Singapore is a city-state just south of Malaysia. It is an island with a tropical climate where you can find everything: multicultural population, super tall skyscrapers, cute old colonial buildings, amazing natural parks, and amazing amusement parks. It is a global financial center and a food capital of Asia. Singapore is a fantastic place that many people dream of visiting. And if you are going to travel to Singapore in nearest future here is a list of everything you need to know before going on your journey.
The national currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar. Currency rate (as of publication): $ 1 = S$1,45, €1= S$1,52.
Usually there are no problems with the banks in Singapore and most people use their cards to pay. If you brought cash to exchange, you can go to the banks or just look for exchange signs among the small shops.
Time zone: GMT +8;
Singapore is a year-round destination. But if you want to know the best time to come, it is from February through April when it is a dry season in Singapore.
The rainy season in Singapore is from November through January, although Cody and I went to Singapore in the end of November and the end of December and the weather was quite pleasant during both stays.
The language question is difficult in Singapore. There are four main languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. The Malaya language is very special to Singaporeans since Malays are indigenous people of Singapore. Mandarin was widely used for trade and even with time people in Singapore were using a mix between Malay and Mandarin. Tamil is used by the largest Indian community in Singapore and English was brought in by the British during colonial times.
All the official and formal settings, administration, and international business is conducted in English. Although the national language of Singapore is Malay, English became the main language of Singapore.
If you only speak English you will have no problems navigating Singapore.
Singapore has many religions. The main ones are Buddhism (Taoism), Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. One of the things that is common in Singapore is accepting more than one religion. The religious mix of festivals, holidays and traditions makes Singapore so unique.
Singapore is considered to be an extremely safe place for tourists. No matter if you are a group of men or a woman who travels solo you will feel safe walking at night on the street.
Although tourists still should practice common precautions and keep your valuable belongings close to yourself to escape petty theft.
Even small restaurants in Singapore accept credit card, although if you are going to a hawker center it is better to bring cash (small bills). The food in such places is cheap and there is no possible way to pay with a bank card.
Singapore is one of the most developed countries not just in Asia but in the whole world. And as you probably can assume the public transportation is very good there.
There is quite a developed and large subway system. The bus system is amazing, you can get pretty much anywhere by bus.
You can buy a plastic city transportation card in any convenience store and top it off. This will make using public transportation super convenient, you just swipe your card at the entrance and exit and the payment will be subtracted.
To rent a car in Singapore you need to be between 23 and 69 years old (usually). You also must have driving experience not less than 2 or 3 years (depends on the rental agency). If you are on your first year of driving, you will probably be rejected. To rent a car you need your valid driver license in English or IDP (International Driving Permit). And lastly, you most likely will need to leave a security deposit, which can be up to $500.
Singapore is not cheap and you should be prepare to spend. For a small basic room you will need to pay at least $70 a night (during holidays prices are higher). And as for meals it depends on where you eat. A dinner in a proper restaurant will be around $50 a person.
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As for Cody and I, every day we went to a different hawker centre where the food is fantastic and cheap. Hawker centres are the places where locals go and you can get a real taste of Singapore.
Tipping is not customary in Singapore. However, most of the restaurants will include in the bill service fees (10%), so you are not expected to leave a tip.
You also don’t need to worry about tipping in Singapore for any services that are provided, although if the waiter or a concierge for example provided a great service you may tip.