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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Overview of Singapore for Travelers





If there is one word that best captures Singapore, it is unique. A dynamic city rich in contrast and colour, find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture here. Brimming with unbridled energy, this little dynamo in Southeast Asia embodies the finest of both East and West

Singapore may be small, but packs in quite a punch. Only about 655 square kilometres in area, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with about 6430 people per square kilometre. Although it is one of the 20 smallest countries in the world, its economy is a world leader, and has the worlds busiest port in terms of tonnage handled.

Driving in Singapore is a breeze. Navigating around the island is easy as there are well marked road signs which are all in English

Ever since Sir Stamford Raffles claimed the island of Singapore for the East India Company in 1819, English has had a place in Singapore. Since Singapore became an independent Republic in 1965, the use of English has increased still further, and since 1987 all Singaporean children have their education through the medium of English. For many Singaporeans, English is the main language. Many families speak English at home and it is one of the first languages learnt by about half of the current pre school children.

Singapore is a melting pot of cuisines from around the world, and many Singaporeans are obsessive
gourmands who love to makan ("eat" in Malay). You will find quality Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, American and other food in this city-state.


Nightlife

Some clubs have 24 hr licences and few places close before 03:00. Any artists touring Asia are pretty much guaranteed to stop in Singapore, with superclub Zouk in particular regularly clocking high on lists of the world's best nightclubs. Singapore's nightlife is largely concentrated along the three Quays — Boat, Clarke and Robertson — of the Riverside, with the clubs of Sentosa and nearby St James Power Station giving party animals even more reason to dance the night away and the casino on Marina Bay also entering the fray. Gay bars are mostly found around Chinatown. The drinking age is 18, and while this is surprisingly loosely enforced, some clubs have higher age limits.

Shopping


Singapore has plenty to offer. An area that consists of one main island and several smaller islands and a population of just over 4 million. Impressive skyscrapers, gleaming malls contract with traditional Chinatown and Little India. A dynamic urban environment with entertainment, dining and energy. Modern well organized museums attractions and shopping provide plenty of action.

Singaporeans blend together in a sea of ethnic diversity, with Malays and Chinese, Tamils and Arabs, Indonesians and Thais, living in relative peace beside each other.

Singapore is warm and humid all year. The temperature rarely drops far below 70F. While Singapore has a wet season Nov to Jan and a dry season May to July, the cities rain is relatively steady and there is not a
great difference between the wet and dry times of year. With any trip to the tropics you will want to bring sun screen and insect repellent. There are few major health risks in Singapore itself therefore the city keeps a close watch on mosquitoes and diseases.

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.

Cruises

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.

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. An all-inclusive 2 night cruise may cost as little as $400 per person in the cheapest cabin class if you book early, but beware the numerous surcharges and note that non-residents may be charged significantly higher rates.

Singapore is one of Southeast Asia's largest aviation hubs which makes it a great base for exploring South-East Asia, with nearly all of the region's countries and their main tourist destinations — Bangkok, Phuket, Angkor Wat, Ho Chi Minh City and Bali, just to name a few — under 2 hr away by plane. The advent of budget carriers in recent times means that Singapore is an excellent place for catching cheap flights to China and India, as well. In addition, Singapore has direct flights to many of the smaller cities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

For day or weekend trips from Singapore, the followings are popular:

  • Batam — The nearest Indonesian island to Singapore, just a short ferry trip away. Mainly industrial and infamous for its vice trade, but has some resorts.
  • Bintan — Indonesian island just 55 min away by ferry, offering both high-end resorts and the "real Indonesia" experience.
  • Johor Bahru — Malaysian city just across the Causeway. Just 20 min by bus 950 from Woodlands Bus Interchange. Not much to look at, but popular for cheap eats and shopping plus the newly opened Legoland Malaysia.
  • Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia's vibrant capital. 35 min by plane, 4–5 hr by bus or overnight by train.
  • Malacca — Once one of the three Straits Settlements, now a sleepy colonial town. 3–4 hr by bus.
  • Tioman — The nearest of Malaysia's East Coast paradise islands, reachable by bus & ferry or plane.

For those who can afford more time to travel, here are several destinations popular among Singaporeans:

  • Bali — One of Indonesia's biggest tourist draws with its nice beaches and good food. About 2.5 hr away by plane.
  • Bangkok — Thailand's capital and considered a food,shopping and clubbing paradise by many Singaporeans. It is less than 2 hr flight away, or 2 nights by train, assuming you don't stop off in Kuala Lumpur or Butterworth (for Penang).
  • Phuket — One of the largest islands in Thailand, is another popular destination for Singaporeans. It offers a great weekend getaway and is less than 2 hr flight away. Relatively cheaper than Singapore, it is a great destination to hang around.
  • Ipoh — The capital of the Malaysian state of Perak, it is famous among Singaporeans for its food. 7–8 hr away by coach, or 1 hr by turboprop flight.
  • Langkawi — An island in the Malaysian state of Kedah, just south of the Thai border, famed for endless beaches. Just over an hour by plane.
  • Penang — One of the Straits Settlements, with a rich history and fabulous food. About 12 hr away by coach, or 1 hr if you choose to fly. Also popular for its medical tourism.



Useful to carry Travel Tips:
  • Sun Glasses - Singapore is usually bright and sunny.
  • Umbrella - there is some precipitation throughout the year. However, the rain does not usually last long.
  • Shorts/Half Trousers - Singapore is hot and humid. Although air-conditioning is available in all public transport (except a few public buses) and almost all internal areas, it is advisable to carry some light clothing. Do note that some places of worship may require visitors to dress conservatively
  • Sweater - the malls and museums' air conditioning can get cold - though usually this is a welcome relief from the heat.
  • Mosquito repellent - In more remote areas there are mosquitos, otherwise they have been mostly eradicated from Singapore. Dengue fever is a particular problem in this part of the world, so be aware.
Singapore offers the visitor an Asian dream vacation destination that's full of east and west as well as old and new world charm.










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