ABOUT Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a land area of about 710 square kilometres, making her one of the smallest countries in the world and the smallest in the region – hence the moniker “The Little Red Dot”. Although small in size, Singapore commands an enormous presence in the world today with its free trade economy and highly efficient workforce. Also, her strategic location in the region has enabled her to become a central sea port along major shipping routes. At present, Singapore’s population stands at about five million people, with English as the main language of instruction, and a mother tongue for each major ethnicity. Being a multi-racial society, Singapore is as diverse as it is cohesive. With so much to see and do, this is perhaps best experienced through your encounters with the locals. And if you’re feeling nostalgic and looking to discover old world charm, you can explore and experience the island’s key historical landmarks or memorials. You can also embark on a heritage trail and enjoy the sights and sounds at various cultural precincts, notably Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam. The other thing that will strike you most about Singapore is its multifarious offering of food – day or night, there will always be something to whet your appetite. With a range of dining options from Peranakan to Chinese, Indian to Malay, fusion and more, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Beyond the history, culture, people, shopping and food, there are many more facets to Singapore’s thriving cityscape for you to discover. And these can only be experienced as you immerse yourself in the exploration of this once fishing village turned cosmopolitan city.
CLIMATE Like most of Southeast Asia, Singapore is generally hot and humid. It's warm and humid year round, with the temperature almost never dropping below 20°C (68°F), even at night, and usually climbing to 30°C (86°F) during the day. Recent times, it even reached till 35°C. Humidity is high, mounting over a 75% mark. November and December is the rainy season. June-August is considered to be the best time to visit, but even then it rains often. Don't let the climate stop you from going, however. Most buildings are air-conditioned (to the point that you may want to take a sweater), and pains have been taken to make everything as comfortable as can be, all things considered. When it does rain, it's generally only for a short period.
BEWARE There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. The Singaporean Government has put in place extensive measures to combat terrorism and has arrested a number of terrorist suspects. Violent crime is rare. You should be aware of the dangers of street crime, particularly bag snatching and take particular care of your passport; leave tickets and unneeded cash/travellers cheques in the hotel safe or at hosts' home; when going out, avoid carrying valuables with you, and be aware of your surroundings; do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles. The mandatory death penalty exists in Singapore for certain capital offences, including murder and drug trafficking. There are severe penalties for all drug offences in Singapore. Trafficking is defined by possession of drugs above a certain amount (e.g. 500g in the case of cannabis). Penalties for visa over-stayers include fines, imprisonment and corporal punishment (the rattan cane) and deportation depending on the length of overstay. A wide range of offences, including “outrage of modesty” (inappropriate behaviour by men towards women) and vandalism carry corporal punishment (the rattan cane). Travellers are advised to avoid any action that could be interpreted as molestation. Scams involving false claims of molest are thought to exist. Usually once the complaint is made by the victim and the accused is arrested the police will not allow the accused person to travel and their passport will be confiscated while investigations are ongoing. This can take several months.