The best of Singapore

Southeast Asia’s great melting pot, Singapore is a cultural potpourri that leaves the unsuspecting visitor dazzled. A happy collision of opposites, the antiseptically clean inner city is never far from rainforests, unique night safaris, or a bumboat’s ride from Changi jetty.

David Green
Sales manager central, eastern and southern Europe, Shell Aviation

Favorite hotel: Hotel New Otani, 177A River Valley Rd, tel.: +65 6338 3333
– nice hotel with great views, shopping center below
Favorite restaurant: Boat Quay – great area for restaurants with lots of seating, either outside or in semi-open areas
Favorite attraction: Sentosa island
There are sandy beaches, and an aquarium. I would recommend going by cable car and coming back by boat.
Best-kept secret: Singapore zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd, tel.: +65 6269 3411
Night Safari in the zoo is amazing. You can get really close to the animals, and if you have a good camera you can get great shots.
Favorite shop: Sim Lim Square, 1 Rochor Rd, tel.: +65 6336 3922
Good destination if you are looking for electronic goods. Favorite place for window shopping is Orchard road, even if a little expensive.
Jana Stejskalová
representative, Nemo & Selecta
Favorite hotel: Sheraton Towers Singapore, 39 Scotts Rd, tel.: +65 6737 6888
Favorite restaurants: House of Mao Hunan Hot Pot, 442 Orchard Rd, Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, tel.: +65 6733 7667
Tung Lok Seafood Gallery, 1000 East Coast Parkway, Building B 2/F, East Coast Recreation Centre,
tel.: +65 6246 0555
Favorite attraction: Jurong BirdPark, 2 Jurong Hill, tel.: +65 6265 0022
National Orgid Garden, 1 Cluny Rd, tel.: +65 6471 7808
Best-kept secret: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd,
tel.: +65 6269 3411 – the night safaris
Jan Papež
director, Marco Polo InternationalFavorite hotel: Merchant Court, 20 Merchant Rd., tel.: +65 6235 2498
– hotel on the Singapore River embankment
Favorite restaurant: The Blue Ginger, 97 Tanjong Pagar Rd, tel.: +65 6222 3928
– near Orchard Road Blvd.
Favorite night club: Harry’s bar, 28 Boat Quay, tel.: +65 6538 3029
blues, soul, jazz music
Favorite attraction: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd, tel.: +65 6269 3411
NIght safari – it’s great concept. Animals do live after dark!
Best-kept secret: Pulau Ubin island between Singapore and Malaysia, with its narrow streets and original buildings is a great picture of how the city looked 30-40 years ago.
Advice: Travel by ferry boat to the Malaysian Tioman Island to experience the coral sea and tropical jungle.
Basic factsArea: 659.9 sq km (254.8 sq miles)
Population: 4,131,200
Population density: 6,260.3 per sq km
Capital: Singapore City.
Capital population: 3,340,500
Language: The four official languages are Malay, English, Chinese (Mandarin) and Tamil. Most Singaporeans are bilingual and speak English, which is used for business and administration.
Religion: Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim.
Time zone: GMT + 8.
Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Plug fittings of the three-pin square type are in use. Many hotels have 110-volt outlets.

Where on the web?
For further information, we suggest the following websites dedicated to Singapore: – the folks from Lonely Planet offer a down-to-earth synopsis of the city – news and info created in, for, and about the region – the URL says it all: accommodation, discounts, reservations, etc. – visit the world map here, choose your destination, and read data and articles with The Economist’s signature slant


· Vibrant economic activity more than compensates for Singa-pore’s lack of natural resources. The economy relies on entrepôt trade, shipbuilding and repairing, oil refining, electronics and information technology, banking and finance and, to a lesser extent, tourism. High-technology manufacturing, particularly computer and telecommunications equipment, and financial services, mainly banking and insurance, form the kernel of the economy. There is also an important oil-refining industry, and a recent influx of pharmaceutical firms.



· English is widely spoken in business circles. Appointments should be made and punctuality is important. Chinese people should be addressed with their surnames first, while Malays do not have surnames but use the initial of their father’s name before their own. Visiting cards are essential, although it is policy for government officials not to use them. Office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 and 1400-1700, Sat 0900-1300.

· Singapore is the top convention city in Asia and ranks among the top 10 meetings destinations in the world. There are many hotels with extensive conference facilities, including the latest audio-visual equipment, secretarial services, translation and simultaneous interpretation systems, whilst Raffles City, a self-contained convention city, can accommodate up to 6000 delegates under one roof.

· The following organizations can offer advice: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, 10-01 John Hancock Tower, 6 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048580 (tel: 6224 1255; fax: 6224 2785; email:; website:, or Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 101 Cecil Street, Tong Eng Building, Unit 23-01/04, Singapore 069533 (tel: 6224 6634; email:; website:



Geography: Situated off the southern extremity of the Malay Penin-sula, to which it is joined by a causeway carrying a road, railway and waterpipe. The Republic of Singapore includes some 64 islets.
Climate: Warm and fairly humid summer temperatures throughout the year (approximately 30°C/86°F during the day and 23°C/74°F in the evening). There is no distinct wet/dry season. Most rain falls during the northeast monsoon (November to January) and showers are usually sudden and heavy.
Government: Republic. Gained full independence from the UK in 1965. Head of State: President Sellapan Ramanathan since 1999. Head of Government: Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong since 1990.
Currency: One Singapore dollar (SGD 1) = CZK 15.17; EUR .48; GBP .32; USD .58 (conversion rates as of press time)

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