Being avid travellers, what we find the most useful are guides that give us a brief look into the essential things that you need to know about the country i.e. what currency they use, travel plugs that would be necessary and more.
As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Not only would such information be useful in helping you plan your itinerary, it also gives you a deeper insight into the customs and practices of your intended country of visit so you do not have to worry about disrespecting anyone by accident.
Here are 13 Useful Tips You Should Know Before Travelling To Singapore. Welcome to our beautiful garden city and we hope that you have a great time here!
The easiest way to get around Singapore would be by MRT i.e. Mass Rapid Transit. At present, there are 5 different MRT transport lines and various LRT lines that will bring you to almost every part of Singapore.
Otherwise, Singapore also has a pretty fantastic bus system which is available throughout the city. Public transport rates for both the MRT and bus will cost you below S$3 on average.
Shopping in Singapore is unlike shopping in Bangkok and you should not attempt to haggle over the price of an item if you are shopping in an established shopping centre.
However, there are certain situations where bargaining in Singapore is acceptable. This includes flea markets at *SCAPE Marketplace and Lucky Plaza.
Locals use the Singapore dollar and the most commonly used notes come in denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100 and S$1000. As for coins, the denominations come in S$0.05, S$0.10, S$0.20, S$0.50 and S$1.
Singapore prides itself on being a multi-racial society and during your visit, you will be sure to encounter people of various races and backgrounds. That being said, the primary language in Singapore is English although some elderly folks may prefer speaking in their own mother tongues instead.
Other languages spoken in Singapore include Chinese, Malay and Tamil. But no worries if you have trouble communicating as you can approach any Singaporean and they would be delighted to help you out!
#5 LAWS TO ABIDE BY
There are various laws in Singapore which everyone will have to abide by, whether you are a tourist or not.
Singapore takes pride in being a clean and green city so chewing gums are not allowed to be brought in and careless littering is also forbidden, of course. We also have very strict laws on consumption and trafficking drugs in Singapore—which results in the death penalty.
#6 NO SMOKING AREAS
The Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act was administered by the National Environment Agency in Singapore in lieu of Singapore’s efforts to promote a smoke-free lifestyle in Singapore.
Smokers will have to take note of the list of places in Singapore where smoking is prohibited so as to not commit an offence unconsciously. The list of prohibited places can be found here.
#7 POWER PLUGS
In this day and age, it is almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t use an electronic device. Before you come to Singapore, do check whether you will require a power plug adapter or voltage converter for the power sockets used here.
In Singapore, we use the type G electrical plug, with a standard voltage of 230V and a standard frequency of 50 Hz. That being said, do make sure that your electronic appliances or devices are compatible with Singapore’s standard voltage prior to use.
#8 SAFE DRINKING WATER
You do not have to specially purchase bottles of drinking water from convenience stores during your stay as tap water in Singapore is safe for consumption.
However, if you still prefer to consume only bottled water, there are plenty of convenience stores or grocery stores around Singapore where you can purchase bottled water easily.
#9 TAX REFUND
To alleviate some of the money spent on shopping, tourists are entitled to claim a refund on the 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) should you spend more than S$100 at a participating shop. To meet this total expenditure of S$100, you can combine 3 same-day receipts or invoices from shops with the same GST registration number.
Simply search for a ‘Tax-Free’ shopping logo or signage displayed in the shop or ask the friendly staff if you can get a GST refund on your items!
You can either claim your tax refund at the airport, at the eTRS Self-Help Kiosk or receive your refund in cash or have it credited to your credit card if you are departing from Changi Airport. For those leaving from Seletar Airport, you can have your GST refund through cheque or also have it credited to your credit card.
Tipping is not mandatory in Singapore as most restaurants in Singapore charge for service fees. Although you are paying a service charge, paying this fee does not mean that you are directly tipping the service staff. Often, this is just additional profit for the restaurants.
Thus, if you wish to tip a particular service staff, do approach the servers directly but do also be aware of the restaurant’s tipping policy.
#11 USEFUL NUMBERS
It will always be good to have on hand key contact numbers of various emergency services in Singapore should the need arise.
Useful numbers that you should take down include 999 for the police, 995 for the ambulance and fire brigade and 1800 542 4422 if you wish to procure flight information.
It’s safe to say that most Singaporeans would agree that Singapore only has two seasons —hot, hotter hottest; wet, wetter, wettest. There is no change to the weather throughout the year and do expect a high level of humidity during your visit.
Temperatures during the day average above 30°C and may go down to 27°C at night. It would be good to prepare yourself for unpredictable weather such as torrential rain, so bring along a raincoat or umbrella if you plan to spend the day out in the open!
#13 WI-FI & CONNECTIVITY
There are plenty of ways for you stay in touch with your loved ones in Singapore and of course, update your social media page with pictures or videos of your experience here.
You can consider purchasing a prepaid SIM card from the local telcos—M1, Singtel, Starhub or Circles Life—who offer a range of packages that you can select from to tailor to your needs. Otherwise, you can choose to have a pocket Wi-Fi device on hand which are available for rental at Changi Recommends.
But if all doesn’t work out, there are several places in Singapore—such as dining establishments or malls —that offer free Wi-Fi.