Singapore: holidays, national customs, climate
|Dec/Jan||Hari Raya Haji – The Muslim holiday commemorates the Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.|
|Jan/February||Chinese new year|
|March April||Good Friday|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|May||Vesak Day – The Buddhist festival commemorates the death, birth and enlightenment of Buddha.|
|August 9||National holiday|
|October November||Deepavali – The Hindu festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness.|
|October November||Hari Raya Puasa – The festival is celebrated at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.|
Source: Countryaah – Singapore Holidays
|Jan/February||PongalThe festival lasts four days and is celebrated by the Tamils as a harvest festival.|
|Jan/February||TaipusamThe Hindu holiday celebrates the victory of the god Subramaniam over the demon Idumban.|
|Jan/February||Chingay ProcessionThe procession is held at the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.|
|March April||Birthday of the Saint of the PoorThe image of Saint Guang Ze Zun is carried out of the White Clopudn Temple on Ganges Avenue and through the streets.|
|Early April||Qing Ming, All Souls’ DayThe dead are honored by visiting their graves.|
|April 18||SongkranThe Thai festival marks the beginning of the year|
|June||Singapore International Dragon Boat FestivalThe festival commemorates the Chinese Qu Yuan. About 12 m long boats with a crew of 24 and a drummer gather at East Coast Park.|
|July||National songbird competitionWe are looking for the bird that sings best.|
|August September||Chinese Festival of Hungry GhostsThe gates of Hell are open and the ghosts roam freely. The festival is celebrated with street theater.|
|September||Moon cakefestival The festival is celebrated when the moon is full and mooncakes are served.|
|September||Birthday of the Monkey GodThe Chinese holiday honors the god who is believed to heal diseases and forgive sins.|
|October||Navarathri FestivalThe Hindu festival is celebrated with classical music, dance and theatrical performances.|
|October||Festival of the Nine DeitiesThe Chinese honor the deities on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month.|
|October November||Pilgrimage to Kusu IslandMore than 100,000 Taoists take the ferry to the Tua Pekong Temple every year.|
|Mid October – mid November||Ramadan is aMuslim month of fasting that ends with the festival of Hari Raya Puasa.|
|November||Thimithi FestivalThe Hindu festival is celebrated with fire dance performances. It is reminiscent of the deity Draupadi who walked over coals.|
Special national customs
Singapore is a “restrictively” clean city. You should keep in mind that you can be fined up to $ 1,000 if you simply drop your rubbish, e.g. beverage bottles, handkerchiefs or leftover food on the street!
For example, if you cross a red light without permission, a “moral policeman” instructs the person concerned to go through green lights for a whole day.
All other customary bans in the country are displayed on large boards at the airport upon entry to inform travelers.
As before, homosexual tendencies (men) are forbidden in public and are prosecuted with “flogging” and/or a fine. Men are also punished if they treat women “immorally” in public (too much physical contact, etc.). Since a lot of emphasis is placed on manners, it is advisable not to show too much bare skin as a woman, a tank top and short skirts/pants (knee length) are the maximum that should be shown in terms of skin. The well-known dress codes apply in the temples and mosques.
Table manners, smoking ban
In order not to attract attention as a guest, you should observe some table manners.
Chopsticks should never be placed vertically in the food or in your own bowl, as this is a sign that you are longing for the death of your host. For all cultures in Singapore, several different dishes are ordered that are shared and tasted among each other. Each person receives their own small bowl or plate, where the shared dish is intended for their own consumption. Indian or non-Chinese dishes are eaten with the hands. With the Muslims the right hand as the unclean and the left as the clean hand. The guest can also ask for a spoon, knife and fork at any time.
Smoking is prohibited everywhere, there is a specially designated smoker’s lounge. Smoking is also prohibited in the open air.
Due to its location on the equator, Singapore is constantly tropical hot and humid all year round – with temperatures between 24-32 °C.
People who prefer a moderate climate and lower temperatures or who need it for health reasons should avoid staying in Singapore or themselves If possible, stay in air-conditioned rooms
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that SG stands for the nation of Singapore as a two-letter acronym.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Garden covers an area of 82 hectares and is visited by over 4 million visitors annually.
The garden houses the building of the “National Biodiversity Center” and the “Singapore Herbarium (SING)” with around 650,000 specimens. Concerts are given regularly in a shell-like building on Symphony Lake.
