English is the main language used within Singapore, but there are three other official languages recognized within this small city-state. These include Malay, Chinese and Tamil.
The Singapore dollar (SGD) is the official currency of the island. Interestingly though, the Brunei dollar and the Singapore dollar can be used interchangeably in both countries since they are pegged to each other. Compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, Singapore is an expensive destination, although it is on par with most Western countries. It is possible to exchange money at the airport and in banks around the country, but there are also currency exchange booths in shopping centers that give much better rates than the banks. Credit cards are widely accepted, but some restaurants add a three percent surcharge onto the bill. If paying taxis with plastic, a 15 percent surcharge will be added.
The country is on Singapore Standard Time, which is eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC +8).
Singapore’s electricity is 230 Volts at 50 Hertz and the sockets are three pronged. There are two flat pins that are parallel and one ground pin. American travelers will need to bring an adaptor and a voltage converter for appliances.
The international dialing for Singapore is +65. This small country also boasts three telecommunication providers, SingTel, StarHub and MobileOne. GSM 900/1800 networks are the standard for mobile companies, and almost all of the city-state has great coverage. SingPost is the national postal service in Singapore and the country is well connected to the internet. Most locals have WiFi at home, but there are a number of internet cafés, especially in the areas of Little India and Chinatown.
Singapore has a strict law against bringing cigarettes into the country, so take note that you can't carry any tobacco products through customs. Travelers over 18 years old can bring one liter of wine, one liter of beer and one liter of spirits duty-free. If entering from Malaysia, the tax-exempt allowances are a little stricter so check ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore: http://www.yoursingapore.com or +65-6736-2000.
Embassies in Singapore
US Embassy, Singapore: +65-6476-9100
Australian Consulate, Singapore: +65-6836-4100
Canadian Consulate, Singapore: +65-6854-5900
British Embassy, Singapore: +65-6424-4200
Norwegian Embassy, Singapore: +65-6818-2000
Emergency services: 999