Singapore: The Cosmopolitan Island City-State
Singapore: The Growing City
Singapore is world’s only island city-state which is growing, literally. Due to extensive land reclamation (i.e. creating new land from its own hills, the seabed, and neighbouring countries), the area encompassed by the city has increased by 23%
A global city which is a premier hub for finance, commerce and transportation, Singapore is rated by Lonely Planet and The New York Times as one of the best world tourist destinations.
1. History of Singapore
An outpost of the Sumatran Empire in 200 AD, it was annexed over by the Indian Chola Dynasty who named it Singapura from the Sanskrit word Singa which is Lion and Pura which translates to City. Therefore it also referred to as the Lion City. Modern Singapore was established by Thomas Stamford Raffles to act as a trading port.After independence from the British Crown, it joined the Malaysian Federation only to be expelled to form an independent state.
Though the nation faced severe crisis due to communal strifes in its early years, commercially optimal location,incorrupt governance and emphasis on business entrepreneurship made it an advanced and one of the most influential cities across the entire globe.
2. Night Life of Singapore
Singapore is gifted with an exceptional nightlife with a buzzing network of bars and nightclubs. While at Singapore, you could start your evening with a fine meal at Club Street in Chinatown, head down to Clarke Quay while lapping up the beauty of the portline, and dance through the night at Zouk. For the party animals who can’t wait till sundown, beach bars in Sentosa Island like Azzura Beach Club is a must.
Gardens by the Bay offer you the kaleidoscopic beauty of the island through their futuristic parks, KU DE TA at Marina Bay Sands is a premium dance club on 55th floor, so sip on a fancy cocktail and dance while enjoying the view.
Singapore is a relatively safe city with very rare cases of organized crime. However, be wary of petty theft and pick pocketing. If you’re near Geylang or Orchard Towers, try to avoid dens of illegal gambling and steer clear of fights.
Singaporeans are pretty dedicated to keeping their Garden City clean and hence littering can land you in trouble. Moreover, make sure you’re not carrying any cigarettes from outside into Singapore. Only custom duty paid cigarettes are allowed.
4. Living Expenses in Singapore
Due to high population density, the living expenses in the city-state is expensive.
Renting a 3-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs around 6,091.78 S$ (4361 USD) and nearly 3463.44 S$(2479 USD) outside the city centre.
Hotel tariff can vary from roughly 190 S$ (136.73 USD) per night in budget hotels to as extravagant as a King’s Suite for S$ 13020 (9369.27 USD).
5. Cuisines of Singapore
Gastronomy is regarded as one of the pastimes of the city. Various influences from the immigrant population has given rise to several hybridized cuisines like the Hawker Cuisine or the Peranakan Cuisine. Food is regarded as an integral part of the culture and the intense diversity is considered a thread for cultural secularism.
Make sure you try the Laksa Broth at least once,preferably from the East Coast Road. If you’re feeling like hitting the street, head over to Maxwell Food Center for the Tian Tian Chicken Rice or the Zhen Porridge.
6. Statistics of Singapore
The population of Singapore city-state is 5,535,000 as of late 2015. Nearly 43% of the residents of the city are foreign-born. Nearly 74.1% is of Chinese descent, 13.4% of Malay descent and 9.3% of Indian descent.It is the 3rd most densely populated nation in the world with roughly 9,500 per sq.km.
Buddhism is the most practised religion(roughly, 33%), other religions practised include Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Languages spoken include English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Most Singaporeans are bilingual, English and a native mother-tongue.
7. Public Transport in Singapore
Singapore has one the most sophisticated and extensive public transport system. Stringent measures and high customs taxes (the Certificate of Entitlement alone costs as much as a Porsche Boxster in the US! ) curb the number of private vehicles.
The best way to whizz around the city is by using the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) which has an extensive rail coverage of the entire city. Buy a EZ Link Stored Value card by which you could use the MRT of basic bus services for 10 S$ for a single day and 16 S$ for 2 days.
Taxis can also be used for their comfort and for going to places with less accessibility. Make sure your taxi is metered and collect the receipt. 6-DIAL CAB (6342-5222) is the common taxi booking number .
Pollution in Singapore: Despite the heavy urbanization, zealous efforts towards natural replenishment of the green cover, proper treatment of waste and strict measures have curbed the pollution to a great extent. However, PM 2.5 levels tend to be around 45 ppm, which is above the norm. In comparison to Singapore, Delhi’s PM 2.5 levels remain at around 180 ppm.
8. Weather of Singapore
Singapore is situated just above the Equator and therefore experiences a typical Tropical Climate somewhat mitigated by the maritime effect.
The average annual rainfall is 2, 342 mm. The relative humidity ranges between 70% and 80%.
North-East Monsoon: December to March. Average low: 23 degrees C. Average high: 31 degrees C.
Summer: April to May. Average low: 24 degrees C. Average high: 32 degrees C.
South-West Monsoon: June to September. Average low: 24 degrees C. Average high: 31 degrees C.
Winter: October to November. Average low: 24 degrees C. Average high: 31 degrees C.
9. Culture of Singapore
The Singaporean culture is touted as “Where east meets west”. Heavily influenced from Asian and European culture, the island has a rich metropolitan lifestyle. Festivals like the Hindu Diwali, Chinese New Year, Eid-ul-Fitr mark the racial diversity of the city.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens are a UNESCO World-Heritage site. The Esplanade, which is dubbed as “The Durian” is a cultural hub with regular festivals and live gigs. Moreover, it has a growing stand-up comedy scene.
10. Places to visit in Singapore
Things to do in Singapore: Walk through the Botanical Gardens,shop till the sun goes down at Orchard Road, enjoy the sublime beauty of artwork at Ritz-Carlton, buy electronics for presents at Funan Digitalife Mall, Raji Lane is a must for the fashionista, watch the panoramic view of the city through the Flyer,party at Sentosa or Geylang.
Things to do for Kids in Singapore: Visit Little India and Kampong Glam, watch the wild animals in a night-safari, play with the dolphins at Sentosa’s Underground World, ride down the Singapore on a bumboat. Singapore is undoubtedly a paradise for the little nomads.
Museum and Galleries: 8Q Museum, Peranakan Museum, Sport Museum, NUS Museum are some of the few spectacular museums in the city-state.
Places nearby: Sentosa Island which was once a deserted island is the place for fun now. Hop on a cable car and enjoy the sights while going to the island. Johor Bahru attracts a lot of tourists for getaways, especially the kids who love Legoland. Bintan and Batam are just the perfect places for those romantic escapades.
Offbeat: Walk through the MacRitchie Reservoir Park at a lazy afternoon, do not miss the Marina Barrage during the Kite Festival, East Coast Beach park, while non-touristy is a good place for silent contemplation.
Author’s Conclusion: Dubbed as the “Lion City” or “The Garden City”, Singapore exceeds your expectations in every field. Visit it once and be enthralled by the natural beauty of the island and the sophistication of the city. A trip to Singapore either alone or with a family will always be memorable.
|Languages||English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil|
|Currency||Singaporean Dollar (S$) (1 S$= 0.72 USD as of Feb, 2016)|
|Time Zone||Singapore Standard Time (UTC+8)|
|Driving||Left hand Traffic and Right hand driving|
|Helpline||SOS-1800-733 4444, Emergencies- 999, Taxi- 6342-5222|
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