SINGAPORE - Info & Facts
Suggested length of stay
Singapore offers a unique blend of culture and cuisine, a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, and European cultures. A stay in Singapore traditionally takes in the shopping on famous Orchard Road, exploring the colonial treasures and experiencing the various ethnic quarters of Little India, Chinatown and Geylang Serai (Malay quarter) each with their own distinctive architecture and culture. For nature lovers, the Botanic Gardens are a showcase for the magnificent orchids and Sentosa Island, as well as two miles of white sand beaches and lush rainforest. Singapore can be experienced over 2-3 days and is an excellent gateway to other Asian destinations.
Modes of transport
As a major gateway to South East Asia and an international hub, Singapore is serviced by many major airlines. Changi Airport is served by more than 70 airlines and is one of the world’s best airports.
Entering Singapore by train from Malaysia and Thailand can be done by the luxurious train service - Eastern and Oriental Express .
For those driving in Singapore, navigating around the island is easy and there are well-marked road signs, all in English. The roads connecting in to Malaysia are some of the best in South East Asia. Foreign motorists are required to pay tolls and a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) charge at the checkpoints when driving in to Singapore.
Getting around Singapore is very simple. There is a network of public transport options including taxis and the MRT (rail) and all options are efficient and inexpensive.
Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinct seasons. Temperatures range from 22°C to 34 °C. The relative humidity is constantly around 90 percent in the morning and 60 percent in the afternoon. June and July are the hottest months, while November and December make up the wetter monsoon season. The relatively unchangeable weather makes Singapore a year-round destination however it is wise if combining your trip to Singapore with another Asian destination to observe the climate in your other destination.
Including the main island, Singapore consists of 63 islands. Connection to Johor, Malaysia, is via the man-made Johor-Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Of the other islands, Sentosa, Pulau Tekong and Jurong Island are the largest. The concentration of urban areas used to be in the south only, around the mouth of the Singapore River and the rest of the land was undeveloped tropical rainforest, however government construction of new residential towns in the 1960’s has resulted in an entirely built-up urban landscape.
As part of on-going land reclamation project Singapore’s land area has grown and many of the smaller islands have been expanded and joined together. With limited land area of forest and nature reserves (about 23 percent); the only remaining area of primary rainforest is Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. In addition, a number of parks such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens are maintained.
Eating is a national pastime in Singapore. Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Peranakan, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean restaurants all compete with one another in the battle for your business! As well as the restaurants there are Singapore's immeasurable number of hawker stalls and cafes that range from international franchises to epicurean delis. Add to this numerous food promotions and tours, including the Singapore Food Festival each July, - which are held throughout the year and you will see that Singapore is the place to go if food is your passion!
It is not advisable to drink the tap water in Singapore. Bottled water is very widely available and very cheap.
A brief history
The earliest known mention of Singapore was a 3rd century Chinese account which described Singapore as "Pu-luo-chung" ("island at the end of a peninsula"). Little is known about the island's history at that time but this matter-of-fact description belies Singapore's colourful past. By the 14th century, Singapore had become part of the mighty Sri Vijayan Empire and was locally known as Temasek ("Sea Town"). Situated at the meeting point of sea routes at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore had long been associated with visits from a wide variety of sea craft, including Chinese junks, Indian vessels, Arab dhows and Portuguese battleships. During the 11th century, this small but strategically-placed island had earned a new name - "Singa Pura" ("Lion City"). According to legend, a visiting Sri Vijayan prince saw an animal he mistook for a lion and Singapore's modern day name was born.
The British were at the forefront of the next prominent chapter in Singapore’s history. During the 18th century, they saw the need for a strategic point to refit, feed and protect the fleet of their expanding empire, as well as to preclude any advance by the Dutch in the region. By 1824, just five years after the inauguration of modern Singapore, the population had grown from 150 to over 10,000. In 1832, Singapore became the centre of government for the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of telegraph and steamship increased Singapore's importance as a centre for the expanding trade between East and West.
Singapore had been the site of military action in the 14th century when it became involved in the struggle for the Malay Peninsula between Siam (now Thailand), and the Java-based Majapahit Empire. Five centuries later, it was again the scene of significant fighting during World War II. Singapore had been considered an unassailable fortress, but the Japanese overran the island in 1942.
After the war, Singapore became a British Crown Colony. Independent Singapore was admitted to the United Nations on 21 September 1965 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations on 15 October 1965. On 22 December 1965, it became a republic, with Yusof bin Ishak as the republic's first President. From this point on Singapore has gone on to be one of the economic power houses of Southeast Asia with strong financial growth and political stability that is the envy of much of the world.
For Australian Passport Holders, no visa is required for up to 90 days visit in Singapore. Oasis accepts no responsibility regarding the issue of visas.
Legal tender is the Singapore Dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted and Travellers Cheques easily cashed in most banks. ATM’s are prevalent and many debit cards will work, however please check with your bank prior to departure if you are going to rely on ATM’s.
Please check with your doctor if you have specific medical requirements however vaccinations are not essential for Australian travellers to Singapore.
Australian High Commission, Singapore
High Commission address:
25 Napier Road
Telephone: ++ 6836 4100
Fax: ++ 6737 5481
The voltage in Singapore is 220-240 volts AC. Remember when shopping to check the voltage of the item against the voltage in Australia. An international adaptor is required in Singapore, and many hotels will provide adaptors on request.
Non-stop flight time Sydney – Singapore approximately 8 hours
Time difference GMT + 8 hours