Singapore is a remarkable country. Despite its small size (just over 700 square kilometres) it has achieved economic success and its citizens generally enjoy a high standard of living. It frequently ranks very high in global surveys which compare different countries’ performance.
It’s easily accessible from Malaysia by land or air but despite its proximity the cost of living is very different. Price for many things (like rent, salaries, hotel rooms, fine dining ) are close to double the comparative Malaysian prices. However this does not mean it’s not worth visiting because it certainly an interesting country with a lot to offer the visitor.
A significant percentage of the resident population are foreigners. The total population in 2018 was 5.6 million people, of which only 3.5 million were Singaporeans. Around half a million are Permanent Residents (mostly Malaysians), 250 thousand are domestic worker, 280 thousand are in the construction industry and around 1 million have work permits. Thousands of Malaysians commute to Singapore every day from Johor so avoid peak travel times if you plan to go by road
The government has been very successful in attracting foreign investment and provides strong support to investors . A large number of multinational have operations in Singapore and many companies have chosen it for their regional headquarters.
Tourism is a major industry and while shopping is not the major attraction it once was, they still have an impressive array of high end retails outlets, particularly in their famous Orchard Road
Singapore has a rich history and despite its rapid modernization it has managed to preserve a number of historical sites which are worth visiting. There are also plenty of other places to visit ranging from the Universal Studios theme park to the impressive Singapore Zoo and the various parks which are dotted around the island.
Often referred to as ‘green and clean’ Singapore is a carefully regulated country and is famous for the many fines they impose for offences ranging from feeding pigeons to drinking in public or consuming food or drink on the MRT (their train system). Even importing chewing gum is considered a serious offence which could land you with a S$100,000 fine or even imprisonment.
If you wish to drive to Singapore you have to pay various fees. The daily rate for a car is S$35 but you are allowed 10 days a year free entry. Once you have entered the country you will be charged for using certain roads, because Singapore is the first country in the world to introduce electronic road pricing. The fee depends on the particular road and also the traffic congestion at the time of day. The charges are automatically added to your Autopass (a stored value card you have to buy when you enter the country by car. Singapore arranges many events and festival and details can be found in the event section.