Located at one of the crossroads of the world, Singapore's strategic
position has helped it grow into a major centre for trade,
communications and tourism. Its geographical location is 136.8 km north
of the equator, between latitudes 103 degrees 38' E and 104 degrees 06'
Singapore's climate is warm and humid, with only slight variations
between the average maximum of 31 degrees Celcius and minimum of 23
degrees Celcius. This makes it ideal for those who enjoy sunbathing,
swimming, sailing and other water sports. But for those who do not enjoy
the tropical climate, Singapore is sheltered from the worst effects of
the sun with air-conditioning in almost all of its shops, hotels, office
buildings and restaurants.
Rain falls throughout the year, with more consistent rain coming during
the monsoon season from November to January. Showers are usually sudden
and heavy, but also brief and refreshing.
It is linked to Malaysia by two causeway bridges and the key islands of
the Riau archipelago of Indonesia are just a quick ferry trip away.
Thailand and the Philippines are a short plane journey away and
Singapore, with an airport served by more than 69 airlines, is very much
the gateway to South-East Asia.
Singapore is not just one island but a main island with 63 surrounding
islets. The main island has a total land area of 682 square km.
However, its compact size belies its economic growth. In just 150 years,
Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry. Its
former role as an entrepot has diminished, as the Republic has increased
its manufacturing base.
Singapore is the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines
sending super tankers, container ships and passenger liners to share the
busy waters with coastal fishing vessels and wooden lighters.
One of the world's major oil refining and distribution centres,
Singapore is also a major supplier of electronic components and a leader
in shipbuilding and repairing. It has also become one of the most
important financial centres of Asia, with more than 130 banks. Business
dealings are facilitated by Singapore's superb communications network
which links the Republic to the rest of the world via satellite, 24-hour
telegraph and telephone systems. Singapore's strategic location,
excellent facilities, fascinating cultural contrasts and tourist
attractions contribute to its success as a leading destination for both
business and pleasure.
With this mixture of people, Singapore is also a mixture of religions.
Singapore's skyline boasts the distinctive minarets of mosques, spires
of gothic cathedrals, intricate figurines of Hindu temple gods and
distinctive roof architecture of Chinese temples. The main religions are
Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and