Singapore General Information
Location: Southeast Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia
1 22 N, 103 48 E
total: 697 sq km
country comparison to the world: 191
land: 687 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Area – comparative:
slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Low-lying Singapore has no prominent relief features. A central area of hills rises to a maximum elevation of 174 metres (571 feet). Coral reefs are found in some coastal areas, and many short streams drain the island.
Singapore has a wet tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 27°C (81°F). The average annual rainfall is 2,400 millimetres (95 inches); the wettest months are November, December, and January.
Singapore has attempted to promote a national identity in its land of immigrants since its independence in 1965. As part of this effort, Singapore has four national languages: Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English. For business and politics, English is the language of choice.
Singlish is truly unique to Singapore. It is a mash-up of slang words, phrases, and grammer from the major languages in Singapore, including various Chinese dialects.
Singapore became statistically dominated by immigrant ethic clusters after 1819. As per the records Singapore had about 880 Malays and with only 20 -30 Chinese populace in 1819 where as in 1821 the population of Chinese rose to 1000 and that of Malays to 3000. As per the 2000 consensus the demographic breakdown of ethnic groups is as follows:
Chinese form 76.8% of population, Malay constitutes 13.9%, Indian 7.9% while the people of other ethnicities form the remaining 1.4%.
Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Singapore subsequently became one of the world’s most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage handled) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.
Singapore voltage is 220-240 volts AC. The power plugs used in Singapore are of the three-pin, square-shaped type which are also used in UK.
Public transportation in the City is excellent and readily available, either by taxi or the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT).
Mobile Phone network:
In Singapore, mobile phones operate on GSM900, GSM1800 and 3G. If you are not sure whether your phone operates on these bands, check with your provider before bringing it along.
To avoid high roaming fees you can buy a local pre-paid SIM card once you are in Singapore. Before doing this however, please check with your provider that your phone has not been locked for use on a particular network. If it has, a local SIM card will not work.
The international telephone country code for Singapore is 65 and there are three major telecommunication providers in Singapore: SingTel, StarHub, and MobileOne.
The Internet is very popular in Singapore and there are several Internet service providers (ISPs). They have different pricing schemes and special offers for new subscribers.
Postcards and aerograms to all destinations are S50 cent. All other information you can obtain at the post offices. Most hotel also have post services at the front counter.
Most hotels provide postal services at the front desk. The Changi Airport Post Office is open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm daily from Monday to Saturday. Basic postal services are available round the clock at the General Post Office and the Comcentre branch.
International Direct Dialing (IDD) or trunk calls may be dialed direct using area codes or assisted by an operator. The country code for Singapore is 65.
IDD is available at the General Post Office and the Comcenter. IDD calls can also be made from the numerous phone card and credit card phones located at post offices and around the city area. Phone cards come in five denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$20 and S$50 and are sold at Singapore Telecom service outlets, post offices, convenience stores and some retail shops. A20% levy is normally imposed on IDD calls made from hotels.
•Bank Hours: In general, banking hours are 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday and 9:30 am to 11:30 am on Saturdays
• Office Hours: Most offices are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.
• Shop Hours: Shops are generally open from 10 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday. Most are open on Sundays.
Singapore’s medical facilities are among the finest in the world, with well-qualified doctors and dental surgeons. Many clinics are opened during the weekends with some closing late during the weekdays.
Pharmaceuticals are available from numerous outlets, including supermarkets, department stores, hotels and shopping centres. Registered pharmacists work from 9 am to 6 pm.
Foreigners are understandably more concerned about personal safety and security issues today than ever before. Singapore remains calm and stable and it is business as usual.
The Singapore Government has and is constantly vigilant in ensuring that Singapore remains safe. It has stepped up security measures at key installations and other sensitive places. The Government has also made it known that extremism originating from religion or race has no place in Singapore and it will not hesitate to take action against any extremist or terrorist groups or individuals.
What to Wear
Singapore has a warm and humid climate throughout the year with a daily average temperature range of 24 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius. Light and summer clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton is best for everyday wear. Casual dress is acceptable for most situations and occasions but some establishments may require a more formal dress code. It is always advisable to check beforehand on dress regulations, if any.
Smoking is not permitted in public service vehicles, museums, libraries, lifts, theatres, cinemas, air-conditioned restaurants, hair salons, supermarkets, department stores and government offices. Offenders can be fined up to SGD1,000.
Drug abuse is viewed seriously in Singapore. Illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is strictly prohibited.
Driving without a valid driver’s license
Driving without a valid license is dealt with very seriously. You may even risk imprisonment if your license was previously suspended, or if injury was caused.
Driving while using a mobile phone
Do use a hands-free earpiece while driving, even if only for your own safety. Offenders will be fined up to S$1,000 and may serve a six-month jail term.
Spitting in public places is an offense.
Tipping is not practiced as most hotels and restaurants in Singapore already levy a 10% service charge on customers’ bills. Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore and is prohibited at the airport.
The Government of Singapore takes security very seriously, with Singapore being widely recognised as one of the world’s safest cities.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Police – 999
Ambulance – 995