Information about Singapore

This tiny nation state could easily be overlooked on a world map, but do not be misled by its size. Singapore is a vibrant cultural melting pot, a gateway to Asia and a land of opportunity for expatriates. Whether you are on the lookout for a city break, a stopover or intend to unpack your suitcases for much longer, Singapore definitely has something for you.

A magnet for expatriates

Singapore has a population of 5.6 million, of which only 3.4 million are Singaporean citizens. The staggering number of foreign workers in the country is due to both exceptional economic performance and the business environment that successive governments have built and maintained after Singapore's accession to independence in 1965. The generous fiscal regime which prevails in Singapore has attracted many multinationals, financial institutions and professional services firms, all of which are hungry for manpower. With Foreign Direct Investment reaching USD 65Bn in 2015, Singapore provides a strong investment environment, which is set to reinforce itself as its South East Asian trading partners strengthen and diversify their economies further. Naturally, the sluggish economic growth around the world has had an impact on Singapore, which nevertheless still managed to grow its GDP by 1.8% in 2016. However, the country's technocratic government ensures that policies are swiftly implemented to continually attract new business opportunities, and it is not surprising that the country draws expats in droves.

A culture sculptured by history

Once part of Malaysia, Singapore boasts a rich history which dates back to the 2nd century. Founded as a trading port, Singapore leveraged its geographical position to become one of colonial Britain's most successful trading posts as well as a key element of the military strategy of Great Britain. Sir Stamford Raffles established the port of Singapore in 1819 and laid the foundations of one of the world's most successful countries. The legacy of Sir Stamford is still very vivid, and is perhaps best epitomized by the legendary Raffles hotel, which is crucial stop for those wishing to indulge in the country's signature cocktail, the Singapore Sling. The country's role as a point of transit, coupled with the immigration policies of the British Empire, gave birth to a thoroughly dynamic, multi-cultural nation, evidence of which can immediately be seen upon touching down at the ultra-modern Changi airport. The country comprises a population of indigenous Malays, Chinese and Indians, and a walk through Singapore provides a soothing view of peacefully cohabitating pagodas, Hindu temples, Christian churches and Muslim mosques. In addition to the mosaic of cultures, Singapore still maintains a western feel, which no doubt is one of the main selling points for the many westerners who flock to the country as expatriates. The diversity of Singapore is also naturally mirrored in its rich food offerings. It would be no understatement to say that the country and its residents are fanatical about their food and Singapore offers both high-end restaurants as well as affordable yet delicious $5 food outlets, known as hawker centers, where locals and tourists alike converge. In Singapore, the spectrum of Michelin-starred restaurants is extremely wide, with the cheapest starred meal costing only $2 at the Chinatown complex, Singapore's largest food mall.

A lifestyle to fit all ages

Unlike other cosmopolitan capitals like New York or London, Singapore's greatest asset is that it has universal appeal, whether you are travelling alone, in a couple or with a family. The country is home to a wide array of companies covering an extensive assortment of industries, thus providing a unique range of openings within a single jurisdiction, as well as opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to tap into a dynamic regional market. For families, Singapore comes with affordable and excellent childcare options, as well as a healthcare system which is frequently lauded as being one of the best in the world. Additionally, Singapore has an outstanding educational system and world class universities, including satellites of well-known institutions of international repute. Singapore provides many recreational options, from its lush parks to the fun-packed activities of Sentosa Island, but for those who worry that Singapore is too small, Changi Airport is never too far away, and neither are the many low cost carriers which provide daily flights to the many treasured holiday spots of South East Asia. For those seeking shorter breaks from the hustle and bustle of the city, ferries are a convenient way of organizing trips to nearby beaches or to Indonesia. Singapore's equatorial climate is generally comfortable, and it never gets cold in Singapore, although the high levels of humidity can sometimes be stifling. Thunderstorms are also a regular phenomenon, but Singapore's infrastructure is generally well designed enough to provide shelter in periods of heavy rain. In any case, the public transport system as well as the many taxis ensure that there is always a way of travelling around comfortably.

A scouting trip to Singapore

Many of Singapore's treasures are experienced rather than seen. On a scouting trip, start your day with Kaya toast from one of Ya Kun Kaya Toast's outlets before hitting the Singapore Botanic Gardens and its rich array of plants and flowers. Make your way to the Chinatown complex and queue up to try a $2 Michelin star meal at the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle stall. For a hip vibe, head to Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam area, before making your way to Little India, for a bit of more chaos within an otherwise perfectly manicured Singapore. If shopping is your thing, head to Orchard Road, otherwise relax with a gin at the rooftop bar of the Fullerton Bay Hotel, with the Marina Bay Sands complex in full view. Make a short walk to Customs House for some tapas or seafood, and finish off the day at the Ce La Vi nightclub, which offers amazing views of the city, 57 floors up.