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Singapore Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Republic of Singapore
Capital City: Singapore
Language Spoken: Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000 census)

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Geographic data

1 22 N, 103 48 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Singapore Strait 0 m highest point: Bukit Timah 166 m

Land boundaries

0 km

Natural hazards

NA

Natural resources

fish, deepwater ports

Land use

arable land: 1.47% permanent crops: 1.47% other: 97.06% (2005)

Environmental current issues

industrial pollution; limited natural fresh water resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems; seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia

Climate

Warm and fairly humid summer temperatures throughout the year (approximately 30ºC/86ºF during the day and 23ºC/74ºF in the evening). There is no distinct wet/dry season. Most rain falls during the northeast monsoon (November to January) and showers are usually sudden and heavy. Required clothing Lightweight cottons and linens.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+8

Population

4,492,150 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.6% (male 362,329/female 337,964) 15-64 years: 76.1% (male 1,666,709/female 1,750,736) 65 years and over: 8.3% (male 165,823/female 208,589) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 37.3 years male: 36.9 years female: 37.6 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

1.42% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

9.34 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

4.28 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

9.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.71 years male: 79.13 years female: 84.49 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.06 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Shirt and tie are usually sufficient for most meetings, particularly in hot weather (most days). Suit and tie might be considered for more important transactions. Businesswomen wear conservative, lightweight attire. Business discussions are straightforward. English is widely spoken and most businesspeople are skilled and technically knowledgeable. Corruption is virtually non-existent. Many Singapore business people are ethnic Chinese, and many of them will have "Christian" first names (e.g., Albert Lim, Sally Lee). Those who do not will have only their Chinese name on their business card, in which case the family name is listed first. Mr. Lim Siew Fook would be addressed as "Mr. Lim" and Mrs. Tan Lee Yik as "Mrs. Tan". For the sake of politeness and respect, it is wise to address a businessperson by the last name rather than the first name - unless an immediate rapport is developed. Business cards are a must as they are immediately exchanged during business and social meetings. The "Chinese" practice of presenting a business card with both hands is observed. There is no need to have special business cards printed in Chinese, however. Business hours normally are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 1:00 pm, Saturday.

Crime

Singapore is a large, clean and relatively safe metropolitan area, which prides itself on law and order. Visitors in Singapore can expect low crime rates and good police protection in all areas. Common crimes in Singapore include petty theft, pickpocketing, simple assaults, residential and vehicular burglaries. There has been a slight increase in drug arrests in Singapore over the last year but overall usage and distribution of illegal substances remains relatively low. There is no significant anti-Western sentiment known to exist in Singapore. Petty crime committed by juveniles is up slightly for the past year; the police blame this on the economy. The common offenses committed by them continued to be shoplifting and simple theft. Singaporean police continue to be proactive in responding to the crime situation and the national laws continue to be very strict with mandatory sentencing for those who are caught. US Embassy switchboard: (65) 6476- 9100 British High Commission (65) 6424 4200 Australian High Commission (65) 6836-4100 Singapore police emergency operator: 999 Singapore fire and medical emergency: 995 Tanglin divisional police station: Orchard road shopping district (65) 6733-0000 Central Divisional police station: Central business district (65) 6334-0000

Hotels

There are a wide variety of accommodations, characterized by new, high-class hotels. These have extensive facilities including swimming pools, health clubs, several restaurants, full business services and shopping arcades. It is advisable to make advance reservations. Many hotels are designated as being ?International Standard? with all modern conveniences such as swimming pools and air-conditioning.

Communications

Full telephone IDD service is available. The country code is 65 and the outgoing international code is 001. There are fax services at many major hotels and at the Telecoms buildings in Robinson Road and Exeter Road. Telegrams can be sent from post offices, hotels. Overall, communications systems are among the most modern in the world, including Internet connections and cellular services.

Electricity

is 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plug fittings of the 3-pin square type are in use. Many hotels have 110-volt outlets. Electricity 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plug fittings of the three-pin square type are in use. Many hotels have 110-volt outlets.

