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Some South Asian preparations include katha paste or mukhwas to freshen the breath. The origin and diffusion of betel chewing originates from and is closely tied to the Neolithic expansion of the Austronesian peoples.
From India, it was also spread westwards to Persia and the Mediterranean. Paan under a variety of names is also consumed in many other Asian countries and elsewhere in the world by some Asian emigrants, with or without tobacco.
It is an addictive and euphoria -inducing formulation with adverse health effects. Because of this, many places have banned selling and chewing "buai".
Based on archaeological, linguistic, and botanical evidence, the spread of betel chewing is most strongly associated with the Austronesian peoples.
Both plants are native from the region between Island Southeast Asia to Australasia. The origin of the domestication of Piper betle , however, is unknown.
It is also unknown when the two were combined, as areca nut alone can be chewed for its narcotic properties. There are very old claims of betel chewing dating to at least 13, BP at the Kuk Swamp site in New Guinea , based on probable Areca sp.
However, it is now known that these might have been due to modern contamination of sample materials. Similar claims have also been made at other older sites with Areca sp.
The oldest unequivocal evidence of betel chewing is from the Philippines. The dentition of the skeletons are stained, typical of betel chewers.
The grave also includes Anadara shells used as containers of lime, one of which still contained lime. Burial sites in Bohol dated to the first millenium CE also show the distinctive reddish stains characteristic of betel chewing.
From the Philippines, it spread back to Taiwan , as well as onwards to the rest of Austronesia. It reached Micronesia at around 3, to 3, BP with the Austronesian voyagers, based on both linguistic and archaeological evidence.
But it did not reach Polynesia further east. It is believed that it stopped in the Solomon Islands due to the replacement of betel chewing with the tradition of kava drinking prepared from the related Piper methysticum.
The practice also diffused to the cultures the Austronesians had historical contact with. It is from this period that skeletons with characteristic red-stained teeth start to appear in Mainland Southeast Asia.
It is assumed that it reached South China and Hainan at around the same time, though no archaeological evidence for this can be found as of yet. In Cambodia , the earliest evidence of betel nut chewing is from around 2, to 2, BP.
It also spread to Thailand at 1, BP , based on archaeobotanical evidence. Chinese records, specifically Linyi Ji by Dongfang Shuo associate the growing of areca palms with the first settlers of the Austronesian Champa polities in southern Vietnam at around 2, to 1, BP.
The same for the alternate term bin men yao jian , literally meaning "guest [at the door] medicinal sweetmeat".
This also coincides with the introduction of Southeast Asian plants like Santalum album and Cocos nucifera , as well as the adoption of the Austronesian outrigger ship and crab-claw sail technologies by Dravidian-speakers.
From there it followed the Silk Road to Persia and into the Mediterranean. Chewing the mixture of areca nut and betel leaf is a tradition, custom or ritual which dates back thousands of years from India to the Pacific.
Ibn Battuta describes this practice as follows: The betel has no fruit and is grown only for the sake of its leaves The manner of its use is that before eating it one takes areca nut; this is like a nutmeg but is broken up until it is reduced to small pellets, and one places these in his mouth and chews them.
Then he takes the leaves of betel, puts a little chalk on them, and masticates them along with the betel. Paan chewing constitutes an important and popular cultural activity in many Asian and Oceanic countries, including India , Myanmar , Cambodia , the Solomon Islands , Thailand , the Philippines , Laos , and Vietnam.
Paan is a ubiquitous sight in many parts of South and Southeast Asia. In South Asia it is known as paan in Assamese , foah in Dhivehi , beeda in Hindi, thambula in Kannada , vetrrilai or thambulam in Tamil , killi and tambulum in Telugu , bulath in Sinhalese , and gillauri in Urdu.
In urban areas, chewing paan is generally considered a nuisance because some chewers spit the paan out in public areas — compare chewing gum ban in Singapore and smoking ban.
The red stain generated by the combination of ingredients when chewed are known to make a colourful stain on the ground.
This is becoming an unwanted eyesore in Indian cities such as Mumbai, although many see it as an integral part of Indian culture.
Recently, the Dubai government has banned the import and sale of paan and the like. According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine , chewing betel leaf is a remedy against bad breath halitosis ,  but it can possibly lead to oral cancer.
An elaborate betel chew or paan would contain fragrant spices and rose preserves with chopped areca nuts. It is a tradition in South India and nearby regions to give two Betel leaves, areca nut pieces or whole and Coconut to the guests both male and female at any auspicious occasion.