The local forest is also unique, although it only takes up an area of around 8 hectares = 80,000 m².
The garden was founded in 1859 by the Scot Lawrence Niven. It should be noted that the plantations in the garden were supplied to the plantations in Malaysia during the rubber boom.
Since 1990 the garden has been under the National Parks Board. With the exception of the orchid garden, admission is free, although the garden is open daily from 5:00 a.m. to midnight.
For example, you can jog, go for a walk or practice Tai Ji (Tai Chi). It should be noted that all paths are illuminated during the dark.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.
Chinatown, Indian Quarter
Today’s Chinatown stretches between New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road – south of the Singapore River.
With its lively alleys, its strange smells and many shopping opportunities, it casts a spell over visitors. The People’s Park Complex should be mentioned – a risiges shopping mall on Tong Sen Street.
Chinatown is best explored on foot to enjoy the vendors and their shops, artisans and temples. They still exist, the typical, traditional buildings from the colonial era, which unfortunately increasingly have to give way to new buildings.
A special attraction of the area is the Sri Mariamman Temple. More about the temple under “Sacred Buildings” below.
The Indian Quarter (Little India) is located around Serangoon Road. The quarter is located on what used to be inhospitable marshland until the first brick kiln and lime pit was built here by an Indian around 1820. Indian workers from Madras, Calcutta and Malaysia quickly followed suit. In addition to other distilleries, there was dairy and cattle farming on the Rochor River, which attracted more farm workers from India. So this particular part of the city, which to this day is almost 100% shaped by Indian culture, was born
This district is also best experienced on foot. The visitor will find several shopping centers here, in which one can find just about everything – including tropical clothing, electronics, silk, leather goods and numerous different incense sticks. The local prices are a lot lower than in the rest of Singapore.
There are a number of temples in the neighborhood. The three most worth seeing are:
- Srinivasa Perumal Kovil TempleThis temple is a national monument and is located right on Serangoon Road. More details under “Sacred Buildings” below.
- Temple of 1000 LightsRight behind this temple in Race Course Road, which runs parallel to Serangoon Road, is the Temple of 1000 Lights, which was founded in 1927 by a Thai monk. Worth seeing in this otherwise very simple temple is the 15 meter high seated Buddha. The statue is illuminated by countless light bulbs and literally shines in the dark prayer room.
- Central Sikh TempleThe Central Sikh Temple is the most important sanctuary of Sikhs living in Singapore – around 15,000
Special buildings and structures
The building was designed in 1827 by architect George Coleman for a wealthy merchant.
The bridge was built in 1868 from beams imported from Scotland.
There is a bar and a restaurant on the top floors of this high-rise complex with a view of Malaysia and Indonesia.
A glass construction called “Jewel” was inaugurated at Changi Airport in April 2019. The complex was built over the former parking lot in front of Terminal 1 and has a gross floor area of around 134,000 m².
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is a 20 ha = 200,000 m² resort on Marina Bay, which was officially opened in 2010. The facility is located by the sea on the peninsula between Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River and the Strait of Singapore.
The plans for the resort come from Moshe Safdie Architects. Moshe Safdie (born 1938) was born in Israel, immigrated to Canada and now lives in Israel again.
The resort consists of a casino, a hotel, a conference and exhibition center, a shopping center, an art and science museum, two theaters as well as restaurants, bars and nightclubs as well as two floating pavilions.
The three towers of the 2,560 room hotel with a height of 191 m are connected to each other by a 1 ha = 10,000 m² roof terrace (Sky Park), which can accommodate around 3,900 people at the same time.
The approximately 145 m long swimming pool (infinity pool), which has a capacity of around 1,425 m³ of water in its three interconnected pools, is almost unique.
The Merlion is a fountain figure with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The mythical creature was erected in 1964 on behalf of the country’s tourism commission and is now the city’s landmark.
The fountain with the Merlion is on Marina Bay in front of the banks’ skyline.
The lion’s head is said to symbolize the power, strength and strength of the state, while the fish represents that the roots of the city and country’s prosperity are closely related to the sea.
In addition, the figure is reminiscent of the legend of Prince Utama: The Hindu Prince Sang Nila Utama and later ruler of Singapore fled there from Sumatra in the 14th century. In the jungle he caught a lion that he wanted to kill with his sword. But when the lion looked him in the eye, he lowered his sword and the lion disappeared into the jungle.