Plug Types

Food And Dining

Singapore is a gourmet?s paradise, ranging from humble street stalls to 5-star restaurants. There are over 30 different cooking styles, including various regional styles of Chinese cuisine, American, English, French, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Russian and Swiss. Malay cuisine is a favorite, famed for its use of spices and coconut milk. Things to know: One of the best ways to eat in Singapore is in the open at one of the ubiquitous street foodstalls. Some are quiet and casual while others are in areas bustling with activity. All have a vast selection of cheap, mouthwatering food. Newton Circus and La Pau Sat are food centers where all types of Asian food can be sampled cheaply. Although there are many self-service establishments, waiter service is more common in restaurants. Bars/cocktail lounges often have table and counter service. There are no licensing hours. ?Happy hours? are usually from 1700-1900.
National specialties:
? Beef rendang (coconut milk beef curry).
? Chicken sambal.
? Gado gado (a fruit and vegetable salad in peanut sauce).
? Satay (skewers of marinated meat cooked over charcoal) served with peanut sauce, cucumber, onion and rice. National drinks:
? Singapore Sling (cocktail containing gin, cherry liquor, contreau, benedictine, pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine and angostura bitters). It was founded in the early 20th century for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
? Teh arak tarik (ginger tea with milk).
? Soya bean milk.
? Sugar cane juice.
Tipping:
Officially discouraged in restaurants, hotels and the airport. A 10 per cent service charge is included in restaurant bills.
Nightlife
Singapore has a vibrant and exciting nightlife. Entertainment ranges from bars, clubs, discos, karaoke pubs, street opera, night markets, river cruises, multiplex cinemas to theater productions and international stage shows. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay are popular riverside landmarks that offer exclusive restaurants, alfresco dining and lively bars. Moored Chinese junks have been refurbished into floating bars and restaurants. Bugis Street, Changi Village and Holland Village, known as Holland V, are popular areas for food, drink and entertainment. Muhammad Sultan Road is one of the latest entertainment hubs in Singapore with a wide variety of pubs, nightclubs and wine bars, as is Club Street.

Entry departure requirements

Note (a) Women more than 24 weeks pregnant or more must obtain a letter from a doctor confirming that it is safe for them to travel and a Social Visit Pass For Expectant Mothers prior to arrival; apply at the High Commission or Embassy. (b) Severe penalties are imposed on those found in possession of narcotics; the death penalty is in force for those convicted of trafficking in heroin or morphine.

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months beyond date of departure required by all.

Visas

Required only by the following:
(a) nationals of China (PR), CIS, Hong Kong (SAR), India, Macau (SAR) and Myanmar;
(b) nationals of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (temporary passport only) and Yemen.

Note

1. All other nationals require a Social Visit Pass, which is issued on arrival, provided the traveller holds a valid passport, sufficient funds to cover stay in Singapore, confirmed onward/return tickets and entry documentation for further destinations. For nationals holding British and Irish passports, the maximum length of stay is 30 days, for other nationals, the maximum length of stay is 14 days. Visitors on a Social Visit Pass are not permitted to work in Singapore. Extentions of up to 90 days can be applied for at the time.

Types of visa and cost

Entry Visa, Social Visit (short- or long-term; S$20), Business Visit (US$12 ), Student's Pass and Transit. For any extension of pass accumulating to a period of three months or more from the date of entry/issue and for every subsequent extension accumulating to three months or more, the cost is usually S$40. Payment by NETS or CashCard is preferable. Application packs with instructions and prevailing visa costs at the time of application are obtainable from the High Commission (see Passport Visa Information).

Validity

At the discretion of the ICA.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at High Commission or Embassy); see Passport Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Completed application form(s). (b) Two recent passport size photos. (c) Photocopies of valid passport. (d) Visa fee (payable by cash or postal order only. (e) Self-addressed, special delivery envelope if applicant wishes documents to be returned. (f) Letter of introduction form with signature of local sponsor (required by all except nationals of India and China (PR). Business: (a)-(f) and, (g) Printout of Singapore registered company's detailed business profile from ACRA. Social Visit: (a)-(f) and, (g) Local contact's Singapore identity card and photocopy. (h) Letter from the applicant's employer or unemployment booklet. Student Pass: (a)-(g) and (h) Applicant's birth certificate. (i) Applicant's highest education certificates. (j) Proof of financial means if applicant is from a country that always requires a visa.

Working days required

From two to four weeks for Level 2 nationals. Four working days for Level 1 nationals. However, it is still advisable to allow plenty of time. For those applying for student visas, allow two to six months.

Temporary residence

Apply to Consulate (or Consular section of High Commission or Embassy), who will forward application to the authorities in Singapore.

HIV entry requirements

Test required for anyone applying for work or residency permit

Departure tax

None

Embassies

High Commission for the Republic of Singapore in the UK

9 Wilton Crescent Belgravia, London SW1X 8SP, UK
Tel: (020) 7235 8315.
Website: www.mfa.gov.sg/london
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; 1000-1230 and 1400-1600 (visa section).

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in the USA

3501 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 537 3100.
Website: www.mfa.gov.sg/washington

Most visits to Singapore are trouble-free, but travelers should be aware that Singapore shares with the rest of South-East Asia a threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Travelers should not become involved with drugs of any kind: possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisaions for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Singapore.html

Currency

Singapore Dollar (SGD; symbol S$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of S$10,000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of S$1, and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 cents. The currency of Brunei is also legal tender; 1 Brunei Dollar = 1 Singapore Dollar. US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Yen and Pounds Sterling are also accepted at most major shopping centers in Singapore.

Currency restrictions

There is no restriction on the import and export of local or foreign currency.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 1000-1500, Sat 0930-1300 (some are open until 1500). Branches of certain major banks on Orchard Road open Sun 0930-1500.

