Singapore is built, located, designed and customised to facilitate the activities of commerce, trade and finance. From the moment you buckle the seatbelt within the unrivalled comforts of your Singapore Airlines plane, to when you land in the award-winning Changi Airport, to the time you wrap up your ran-without-a-snitch business conference - all your business needs will be met, and more.
How to Get There
Singapore, being a thriving financial centre for the region, is connected to the rest of the world by most international airlines. By air, travel from Australia is about a six- to seven-hour flight, while from India or China it's at least four hours. From Europe at least 13 hours, while visitors from the US need approximately 24 hours.
The country's only airport, the Changi International, has been the recipient of prestigious awards year after year from business travel magazines. Going through customs, getting your luggage and hopping into a cab usually takes no more than thirty minutes. With lots of duty-free shopping, and an MRT linking the airport to the city centre under construction, the airport is the last word in convenience.
Travel.com.au is your one-stop resource if you're looking for cheap flights from Australia for your next getaway. Check out their range of Cheap flights to Singapore on Malaysia Airlines and book your trip today!
Where to Stay
A question answered for the most part by your business needs. For those who wish to be in close proximity to the airport, check into Changi Village Hotel. Alternatively, stay near the Central Business District - where there's much more happening after-hours. All the good hotels here offer impeccable business services, such as computers, internet connection, faxes, special seminar rooms and lunch and dinner reception packages.
Hotels right in the middle of the business district, near the financial hub of Raffles Place and Shenton Way, are the Westin Stamford and the elegant and historic Raffles Hotel. Nearby, right next to Suntec City (Singapore's "vertical Sillicon Valley") and the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre, are a group of ultra-modern, ultra-luxurious hotels - Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore, Conrad Centennial Hotel, Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore, Marina Mandarin and Mandarin Oriental Singapore.
You may also choose to stay along or near the perenially popular Orchard Road, where there are lots of handy eating places, bars and shopping centres. There's Singapore Marriott Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, The Regent Singapore, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, to name a few.
How to Get About
If you need to travel moderately long distances in a short amount of time, taxis are the most convenient. You'll see that there are loads of taxis in Singapore; generally you can hail a cab at convenient spots by the road, but in the busier parts in town you will have to get into designated queues. If you're in a real hurry, and the queues are long (a common occurrence during peak commuting hours), you can call for a taxi, at an extra charge.
Taking a taxi, while more expensive than riding on the bus or MRT, is still moderately cheap compared to cities like London or New York. Take note, however, of the extra charges that are levied during the morning and evening rush hours, when you get into the Central Business District, or when you travel after midnight - the amount you have to pay may be significantly more than the amount on the taxi meter.
Sometimes, during rush hour, taking the MRT could actually be the quickest way to get to your destination. Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit will help you avoid the long queues, the traffic jams and the busy dial tone you get when you call the taxi company.
What to Wear
Business wear in Singapore is generally more casual than that in Tokyo or Hong Kong. Because of the climate, men avoid wearing coats or jackets, and three-piece suits are almost unheard of. It's accepted to just wear a shirt, tie and pants for most business occasions. The dress code for women is usually a smart suit - though again, there's rarely a need to look too formal.
What Language to Speak
English, being the official language, is widely spoken and is definitely the language of commerce. Some foreigners however have trouble grappling with Singlish - what the locals affectionately call the unique mesh of English, Malay and Chinese that is spoken here. It helps if you can pick up a few Mandarin, Malay or even Singlish phrases. The effort will warm you to most Singaporeans immediately.
What Business Customs to Learn
Singapore has become highly Westernised, so there are few antiquated business customs or traditions to observe. Exceptions are to always present your business cards with both hands and avoid having your business cards in black - that's an inauspicious colour to the Chinese.