Travelling to Singapore? Here’s a Handy Guide

By Rutuja Bhagwat - July 13, 2018


When modern Singapore was founded by the British in 1819, there was a mass migration of Indians to the island. Initially, the migration comprised young men who came to work on the new economy, or who were in the military force, or simply convicts sent here as a labour force. However, the population of Indian Singaporeans has evolved over the years, and a settled community with a balanced gender ratio and an evenly spread of age groups was seen since the 20th Century. 

Today, Indian Singaporeans are the third largest ethnic group in Singapore, making the Lion City a popular destination for both educated and unskilled Indian immigrants looking for a professional position. But more importantly, it’s this rich Indian culture that makes Singapore the perfect spot to explore what life would have been like if your ancestors had chosen to move abroad. There is such a sense of multiculturalism to Singapore that it’s impossible not to be curious about the possibilities of this city that unites the food, beliefs, arts, architecture, languages, and dreams of a variety of Asian civilisations. What do you need to plan for a trip to Singapore? Here’s a handy little guide, with everything you need to know, from a brief history lesson to how the Lion City could inspire you to improve your hometown. 

STRONG INDIAN ROOTS IN SINGAPORE

First of all, the Indian population in Singapore accounts for over 7% of the citizen population, which comes third after the Chinese and Malay ethnic groups. In fact, Singapore has one of the largest overseas Indian populations as a result of the Indian diaspora. Consequently, you’ll find plenty of notable representatives in education, diplomacy, the law, and politics. For instance, the Minister for Trade & Industry, S. Iswaran, has been working from 2015 to 2018. But he’s been actively involved in politics since 1997 and served as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office before. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, V. Balakrishnan is also of Indian origins and has previously held positions in the Singapore Cabinet. The current President of Nanyang Technological University, since January 2018, is another example of success for the Indian ethnic group in Singapore. Ultimately, it’s fair to say that you might not feel completely in a foreign culture when you visit the Lion City. The Indian roots of the city are strong and visible. 

AVOID MONSOON SEASONS

If you’re still planning the best dates to visit the Lion City, you need to know that Singapore has not only one monsoon season, but two main monsoon seasons. Indeed, the Northeast Monsoon Season goes from December to March, while the Southwest Monsoon Season covers June to September. However, the Northeast Monsoon has both a wet phase (December and January) and a dry phase (February and March). However, there is no distinctive difference between the actual dry and wet seasons in Singapore, as a dry season still has rainy months. The rainfall is just less significant during this period. Ultimately, if you’re planning on backpacking, you might want to get your specialist camping gear ready. You’ll need a monsoon-proof tent and plenty of tight, waterproof bags to protect your clothes. However, you can also save yourself the troubles of wet camping and look for a property for rent Singapore based. You’ll find that renting a home inside the city also ensures you’re best placed for future visits. 


THINGS TO DO

There is a lot to see in Singapore! In fact, there are so many contrasting elements that you need to stick to a precise schedule to see it all. Contrary to the typical image of a slick and ultra-modern skyscrapers city, there’s a part of town that is more stripped-back with family-run cafes and traditional kopi, for instance. Start your tour with the Gardens by the Bay where you’ll find exotic plants, sculptures and breathtaking light shows at night. You also need to try the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, Hawker Chan, for an exquisite Chicken rice meal. Try the Selfie Coffee in Kampong Glam, where your selfie is printed onto an iced coffee, for something different during the day. And lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to have a drink at Altitude, the highest al fresco rooftop bar which offers incredible views of the city. 

THE DIFFERENCES WITHIN SIMILARITIES

If you choose to stay for a couple of weeks, you’ll start noticing the differences between Singapore and Mumbai, both cities that are developing quickly with dreams of becoming the centre of Asian commerce and innovation. Consequently, both cities attract a population of migrants from a variety of Asian countries and regions to take advantage of the opportunity available to unskilled workers. Similarly, both cities also see senior level foreigners take on leadership roles. But the life in Singapore, the structured and organised city, doesn’t compare to the life in Mumbai, which is vibrant with colours, noises, and spontaneity. Singapore is home to bars and clubs, while Mumbai is home to the Bollywood dance clubs. You can gamble in the Lion City, but it is illegal in Mumbai. 

THERE'S A LOT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE CITY

Singapore is regularly praised for its clean streets. But the dedication of the city for cleanliness goes beyond the street, as Singapore is aiming to solve environmental challenges in waste management, recycling, and resource recovery. Indeed, the rapid urbanisation of the city puts pressures on its green and liveable environment. For overseas cities, there is a lot to learn from Singapore’s waste management history, that started as early as in the 1970s. 

PACKING YOUR BAG

So, you’ve decided, and nothing can stop you? Fantastic! Just one thing left to sort out, namely your luggage for the trip. Singapore is the kind of place that has a year-long summer, so make sure to pack your sun gear and swimwear. As for clothing, do remember to pack one nice outfit as Singaporeans rarely dress down, so you need to fit in. If you’re going during the monsoon seasons, do remember to pack a cardigan and a light jacket. 

Ultimately, the Lion City is a place that combines the Eastern and Western cultures to perfection. For Indian travellers, it’s the occasion to discover a hidden potential, to find out what home could have been. For anyone else, it’s the chance to dive into a world rich in cultures, sightings, and modern efficiency. 

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