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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Singapore

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Singapore each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

January/February: Spring Festival (Chinese New Year, national holiday)

For three days, Chinese New Year celebrations involve merry-making and entertainment of many kinds, both at home with family members and outside in the streets of Singapore's Chinatown: colourful lighting, parades with elaborate floats, lion dancers, fire eaters, female dance troupes, stage shows and fireworks displays.

May 1: Labour Day (national holidays)

Ninth month of the Islamic calendar (dates change each year): Ramadan (celebrated nationwide)

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, is an especially pious time for Singapore's Muslims, who represent nearly 15 percent of the population. Fasting begins each day at sunrise and ends at sunset. For the entire month within the Muslim community, everything moves at a slower pace during the day. The breaking of the fast at sunset is a time of togetherness for families.

July: Singapore Food Festival (local event)

Singaporeans are truly passionate about food, and this month-long celebration showcases the wide variety and cultural heritage of the city's culinary delights. Many well-known local restaurants and talented hawkers take part in the festivities, which include not only food stalls and markets, but also cooking demonstrations, classes and food-themed city tours.

August 9: National Day (national holiday)

Commemorates Singapore's independence from Malaysia on this day in 1965, an anniversary celebrated with great patriotic spirit and fanfare every year. Everything, from the streets to office buildings, homes and cars, not to mention the Singaporeans themselves, is decked out in red and white, the colours of the national flag. Highlights include a military parade, civilian processions, a spectacular fireworks display, and other festivities.

August/September – Fifteenth night of the seventh lunar month: Hungry Ghost Festival (celebrated nationwide)

According to Chinese tradition, hungry ghosts are the spirits of those either responsible for evil deeds, having engaged in long drawn-out quarrels during their lifetimes or of people who died prematurely and unjustly. They are thought to return among the living to seek revenge and settle scores during the entire seventh lunar month. On this particular night in the Chinese community of Singapore, the midpoint of the month, people place offerings of food on the street, light joss sticks and fires, and stage Chinese operas to appease these troubled souls.

September/October – Fifteenth or sixteenth day of the eighth lunar month: Birthday of the Monkey God (celebrated nationwide)

Celebrated twice a year in Singapore – on this day, but also at the same point during the first lunar month – this festival honours the birthday of T'se Tien Tai Seng Yeh, a very popular deity in Asia, who cures the sick and frees the hopeless. Celebrations take place at the Monkey God Temple on Seng Poh Road. Mediums pierce their cheeks and tongues with skewers and enter a trance state, during which they write special charms in blood. Elsewhere in the city, street operas, puppet shows and acrobatic performances are held.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Singapore

Singapore has an equatorial climate, with no distinctive seasons. Tropical temperatures and high humidity are the norm, with frequent heavy rain showers throughout the year. February and July are the sunniest months. From November to January, the city's weather is influenced by the north-east monsoon, resulting in slightly lower temperatures. The south-west monsoon, from June to September, brings less rainfall on the whole, but does result in occasionally violent morning thunderstorms, known as “Sumatra squalls”. Rains tend to be interspersed with good sunny spells, the ideal time to explore Singapore and its region.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 23/73 30/86 239/9.4 Not the best period to go
February 24/75 31/88 173/6.8 Good period to go Good period to go
March 24/75 32/90 187/7.4 Not the best period to go
April 24/75 32/90 183/7.2 Not the best period to go
May 25/77 32/90 172/6.8 Not the best period to go
June 25/77 31/88 168/6.6 Not the best period to go
July 25/77 31/88 159/6.3 Good period to go Good period to go
August 24/75 31/88 180/7.1 Good period to go Good period to go
September 24/75 31/88 172/6.8 Not the best period to go
October 24/75 31/88 201/7.9 Not the best period to go
November 24/75 30/86 253/10.0 Not the best period to go
December 23/73 30/86 281/11.1 Not the best period to go
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Singapore Changi International Airport

Singapore's Changi International Airport is located about 17 kilometres (11 miles) north-east of the city centre.

