Flights To Singapore

Beguiling Singapore is a modern city-state embracing economic progress against the backdrop of age-old tradition. The customs that underpin community life are created out of an ethnic mix that includes predominantly Chinese, Indian and Malay groups.

Singapore's full calendar of events showcases a spectrum of cultural celebrations and shopping activities. The early summer months bustle in anticipation of the Singapore Sale - a time when tourists can cash in on the competitive prices of electronic equipment, jewellery and other merchandise. The business activity thrives amid the celebration of Chinese, Hindu and Muslim festivals that punctuate the year with their colourful representations. These include Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Hari Raya Puasa, Vesak Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts and Thaipusam.

The core of downtown Singapore is formed by the Colonial District, embellished by cathedrals and cricket lawns. The notable sites of the area include the Empress Place Building and the luxurious Raffles Hotel. Although most of old Singapore has been demolished to make way for the modern city, many major landmarks within the Colonial district have been preserved. The surrounding ethnic enclaves of Little India, Chinatown and the Arab Quarter also provide glimpses into the traditions that have sustained their respective communities through the centuries.

Currency

Singapore's currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD), which is divided into 100 cents. The US and Australian Dollars, Yen and British Pound are also accepted in the larger shopping centres. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants. ATMs are widely distributed and banks advance cash against the major credit cards.

Language

Singapores official languages are English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. A patois called Singlish, or Singaporean English is widely spoken.

Attractions

Singapore's attractions reflect the diverse people who live there. In downtown Singapore, the communities of Little India and the Arab District give an exotic cultural spice to a country ultimately known more for urban planning and a high-tech economy than its history. Similarly, Chinatown stands out with its traditions and vibrant decorations in contrast to a very modern city. The creative achievements of this modernity can be viewed at the red dot design museum, the many shopping malls and the Gardens by the Bay, a fascinating marriage of technology and nature. To escape the urban rat race tourists can enjoy numerous stunning gardens and parks, including the Singapore Botanical Gardens, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Zoo. Probably the best way to experience nature within the city limits is a visit to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where swathes of tropical rainforest have been preserved. For others ferrying between islands can be the best escape. Sentosa Island is a fun theme park with myriad attractions, including beaches, aquariums and amusement parks like Universal Studios Singapore. The more relaxing Palau Ubin island is interesting for its Malay culture and is an ideal spot to go cycling or hiking along unspoiled beaches and through the forested interior.

Climate

Situated only one degree north of the equator, it is not surprising that Singapore has a tropical climate, meaning that it is hot and humid all year round with hardly any variation in temperature between seasons; in fact, Singapore doesn't really have seasons. Travellers to Singapore would be wise to take an umbrella, because rain is abundant and possible all year round, usually falling in heavy downpours. The wettest months are between November and January, which is the monsoon period. There is generally more rain on the west of the island than in the east. Average temperatures range between 79°F (26°C) and 86°F (30°C) during the day with cooler temperatures at night. April and May are the hottest months. Temperatures in Singapore can reach as high as 95°F (35°C) and the lowest recorded temperature in the country was 67°F (19°C) in 1934. The air-conditioning in most buildings provides a welcome escape from the heat and humidity, but is sometimes so cool that visitors will require light sweaters indoors. Between June and September Singapore may suffer from air pollution due to forest fires in Indonesia.

There is no concrete best time to visit Singapore weather-wise, and it is best to time holidays to coincide with festivals and events that are of interest.