Good To Know
Singapore’s Population, Language and Culture
At present, Singapore’s population stands at about 5.6 million people, with English as the main language of instruction, and a mother tongue for each major ethnicity. One of the distinctly Singaporean things you’ll notice on our island is a ubiquitous collage of cultures. Coming together as a society and living in harmony, there are four major races – namely the Chinese (majority), Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Each community offers a different perspective of life in Singapore in terms of culture, religion, food and language.
Singapore’s currency is the Singapore dollar (S$ or SGD). Money changers can be found at Changi Airport, shopping centres and hotels around the island. There is also an abundance of automated teller machines (ATMs) that accept most major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Tipping and taxes
Tipping is not widely practiced in Singapore, as most hotels and restaurants apply a default
10% service charge.
To enjoy a refund on the 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid on your purchases, you need to make at least $100 worth of purchases from participating outlets that display a “Tax Refund” logo or a “Tax Free Shopping” logo. Simply choose one credit/debit card as a Token for tagging your purchases entitled for refund. This Token will allow you to easily retrieve all of your purchases’ details, at one go when you apply for GST refunds using the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) self-help kiosks at the airport and cruise terminal. Otherwise, you can request a refund voucher upon purchase. Present this at the airport’s Tax Refund Counter (along with your purchases, receipts and passport) before you depart the country. Visit www.customs.gov.sg for more information about the Tourist Refund Scheme.
Singapore's time zone is GMT +8.
Singapore is warm and humid all year round. The daily temperature averages around 28 degrees Celsius. Abundant rainfall can be expected during the monsoon seasons from December to March and from June to September.
Singapore is a veritable food haven. Make your meals count and dig into these 10 favourite local delights during your stay.
- Succulent chicken and fragrant rice from Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre
- Steaming bowls of bak kut teh (pork rib soup) at Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
- An authentic kaya toast breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast
- Crispy roti prata(fried Indian pancakes) at The Roti Prata House at Upper Thomson Road
- Seafood-studded laksa (Peranakan noodles in soupy creamy broth) at 328 Katong Laksa
- Mouth-watering satay (skewered meat) at Satay by the Bay
- Tasty Indian fish head curry from Banana Leaf Apollo at Race Course Road
- On-so-sinful char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) from No 18 Zion Road Char Kway Teow at Zion Riverside Food Centre
- Finger-lickin’ good chilli crab from Jumbo Seafood
- Savoury local fried carrot cake at Fu Ming Cooked Food, Redhill Food Centre