Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial centre with a tropical climate and multicultural population.
The Singapore Dollar (SGD) is the official currency of Singapore. ATMs can be found all around Singapore throughout the city, at MRT stations, shopping centres and convenience stores.
Due to its geographical location and maritime exposure, Singapore’s climate is characterised by uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity and abundant rainfall. The average temperature is between 25 degrees Celsius and 31 degrees Celsius. Thunderstorms occur on 40% of all days. Relative humidity is in the range of 70% – 80%. April is the warmest month, January is the coolest month and November is the wettest month.
Singapore has a multi-ethnic society and the Singapore government recognises four official languages: English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin. Although Malay is Singapore’s official national language, English is the main language of instruction and business. Almost all Singaporeans are bilingual in English and one of the other three official languages.
The standard electrical voltage in Singapore is 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Most electrical outlets in Singapore take a three-pronged UK-style plug.
Visitors to Hong Kong will find authentic food from all the regions of China. There are stalls and restaurants serving most of the key Asian cuisines, as well as excellent Western cuisine. Hong Kong is also one of the leading centres for international cooking. Some popular dishes among the locals are fishballs, pineapple bun, phoenix talon (chicken’s feet), egg tart, roast goose, dumplings and wontons.
Yum Cha (drinking tea) is an integral part of Hong Kong’s culinary culture and is the perfect complement to most dishes. Hong Kong-style milk tea is also a popular beverage and typically served as a part of afternoon tea.
Singapore’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is probably the fastest way to get around. The underground network stretches across the entire city, with most attractions in walking distance from a station. Most travellers arrive through Singapore Changi Airport, which is connected to the city by the MRT system.
Similarly, the bus system has an extensive network of routes, and is an economical and scenic way to get around Singapore. The numerous bus routes, however, can be overwhelming to visitors.
Taxis are comfortable and reasonably priced. Most locals speak English, so be sure to chat with them for local tips. You can hail a taxi by the roadside at most places or by queuing at a taxi stand located at most hotels, shopping malls and tourist attractions.
For information on getting around Singapore by public transport, see here.
Most restaurants in Singapore add a 10% service charge to the bill so a tip is not expected. If you insist on tipping your waiter, it is best to hand the cash directly to the person as some restaurants take the tips that are left on the table. Tipping bellhops at hotels is not compulsory but acceptable.