, and The Suburbs.
Singapore seeks to be the business hub of Southeast Asia and has an expansive shopping precinct located in the Orchard Road district. Many multistorey shopping centres are located at Orchard Road; the area also has many hotels, and it's the main tourism centre of Singapore, other than the Downtown Core. The local populace also use Orchard Road for shopping extensively.
Other than Orchard Road, Singapore's largest shopping centre, VivoCity, has also attracted millions of people since its opening in 2006.
To further encourage tourists to shop at Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board and various organizers organize the Great Singapore Sale yearly. Shoppers can enjoy great discounts and bargains at participating outlets. The Singapore Tourism Board introduced "Late Night Shopping" in 2007. Tourists can catch "Late Night Shopping" on Orchard Road up till 11pm every Saturday and enjoy special deals or promotions by participating retailers.
Sentosa is a relatively large island of Singapore located to its south. Along with a beach-front resort, the island's tourist attractions include Fort Siloso, its historical museum, the Underwater World aquarium and the Tiger Sky Tower. Singapore also features two casinos (integrated resorts), one the Marina Bay Sands and the other, Resorts World Sentosa (home to Universal Studios Singapore) The proposal of building Singapore Casinos in these resorts was controversial.
Singapore Tourist Event:
Singapore Tourism Board promotes a variety of events all year round for tourists. Some of the anchor events are the Chingay Parade, Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Garden Festival. The Singapore Food Festival is held every July to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. Other annual events include the Singapore Sun Festival, the Christmas Light Up, and the Singapore Jewel Festival. Singapore hosted a round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship (Singapore Grand Prix). The race, held on a new street circuit at Marina Bay, was the first night-time event in Formula One history. The event was considered an overall success due to the sheer amount of organization, planning and hard work put into the event. Also in 2010, Singapore hosted the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, where the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which say the Games is expected to generate a minimum of 180,000 visitor nights for Singapore.
Singaporean cuisine is indicative of the ethnic diversity of the culture of Singapore, as a product of centuries of cultural interaction owing to Singapore's strategic location. The food is influenced by the native Malay, the predominant Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Peranakan and Western traditions (particularly English and some Portuguese-influenced Eurasian, known as Kristang) since the founding of Singapore by the British in the 19th century. Influences from other areas such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines, and the Middle East exist in local food culture as well. In Singaporean hawker stalls, for example, chefs of Chinese background influenced by Indian culture might experiment with condiments and ingredients such as tamarind, turmeric and ghee, while an Indian chef might serve a fried noodle dish.
This phenomenon makes the cuisine of Singapore a cultural attraction. Most prepared food bought outside the home is eaten at hawker centres or food courts, examples of which include Lau Pa Sat and Newton Food Centre, rather than at actual restaurants. These hawker centres are abundant and cheap, encouraging a large consumer base.
In Singapore, food is viewed as crucial to national identity and a unifying cultural thread; Singaporean literature declares eating as a national pastime and food, a national obsession. Food is a frequent topic of conversation among Singaporeans. Religious dietary strictures do exist; Muslims do not eat pork and Hindus do not eat beef, and there is also a significant group of vegetarians. People from different communities often eat together, while being mindful of each other's culture and choose food that is acceptable to all. There are also some halal Chinese restaurants catering to Muslim dietary preference.
Singaporean cuisine has been promoted as an attraction for tourists by the Singapore Tourism Board, as a major attraction alongside its shopping. The government organises the Singapore Food Festival in July to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. The multiculturalism of local food, the ready availability of international cuisine and styles, and their wide range in prices to fit all budgets at all times of the day and year helps create a "food paradise". The dish "Singapore style noodles" does not exist in Singapore, as it was invented by chefs who worked and lived in Hong Kong.
As Singapore is a small country with a high population density, land is a scarce resource devoted to industrial and housing purposes. Most produce and food ingredients are imported, although there is a small group of local farmers who produce some leafy vegetables, fruit, poultry, and fish. Singapore's geographical position connects it to major air and sea transport routes and thus allows it to import a variety of food ingredients from around the world, including costly seafood items such as sashimi from Japan.
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