Things to Know Before Visiting Singapore
Singapore is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia and it is easy to see why. The city is incredible with picturesque streets, skyscrapers and lots of attractions.
Singapore has been a popular trading hub for decades. It’s an exciting and diverse place. You’ll find a great mix of people visiting, working and living in Singapore.
Millions of people from around the world visit Singapore every year and if you have an up coming trip, there are lots of important and useful things you should know before you go.
Check out our list of 15 essential things to know before you go.
1. Entry Requirements
If you are arriving from Australia, the European Union, the USA, South Korea you can enter Singapore and stay for 90 days without the need of a visa.
If you are coming from outside of these destinations you will need to see if you are eligible for a tourist visa. This is fairly easy to do via a visa agent or a Singaporean diplomatic embassy.
Make you you prepare for Singapore’s tropical climate. As it’s close to the equator, the weather is often hot and humid all year round. You’ll also experience plenty of rainfall from November to January, which can surprise you when you least expect it.
Be smart when packing your clothing and opt for light layers with clothes made from cool, airy materials, especially if you’re visiting during summer.
You should always be prepared for rain; pack a coat and an umbrella. A small umbrella that you can easily fit in your belongings and you can also use it to shelter your face from the sun.
Also don’t forget to buy sunscreen.
3. Getting Around
There are quite a few options for getting around Singapore.
Singapore is a comparatively small place, especially the city center so it’s easy to get around by walking. You might be tempted to walk everywhere, as it’s a great way to combine commuting with sightseeing.
However, the temperature is often hot and walking can be tiring. If you visit during summer, you may work up a sweat which isn’t the best look.
So, when it’s hot, avoid walking unless it’s less than 10 minutes away.
MRT, LRT & Bus
Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Trail Transit (LRT) are popular amongst travelers and locals alike. The trains are punctual and efficient. They’re also a safer option if you’re hoping to avoid traffic.
Buses cover vast areas along many routes in Singapore so you’ll have no trouble finding one. However, buses are subjected to traffic and may not be the most reliable if you’re tight for time before an important meeting.
Instead of buying individual tickets every time you travel by train or bus, consider getting an EZ-link card. You can use this reusable prepaid card whenever you travel; they’re available at any ticket office at the train/bus station.
Taxis & Ubers
Taxis are widely available in Singapore. They run on a meter system, and the fares are fixed depending on the time of day.
You can call a taxi at any point. However, be aware that they’re only allowed to stand at the designated taxi stands in the city center.
Uber is a smart way to travel in any city. If it’s your first time in the city, an Uber can be the easiest and safest option.
Singapore is a diverse nation with several official languages including English, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin Chinese. Most local people you encounter will be able to speak English which makes the whole experience of travelling here easier.
5. Where to Go
Singapore might look small on a map but there are so many sights and places to see. Planning your Singapore itinerary is a lot of fun and there are options for all interests and budgets.
Some of the best places to see include The Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown and the red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha's teeth.
There is the option to explore independently, or search Singapore small group tours where you will get to discover amazing places with a local guide.
Singapore is not cheap! This is one of the most expensive destinations in Asia and home to a lot of multi-millionaires. If you have the money it is possible to visit Singapore and enjoy a really luxurious stay, but if you don't there are also lots of free/cheap things to do. The Broke Backpacker has lots of recommendations for how to explore this country without breaking the bank.
Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world for international visitors and you shouldn't encounter any problems when visiting. Local people in Singapore are very friendly and welcoming.
If you are a food lover, then Singapore will not disappoint. You can find really tasty local and international food and drink here, from all around the world. There are hawker street stalls and markets and also some of the best restaurants in the world.
Singapore has a buzzing nightlife and there are lots of bars and pubs to choose from. Entry prices to clubs and alcohol is quite pricey but you can find it cheaper if you head to local areas of street markets.
Also one thing to know is, you can't buy or drink in public after 10:30pm but you can still buy and drink at restaurants, pubs and hotels. Another option is to buy from duty free at the airport before arriving.
10. Smoking Restrictions
Smoking in public is banned in Singapore and if you want to smoke you need to go to designated smoking areas. If you are caught smoking in a non designated area you will have to pay a large fine of around $1000!
11. Chewing Gum is Banned
Buying, selling or using chewing gum is illegal in Singapore!
12. Get a Local Sim Card
A traveler can easily get a prepaid sim card in Singapore. With a local sim, you’ll be able to make calls and use mobile data on your mobile phone.
Having a local sim, and data is especially useful if you need to call uber or check your emails on the go.
Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere in Singapore. If you’re staying at a hotel, you can connect to the hotel Wi-Fi.
Other businesses, such as cafes and restaurants offer their own Wi-Fi. If you need to work while grabbing a coffee, you can do so at the nearest cafe.
Singapore even offers central Wi-Fi service hotspots at many public places and tourist attractions. It's quite easy to stay connected in Singapore!
As we mentioned above, the Singaporean community is diverse. You’ll find the people friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have.
You should be courteous while interacting with people. Like the rest of Asia, Singapore has a polite culture and you should follow the same etiquette. For example, whenever you receive something, such as your change after a purchase, use both hands to receive it.
15. Where to Stay
The type of accommodation you choose will vary depending on the length of your trip and budget.
If you’re only staying for a few days, hotels are your best option. You can easily find hotels close to the airport or the city center. If you are on a backpacker budget there are also lots of cheap amazing hostels in Singapore. However, if you’re staying for at least a month, hotel nights can add up.
This is where serviced apartments come into play. With so many people visiting for business, Singapore has plenty of serviced apartments that cater to business travellers.
Airbnb offers serviced apartments in Singapore but your best option is Metro Residence. With Metro Residence you can choose from over 400 different apartments.
Singapore is the ultimate destination for business travel. In fact, it’s been a popular trading hub for many decades.
Traveling in Singapore is super easy. There are plenty of transport options as well as a host of top-rated accommodation options, from hotels to serviced apartments.
With a friendly culture and beautiful attractions for sightseeing, you’ll be sad to leave!