Singapore is a thriving metropolis offering a world-class infrastructure, a fully integrated island-wide transport network, dynamic business environment and a rich culture. Over the years, Singapore has made significant strides in many areas and has attracted an encouraging number of international accolades which recognise the city as vibrant and world-class.
According to the Malay Annals, the founding of the city of Singapore in the 13th century began with Sang Nila Utama, a prince of Palembang, who was shipwrecked and washed ashore to an island. There he saw a creature which he believed was a lion. Taking it to be a good sign, he founded a city, naming it "The Lion City" or Singapura, from the Sanskrit words "simha" (lion) and "pura" (city).
Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival in Singapore in 1819 was one of the "key turning points" that changed Singapore's trajectory from a sleepy fishing village to a modern cosmopolitan city. The year 2019 will mark 200 years of history for Singapore, and a slew of events have been lined up to commemorate the nation's bicentennial milestone.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is the oldest institute of higher learning in Singapore. Its achievements and influence in global research and education have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. NUS is a comprehensive research university with an entrepreneurial dimension, and offers a wide range of disciplines, including the sciences, medicine, engineering and computing in both undergraduate and postgraduate education.
Singapore is known for its hot and humid weather, with little variation throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 31°C (88°F), dropping to around 24°C (75°F) in the evenings.
There are about 5.3 million people on the island. Today, the ethnic Chinese form 74.2% of the Singaporean population, with the country's original inhabitants, the Malays, comprising 13.3%. The Indians make up 9.2%, and Eurasians and Asians of different origins make up a combined 3.3%. Singapore is also home to many expatriates coming from countries as diverse as North America, Australia, Europe, China, Japan and India.
English is the main working language in Singapore. Other official languages used are Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.
Getting Around – Getting around Singapore is fairly easy: the public transportation system (MRT, LRT and buses) is relatively easy to use and taxis are reasonably priced when you can get one. Getting into Singapore – Most people arrive in Singapore by air. Its status as a major airline hub in Asia makes Singapore a natural starting or ending point for a multi-country tour of Southeast Asia. Most large international airlines have routes to Singapore, in addition to the island’s own highly regarded airline, Singapore Airlines.
The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (S$). Money changing services can be found not only at the Singapore Changi Airport but also most shopping centres and hotels around the island. You can also access the automated teller machines (ATMs) located everywhere in Singapore, that accept most of the main credit cards such as Visa, Master Card and American Express
Most foreigners coming into Singapore do not require visas for entry and may be given social visit passes for up to 30 days upon their arrival in Singapore. However, it is best to consult your local consular office for the latest information with regards to coming into Singapore. If you would like to stay in Singapore for a longer period, you may apply to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) upon your arrival. You should have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity, onward or return tickets, onward facilities (such as visas or entry permits) to your next destination, and of course, sufficient funds for your stay in Singapore
Singapore uses the "Type G" (British 3-pin rectangular blade) electrical plug. Voltage is 230V, 50Hz.
Singapore is consequently a cosmopolitan place where people from all over the world sit down to enjoy each other’s cooking. Each culture has brought with it unique cooking styles including Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Peranakan, Indian, Thai, Japanese and Korean. There is a vast array of hawker stalls and restaurants, ranging from global franchises to gourmet delis to fancy six-star settings.
Orchard Road would be the most popular and most commonly heard names if anyone should mention about shopping. This place is the central hub, also known as the “city” of Singapore, and it is well known among tourists. Orchard Road offers major departmental stores, supermarkets, movie theatres, restaurants, famous hotels and other entertainment outlets.
Cell Phone Usage
Singapore's international dialing code is +(65). While in Singapore and if you have international roaming service on your cell phone, you don’t have to press +(65) as it will automatically connect you to the local numbers here.
Conference Secretariat (65) 6516 2994
Online Web & Conference Mgnt. System (65) 6492 1137/(65)9774 1880
Emergency/Medical Police 999 (toll-free)
Ambulance 995 (toll-free) 1777 (non-emergency)
Flight Information 1800 542 4422
Singapore Immigration Department (65) 6391 6100
Singapore Tourism Board 24hrs Touristline 1800 736 2000
Global Refund Singapore (GST Refund) (65) 6225 6238
Dial-A-Cab (65) 6342 5222
CityCab (65) 6552 1111
Comfort Taxi (65) 6552 1111
SMRT Taxis (65) 6555 8888
SMART Cabs (65) 6485 7777
TransCab (65) 6555 3333
Premier Taxis (65) 6363 6888
Prime Taxi (65) 6778 0808
Yellow-Top Taxi (65) 6293 5545
American Express 1800-296-0220
Visa Global Customer Assistance 800-4481-250
MasterCard Global Service 800-1100-113
Diners Club (65) 6292 7566
For addresses and telephone numbers of airlines, banks, hotels and other essential services, the Yellow Pages is recommended. Or try City Search at 1900-777-7777 (Each call is charged at $0.50).
Norwegian Trade Council (65) 6222 1316
Australia (65) 6836 4100
Japan (65) 6235 8855
Korea (65) 6256 1188
New Zealand (65) 6235 9966
USA (65) 6476 9100
The majority of foreign missions observe normal working hours of 9am to 5pm, though it is not out of the ordinary to find some embassies working only in the morning or having shorter opening hours, especially with regards to visa applications. Almost all the embassies are closed on Saturdays. It is therefore recommended that you telephone ahead to check the office hours before visiting.