Even on a regular day it is the tradition to give a married woman, who visits the house, two Betel leaves, areca nut and coconut or some fruits along with a string of threaded flowers.
This is referred to as tambolam. Betel leaf used to make paan is produced in different parts of India. In West Bengal two types of betel leaves are produced.
Mitha patta is produced in places such as Midnapur and South 24 Parganas. The skilled paan maker is known as a paanwala in North India.
In other parts, paanwalas are also known as panwaris or panwadis. At North India, there is a tradition to chew paan after Deepawali puja for blessings.
Furthermore, the use of paan is also prevalent in the Punjab. So much so that shops selling paan legally have sprung up in western cities such as Toronto, London, and Vancouver to name a few due to the large number of people of Punjabi descent living in those regions.
In the Indian state of Maharashtra the paan culture is widely criticised due to the cleanliness problems created by people who spit in public places.
In Mumbai, there have been attempts to put pictures of Hindu gods in places where people commonly tend to spit, in the hope that this would discourage spitting, but success has been limited.
One of the great Marathi artists P L Deshpande wrote a comic story on the subject of paanwala paan vendor , and performed a televised reading session on Doordarshan during the s in his unique style.
Paan is losing its appeal to farmers because of falling demand. Consumers prefer chewing tobacco formulations such as gutka over paan. Higher costs, water scarcity and unpredictable weather have made betel gardens less lucrative.
In Assam , betel nut are traditionally offered as a mark of respect and auspicious beginnings. It is a tradition to offer pan-tamul betel leaves and raw areca nut to guests, after tea or meals, served in a brass plate with stands called bota.
Among the Assamese, the areca nut also has a variety of uses during religious and marriage ceremonies, where it has the role of a fertility symbol.
When showing respect to elders, people, especially newly weds place a pair of paan Tamul on a xorai , places it in front of the elder a plate like utensil with a stand and bows in front of it to show respect or while asking for forgiveness.
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The Dutch renounced their claim to Singapore and ceded their colony in Malacca to the British, in exchange for the British ceding their colonies on Sumatra to the Dutch.
Along with Penang and Malacca , Singapore became one of the Straits Settlements and a jewel in the British colonial crown.
Its economic fortunes received a further boost when palm oil and rubber from neighbouring Malaya were processed and shipped out via Singapore.
In , Singapore was formally split off from British India and made into a directly ruled Crown Colony. When World War II broke out, Fortress Singapore was seen as a formidable British base, with massive naval fortifications guarding against assault by sea.
However, not only did the fortress lack a fleet, as all ships were tied up defending Britain from the Germans, but the Japanese wisely chose to cross Malaya by bicycle instead!
Despite hastily turning the guns around, this was something the sea-focused British commanders had not considered, and on 15 Feb , with supplies critically low after less than a week of fighting, Singapore was forced to surrender.
The British prisoners of war were packed off to Changi Prison. Tens of thousands perished in the subsequent brutal Japanese occupation. The return of the British in to one of their most favoured colonies was triumphalist.
Granted self-rule in , Singapore briefly joined the Malaysian Federation in when the British left, but was expelled because the Chinese-majority city was seen as a threat to Malay dominance.
The island became independent on 9 August , thus becoming the only country to gain independence against its own will in the history of the modern world!
Societal restrictions have been loosened up in recent years though, with the government trying to shake off its staid image, and it remains to be seen how the delicate balancing act between political control and social freedom will play out.
Singapore prides itself on being a multi-racial country, and has a diverse culture despite its small size. Other notable "dialect" groups among the Chinese include the Hakkas and Fuzhounese.
There is also a strong presence of mainland Chinese in Singapore after the Singapore government opened up the immigration policy for mainland Chinese since mainland China started its economic reforms since the s, resulting in the new wave of immigration of mainland Chinese to Singapore during the late 20th century.
The mainland Chinese in Singapore speak Mandarin. Among the Indians, Tamils form the largest group by far, though there are also a significant numbers of speakers of other Indian languages such as Hindi, Malayalam and Punjabi.
The remainder are a mix of many other cultures, most notably the Eurasians who are of mixed European and Asian descent, and also a handful of Burmese, Japanese, Thais and many others.
Singapore is also religiously diverse, with no religious group forming a majority. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution of Singapore.