Because of this experience, he named the city afterwards as the Lion City. Raffles Hotel The hotel opened in 1897. The Raffles is one of the most famous hotels in the world. It had its heyday in the 20s and 30s. The writer Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), among others, was relegated there. In 1915 the famous cocktail “Singapore Sling” was created in the bar of the hotel by the barman Ngiam Tong Boon.
The hotel has been declared a national monument and has been extensively renovated. The hotel bar is only available to hotel guests, however, other visitors can take a seat in the adjacent garden area.
With a height of 165 m, the Singapore Flyer is the highest Ferris wheel in the world. It is located within a garden area near Matina Bay. It has 28 metal and glass gondolas, each of which can accommodate up to 28 people.
A journey takes around 35 minutes and costs around € 15. The Ferris wheel was officially opened on March 1st, 2008. The view from above over the skyscrapers of the city, the port, the coast and in good weather even as far as the neighboring countries Malaysia and Indonesia is almost unique. But it is also possible to use the gondolas for certain events – such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc. to rent.
Museums that are particularly worth seeing
Asian Civilizations Museum
The museum is dedicated to Asian and Chinese cultural history. The museum moved into the first building in 1997.
The current building was opened in 2003 with an area of 14,000 m². The visitor will also find a restaurant, a cafe and a museum shop here.
1 Empress Place
Tel.: +65 – 6332 7798; +65 – 6332 7798
Air Force Museum
, the Air Force Museum (Air Force Museum) is located in Paya Lebar near the Changi airport.
The museum opened in September 1988 and two years later moved to its current location on an area of around 10,000 m². The visitor will find an exhibition of the history of the Singapore Air Force, the beginnings of which date back to 1939, when it was still a Malay volunteer army.
In addition to numerous exhibits, original aircraft are also exhibited in the outdoor exhibition area.
The Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium is located on Sentosa Island. The museum opened in October 2011. This interactive museum is the first to showcase Asia’s maritime history, with a focus on trade across the Silk Road with its ports and bazaars. The 400 exhibits here include the “Jewel of Muscat”, a replica of an Arab sailing ship from the 9th century. The Sultan of Oman gave it to Singapore as a gift.
There is also a replica of a warship belonging to the Chinese admiral Zhèng Hé (1371-1435). Between 1405 and 1433 he explored seven large expeditions to the Pacific and Indian Oceans with his ships.
Every Saturday evening there is a jazz night in the museum from 8 a.m.
The National Museum houses a comprehensive collection on the history, archeology and ethnology of Singapore and parts of Asia.
The museum is located in a building from 1887, which was built in the neoclassical style, and in an extension that opened on February 13, 1907.
93 Stamford Road
The Peranakan Museum is managed by the Asia Civilization Museum, of which it is the “sister museum”. The beginnings go back to 1997, when a collection of the history of Chinese civilization was shown in the “Old Tao Nan School” in Armenian Sreet. The local museum was closed in 2005 and reopened on April 25, 2008.
Peranakan is an ethnic group that originally emerged from the union of Malay women and Chinese men.
Nowadays, however, they are becoming more and more part of the community of overseas Chinese resident in Singapore, which leads to a loss of their cultural independence. As a result, parts of their culture are promoted by the state, as they are seen as an essential part of Singaporean history.
39 Armenian St.
Singapore Art Museum
The museum is dedicated to modern and contemporary Asian art. After lengthy renovations, the museum opened in 1996.
71 Bras Basah Road
Tel: +65 – 6332.3222
Singapore Philatelic Museum
The Singapore Philatelic Museum (stamp museum) is a highlight for every philatilist. It has exhibits from 1830 to the present day, and opened in 1906 in a 19th century building that was part of the Anglo-Chinese School.
23-B Coleman Street
Historical Museum Singapore
The history of the city of Singapore is the theme of the museum.
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Singapore National Art Gallery
The Singapore National Art Gallery is located on Stamford Road, not far from the Colonial Quarter and Fort Canning Park. The building was built in the Victorian style as early as 1887. Originally called Raffles Museum, it was given its current name in 1965, being known as the Singapore History Museum between 1993 and 2006. It is the oldest museum in the city and reopened in 2006 after a complete renovation.
