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SINGAPORE OVERVIEW

 

Founded as a Bristish trading colony in 1919 , Singapore joined Malaysia in 1963, but withdrew 2 years later and became independent (9 August 1965). It subsequently became one of the world’s most properous countries, with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world’s busiest) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.

 

Singapore, or the Lion City, is at the crossroads of Asia. Its mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cultures, spiced with Western influences, creates a wonderful blend and this small country celebrates the uniqueness of each in its own special way. Today, the districts designated by the former British colonists for the ethnic groups are still in use, with Chinatown and Little India thriving as religious and cultural centres and yet, no matter what their ethnic background, each citizen calls themselves a Singaporean.

 

Singapore is known by many different names, all with a certain fondness to their titles, such as “Surprising Singapore”, "Garden City", “Golden City” and even "Instant Asia." All these descriptions fit and anyone who visits will soon agree. With its truly international atmosphere, all in just under 618 square km it has all the attractions a visitor could wish to find

 

Official name:

Republic of Singapore

 

Area :

692.7 sq. km

Capital :

Singapore

 

Administration:

None

Population :

4,500,000

 

Government:

Parliamentary republc

Ethnic groups:

Chinese 76.7% , Malay 14% , Indian 7.9% , other 1.4%.

 

Location :

Southeastern Asia , island between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Language

English – Chinese - Tamil (official)

Malay (official and national)

 

Climate :

Tropical ; hot , humid , rainy.

Two distinct monsoon seasons – Northeastern monsoon from December to March and Southwestern monsoon from June to September.

Local Time

GMT +8

 

Religion

Buddhist (Chinese) , Muslim (Malays) , Christian , Hindu

Business Hours

Generally open from 10am to 3pm, Mondays to Fridays and 11am to 4:30pm, Saturdays.

 

Currency

The currency unit is the Singapore dollar (S$). Coins are in denominations of: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 cents.  Notes are in denominations of: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $10,000.

Electricity supply

Singapore's voltage is 220-240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second. Most hotels can provide visitors with a transformer, which can convert the voltage to 110-120 volts, 60 cycles per second.

 

Singapore Public Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Chinese New Year (January or February)
  • Good Friday (April)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Vesak Day May 29)
  • National Day (August 9)
  • Deepavali (November)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Hari Raya Puasa (January)
  • Hari Raya Haji (March)

 

EVENTS & FESTIVAL

Chinese New Year January or February
Chinese New Year starts of the year according to the Chinese calendar. The colour red is prominently displayed as the Chinese believe it's a lucky colour. The children and younger generation receive ang pows which are red packets containing money. You can catch a lion dance performance at various venues. Multi-colored lights and bright decorations light up Chinatown along Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road Chinese New Year.

 

Chingay Parade January or February Venue: Orchard Road
Singapore's grandest street festival celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year with a parade down Orchard Road. Favorites include the stilt-walkers, lion dancers and floats.

 

Singapore River Hong Bao February
This annual Lunar New Year extravaganza features a variety show with top regional and local artists performing. Complete with fireworks, merchant kiosks and hawker stalls.

 

Hari Raya Haji March Venue: Various Venues
An important religious occasion for Muslims who spend the day in prayer to commemorate the Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca. After the morning prayer, sheep and goats are ritually slaughtered and the meat is distributed to the poor.

 

Singapore Fashion Festival March/April

This Festival offers an eye-opening preview to the season’s trendiest colours, fabrics and styles through a series of exciting fashion shows and exhibitions, as well as product launches. Shop in between the visual feasts and take advantage of the promotions held in conjunction with the Festival.

 

Singapore Food Festival March/April/ July

 With over 40 food and lifestyle events rolled into one, this annual culinary showdown is truly “where the world comes to feast”! Tantalise your taste buds with mouth-watering cuisines as restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and some of Singapore’s favourite attractions dish out a melting pot of traditional and contemporary creations hailing from the East and West.

 

Vesak April or May Venue: Island-wide
The life of Buddha is celebrated on Vesak Day in April or May and caged birds are released to symbolize the liberation of captive souls. Celebrations are carried out at all Buddhist temples where monks commemorate their Lord Buddha's entry into Nirvana by chanting holy sutras and releasing captive birds. Good locations to watch the festivities include Buddhist Lodge at River Valley Road, Thai Buddhist Temple at Jalan Bukit Merah and Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple at Jalan Toa Payoh.

July is dedicated to food. Eateries go all out in promoting the island as a food paradise. Nowhere else can you find such an amazing variety of food in one place. The Singapore Food Festival is the melting pot for tantalizing cuisine's of the Chinese, Indians, Malays and more. Participate in the opening celebrations from 2 to 4 July at Parco Bugis Junction where an entire air-conditioned street will be converted to a giant buffet stretch. "A Taste of Asia" Asian cuisine will jointly present at several hotels, from 2 to 10 July.

