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
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.