Currency exchange

Foreign currencies, traveller's cheques and cheques can be changed at most banks and licensed money changers; however, some do not offer this service on Saturday. ATMs are widespread.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other facilities which may be available.

Travellers cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling. A passport is required when cashing traveller's cheques.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Ang Mo Kio645+ 5 digits
Ayer Rajah676+ 5 digits
Bedok644+ 5 digits
City653+ 5 digits
Geylang673+ 5 digits
Jurong West, Tampines678+ 5 digits
North635+ 5 digits
Sembawang675+ 5 digits
Tampines677+ 5 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Good quality dental care is available in Singapore.

Medication Availability

Supplies of international medications are generally available from both the hospitals and private pharmacies in Singapore

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered safe in Singapore

Medical facilities

Good medical care is widely available.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. (Singapore has been screening blood donations since 1985.) The blood type of the general Asian populace is Rh positive; Rh negative blood may be difficult to obtain. Humidity and heat increase the incidence of skin problems. Brush fires in surrounding areas combined with pollution sometimes creates a haze which can cause transient skin and eye irritations, sneezing and coughing in some people. People with chronic heart and lung ailments should not overexert themselves outdoors during those times.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Japanese Encephalitis: Vaccination is not routinely recommended for travelers, although rare cases have occurred. Potential for year-round transmission exists, with highest risk in April. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Singapore has few health hazards and is probably the cleanest city in Asia. Most restaurants, including hawker stalls, are safe. Cholera occurs occasionally. Typhoid is endemic but cases are rare. Serious dysentery is rare. Occasional intestinal trouble may occur. See following: Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs Encephalitis (Japanese type) - occurs Typhus (mite-borne) - occurs in deforested areas Food-borne and water-borne illness: Cholera - occurs Dysentery (amoebic and bacillary) - occurs Fasciolopsiasis (giant intestinal fluke) - occurs Hepatitis (viral) - occurs Typhoid fever - occurs Other hazards: High levels of immunization coverage have reduced the incidence of diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Influenza risk extends throughout the year.

Entry requirements

AIDS: According to the Department of State, testing is required for workers who earn less than $1,250 per month and for applicants for permanent resident status. Foreign test results are not accepted. Contact Singapore's embassy for details. Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas. A certificate is also required from travelers who have been in or passed through countries or areas in the endemic zones within the preceding 6 days.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Centre For East West Medicine290 Orchard Road #08-06 Paragon Medical Centre Singapore 238859
East Shore Hospital321 Joo Chiat Place Singapore 427990
Flinders Practice19 Keppel Road Jit Poh Bldg, #01-01 089058
Gleneagles Hospital6A Napier Road Singapore 1025
HMI Balestier Hospital363 Balestier Road 329784
International Medical Clinic - Jelita Clinic#02-08 Jelita Cold Storage Shopping Centre 293 Holland Road 278628
International Medical Clinic - Tanglin Clinic#04-20 Tanglin Shopping Centre 19 Tanglin Road 247909
KK Women's and Children's Hospital100 Bukit Timah Road 229899
Mount Alvernia Hospital820 Thomson Road Singapore 574623
Mount Elizabeth Hospital3 Mount Elizabeth Singapore 228510
National University Hospital (Singapore) Pte Ltd5 Lower Kent Ridge Road Singapore 119074
Raffles Hospital585 North Bridge Road #11-00 Singapore 188770
Raffles Medical Centre - AnchorpointBlk 370 Alexandra Road #B1-14/15 Anchorpoint 159953
Raffles Medical Centre - Capital Tower168 Robinson Road #09-05 Capital Tower 068912
Raffles Medical Centre - Grand Plaza10 Coleman Street #01-13 Grand Plaza Hotel 179809
Shenton Medical ClinicInternational Plaza 10 Anson Road #36-01 International Plaza 079903
Shenton Medical Clinic - Suntec City MallTemasck Boulevard #02-122 Suntec City Mall
Singapore General Hospital Pte LtdOutram Road Singapore 169608
Tan Tock Seng Hospital11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng 308433
The Medical Practice1 Raffles Link, #01-03A Singapore 039393
Thomson Medical Centre339 Thomson Road 307677

Media

Singapore's media environment has the shadow of Singaporean Government cast over it. Censorship is common; Internet access is regulated; and private ownership of satellite dishes is not allowed.
Press: Singapore Press Holdings, which has close links to the ruling party, has a virtual monopoly of the newspaper industry. The English-language dailies are The Business Times (website: http://business-times.asia1.com.sg), The New Paper, The Straits Times (website: http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) and Today (website: www.todayonline.com).
TV: MediaCorp, owned by a state investment agency, operates TV and radio stations. MediaCorp operates Channel 5 and Channel 8, which are entertainment-based channels, as well as the Malay-language channel, Channel Suria, Mandarin-language Channel U and Channel NewsAsia.
Radio: MediaCorp operates more than 12 stations in Singapore. Unionworks operates WKRZ, an English language station, and Mandarin station, UFM. Radio Singapore International operates broadcasts in four languages, including English.

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