Singapore might be a tiny island but its tourism industry is huge. It is one of the main contributors to their GDP. Every year, Singapore attracts more than 10 million visitors (more than twice its population size) from all over the world.
Then, why do people go to Singapore since it doesn’t offer any decent natural beauty?
My boss (an American who visits Singapore occasionally for business purposes) once told me that Singapore is Asia for (Western) beginners. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, races and languages. It’s “East meet West”.
Singapore makes up for its lack of natural beauty by creating World-class artificial attractions: the world tallest Ferris wheel (beating the London eye), the world highest swimming pool, the world most expensive standalone casino property, world class night life and entertainment, man-made beaches (sand bought from overseas)…
When is the best time to visit?
The answer is: Anytime. Because the weather in Singapore is the same year round, hot and humid. They do have something called The Great Singapore Sales spanning from May to mid-July but personally I think it’s just marketing gimmick It’s nothing like the Black Friday in the US. There are pretty much the same stuff at a little tiny bit cheaper. It’s not worth the effort to arrange your travel schedule around this.
One important thing that makes Singapore more approachable for foreigners is that its citizens can speak fluent English (with interesting accents which some call Singlish). They has followed the Cambridge education system since colony time. Now, some schools are adopting the American system.
Transportation tips in Singapore
Train system (more often referred to as MRT – Mass Rapid Transit): It’s recommended to use the public transport in Singapore because it’s convenient (3-5 mins of waiting for train, 5-10 mins for bus) and it’s very very easy to navigate (so much simpler compared to New York train system). Train ticket costs from SGD1.1 to SGD2.8 depending on the distance. You can easily reach any tourist attractions using this train system.
Tickets are easily purchased at automated ticket booths at any train stations. Tickets are sold as single trip with $1 deposit. You have to keep the ticket, which looks like a plastic credit card, and return it at the automated ticket booths to get back the deposit after checking out. There are also day passes to choose from.
Taxi: Use it if you can afford it (around SGD3/first km) and want convenience or if you are lost. Note that when you use taxis, the price shown on the meter is not always the total price. There are hundreds of different kind of surcharges: peak hours, tolls (lots of them, chance is if you are on highways, you’ll meet at least one), phone booking service charge, flaggin down at CBD areas, night surcharges… Hence, the total cost might end up double or even triple the amount shown on the meter. Ask for a receipt if you are in doubt. Not all taxis are equipped with credit card payments. It’s extremely hard to catch a taxi during rush hours. There are many times I have waited an hour or more for taxis, calling every single company I know and hitting their busy lines.
For more on what you can do in Singapore, visit here