An essential guide toSingapore, including advice on the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops andattractions.

Whygo?

Because Singapore iscelebrating its 50 year of independence with parties and openings aplenty(singapore50.sg).

Come Q3-Q4, the six-starredPatina Capitol Singapore - with architecture by Pritzker Prize Laureate RichardMeier and interior by Jaya Ibrahim - will debut in two restored heritagebuildings in the Civic District.

And in November, the NationalGallery will open on the grounds of the city’s most iconic buildings - theformer Supreme Court and City Hall; with a combined floor area of 60,000 sqm,it will house the largest collection of South-east Asian art in the world.

Discover for yourself whatlife is like in one of the world’s most affluent cities. While S$500 a popmeals are not hard to find, it’s completely possible to eat like a king withoutspending more than S$5 to S$10 per head.

Witnesshow the locals make the most of their lives in a city known for its draconianlaws and apparently “unhappy” citizens. It will change the way you view thelittle red dot.

When to go

Weather-wise, there is no“best time” to visit Singapore. Known for its year-round warm and humidweather, the city’s temperature hovers between 24C in the mornings and eveningsand about 31C in the daytime. From November to January, the temperature dipsslightly with the onset of the wet monsoon season during which it’s wise topack a brolly.

Singapore hosts the world’sonly Formula 1 night race, and come September the city revs up for the event(September 18 - 20, 2015). Last-minute hotel reservations can be challenging atthis time, especially if you want to stay in a hotel sited along the Grand Prixtrack, but advance planning will stand you in good stead

Where to go

To see the real Singapore,veer off the beaten path to the newly gentrified Tiong Bahru. Start with localbreakfast of mee pok (flat egg noodles) at 70-year-old stall, Hua Bee. Then,proceed to Tiong Bahru market to observe how Singaporeans procure groceries inthe morning. Break for coffee at 40 Hands, peruse some books at hipsterbookstore, Books Actually, and when hunger strikes, head back to the market forwallet-friendly hawker fare. If you’re in the vicinity in the evening and wantto splash on a good meal, head back to Hua Bee. By night, the coffee shopmorphs into Bincho, a modern yakitori joint.

Know before you go

Local laws and etiquette

Singapore is known as a finecity and for good reason – you can be fined, and even caned or jailed – forbreaking seemingly draconian laws that the locals have learnt to live with.

Since 1992, when a vandalstuck a piece of chewing gum on an MRT door sensor that resulted in thedisruption of train services, the sale and import of chewing gum has beenbanned in Singapore. You can still chew gum, but be careful to dispose of itproperly.

Smoking is banned inrestaurants, cinemas and all indoor public spaces. Since mid-2013, the ban hasbeen extended to include public spaces such as overhead bridges and outdoorhospital compounds.

Vandalism is also a punishableoffence and so are littering, spitting, jaywalking and failure to flush thelavatory

Visas

Foreigners holding traveldocuments from certain countries require a visa to enter Singapore. See theImmigration & Checkpoints Authority website (ica.gov.sg).

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