Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media

Planning

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Singapore and can stay up to 90 days on the visa issued upon arrival.

Security: Singapore is considered the safest city in Asia, and one of the safest in the world. Although do be warned, there is some petty theft.

Time: Singapore is 13 hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar. For current conversion rates go to OANDA Currency Converter. www.oanda.com/convert/classic

Phone Calls: The country code for Singapore is 65. For phone calls to Singapore, dial your country’s international access code 65 the eight-digit phone number. Mobile phone numbers start with 9 and landline numbers begin with 6.

When to Go: Although the rainy season starts in November and runs through January, it rains much of the year. The weather is consistent in Singapore: daily temperature ranges between 79-92°F (26-33°C), although on bright sunny days the temperature can reach 96°F (35°C) or higher.

Getting There: Changi airport is one of the most efficient airports in the world and is served by most international carriers. Singapore Airlines operates non-stop flights from Newark and Los Angeles.

Getting Around: A former British colony, driving is done on the left side of the road. The city is serviced by an efficient public transportation system of MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) trains and buses. Taxis are numerous, although difficult to find during some peak hours and when it rains.

Checklist

Singapore is a small, urbane country with many Western standards. Visitors should bring clothing suited for a tropical environment.

Airline Ticket: A roundtrip ticket is necessary to show you plan to leave Singapore. Immigration officials may ask to see your return ticket.

ATM Card: Singapore has ATMs all over the island, especially in the tourist centers, that work with any of the major U.S. or European banks. Traveler checks are not necessary and most moneychangers will charge a fee, usually higher than the fee for withdrawing cash from an ATM.

Hotel Reservations: It’s strongly recommended that you make a hotel reservation before you arrive. Singapore hosts many conventions and conferences and many hotels can be full during weekdays. However, if you stay during the weekend, many hotels will upgrade guests to suites or club rooms at standard room prices. Be sure to ask.

Inoculations and Health: Singapore has a slight risk of dengue fever, however there is little to no risk of contracting other tropical diseases. Singapore is not in a malaria zone. Also, the drinking water is completely safe.

Business Attire: Due to the heat and humidity, a full suit is rarely worn to business meetings. A dress shirt with tie is usually adequate. Many restaurants are casual, requiring only slacks and a dress shirt.

Umbrella: During the rainy season, a compact umbrella will be useful when shopping or dashing from the taxi into a hotel.

Credit Cards: Make sure you have plenty of credit limit; Singapore can be expensive, especially the hotels. Many smaller establishments will only take Visa or MasterCard

Sunscreen: If you’re going to be visiting the beach, hotel pool, Botanical Gardens or the reservoirs, sunscreen is a necessity in the tropical sun.

Shorts and Light Shirts: Singapore is tropical, temperatures usually hover around 90 degrees everyday. Bring a good selection of hot weather clothes.

Light Jacket: Most malls and movie theaters are heavily air-conditioned and cold. If you will be sitting for a long time inside, or you get cold easily, bring a light jacket.

Web Links

Singapore Tourism Board

Two websites feature the latest information about events in the city-state. www.stb.com.sg and www.visitsingapore.com

Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Up-to-date information regarding the government, consular services, and employment opportunities. www.mfa.gov.sg

Restaurant Reviews

Three sites explore the island’s obsession with food, includes restaurant reviews. www.chubbyhubby.net, www.hungrygowhere.com, and www.makantime.com

National Parks

More than just shopping and business, Singapore is also home to a forest reserve and reservoirs for recreational use. www.wildsingapore.com and www.nparks.gov.sg/cms

Singapore Expats

Thinking about a move to Singapore? Check out the latest housing prices, shopping, and classifieds. www.singaporeexpats.com

TalkingCock.com

Satirical humor site (once debated in Singapore’s parliament) features the latest information about Singapore’s counterculture and a dictionary of the local patois, Singlish. www.talkingcock.com

National Arts Council

Through its government-run art’s council, Singapore is working to become a center for the arts in Asia Pacific. www.nac.gov.sg

National Heritage Board

The National Heritage Board site keeps a careful record of the island’s history, from colonial to modern times. www.nhb.gov.sg

Local Media

Straits Times

The only major English daily. Website is by subscription but has one of the best archives of current events in Singapore. www.straitstimes.com

Singapore Press Holdings

The one major print media player in Singapore with dailies and tabloids in Singapore’s four primary languages: English, Malaysian, Chinese, and Tamil. www.sph.com.sg

Business Times

Latest business news in English. Daily topics include local and international business and financial issues, from shipping and banking to the oil industry. Subscription. www.businesstimes.com.sg

Channel News Asia

Singapore’s version of CNN. Specializes in news from Singapore and around the region. www.channelnewsasia.com

Time Out Singapore

Offers the latest in entertainment—from movie reviews to upcoming art openings. http://www.timeoutsingapore.com/

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