By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: What should I prepare myself for when going to Singapore this summer?

A: Singapore has a history of entrepot trade and as a result all the goods are cheaper compared to western countries. So things like electronics, jewellery and clothing have great prices.

You'll also find if you're on the prowl for a good camera, Singapore is a hot destination for new product releases. All the latest models get their head start here.

It's also important to be aware of some customs. Singapore is spotlessly clean. One colleague refers to Singapore as "Cultishly Disneyland clean." The food is amazing. With the fusion of western and eastern cuisine, dishes are served up in small restaurants and loads of luxury hotels.

In the morning, be sure to drop by a nearby street market and try the coffee. It is a blend of condensed milk, strong coffee and honey syrup, a real kickstart for a day of shopping which is the favorite pastime for tourists.

Finish your day at the famous Raffles Hotel, the haunt of playwright Noel Coward, who was their most famous denizen. Here you can sip on a "Singapore Sling," the place where it was invented.

Don't worry about language barriers. English is the lingua franca. Although, you also may hear some Mandarin, Malay and Tamil spoken.

Lastly, be mindful of local customs. For instance, chewing gum or jaywalking can lead to a heavy fine and possibly even a stint in jail. For more travel-related info on Singapore, visit the Singapore Tourism Board's North American website at


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