Singapore is world’s second most densely populated country. Officially known as the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, since independence it has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries and boasts as the world’s busiest port. An island country made up of 63 islands, separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.
It is a beautiful place to visit on a vacation, combining the skyscrapers and subways of a modern, affluent city with a medley of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate, with tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene, this Garden City makes a great stopover or springboard into the region.
Attractions of Singapore
Singapore flyer: It is world’s largest observation wheel and when you’re on it you get to see the exotic views of the Marina bay and Singapore skyline. It is a lifetime experience; just imagine a 30 minutes ride on the height of 541 ft and amazing views of Singapore’s highlights as well as glimpses of neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.
Singapore zoo: If you are nature & wildlife freak then you should defiantly go for it. The Singapore Zoo is spread over 28 hectares and is a haven to over 3,600 mammals, birds and reptiles including some rare and endangered species. Natural barriers like streams, rock walls and beautiful landscaping are used to separate animals from visitors thus creating an “open zoo” effect. Experience this new concept in animal from the comfort of your tram or on foot.
Sentosa Island: Enhance your Singapore experience with an afternoon visit to Sentosa Island, Singapore’s relaxing island resort. You’ll travel to this island haven by scenic cable car, see pink dolphins at play in the Dolphin Lagoon, visit the Underwater World oceanarium, see the images of Singapore story and enjoy the multi-sensory sound and light water show songs of the Sea. This action-packed, family-friendly afternoon tour to Sentosa Island is guaranteed to please children and adults alike.
Orchard road: This is a proper metro city road you find every sought entertainment here. Relentlessly lined with flashy shopping malls and up market hotels, Singapore’s premier shopping street is cheerfully lined with plenty of shady trees, seating and flower boxes. You’ll find luxury flagship stores from Dior to Armani, huge shopping malls like Ngee Ann City, department stores, cinemas and entertainment complexes.
Thrills & Fun
Singapore Zoo Night Safari: Winner of the Singapore Tourism Awards Best Leisure Attraction Experience is the world’s first tour of its kind. On an open tram you’ll explore 40 hectares of jungle adjoining the zoo, passing a large reservoir and weaving through habitats specially designed to replicate the Himalayan foothills, Southeast Asian rainforest and Indian subcontinent. Enjoy spotting animals in their natural environments on this unique night tour!
Races: The inaugural F1 Singapore Grand Prix was held at night in September 2008, and will be a fixture on the local calendar until at least 2012. Held on a street circuit in the heart of Singapore and raced at night, all but race fans will probably wish to avoid this time, as hotel prices especially room with view of the F1 tracks are through the roof. Tickets start from $150 but the thrilling experience of night race is definitely unforgettable for all F1 fans and photo buffs.
Golf: Most of the best ones are run by private clubs and open to members and their guests only. The main exceptions are the Sentosa Golf Club, the famously challenging home of the Barclays Singapore Open, and the Marina Bay Golf Course, the only 18-hole public course. See the Singapore Golf Association for the full list; alternatively, head to the nearby Indonesian islands of Batam or Bintan or up north to the Malaysian town of Malacca for cheaper rounds.
Singapore Flyer sky dining: Enjoy a wonderful 90-minute fine-dining experience with panoramic views aboard the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel. It towers above Singapore’s iconic landmarks – Marina Bay, Singapore River, Raffles Place financial district – and features the world’s first full-butler dinner service in the sky. You’ll make two complete rotations over the course of 60 minutes on this architectural and engineering marvel.
How to reach there?
One of Southeast Asia’s largest aviation hubs Singapore is a very easy reach by air unless you’re coming from Peninsular, Malaysia or Batam/Bintan in Indonesia. Changi Airport in Singapore is big, pleasant, and well organized, and immigration and baggage distribution is remarkably fast. The airport is split into three main terminals (T1, T2 and T3) which are quite confusing so be careful plus a dedicated Budget Terminal for low-cost airlines.
Star Cruises: Star cruise 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.
How to roam around?
Trishaw: It is just like Rickshaws in India but in Singapore these are called Trishaws. Trishaws are three-wheeled bicycle taxis; haunt the area around the Singapore River and Chinatown. Geared purely for tourists, they should be avoided for serious travel as locals do not use them. There is little room for bargaining: short rides will cost $10-20 and an hour’s sightseeing charter about $50 per person.
Boat: Tourist-oriented bumboats cruise the Singapore River, offering point-to-point rides starting from $3 and cruises with nice views of the CBD skyscraper skyline starting from $13.
Cabs: If you are in a group of 3 or 4, it’s sometimes cheaper and faster to take a taxi than the MRT. While all taxis are equipped to handle (and are required to accept) credit cards, in practice many cabbies do not accept electronic payment. Always ask before getting in. Paying by credit card will incur an additional surcharge of 17%. But getting a taxi is not easy sometimes due to the shortage of taxis there.
Buses: Buses connect various corners of Singapore. After midnight on Fri, Sat and before public holidays only, the Nightrider services are a fairly convenient way of getting around, with seven lines running every 20 min. Buses are slower but you have an advantage from that also which is that, you get to see the sights rather than a dark underground tunnel at a low price.
Walk: Walking through, is the best way to explore any place around the world. Singapore is generally fairly ‘pedestrian-friendly’. There are a lot of neat & clean sidewalks and pedestrian crossings in the main business district and on main roadways
Explore Singapore on foot by walking down the river from the Merlion through the Quays, trekking along the Southern Ridges Walk or just strolling around Chinatown, Little India or Bugis.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations on import and export of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, pornographic materials, videotapes, CDs and DVDs, and software. Carrying any of these items without permission may result in immediate arrest. All luggages are X-rayed at ports of entry, and checked luggage may be inspected for regulated items.
Do not extend your visit in Singapore, this is a serious offence.