Official name: Republic of Singapore
Area: 648 square kilometers (250 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Bukit Timah (166 meters/545 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 8 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 42 kilometers (26 miles) from east-northeast to west-southwest; 23 kilometers (14 miles) from south-southeast to north-northwest
Land boundaries: None
Coastline: 193 kilometers (120 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 5.6 kilometers (3 nautical miles)
The Republic of Singapore consists of a main island and sixty-three islets just south of the tip of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Singapore, the second smallest country in Asia, is often described as a city-state. The diamond-shaped main island, which accounts for all but about 38 square kilometers (15 square miles) of the republic's area, is almost entirely urban. With a total area of 648 square kilometers (250 square miles), Singapore is nearly 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C.
Singapore has no territories or dependencies.
Singapore has a humid, rainy, tropical climate, with temperatures moderated by the seas surrounding the islands. Temperatures are nearly uniform throughout the year, averaging 25°C (77°F) in January and 27°C (81°F) in June. Although the island lies between 1 and 2 degrees north of the equator, the maritime influences moderate the heat of the region. The highest temperature ever recorded in Singapore is only 36°C (97°F).
Singapore is very humid, with heavy rainfall all year. Annual rainfall averages 237 centimeters (93 inches). The northeast monsoon that occurs between November and March brings the heaviest rainfall of the year.
The main island has three major geographic divisions: an elevated, hilly area in the center; a section of lower, rolling land to the west; and flatlands to the east. Singapore's smaller islands are low-lying with coastal beaches.
Singapore is located between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.
The coastal waters surrounding Singapore are generally less than 30 meters (100 feet) deep.
Singapore is bordered on the north by the Johore Strait, which separates it from the Malay Peninsula, on the southeast by the Singapore Strait, and on the southwest by the Strait of Malacca.
After Singapore Island, the next-largest island in the country is Pulau Tekong Besar to the northeast, with an area of only 18 square kilometers (7 square miles).
The easternmost part of the coastline is smooth, but the rest has many indentations; the most important of these is the deep natural harbor at the mouth of the Singapore River on the southern coast.
Singapore has no significant natural lakes, but it has fourteen artificial bodies of water that were created by the construction of reservoirs.
Singapore's rivers are all short, including its main river, which has the same name as the island itself. The Singapore River flows into the wide harbor on the island's southeastern coast. Other rivers include the Seletar (at 14 Singapore's kilometers/9 miles, the longest on the island), Jurong, Kalang, Kranji, and Serangoon.
There are no deserts in Singapore.
Aside from Bukit Timah Hill, the main island's highest point, Singapore's central hills include Mandai and Panjang. Lower ridges extend northwest-to-southeast in the western and southern parts of the island.
The highest land on Singapore is a ridge of rugged hills in the center of the island. The highest is Bukit Timah Hill, at 165 meters (545 feet).
Singapore has no significant caves or canyons.
The eastern part of the main island is a low, eroded plateau.
The Johore Causeway, built in the 1920s, is fewer than 3 kilometers (1 mile) long. It bridges the Johore Strait, connecting Singapore to the Malaysian state of Johore. A second causeway opened in 1999. Land reclamation has added almost 15 square kilometers (6 square miles) to Singapore's total territory since 1966, mostly along the southeast coast, including reclamation on nearby islands.
Fourteen reservoirs have been built on Singapore's rivers for flood control as well as for private and industrial water use. Almost all the reservoirs are located in the center of the island or at the mouths of rivers on the northeastern or western coasts. Among the largest are Seretar and Upper Pierce, both of which are situated in the center of the island.
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Rowthorn, Chris, et al. Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei . Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 1999.
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Warren, William. Singapore, City of Gardens. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, 2000.
Lonely Planet: Destination Singapore. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/south_east_asia/singapore (accessed April 15, 2003).
Singapore Tourism Board: North America site. http://www.tourismsingapore.com/ (accessed April 15, 2003).