The island of Singapore is situated off the southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula, to which it is joined by causeways carrying road, railway and water pipe. The Johor Strait between the island and the Malaysian mainland is about 1km (0.8 miles) wide. The Republic of Singapore consists of 63 islands and islets. It is a mainly flat country with low hills, the highest being Bukit Timah at 163m (545ft). In the northeast of the island, and in the urban district, large areas have been reclaimed, and much of the original jungle and swamp covering the low-lying areas has been cleared
Recent outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) have been reported in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, China (particularly Guangdong province in southern China) and Vietnam. The World Health Organization cautions that the disease is primarily spread through contact with seriously ill patients, often in hospitals. Travellers planning to visit or transit through SARS-infected areas should be prepared for screening and may not be permitted to travel if they show symptoms.
Full country name: Republic of singapore
Area: 697,1 sq Km (262 sq miles)
Population: 4,6 million
Capital: Singapore city states
Language: English, Malay, Mandarin chinese, Tamil
Religion: Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Christian, Hindu
GPD: US$85 billion
Major industies: Manufacturing, Chemicals, Trade, Business and financial services, Shopping, Tourism, Electronics, Construction.
Major trading parteners: US, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea
Telephone: country code 65
Visas: Most Western nationals either do not require a visa at all or do not require a visa for a social stay of up to 90 days. A 30-day permit is issued on arrival, and extensions are difficult to obtain.
Health risks: Hepatitis A
Electricity: 220-240V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric with local variations
When to go
Go anytime. Climate is not a major consideration, as Singapore gets fairly steady annual rainfall. You may like to co-ordinate your visit with various festivals and events: Thaipusam is one of the most spectacular festivals, occurring around February. If shopping and eating are your major concerns, July is a good month as the Singapore Food Festival and Great Singapore Sale are held then.
The visitor is spoilt for choice, for things to see and do, and in terms of vibrant nightlife, its rich cultural mix, and a whole planet’s worth of culinary experiences. Singapore is a veritable feast for the senses, a heady mixture of the familiar and the exotic.
Of course, it’s not all about shopping, eating and G&Ts on the veranda. Work up a sweat with outdoor activities – walking, cycling and water sports – or check out the contemporary arts scene, thriving under the government’s promotion of Singapore as an arts hub. If you want a break from the urban confines, the centre of the island has sparkling reservoirs and leafy tracts of forest where all you’ll hear is monkeys clattering through the boughs.
Attractions - Colonial Singapore
The mark of Sir Stamford Raffles is indelibly stamped on central Singapore. By moving the business district south of the river and making the northern area the administrative centre, Raffles created the framework that remained the blueprint for central Singapore through generations of colonial rule and the republican years of independence. Places of interest include: Empress Place Building, an imposing Victorian structure, built in 1865, that houses a museum, art and antique galleries and a chic restaurant; the incongruous Padang, where flannelled cricketers once caught, bowled and batted in the searing heat; Raffles Hotel, a Singaporean institution which has become a byword for oriental luxury; and any number of imposing churches, such as St Andrew s Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.