Singapore

 







I came to Singapore on the 5th. January 1992, one month after I did my pre-U examination. Happy to find a job that I enjoyed doing very much, being really away from home and independent. Singapore was the place I started my working life, learnt to earn my own money and found many great friends. It is still a place where I’m feeling very much at home.
1963: Singapore united with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak, gained independence from the British Government and Malaysia was formed. Two years later, in 1965 Singapore became an independent country with its own currency, government and school system.
Singapore island has a total landmass of about 620 sq km, it is more of less 41.8 km long and 22.9 km wide. If Singaporeans could make an European Holiday, 18-day-trip to 14 countries in Europe; it won’t take you more than a day to make a „I have seen that and done that" trip in Singapore.
Singapore has about 2.8 Million population, very much similar to Malaysia with its diversity of population. A country with multiracial, multicultural and multilingual. Ethnic Chinese makes up to 76%, Malay 15%, Indian Eurasian and other 9%.
Singapore has a tropical climate, it is hot and humid all year round. The temperature is between 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. Regardless of night or rain, the temperature won’t drop so dramatically like in Germany. The humidity is about 80%. I was often asked what about in Winter? Well, Singapore situated 137 km north of equator, we are having Summer all year through. Some told me it was boring and some were so jealous!
In Singapore there are also four seasons celebrations, which you can observe the change of decorations in the department stores. From Chinese New Year (Spring festival), to Hari Raya (after Ramadan fasting) to Deepavali (for the Hindu) to Christmas (in Winter).It is never boring! Malay is the official language of Singapore, however English is the median in school and the language that bridges most of the races in Singapore. So, it is quite easy for tourists to find their ways in Singapore.
Currency : Singapore Dollar : approximate exchange rate Euro1 = SGD 1.40 Most restaurants and department stores accept credit cards. Visa and MasterCard are more popular. It is always better to bring some cash with you. Places like hawker centres and small restaurants will only accept cash. These are the places where you can taste great local food. It is also possible to withdraw cash from the local banks’ ATM machines with your credit cards, EC card with Maestro or Plus.system. Where to change the cash? In Germany or Singapore? In Singapore. There are many moneychangers in the city centre, where you can get your Euro changed into Singapore dollars without having to pay a service tax. The exchange rate is much better than what you would get from the banks in Europe. At the end of your trip, your may want to get rid of the remaining Singapore dollars and cents. There are also moneychangers at the airport where you could do the exchange.
Often I was asked what to do and not to do in Singapore? I never thought of these questions before visiting a country that I have never been to before. I guess Europeans are more careful and do their homework before making their trips. Thinking back I was a bit ignorant Singapore is well known the cleanest country in the World. Where tourists often visit and public places are kept very clean and people are being watched. So, don’t litter , don’t jaywalk and don’t smoke at places with non-smoking sign. There are places smoking is allowed, so not to worry that you will have to suffer from lack of „oxygen". It doesn’t mean that Singaporeans don’t litter or never jaywalking in their lives before. Well, you may find sweet wrappers and rubbish on the street, people jaywalking and urine smell in the elevators at the HDB housing estate. This is because Singaporeans know where to do it and not being caught. In general, it is a very clean country.
ORCHARD ROAD is the area where you can find most of the activities for tourists. For example, very high class and expensive hotels, big shopping malls, expensive boutiques, restaurants, cinema complexes and discotheques. I would say a must to visit, you have not been to Singapore if you have not been to Orchard Road. It is the same saying like you have not been to Paris if you have not walked down the Champ Elysee or have not been to Düsseldorf if you have not taken a stroll down the Königsalle.
MAKAN PLACES (PLACES TO EAT) Asians love to eat and we could eat 3 warm-meals a day. Many hawker centres are opened 24 hours per day. Some stalls sell only breakfast, some appear only during lunch time and some are on business for dinner and supper. Eating out is cheap in Singapore and most of the time it is cheaper to eat out than cooking at home for single person. Here I would introduce to you a few places where my friends and I used to go and eat.
Food Court
Newton Food Centre : where you can try all kind of seafood, non-seafood and healthy vegetables. Our favourite was BBQ stingray.
Changi Airport Food Centre : staffs canteen. You might need to ask for the location.
Restaurants
East Coast Seafood centre
: on the east cost area, also popular among locals. Here you can find yummy Chili and Black Pepper crabs dishes.
Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant : near to Kallang Stadium
Tambuan Mas : at Tangling Shopping Mall. Where you can have a taste of great Indonesian specialities.
Lemon Grass Thai Restaurant : at Orchard Road
Seoul Garden : Korean BBQ at Orchard Road.
Transportation is very advance in Singapore, it makes moving around very easy. When time constraint you might want to consider taking a taxi. The meter starts at about SGD2.50 (or a bit more). Otherwise, there are MRT (underground) and buses which travel very frequently. Where to stay and where to visit? Information can be found in Lonely Planet, Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Travel Guide. A book highly recommended to tourists.

And here you can see our photos from Singapore!


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