A permanent exhibition of Southeast Asian art from the 19th and 20th centuries can be found on an area of 2,800 m². The museum offers changing exhibitions on a further 1,200 m².
In addition to an important jade collection, historical documents, pieces of furniture, porcelain and everyday objects of the Peranakan culture are on display.
After its reopening in 2006 you will find a successful combination of the old and the new part of the museum as well as a glass dome with a diameter of 24 m which is illuminated at night.
Theater and opera
Esplanade Theaters on the Bay
The building complex, built as a center for theater, music and performance, is one of the largest of its kind in the world with an area of approx. 111,000 m². It was built in 2002 by the architects DP Architects Pte Ltd. The impressive complex is located in the center of the city by the sea.
The Art House
The Art House is a venue for exhibitions, concerts and theater.
Victoria Theater and Concert Hall
The Victoria Theater and the Victora Concert Hall is a building complex consisting of two buildings and a clock tower that are connected by a common corridor. The building complex is located in the Civic District of Singapore.
The theater and concert hall were declared a national monument on February 14, 1992. The entire complex was closed for renovation work in June 2010 and reopened on July 15, 2014.
The Victoria Theater seats a little more than 900 people, while the Victoria Concert Hall has around 880 seats. seats, and a stage which could be expanded up to 139.76 square meters in area. The concert hall was considered the venue with the best acoustics
The Al-Abrar Mosque was built in the 1950s. The mosque is located in Chinatown on Telok Ayer Street. The temple was built by Muslims from India.
The mosque is noticeable for its lack of decoration and the fact that it does not have a dome structure.
The building from 1835 is the oldest church in the city and was built by George Coleman.
This mosque is located in Chinatown on South Bridge Road/Mosque Street. This mosque was built in 1926 by Muslims who had come from South India.
The believers here pray especially for their health.
Sri Mariamman Temple
The temple is the city’s oldest Hindu temple. The previous wooden building was built in 1827. The current stone building dates from 1843. The five-story tower above the main entrance of the temple is impressive.
The annual Thimithi festival takes place here. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, from whom the Hindus seek healing from diseases.
The temple is located in the middle of Chinatown.
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
This Hindu temple is located in the Indian quarter of the city. Here the god Perumal is worshiped, whose other name “Vishnu” is better known.
The temple was so extensively renovated between 1961 and 1970 that hardly anything remains of the old building.
The entrance of the temple is dominated by a 24 m high tower with colorful pictures. In the dark, the temple catches the eye with its colorful light decorations.
Sri Vadapthira Kaliamman
Temple The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali. The large statues of the temple show the many-armed goddess Kali in her various manifestations, as a mother, as a warrior but also as an all-powerful destroyer.
The temple’s beginnings go back to 1830 when a large image of the goddess was erected here. But it wasn’t until 1935 that today’s Tepel could be built here.
555 Serangoon Road
Sri Veerama Kaliamman Temple
The temple was built around 1881 on the initiative of Indian immigrants in order to be able to worship the goddess Kali here. But it was practically rebuilt in the 1980s.
The relief representations of the goddess are worth seeing.
141 Serangoon Road
St. Andrew´s Cathedral
This church belongs to the “Anglican Church” and was consecrated on January 25, 1861. The plans for the building came from the military (Colonel), architect and administrator Ronald MacPherson (1817-1869 in Singapore).
It is the successor to a church that was previously destroyed by lightning strikes.
The church building was built in the neo-Gothic style. In 1973 the church was declared a national monument.
11 St. Andrew’s Road
The current building was built in 1928 by the architect Denis Santry of Swan & Maclaren. It replaces an old mosque completed in 1826 and financed by Stamford Raffles from the East India Company.
The architect of today’s mosque also designed the Victoria Memorial Hall. The church can also be visited by non-Muslims outside of the prayer hours.
In 1975 the mosque was declared a National Monument.
3 Muscat Street
Thian Hock Keng Temple
The Chinese Temple of Bliss was completed in 1842 by immigrants from the southern Chinese province of Fujian, who belonged to the Hokkien language group.
The temple is particularly popular with Taoists.
It’s located in Chinatown.
This market takes place daily on the corner of Smith-Trengganu Street. The market will be held in the building of the Crete Ayr complex.
The visitor will find vegetables, fruit, meat products but also live animals here.