  • Three terminals
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Terminal 2
    • Terminal 3

Getting from the airport to Singapore and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the Tampines Expressway (TPE).
    • There are parking facilities at each of the main terminals (SGD 0.04 per minute and SGD 57.60 for 24 hours). The South Car Park, just five minutes on foot from Terminal 2, offers a lower parking rate of SGD 0.035 per minute, capped at SGD 35.00 for 24 hours).
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals halls of each terminal, open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • By rail
    • Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system connects the airport with the city centre. The Changi Airport station, on the East-West Line, is located below Terminals 2 and 3. The fare to Raffles Place is SGD 1.77, when purchased with a reloadable EZ-Link card (see “Useful tips” section below). The fare is slightly higher when purchased as a Standard ticket, which includes a SGD 0.10 deposit refundable on the third trip using the same ticket.
  • By bus
    • Buses 36 and 36A link the airport to central Singapore and run from 6 a.m. to midnight. The trip takes about 1 hour and the fare, based on the distance travelled, is less than SGD 2 for city centre destinations. Fares may be paid in cash (exact fare only, no change is given) or via an EZ-Link card (see the “Useful tips” section below), which may be purchased at most airport shops or at the Changi Airport train station.
  • By shuttle bus
    • The airport operates a shuttle bus service offering connections to most city centre hotels, with departures every 15–30 minutes. The trip takes about 25 minutes under normal traffic conditions and the fare is SGD 9 each way.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the arrivals halls. The trip to the city takes about 30 minutes and costs between SGD 20 and SGD 40, plus an airport surcharge of SGD 3 or SGD 5, depending on the time of day.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +65 6595 6868
  • Website: http://www.changiairport.com

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GETTING AROUND Singapore

It is very easy to get around Singapore. The city's modern, efficient and affordable transport options cover the entire urban area.

By rail

Both fast and convenient, the MRT, Singapore's urban rail network, is certainly the easiest way to get around. Modern and thoroughly reliable, it serves most city districts. Trains operate at 2-minute intervals during peak hours. Fares are based on the distance travelled, ranging from SGD 0.80 to SGD 2.00.

Useful tips

If you will be using the MRT several times during your stay, the system's rechargeable EZ-Link card, available at all MRT stations, is the most convenient way to buy fares, which are also lower when purchased this way. The minimum initial stored travel value is SGD 10, to which is added a non-refundable deposit of SGD 5. At your last destination station before leaving Singapore, you can turn in the card and obtain a refund of any unused travel value.

A special type of EZ-Link card, the Singapore Tourist Pass, is also available. This card offers unlimited travel on all of Singapore's buses and trains for 1 day (SGD 10), 2 days (SGD 16) or 3 days (SGD 20), plus a deposit of SGD 10. In contrast to the policy for the standard EZ-Link card, this deposit is refundable, if the card is turned in within six days from the date issued.

By bus

Singapore has a very efficient network of bus routes. However, it is essential to know the name of your destination, because there are no system maps on the buses. You can pay the driver in cash (exact fare only, no change is given) or purchase your fare using an EZ-Link card (see above). Fares within the city centre start at about SGD 0.80 for air-conditioned buses.

By taxi

For longer trips, taxis can be very useful. They are plentiful in Singapore and relatively inexpensive. Expect to pay between SGD 5 and SGD 20 for a ride within the city centre.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Singapore, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Singapore Visitor Centres

At various locations throughout the city, Singapore's tourism authority operates these centres, where you can obtain helpful information and recommendations for visiting the city and its surrounding area.

  • ION Orchard: ION Orchard, Level 1 Concierge
  • Chinatown Visitor Centre: 2 Banda Street (Behind Buddha Tooth Relic Temple)
  • Orchard: 216 Orchard Road

Further information available online for visitors to Singapore

The official website maintained by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) provides a wealth of information on Singapore.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Singapore is the singapore dollar ($).

EUR 1 = SGD 1,60

SGD 1 = EUR 0,63

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel.

Vaccinations

Booster doses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio vaccines are recommended. Depending on the length of your stay and hygiene conditions, the following additional vaccinations are also recommended: typhoid, hepatitis A and B.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Singapore.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, a visa is required to enter Singapore. However, Singapore has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.

For further information, visit the website of the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority:http://www.ica.gov.sg/services_centre_overview.aspx?pageid=252&secid=165

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Essential phrases

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Good to know

intl. access code + 65
+ phone number (calls to Singapore)
8 : 00
of time difference with
Dublin

Banks

Usually open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
Tipping is not a common practice in Singapore. It is also largely unnecessary because most restaurants automatically add a 10 percent service charge to the bill. But you can certainly leave something extra if no service charge has been included. Neither vendors at hawker centres nor taxis expect to receive a tip.