Other religions which exist in significant numbers include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Taoism. Between May and October, forest fires in neighbouring Sumatra cause dense haze that regularly reaches unhealthy levels - although it is unpredictable and may come and go rapidly.
As Singapore is located a mere 1. Rain falls almost daily throughout the year, usually in sudden, heavy showers that rarely last longer than an hour.
However, most rainfall occurs during the north east monsoon November to January , occasionally featuring lengthy spells of continuous rain.
The temperatures are relatively high in the day, as expected in a tropical country, but windy conditions are expected at night. Bear in mind that spending more than about one hour outdoors can be very exhausting, especially if combined with moderate exercise.
Drink lots of water and carry an umbrella or some form of shade with you when planning to be outdoors. Singaporeans themselves shun the heat, and for a good reason.
Many live in air-conditioned flats, work in air-conditioned offices, take the air-conditioned metro to air-conditioned shopping malls connected to each other by underground tunnels where they shop, eat, and exercise in air-conditioned fitness clubs.
Singapore is officially secular but due to its multicultural population, Singapore celebrates Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Indian, and Christian holidays.
The year kicks off with a bang on 1 Jan and New Year , celebrated in Singapore just as in the West with a fireworks show and parties at every nightspot in town.
Particularly famous are the wet and wild foam parties on the beaches of resort island Sentosa. While this might seem to be an ideal time to visit, many smaller shops and eateries close for days during the period, though supermarkets, department stores and high-end restaurants remain open.
The two following days are spent with family and most of the island comes to a standstill, and then life returns to normal Gong xi fa cai Singapore style There are a few twists to the Singapore way of celebrating Chinese New Year, particularly the food , which bears little resemblance to the steamy hotpots of northern China.
As part of the celebrations, rice dumplings, which in Singapore are sometimes wrapped in pandan leaves instead of the original bamboo leaves, are usually eaten.
In addition, dragon boat races are often held at the Singapore River on this day. The seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar — usually August — starts off with a puff of smoke, as "hell money" is burned and food offerings are made to please the spirits of ancestors who are said to return to earth at this time.
The Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, known locally as Deepavali , is celebrated around October or November and Little India is brightly decorated for the occasion.
At around January-February, one may witness the celebration of Thaipusam , a Tamil Hindu festival in which male devotees would carry a kavadi , an elaborate structure which pierces through various parts of his body, and join a procession from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India to the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple in Tank Road.
Female devotees usually join the procession carrying pots of milk instead. About one week before Deepavali is Thimithi , the fire-walking festival where one can see male devotees walking on burning coals at the Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown.
The Islamic month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr or Hari Raya Puasa as it is called here, is a major occasion in Malay parts of town, particularly Geylang Serai on the East Coast , which is lit up with extensive decorations during the period.
In local mosques, lambs contributed by the faithful are sacrificed and their meat is used to feed the poor. The Buddhist Vesak Day , celebrating the birthday of the Buddha Sakyamuni, plus the Christian holidays of Christmas Day , for which Orchard road is extensively decorated, and Good Friday round out the list of holidays.
Singapore holds numerous events each year. Christmas is also widely celebrated in Singapore, a season where the city streets and shopping malls along its famous shopping belt Orchard Road are lit up and decorated with vibrant colours.
In addition, the Singapore Jewel Festival attracts numerous tourists every year, and is a display of precious gems, famous jewels and masterpieces from international jewellers and designers.
Each time you enter Singapore you will need to fill an immigration card. Carefully keep it after immigration clearance, for you have to return it when you exit.
If you plan to visit nearby Malaysia or Indonesia, you have to repeat this process for each time you exit and re-enter. Do not worry on what to put in the "exit port", just put the city you will return to on your final flight.
Singapore has a relatively-easy visa policy: Exceptions and modifications to the rule are listed below:.
E-visas must be printed out and shown to the immigration officials upon arrival in Singapore. Refer to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website for current guidelines.
Singapore has very strict drug laws , and drug trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty — which is applied to everyone, including foreigners.
The paranoid might also like to note that in Singapore, it is an offence even to have any drug metabolites in your system, even if they were consumed outside of Singapore.
Customs occasionally performs spot urine tests at the airport. In addition, bringing in explosives or firearms without a permit is also a hanging offence in Singapore.
If caught you will be the one who will be penalized for any contraband found inside. Definite red flag if offered a hefty compensation to transport the unknown item.
No amount of money offered is worth the chance. Malaysia also has very strict drug laws which carry the mandatory death penalty, similar to Singapore.
