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Singapore

Singapore

The “Lion City” of Singapore covers an area of only 351 square miles, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality. One of Asia’s most vital financial centers, this orderly cosmopolis boasts an exotic blend of Western, Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures; a veritable cultural stew that is two centuries in the making. From the exotic mystery of its ancient temples and mosques to the gleaming modern buildings of preset-day Singapore, the draws of this unique land are endless.

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Climate

Since Singapore is located close to the equator, it experiences a hot and humid tropical weather with no distinct season. Temperatures range from 90°F to 81°F, with December and January experiencing on average 5°F cooler temperatures.

Rain falls almost daily throughout the year, usually in short bursts that rarely last over an hour.

Located a mere 1.5 degrees north of the Equator, the weather is usually sunny with no distinct seasons. Rain falls almost daily throughout the year, usually in sudden, heavy showers that rarely last longer than an hour. However, most rainfall occurs during the northeast monsoon (November to January), occasionally featuring lengthy spells of continuous rain. Spectacular thunderstorms can occur throughout the year, normally in the afternoons, so it's wise to carry an umbrella at all times, both as a shade from the sun or cover from the rain.

 
Language

The official languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil with the national language being Malay. The most common language is English, although it is spoken in their version, known as Singlish, and may be quite difficult to understand.

 
National Holidays and Festivals

National Holidays:
January 1 – New Year's Day
April 2 – Good Friday
May 1 – Labour Day
May 9 – Vesak
August 9 – National Day
December 25 – Christmas Day

National Festivals:
1st day of the 1st lunar month – Chinese Lunar New Year
5th day of the 5th lunar month – Dragon Boat Festival
15th day of the 7th lunar month – Hungry Ghost Festival
15th day of the 8th lunar month – Mid Autumn Festival
One week before Deepavali – Thimithi (Fire-walking Festival)
October or November - Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights), known locally as Deepavali

 
Money

The official currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD). The subdivision is the cent (at 100 cents per Singapore dollar). The exchange rate as of Feb 2010 is $1.4 Singapore dollars to US$1.

Credit cards are widely accepted. Many department stores will accept foreign currencies; however, their exchange rate is usually poor.

You will get the best rates when exchanging your currency exchange booths found in every shopping mall. Rates displayed are negotiable if exchanging large amounts, so make sure you ask for their best quote.

Bargaining is not commonly practiced.

Tipping is not customary and is frowned upon by the government; however, tipping to tour guides, tour bus drivers, and porters are expected

 
Electrical Requirements

230V/50Hz (British plug)