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Singapore - Overview

Singapore is considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan and prosperous destinations in the world. With its beautiful beaches and dazzling skyscrapers, it’s a mix of unearthly beauty and modern technology. It’s also widely known for its cleanliness, cosmopolitan vibe, and electronics. It has one of the highest percentages of expats in the world and every year it sees more and more people from all across the globe moving to the island to find new opportunities and excitement.

Consisting of a main island that is linked by a causeway and bridge to southern Malaysia, Singapore also has about 63 smaller islands. Two of the man-made connections to Malaysia are the Tuas Second link in the west and the Johor-Singapore causeway in the north. There are also some land reclamation projects. As a result, the country continues to get bigger, even though it’s an island. In fact, in the 1960s the land area was 581.5 km2 (224.5 sq mi) and today it is 704 km2 (272 sq mi) today. It is estimated that within the next 20 years it might grow by as much as 100 km2 (40 sq mi). Some of the land in Singapore has been set aside for nature reserves, although the country’s urbanization has eradicated most of the its rainforests.

The country’s full name is the Republic of Singapore and Singapore is used to refer to both the main island and the country itself. Major religions include Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. The most widely practiced religion is Buddhism with Christianity being the next. However, 17% of the population does not claim any religious affiliation. There are various religious ceremonies, festivals, and structures throughout the country and religious tolerance is practiced.

Located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Singapore is bordered by Malaysia and Indonesia. The majority of Singapore is only about 15 meters above sea level with the highest point being Bukit Timah which is 165 meters. There are hills and valleys in the northwest while the land is flatter and sandier in the east. There are not any natural lakes, but there are reservoirs to help store water for the water supply.

As of 2012, Singapore’s total population is 5,312,000. Of those, 533,000 are Singapore permanent residents, attesting to its large expatriate community. In fact, Singapore is one of the most popular places for expats to relocate to. Many people from mother countries emigrate thanks to good weather and good job opportunities. Some also find themselves in Singapore due to job relocation.

The official currency is the Singapore dollar. You will generally see it abbreviated with the dollar sign ($). It is often signified with the symbol S$ to differentiate it from the American dollar and other dollar currencies. The Singapore dollar is divided into 100 cents. To get the latest rates, visit http://www.oanda.com The main exports are machinery, petroleum products, computer equipment, and rubber products.

English is the official language, although you’ll also hear a range of other languages spoken including Tamil, Mandarin, and Malay. In business situations, English is the language of choice and you’ll find that road signs are also in English. In addition, there are several English language channels available and popular American and British television shows are often shown in their native English.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.