What you need to know before traveling to Singapore

Singapore is one of the smallest nations in the world. The independent city-state occupies an island in Southeast Asia that was originally founded by the British Empire as a trade outpost in 1819. Today, the city-state is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and boasts a trading port that is often considered among the busiest in the world. Singapore is very densely populated, with its population of roughly 5.5 million residents occupying just 444 sq. miles (716 sq. km) of space.

  • Key facts
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    The city-state of Singapore is second to Monaco as the most densely populated country in the world. The city itself boasts an excellent combination of modern amenities, such as skyscrapers, subways, and a bustling business district, and plentiful greenery. Even though more than 5 million people call Singapore home, the city has more than 50 large parks and 4 nature reserves that led some to refer to the city as the Garden City.
    Singapore is, like many other small nations in the region, influenced by numerous regional cultures. In addition to native Malay people, the nation has significant populations of expatriates from China, India, Pakistan, and other neighboring islands. The cultural diversity is evident in the nation's long list of official languages. English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil are all official languages of Singapore, with Malay also holding status as a national language.
    As you consider traveling to Singapore, it will be helpful for you to know that there is always something going on in Singapore. The city is well known for its tremendous nightlife, astonishing cuisine, and seemingly endless list of festivals taking place throughout the year.
  • Weather & when to go
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    As a tropical island located just 1.5 degrees north of the Equator, Singapore enjoys warm sunshine year round with little distinction between the seasons. Throughout the year, you can expect to experience daily rainfall that can come on suddenly and usually last no more than one hour at a time. As you would expect in a tropical location, the weather is extremely warm during the daytime.
    There is very little variation in the average high and low temperature throughout the year because Singapore is located so close to the Equator. For example, in December and January, the average daytime high is 85 F (29 C) and the average low at night is 72 F (22 C). Throughout the remainder of the year, the average daytime high is 89 F (32 C) and the average low at night is 82 F (24 C). For the year as a whole, the temperature hovers around a steady 82 F (28 C).
    If there was a time of year to avoid Singapore, it would be the stretch between May and October. This has less to do with intense summer heat, and more to do with forest fires that often plague nearby Sumatra. The fire often causes a dense haze to push air quality to unhealthy levels, posing a risk to those in your traveling party suffering from chronic heart or lung conditions.
  • Getting around
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    In order to get out of the airport in Singapore, you'll need your passport to gain entry into the country. Few are aware, but Singapore is one of Southeast Asia's largest airline hubs. Singapore Airlines is the nation's official air carrier, but major airlines serving Singapore from other regions of the world include KLM (and its network carriers), British Airways, Etihad Airways, and Emirates. Changi Airport is the nation's international airport and is a modern aviation hub.
    Once you've arrived at your destination within Singapore, the nation's MRT (rail) and bus systems are extremely efficient and offer ample transportation options as you go out and explore the city. Taxis are also very affordable, though not as readily available as space on rail and bus lines. Renting a car is possible, but you would be well served avoiding this cost because it is quicker and easier to get around using the aforementioned modes of transport.
  • Know before you go
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    The first thing you need to do as you prepare for a trip to Singapore is to pack wisely, and be prepared for large crowds.

    • Monsoon season runs from November to January, so pack an umbrella. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are common during monsoon season.

    • Singapore is a secular nation out of respect to its multicultural population. Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Indian, and Christian holidays are all celebrated in Singapore with equal fervor.

    • The Western New Year's celebration on January 1 is celebrated with large parades and elaborate fireworks displays.

    • The Chinese New Year is also celebrated with large festivals each year. Given the nation's large Chinese population, many shops and eateries close for 2-3 days during celebrations.

    • Ramadan is celebrated along the East Coast area, and similar closings should be expected at shops and restaurants during daylight hours throughout Ramadan.

    • Each year on August 9, Singapore celebrates National Day to honor its independence.

    • Explore beyond your hotel restaurant. With so many cultural influences, Singapore has some of the greatest cuisine in the world.

    • Singapore is connected by two causeways to mainland Malaysia, offering an affordable opportunity to visit another country while in Singapore. Remember your passport though!

  • Travel tips & recommendations
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    • There are three beaches on Sentosa and others on the East Coast that offer the best opportunity to relax in the sunshine, with cool waters just steps away.

    • Visit the Botanical Gardens and Gardens by the Bay to experience local vegetation and wild animals native to Singapore.

    • Orchard Road has the largest concentration of shopping malls in Singapore, while the nation's modern skyscrapers line the Singapore River along the business district.

    • Dengue fever is still an issue in parts of Singapore, so if you go exploring the remote areas, don't forget your mosquito repellent.

    • The nation uses the Singapore Dollar (SGD) as its official currency.

    • In case of an emergency, dial 999.

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