Country Facts: What you need to know about Singapore

Location Singapore

Singapore is a small tropical island of 646 sq km (252 sq miles) located in Southeast Asia, neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.
North 1:22:00 East 103:45:00



satellite image SingaporeView Singapore from the air with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s Hidden Journeys

The Hidden Journeys Project aims to enliven the flying experience and transform it into a fascinating exploration of the people, places and environments thousands of metres below by providing inspiring information to air travellers about the parts of the world they fly over.

Explore the varied landscapes that lie between Hong Kong and Singapore, including some of the most idyllic beaches and diverse marine life in Southeast Asia, from the tourist resorts of Nha Trang in Vietnam and Seri Buat in Malaysia, to the almost untouched paradise islands of Con Dao off Vietnam, and the Paracel and Spratly Islands that pepper the South China Sea.


A satellite image of Singapore: notice the green areas, mostly reservoirs, and the geometric reclaimed coast to the bottom left.

Photo: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech


Climate Singapore




Population Singapore

multi-racial Singapore


Harmony in Race: The population is approximate. 3.87 million, made up of four major races with the Chinese representing the largest group.


Culture & Religion Singapore

Singapore represents Asia in a nutshell and is a plural society comprising multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious people. Each group has retained its own special individuality and uniqueness and diverse forms of social etiquette. The country is a showcase of racial and religious harmony, with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Christians living and working side-by-side while respecting their many differences. Over the year you can take part in many Chinese, Hindu and Muslims festivals based on their lunar calendars.

Singapore's national ideology is based on the following pledge:
"We the citizens of Singapore
Pledge ourselves as one united people
Regardless of race, language or religion
To build a democratic society
Based on justice and equality
So as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
Progress for our nation."

Photo: City Scoops Media (3)
Photo:enterAsiaArt 1

See also Step by Step Guide Cultural Do's and Don'ts

Languages in Singapore


History of Singapore

Although first mentioned in the 14th century, the rest of the world only Singapore when in 1819 Sir Stamford Raffles established a trading base on behalf of the East India Company on the island. In World War II, it was occupied for three years by the Japanese and became a Crown Colony of Britain in 1946 and in 1963 a member of the Federation of Malaysia. Since 1965 Singapore is separated from Malaysia and became a republic.

Living Expenses in Singapore

Singapore has a very high standard of living for expatriates and the city has one of the best living conditions in Southeast Asia. Imported goods are rather expensive but it is possible to economize by buying local products. Many expatriates enjoy a Housing Allowance and are housed on the expense of their employers, thus eliminating substantial costs of renting homes in Singapore. The private rental market almost exclusively concentrates on expatriates, as locals enjoy the provision of low cost public housing.

According to the latest survey by Economist Intelligence Unit , Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, moving up five positions to 10th place. This means Singapore is now Asia’s third most expensive city to live in.

For the tenth year running, Singapore has topped a list of cities around the world offering Asian expatriates the best quality of life. An annual survey by human resources consultancy ECA International found that Asian expatriates ranked Singapore as the most favourable city to live in because of the quality of its infrastructure and health facilities - low health risks, air pollution and crime rates added to its appeal. The survey compares living standards in 254 international locations.

Rental prices See Housing Market

For the current situation of rental prices see here.

Enormous prices and some other restrictions prevent most foreigners on short assignments of buying a property in Singapore.

But it makes sense if you plan to start your own business and have a long term plan to stay in Singapore.
For more information how to select a property follow the Rental Guide.

View a selection of Homes for rent.

Foreigners can rent HDB flats at a lower rate .Expatriates on a strained home allowance are offered a low cost alternative by the Government called SHIFT, a Scheme for Housing Foreign Talents.

While Public Transport is quite affordable buying and driving a car is very expensive as before registering a vehicle you have to bid for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). To save costs many companies do not provide expatriates with cars any more but rather pay a taxi allowance. Another alternative is to lease a car.

If Education is not offered by the employer children of expatriates with employment passes, skilled work permit holders or permanent residents can be admitted to Government or Aided Schools with fees much lower than those of private schools.

Energy cost to consider when renting a home: to run a multi-split air-con unit to cool two rooms for eight hours daily costs about S$ 50 month while running a 400-litre frost free fridge 24 hours daily costs S$ 20.00 a month. See also Personal Utility Accounts and the web sites mentioned to estimate your consumption.

Photo: City Scoops Media (3)

Please note that you may be also responsible for the maintenance of your air conditions monthly or bi-monthly, which includes servicing and chemical treatment on top of paying your electricity bill which may be quite high due to the number of air conditioning units in your home. Info on maintenance cost of air conditioning per unit

Note: Consumer awareness to save energy is slowly created by the government. A voluntary label scheme designed to inform consumers about the energy efficiency of appliances on the market is hopefully soon mandatory. The labels are yellow, with one tick for the least efficient and four ticks for the most efficient products. You should ask your landlord to replace old air-condition units only with 4-tick labelled units. This can save you about SGD 1,500 per unit in 18 months! However, landlords are reluctant to do so, as these units are about 1.500 SGD more expensive....

While many employers pay for medical treatment of their foreign employees in part or full, those not refunded or privately insured may join a low-cost insurance scheme called Med Shield or Med Shield Plus. Costs for private treatment and medication are high. See Health Insurance

Expatriate Living Costs (ELC) In Singapore, a regularly updated guide on the cost of living of expatriate families in Singapore, provides detailed information ranging from accommodation, food, and transportation to entertainment expenses, education, medical expenses and personal income tax. Order at the SICC or Asia Connect via Internet:



Ranking of Singapore
Asia Connect
International Salary Calculator
Foreign per diem rates
An updated table of Cost of Living (COL)


Electrical Information for Singapore


For inquiries on Home Appliances Safety And Safety Mark see:


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