This market takes place in the evening hours. It is located on Smith Street, Temple Street, and Trengganu Street. In addition to the well-known market goods, handicrafts are also offered here.
Numerous food stalls also offer their goods.
Singapore has a total of 3 state universities as well as numerous private universities.
Singapore National University
The Singapore National University was founded in 1905. At that time under the name The Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School.
Approximately 35,000 students are currently studying at the largest university in the country.
Nanyang Technical University The Nanyang
Technical University was founded in 1981 and currently has approximately 30,000 students.
Management University Singapore
The Management University Singapore was founded in 2000, making it the youngest of the universities in Singapore. About 4000 are currently studying at this university. The following faculties are available:
Faculty of Information Systems
Faculty of Accounting
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Business Management
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Economics
Parks worth seeing
This garden – also known as Jurong Garden – was created in 1975 according to the plans of the Taiwanese landscape architect Professor Yuen-chen Yu. The garden is in the west of Singapore.
The garden is in the style of the Song Dynasty, with numerous bridges, pagodas and stone sculptures. In addition to the Chinese tower, visitors will find a bonsai garden and a turtle museum here.
This park and the Japanese park are located on islands in Jurong Lake – not far from Jurong Bird Park. The two parks are connected to each other by the Double Beauty Bridge (Twofold Beauty).
The Japanese garden stands out with its simplicity, its large green areas and sparse planting. The garden is built in the Muromachi style and is intended to offer the visitor peace and relaxation.
It should be noted that the local trees, plants, stones and even lanterns come from Japan and were specially brought here.
This park and the Chinese park are located on islands in Jurong Lake – not far from Jurong Bird Park. The two parks are connected to each other via the Double Beauty Bridge (Twofold Beauty).
Gardens by the Bay
Around 50% of the city-state of Singapore now consists of green spaces. The botanical garden complex “Gardens by the Bay”, which stretches along the coast of the sea and partly stands on artificially raised land, is spectacular.
This new “Botanical Garden” is being built in the vicinity of the existing Bay Central and Bay East gardens in Singapore’s Marina South. With an area of 54 hectares, this is both the largest and the most spectacular of the three gardens, which together cover an area of 101 hectares.
Particularly noteworthy are the two greenhouses, one of which has a rather dry Mediterranean climate, while the other has a tropical climate with higher temperatures and greater humidity.
In total, visitors can marvel at around 260,000 plants here. A preliminary opening was in November 2011, the final opening was in June 2012.
It should be mentioned that the climate concept for the two huge greenhouses comes from the Munich engineering office “Transsolar”.
Mandai Orchid Garden
This orchid garden was closed after 60 years due to the expansion of the zoo in 2011. He impressed not only orchid lovers with his wonderful and exotic orchids that were grown and developed here.
Singapore Botanic Garden
This 60 ha = 600,000 m² Singapore Botanical Garden is considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Here the visitor will find over 3,000 tropical plant species, as well as artificial lakes for aquatic plants. The park consists of several areas – so in the Ginger Garden and the Evolution Garden. An approx. 5 hectare piece of natural rainforest completes the whole. The beginnings of the garden go back to the year 1822, while the garden in its present form was not built until 1859.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
1 Cluny Road
Tel.: 65 – 6471 7138/6471 7361
Animal parks and aquarium
Bird Park (Jurong Bird Park)
The bird park is one of the most beautiful and most diverse in the world, it is home to a total of around 9,000 birds from around 6,000 different species.
In the park is the largest walk-in aviary in the world, in which there is also a 30 m high artificial waterfall. The bird park opened in 1971.
The bird park is the only one in the Asian Pacific region with an attached bird hospital.
Zoo The Singapore Zoo is a rainforest zoo, in which more than 3,200 mammals, reptiles, birds and fish from 300 species live on 28 ha = 280,000 m².
The concept of the zoo is to keep the animals organized according to their natural habitats.
Lattice cages or unsuitable keeping are downright frowned upon here, so the animals live here in open enclosures and in an environment that is as natural as possible.
The animals are separated from the people by natural borders such as rivers, dense plants, rocks or deep ditches. But some animals like monkeys, peacocks or goats roam free.
A children’s area with a small water park was also opened.
80 Mandai Lake Rd
More natural beauties
Bukit Timah Reserve
The Bukit Timah Reserve is a rainforest reserve opened in 1883 with a total area of approx. 1.65 km².