Hippie types may expect a little extra attention from Customs, but getting a shave and a haircut is no longer a condition for entry.
Duty free allowances for alcohol are 1L each of wine, beer and spirits, and the 1L of spirits may be substituted with 1L of wine or beer, unless you are entering from Malaysia.
Travellers entering from Malaysia are not entitled to any duty free allowance. Alcohol may not be brought in by persons under the age of There is no duty free allowance for cigarettes: In practice, though, bringing in one opened pack is usually tolerated.
If you declare your cigarettes or excess booze at customs, you can opt to pay the tax or let the customs officers keep the cigarettes until your departure.
The import of chewing gum for resale is technically illegal, and in practice customs officers would not bother with a reasonable quantity brought in for personal consumption.
In theory, all entertainment media including movies and video games must be sent to the Board of Censors for approval before they can be brought into Singapore, but that is rarely if ever enforced for original non-pirated goods.
In addition to the locals, every carrier of any size in Asia offers flights to Singapore, with pan-Asian discount carrier AirAsia and Malaysian regional operator Firefly operating dense networks from Singapore.
The airport is split into three main terminals T1, T2 and T3 and a new fourth terminal, T4. T4 serves mainly budget carriers and airlines with point-to-point non-transit flights.
Figuring out which terminal your flight arrives in or departs from can be complicated: Fortunately, transfers are quite easy, as the three main terminals are connected with the free Skytrain service , which can be used without passing through immigration.
Your departing terminal is more straightforward as Singapore Airlines designates T2 as departures for destinations in South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa while all other destinations will use T3.
When you return to the airport and are leaving Singapore via Singapore Airlines, be sure to at least tell the driver your destination so he knows which terminal to take you to.
Unlike most other airports, there are no separate zones for departing and arriving passengers in the main terminals prior to passport control hence arriving passengers are free to shop and eat at the airside establishments if they are not in a hurry to meet someone or catch prearranged transportation.
In addition, if they have no luggage checked-in from their point of origin, they can clear passport control at any other terminal.
An exception to this is the new fourth terminal, T4. Built mainly for budget carriers like AirAsia , Cebu Pacific and Spring Airlines , the terminal is physically separate from the other three main terminals and has separate zones for departing and arriving passengers.
A complimentary hour Airport Shuttle Bus service plies between Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, with the journey taking approximately 10 minutes.
Passengers can then use the free Skytrain service or walk using the inter-terminal travellators to continue onwards to Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
If you have over 5h to spare there are free city tours five times a day departing from the airport. Even if stuck in the airport, there are plenty of ways to kill time, as each terminal has a unique design and the airside areas of T1, T2, and T3 are attractions in themselves.
T2, arguably the most interesting, has an indoor garden, a music listening area with couches and mood lighting, a computer gaming room, a small movie theatre, paid massage services, and of course plenty of duty-free shops.
T3 has a butterfly garden and plenty of natural light, but fewer entertainment options. You can travel between the three main terminals without passing through immigration and, if you have no checked-in luggage to collect, you can clear passport control and customs at any terminal.
As noted above, Terminal 4 is an exception to this, and you can travel to this terminal only if you have a flight departing from here.
There are also SingTel and Starhub payphones that offer unlimited free local calls. ATMs abound and money changers offer reasonable rates as well, although you pay a small premium compared to the city.
Food options are varied and generally reasonably priced, with some choice picks including the Peranakan-themed Soup Restaurant T2 landside , which serves much more than just soup, and Sakae Sushi T2 airside.
It is relatively cheap compared to other food options in the airport but not exactly cheap compared to elsewhere in Singapore.
There are also staff canteens in Terminals 1 and 3. Terminals T1, T2 and T3 all have airside ie accessible without passing through immigration transit hotels.
Project Jewel was announced in August - a new terminal structure intended as a mix-use complex situated on a 3. Essentially a new multi-storey underground car park will replace the existing facilities, while an indoor garden, with a waterfall, is built above.
Once completed in , the new building will sit between the three existing terminal buildings, enabling passengers to transfer via the new complex, whilst being an attraction and shopping destination in itself.
The design will consist of a circular structure, reminiscent of a doughnut, with a large garden located at the centre and water falling from the edge of the circular atrium opening.
As part of the project, Terminal 1 will be expanded to allow more space for the arrival hall, baggage claim areas and taxi bays. While later airports like Kallang and Paya Lebar have been closed and turned into a military airbase respectively, Seletar is still in use to this day.
