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Practical information Singapore

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Singapore : Travel Information before you go!

Area

620.0

Population

4780000

Languages

there are 4 official languages: Malay (most widely spoken) Chinese, Tamil and English.

Required travel documents for

Passport valid for six months after the return date. You must have a return or an open return plane ticket. No tourist visa necessary for a stay of less than three months. If you wish to extend your trip, contact Singapore Immigration, N10 Kallang Road, Singapore 208718.
Tel.: (65) 391 61 0018.

Religion

Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists and Confusianists.

Currency

The currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD or $S), which consists of 100 cents. Most international credit cards are accepted in shops and in cash machines. Travellers cheques are also an excellent means of payment and are also accepted in some restaurants and shops. As far as cash is concerned, try to change your money in foreign exchange offices, which do not charge transaction fees, unlike the banks. Banks are open from 9:30am to 3:00pm on weekdays and from 9:30am to 11:30am on Saturdays.

Local transportation

You can virtually travel throughout all of the island thanks to a public transportation system ranking amongst the very best in the world.
The tube railway ideal to travel, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is an ultramodern subway, with a 27 mile long underground network in the heart of the town and an overhead network on the rest of the island. It runs from 6 a.m. to 11h30 p.m. and covers 40 stations on two lines: one East-West and the other North-South (Changi Airport will be linked in 2001 and the network will cover the whole island in 2002.) The fares cost between S$ 0.60 and S$ 1.50, but you can buy the Farecard, valid for 6 months, for a fare ranging from S$ 10 to S$ 50 (+ deposit of S$ 2, available at the counters of the stations and in 7-eleven shops). There is a Tourist Farecard for S$ 7 (+ S$ 6 credit).
Bus: the buses are very frequent and an excellent means to travel short distances. Tickets range from S$ 0.60 (S$ 0.70 by airconditioned bus) for distances less than 2 miles and increase in brackets of S$ 0.10 for each 2.4 km (up to a cap of S$ 1.50). The Farecard is valid for the bus (but not the Tourist Farecard) and the Singapore Explorer tickets entitle you to cover unlimited distances for S$ per day and S$ 12 every three days (available in most hotels).
Taxi: There are over 10 000 taxis on Singapore's roads. Identified by their violet or black colour with a yellow roof, they cost S$ 2.40 for the first mile, then S$0.10 per 240 metres. An additional fare of 50% is applied on the night fare from midnight to 6 a.m. and an additional S$ 3 will be requested for the trip from the airport to the city (but not in the opposite direction). In case of a complaint: dial 450 52 50.
By car: it is easy to rent a car from the main rental agencies like Sintat, Hertz or Avis, but also from smaller companies. However, the rates are much higher than in Malaysia (S$ 120 per day, including insurance, for a small car). In Singapore, driving is on the left and an international driver's licence is required.
By ship: you can go for mini-cruises on the Singapore River to discover the city centre. Expect to pay S$ 9 per adult and
S$ 3 per child (departures each hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Clarke Quay). You could hire a "bumboat" to discover the neighbouring islands (information available at the Tourism Office).

Health

Singapore remains a safe destination for travellers. Travellers arriving from Singapore do not constitute a risk for other countries.
No particular vaccine is required but it is recommended to protect yourself against dengue fever. Even though some cases of malaria have been reported, there is no risk of paludism. You must show a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever if you are coming from a country infected by the disease.

Electricity

220 V, 50 hertz. Three-pin electric plugs. An adapter is necessary.

Tourist numbers

Singapore hosted 7.6 million foreign visitors in 2006 of which 488 087 were from the UK*.

Taxes and tips

The GST is a tax of 3% applied on goods and services. This tax can be reimbursed for any purchase exceeding US$ 300. However, the shop where you bought your purchase must be a member of the reimbursement network (a "tax refund" sticker is visible at the entrance) and must give you a form to fill in. After you have shown the form and merchandise to the concerned office at the airport, the form is sent back to the shop keeper, duly stamped, and he/she will send a reimbursement cheque via post mail. In addition to the GST, there is also a tax of 10% on services and of 1% in certain hotels, bars, restaurants and night clubs. If these taxes are not directly included in prices, then a sign ++ will appear behind the rate.
Tipping is not common practice in Singapore and is forbidden at the airport.

Telephone

To call Singapore from the UK: dial 00 + 65 + the number of the person you are calling.
To call the UK from Singapore: 001 + 44 + the number of the person you are calling, without the initial 0. Emergencies: 995.

Singapore : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Singaporean Embassy in London
9 Wilton Crescent, Belgravia, London, SW1X 8SP Foch). Telephone: Fax: 01 45 00 58 75.

At the destination

British Embassy
British High Commission 100 Tanglin Road Singapore 247919
Tel.: 880 78 00. Fax: 880 78 01
Singapour Tourism Board
1 Tourism Court, Orchard Spring Lane, at Singapour 247729.
Fax: (65) 736 94 23.