With a population of less than 5 million, Singapore expects 11.75 million visitors this year. Although it is a melting pot of cultures, including Indian, Chinese and Malay, English is the dominant language, and Westerners do not tend to experience the culture shock there that occurs elsewhere in the region.
Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island. Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 22 to 35 °C (72 to 95 °F).
Before independence in 1965, Singapore was the capital of the British Straits Settlements, a Crown Colony. It was also the main British naval base in East Asia. Today, Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy, based historically on extended entrepôt trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Koreaand Taiwan, Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers. The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive and most business-friendly. The Singaporean economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing.
The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia. It comprises the Army, Navy, and Air Force. It is seen as the guarantor of the country’s independence. The nation’s philosophy of defence is one of diplomacy and deterrence.
Since Singapore is a small island with a high population density, the number of private cars on the road is restricted so as to curb pollution and congestion. Car buyers must pay for duties one-and-a-half times the vehicle’s market value and bid for a Singaporean Certificate of Entitlement (COE), which allows the car to run on the road for a decade.
Singapore is an aviation hub for Southeast Asia and a stopover on the Kangaroo Route between Sydney and London. There are eight airports in the country and Singapore Changi Airporthosts a network of 80 airlines connecting Singapore to 200 cities in 68 countries. It has been rated one of the best international airports by international travel magazines.