The Causeway is a very popular and thus terminally congested entry point connecting Woodlands in the north of Singapore directly into the heart of Johor Bahru.
The Causeway can be crossed by bus, train, taxi or car, but it is no longer feasible to cross on foot after Malaysia shifted their customs and immigration complex 2km inland.
A second crossing between Malaysia and Singapore, known as the Second Link , has been built between Tuas in western Singapore and Tanjung Kupang in the western part of Johor state.
Much faster and less congested than the Causeway, it is used by some of the luxury bus services to Kuala Lumpur and is strongly recommended if you have your own car.
There is only one infrequent bus across the Second Link, and only Malaysian "limousine" taxis are allowed to cross it and charge RM and up for the privilege.
Walking across is also not allowed, not that there would be any practical means to continue the journey from either end if you did.
Peninsular Malaysia-registered cars need to show that they have valid road tax and Malaysian insurance coverage. Other foreign cars need a Vehicle Registration Certificate, customs document Carnet de Passages en Douane , vehicle insurance purchased from a Singapore-based insurance company and an International Circulation Permit.
Go through immigration first and get your passport stamped. Once that is done, proceed to customs where you will have to open the boot for inspection.
After that, you are free to go anywhere in Singapore. This is done by slotting the AutoPass into the reader at the immigration counter while you get your passport stamped.
Driving into Malaysia from Singapore is relatively uncomplicated, although small tolls are charged for both crossing and for the Second Link the adjoining expressway.
Do be sure to change some ringgit before crossing, as Singapore dollars are accepted only at the unfavourable rate of 1: Moreover, be prepared for longer queues as Malaysia introduced a biometric system for foreigners wishing to enter that country see Malaysia article.
In both directions, car hire agencies often prohibit their vehicles from crossing the border or charge extra.
Unfortunately, there is no central bus terminal and different companies leave from all over the city.
Most other operators have banded together in two shared booking portals. Many, but by no means all, use the Golden Mile Complex shopping mall near Bugis as their Singapore terminal.
In general, the more you pay, the faster and more comfortable your trip. Book early for popular departure times like Friday and Sunday evening, Chinese New Year, etc, and factor in some extra time for congestion at the border.
An alternative to taking a direct "international bus" is to make the short hop to Johor Bahru to catch domestic Malaysian long-distance express buses to various Malaysian destinations from the Larkin Bus Terminal.
Besides having more options, fares may also be lower because you will be paying in Malaysian ringgit rather than Singaporean dollars. The downside is the time-consuming hassle of first getting to Johor Bahru and then getting to Larkin terminal on the outskirts of town.
Terminals aside, all buses make two stops at Singapore immigration and at Malaysian immigration. At both immigration points, you must disembark with all your luggage and pass through passport control and customs, then board the next bus by showing your ticket.
Figure on one hour for the whole rigmarole from end to end, more during rush hour. While less frequent and more expensive than buses, and the Woodlands KTMB station is a bus ride away from the MRT system, the trains have dedicated immigration and custom checks areas separated from the very busy road checkpoints, and get you across the Causeway without getting stuck in traffic.
Gates open 30 minutes before each departure for immigration clearance and boarding, and close 10 minutes before departure. For departures from Woodlands Train Checkpoint, avoid arriving very early as there are very limited facilities, and toilets are only available after immigration.
Photography and video recording are prohibited at the train checkpoint. Tickets can be bought up to 30 days in advance, either in person at KTMB ticket counters or online through the KTMB e-ticketing website , and sold up to 15 minutes before departure if still available.
Booking in advance is recommended, as the service is popular among commuters and weekend shoppers, in particular weekday mornings departures from JB Sentral usually snatched up as soon as tickets are released for booking 30 days in advance and weekend evenings departures from JB Sentral usually sold out on the morning of departure.
For JB Sentral-Woodlands, at JB Sentral there are turnstiles installed at the departure gate Gate A ; scan the barcode or QR code on your ticket can be one stored on a mobile device to activate the turnstile.
Going to Malaysia, both Singapore and Malaysia immigration checks are conveniently done at Woodlands before boarding. Firstly Singapore stamps you out, then walk over to the adjacent hall to get stamp in by Malaysia.
In the reverse direction, Malaysian exit immigration checks are carried out at JB Sentral before boarding, and Singapore immigration checks are done upon arrival at Woodlands.
