Singapore: geography, language and climate
The island state of Singapore is the smallest country in Southeast Asia. The name Singapore is derived from the Sanskrit words Singha (Lion) and Pura (city). In the north it shares borders with Malaysia and in the south, with Indonesia.
Singapore is located at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula and is connected to the mainland via two piers accessible for motorized vehicles. The island is mainly flat and the highest elevation of this city-state is the 164 metre high Bukit Timah Hill in the reserve of the same name in the northeast.
Singapore is located on the equator and is also in the tropics. The weather throughout the year is hot and humid. There are no real seasons to speak of and daytime temperatures range between 23 and 35 ° C throughout the year. The relative air humidity is a constant 85% and after strong rainfall can climb to 100%. There is no fixed rainy season; however, December and April are the wettest months.
The official language is English. The national language is Malay. Tamil and Mandarin Chinese are also spoken.
Singapore: health, visas and how to get there
Up to date vaccines for hepatitis A, typhoid, polio, diphtheria and tetanus are recommended. Medical care in Singapore is excellent and comparable to European standards. However, doctor’s fees must be paid immediately and can be high. Fruit should be peeled and vegetables boiled before consumption. For current vaccination and entry requirements as well as further safety matters please refer to the homepages of the Foreign Office.
A passport valid for six months is needed. US citizens do not require a visa to enter Singapore for tourist purposes, business trips or social visits.
Singapore is an important hub for the Southeast Asian area. Changi International Airport (SIN) is served daily by many international airlines. Qantas Airways (QF) or Singapore Airlines (SQ) provide cheap connections and non-stop services from many US airports. There are also many airlines flying to Singapore with a stop over in Dubai (DXB), Doha (DOH), Delhi (DEL) or Bangkok (BKK).
Singapore: where to go
For most tourists Singapore is only a stop over when travelling to other destinations in Asia or Australia and New Zealand. However, the city-state has a wealth of attractions and a longer stay in Singapore is well worth while.
Despite only being used as a stop over for most travelers, Singapore is perfectly interesting in its own right. The population is comprised of Chinese, Malay, Indians and workers from around the world. Visitors are given the possibility of exploring the whole of Asia squeezed onto a just few square kilometres. The city has a broad spectrum of attractions. The Jurong Bird-Park should not be missed, being home to more than 600 different species of birds in enormous aviaries. The best cuisine of the city is to be found in Chinatown, one of the founding cores of the city in which many historical buildings are still to be found. An Excursion to the Zoo in the Suntec city complex is a must for night birds, as it is the first zoo with nighttime opening hours. Rare species of goldfish may be seen in the large aquarium on the island of Sentosa. Gourmets should head for the East Coast Park, as this has gained world fame for its many good and clean food courts. The islands Palau Hantu, Pulau Sekeng and the Sisters Islands are ideal for swimming.
Many visitors come to Singapore for the excellent food. Eating out is a so-called local sport in Singapore. Paradise for the gourmet are for example the Hawker Center, a collection of cook shops found in closed complexes with high hygiene standards as they are controlled on a daily basis by the authorities.