 

Great Singapore Sale May to July
At a coordinated island this is a wide extravaganza. The Great Singapore Sale has many stores offering spectacular mark-downs and special discounts.

 

Dragon Boat Race May or June Venue: Marina Bay
The Singapore World Invitational Dragon Boat Races commemorate the death of a famous poet who drowned himself to protest political corruption. Teams from around the world compete for honours. The ' 99 Festival will be held at Marina Bay, the race course will start at Nicoll Highway Bridge and end at Benjamin Sheares Bridge.

 

Singapore Arts Festival June
Don't miss this eclectic mix of dance, drama and music from around the world. Also keep an eye out for the fringe events held at venues all around Singapore.

 

Dumpling Festival June
One of the most important Chinese festivals in Singapore is the Dumpling Festival. You will find the widest array of dumplings and glutinous rice desserts on sale in the longest Dumpling Fair ever, which include lion dances, Chinese orchestra performance, Chinese opera and even a karaoke evening. Don't miss the celebration highlight come to Albert Mall and join in the festivity  where teams of rollerblades dressed as dragons race down and clear obstacles along the mall.

 

Arts in the park July
Several times a month, musical and theatre performances are held in Singapore's beautifully landscaped parks. Enjoy music ranging from Chinese Orchestra to Percussion to Choir and exhilarating theatre performances.

 

National Day Celebrations August
Join the country as she celebrates the National Day with pomp and pageantry. The annual National Day Parade in august promises a fun-filled occasion complete with cultural dances and fireworks galore.

 

Lantern Festival September Venue: Chinese Garden
A grand lantern display is the highlight of this traditional mid-Autumn celebration. Particularly striking at night, the Chinese Garden becomes a fairyland of lights and colors. Lion and dragon dances including cultural shows, Chinese instrumentalists, craftsmen and variety shows. Children receive free lanterns each evening, while stocks last. From 9 am - 10 pm daily.

 

Mid-Autumn Festival September Venue: Chinatown
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when there's full moon at its brightest and most enchanting. The highlight of the festival will be the Mooncake Fair in Chinatown where street-stalls offer an amazing variety of mooncakes and other products such as ornamental lanterns, fruits, pastries and souvenirs. The most catching sight is the Children's Lantern Parade, with hundreds of children parading down the streets of Chinatown with their colourful lanterns.

 

Singapore River Buskers' Festival Anytime August to November
Some of the best street performers from all over the world visit to entertain Singapore in this street show extravaganza. Let jugglers and mime artistes thrill you with their antics and street comedians tickle your funny bone.

 

Pilgrimage to Kusu Island November Venue: Kusu Island
Kusu Island, off Singapore's southern coast, is sacred to both Taoists and Muslims. According to legend, a turtle once turned itself into an island Kusu Island, to save two fishermen -- a Chinese, and a Malay, when their boat capsized.

The men lived in harmony and became sworn brothers. Taoists make a yearly pilgrimage to the Tua Pekong Temple during the ninth lunar month. A Malay shrine nearby is also usually bedecked with offerings.

 

Thimithi Festival October/November Venue: Sri Mariamman Temple. The Hindu fire-walking festival, is celebrated at Sri Mariamman Temple in October. Little India's streets and temples are festooned with lights and garlands for Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights in October or November. Crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge road, to watch the barefoot Hindu devotees walk across a pit of red hot embers without showing any signs of pain. Festival celebrations begin at 2am and the fire-walking takes place at 5pm. It is advised to get to the temple early to obtain a good vantage point. Temple etiquette requires visitors to be dressed appropriately, and shoes must be removed at the door.

 

Singapore River Fiesta December
The Singapore River comes alive during this fiesta. The event features a calendar of exciting activities all held at the nation's historic waterway.

 

 

SAO MAI TOURIST COMPANY LTD.

SAIGON OFFICE

HANOI OFFICE

R# 307 – 309 Cotec building , 7  Nam Quoc Cang

Disttrict 1 , Ho Chi Minh City

R# 304 North Star building , 4  Da Tuong St.

Hoan Kiem Dist. Hanoi

Tel. (84-8) 9253385 / 9253378

Fax. (84-8) 9253378 / 8395619

Tel. (84-4) 9423315 / 9423316

Fax. (84-4) 9423316 / 8647360

E-mail.  saomaitours@hcm.vnn.vn

E-mail. saomaihanoi@fpt.vn

 

Website: http://www.saomaitours.com/  http://www.saomaitours.com.vn/   Contact: info@saomaitours.com or saomaitours@hcm.vnn.vn