Despite being located in the same immigration checkpoint complex and having similar names, Woodlands Train Checkpoint is a separate facility from the much larger and busier Woodlands Checkpoint for road vehicles.
If you mistakenly end up in Woodlands Checkpoint and see immigration counters in front of you, you are better off proceeding with immigration clearance and taking a bus across the border, giving the train a miss.
Backtracking is not normally allowed without a strong reason, you will be interviewed by immigration officers before being escorted out of the checkpoint, wasting time and you will still miss the train anyway.
There is also the option of taking a taxi between Singapore and Johor Bahru. The main advantage is that you do not need to lug your stuff or yourself through Immigration and Customs at both ends; you can just sit in the car.
Both Singapore-registered and Malaysian-registered taxis are available. Singapore-registered taxis can bring you to anywhere in Singapore but can only go to Larkin in Johor Bahru, while Malaysian-registered taxis can bring you to anywhere in Malaysia but can only go to Ban San St in Singapore.
Drop-off points other than the taxi terminal in the destination country may incur additional charges; check with the driver before boarding. Singapore has five ferry terminals which handle international ferries: Operators at Harbourfront include:.
For Tanjung Pinang , there are total of 6 ferries a day, increasing to 9 during weekends. Tanjung Balai is served by Penguin and IndoFalcon from Harbourfront, with six ferries total on weekdays, increasing to 8 during weekends.
Ferries shuttle from Singapore to southeastern Johor and are handy for access to the beach resort of Desaru. The scheduled ferry service to Tioman was discontinued in Singapore is also a popular stop for round-the-world and major regional cruises including those originating from as far as Japan , China , Australia , Europe and North America.
Check with cruise companies and sellers for details. Getting around Singapore is easy: Very few visitors rent cars. CityMapper Singapore and Google Maps does a pretty good job of figuring out the fastest route by MRT and bus and even estimating taxi fares between any two points.
If you are staying in Singapore for some time or are planning to return to Singapore several times in the future, the EZ-link contactless RFID farecard or a Nets Flash Pay card might be a worthwhile purchase.
You can use the same card for 5 years. The card technology was changed in , but if you have any old cards lying around, they can be exchanged for free with value intact at TransitLink offices in all MRT stations.
Alternatively, the Singapore Tourist Pass available at selected major MRT stations including Changi Airport and Orchard also includes ez-link card functionality and a variety of discounts for attractions.
The passes are valid until the end of operating hours on the day they expire. Single tickets can be purchased for both MRT and buses. In the case of buses it delays everyone else because the driver has to count fare stages to tell you how much you need to pay.
In addition, no change is given for the bus and you will need to buy a separate ticket if you intend to transfer to another bus later in your journey.
Distance based fares have been available since July All commuters will be charged a fare according to the total distance travelled, on the bus, LRT and MRT, and make transfers without incurring additional cost.
They are a cheap and very reliable mode of transportation, and the network covers most points of interest for the visitor.
All lines are seamlessly integrated, even if the lines are operated by different transport companies, so you do not need to buy a new ticket to transfer.
All train lines use contactless RFID tickets. Just tap to scan your train ticket at the gantry when entering and exiting the train service area.
To load a new ticket onto an existing card at a ticket machine, just place it on the designated spot and follow the on-screen instructions.
Distance based fares Please remember these points to enjoy the full benefits of distance based fares: The MRT stations are clean and usually equipped with free toilets.
Underground stations have platform screen doors between the train and the platform while most above-ground stations have Half-height Platform Screen Doors HHPSDs so there is no risk of falling onto the tracks.
There are exceptions though, when a staff member comes in to drive the train. In this case, a tape will be put up behind the driving area to prevent passengers from interfering with the driver.
As of October , a Downtown Line extension connects the Chinatown Station with the Expo Station on the Changi Airport Extension, providing travellers with an alternative route to get between Changi Airport and the city.
Buses connect various corners of Singapore, but are slower and harder to use than the MRT. The advantage though of this is you get to see the sights rather than a dark underground tunnel at a low price.
Payment with ez-link or Nets Flashpay card is thus the easiest method: When you alight, tap your card again at the exit, and the difference is refunded.
Inspectors occasionally prowl buses to check that everybody has paid or tapped, so those who are on tourist day passes should tap before sitting down.
Another advantage of ez-link or Nets Flashpay cards is that you will be able to enjoy distance-based fares and avoid the boarding fee.
After midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and before public holidays only , the NightRider services are a fairly convenient way of getting around, with seven lines running every 20min.
As mentioned earlier, gothere. Taxis use meters and are reasonably priced and honest, however, a shortage of taxis in Singapore means that they are often unavailable for hours at a time.
Be aware, however, that taxis are often remarkably difficult to secure, especially during peak commute or shopping hours, or when there is inclement weather.
The advent of ride-sharing apps see below has mitigated this somewhat, though do expect surcharges during periods of high demand.
Watch out for surprises though: All such charges are shown on the bottom right-hard corner of the meter, recorded in the printed receipt and explained in tedious detail in a sticker on the window; if you suspect the cab driver is trying to pull a fast one, call the company and ask for an explanation.
Note that there is no surcharge for trips to the airport. While all taxis are equipped to handle and are required to accept credit cards, in practice many cabbies do not accept electronic payment.
Always ask before getting in. Some taxi companies offer booking via SMS, online and mobile app. Despite the costs involved, taxis may sometimes take you to distant locations outside the CBD faster than mass transport.
An airport trip from the city centre may take less than 20min on a taxi but more than 30min on an MRT.
In the Central Business District, taxis may pick up passengers only at taxi stands found outside any shopping mall or buildings with their own driveways including virtually all hotels.
At night spots featuring long queues, such as Clarke Quay, you may on occasion be approached by touts offering a quick flat fare to your destination.
This is illegal and very expensive but reasonably safe for you. Drivers, on the other hand, will probably lose their job if caught.
Some Singapore taxi drivers have very poor geographical knowledge and may expect you to know where they should go, so it may be helpful to bring a map of your destination area or directions on finding where you wish to go.
It may also be helpful to write down the address of your destination. Some cabbies may also ask you which route you want to take; most are satisfied with "whichever way is faster".
Beginning April , the major rideshare competitors Uber and Grab have consolidated into a single Grab app with complete coverage and presence in Singapore; Uber will cease to operate in the country.
Before arriving, download the Grab ride-hailing app. Rides are reasonably priced and the app also allows users to hail conventional taxis.
Other options include Ryde and Go Jek which offers competitive prices as well. Trishaws , three-wheeled bicycle taxis, haunt the area around the Singapore River and Chinatown.
Geared purely for tourists, they should be avoided for serious travel as locals do not use them. There is little room for bargaining: Car rental is not a popular option in Singapore.
It is also hardly necessary for tourists since public transport sufficiently covers all areas of the island with a significant population base.
If planning on touring Malaysia by car, it makes much more sense to head across the border to Johor Bahru , where both rentals and petrol are half price, and you have the option of dropping your car off elsewhere in the country.
This also avoids the unwelcome extra attention that Singapore-registered plates tend to get from thieves in Malaysia.
One rental company called smove offers electric vehicle rentals. Since the cars are battery powered, you save on the cost of gas. They offer their service in the Buona Vista area of Singapore.
Roads in Singapore are in excellent condition and driving habits are generally good with most people following the traffic rules due to stringent enforcement, though road courtesy tends to be sorely lacking.
Compared to other major cities around the world like Sydney , Tokyo or Hong Kong , parking spaces are comparatively easier to find in the city centre of Singapore, although peak hour congestion can be quite severe.
Foreign licences in English are valid in Singapore for up to a year from your date of entry, after which you will have to convert your foreign license to a Singapore one.
Foreign licences not in English must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit IDP or an official English translation usually available from your embassy for them to be valid.
Singaporeans drive on the left UK style and the driving age is ERP gantries are activated at different times, usually in the expected direction of most cars.
As a rule of thumb, gantries found in roads leading to the CBD are activated during the morning rush hour while gantries found in roads exiting the CBD are activated during the evening rush hour.
Passing through an active ERP gantry with insufficient value will mean that an alert is sent to your registered address.
You will need to pay an administrative fee in addition to the difference between the remaining amount and the actual charge. You have a limited time to settle this otherwise your penalty becomes heavier.
All passengers must wear seatbelts and using a phone while driving is banned. Drink-driving is not tolerated: Even if your blood alcohol level does not exceed the legal limit, you can still be charged with drink driving if the police are convinced that your ability to control the vehicle has been compromised by the presence of alcohol i.
The police do conduct periodic roadblocks and speed cameras are omnipresent. Fines will be sent by mail to you or your rental agency, who will then pass on the cost with a surcharge.
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