Thursday, September 7, 2023
Singapore City Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Singapore, also known as the Lion Metropolis, the Garden City, and the Red Dot, is a sovereign state and global city in Southeast Asia, as well as the world’s only island city-state. It is located one degree (137 kilometers) north of the equator, south of the southernmost point of continental Asia and peninsular Malaysia, and to the south of Indonesia’s Riau Islands. Singapore’s territory includes a diamond-shaped main island as well as 62 smaller islets. Since independence, significant land reclamation has expanded the island’s overall area by 23% (130 km2), and a greening program has blanketed the densely populated island with tropical vegetation, parks, and gardens.

Sir Stamford Raffles established colonial Singapore in 1819 as an East India Company trading station; following the formation of the British Raj, the islands were surrendered to Britain and became part of the Straits Settlements in 1826. During World War II, Japan seized Singapore. It achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1963 by joining forces with other former British colonies to create Malaysia, but was ejected two years later due to ideological disagreements. After a period of instability, and despite a lack of natural resources and a hinterland, the country emerged as an Asian Tiger economy built on foreign commerce and human capital.

Singapore is a worldwide trade, financial, and transportation center. Its rankings include: most “technology-ready” nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with “best investment potential” (BERI), 2nd-most competitive country (WEF), third-largest foreign exchange center, third-largest financial center, third-largest oil refining and trading center, and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s most well-known worldwide brands are Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Changi Airport, both of which have received many awards. It has been the only Asian nation with the highest AAA sovereign rating from all major credit rating agencies, including S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch, for the last decade.

Singapore scores well on the Human Development Index (UN), leading Asia and ranking 11th worldwide, particularly on important indicators of education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing. Despite significant economic disparity, 90% of resident families own their houses, and the nation boasts one of the greatest per capita incomes in the world, with minimal taxes. Singapore has 5.6 million inhabitants, with 38% of them being permanent residents or other foreign nationalities. Singaporeans are typically multilingual, speaking both their native tongue and English as their common language. Its cultural variety is evident in its ethnic “hawker” food and main festivals—Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western—all of which are national holidays.

It is generally regarded as the “Singapore model” because of its efficient, pragmatic, and uncorrupt government and civil service, as well as its fast growth plans. According to Gallup surveys, 84 percent of its people have faith in the national government, and 85 percent have faith in its judicial institutions, which is one of the best scores ever recorded. Singapore has considerable influence in global events despite its small size, prompting some experts to categorize it as a medium power. Forbes ranks it as Asia’s most influential city and the fourth most important city in the world.

Singapore is a unitary, multiparty, parliamentary republic with a Westminster form of unicameral parliamentary government, although Freedom House classifies it as “partly free.” Since the country’s independence in 1959, the People’s Action Party has won every election. Singapore is one of the ASEAN’s five founding members, as well as the home of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat and a member of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations.

In a nation that can be traversed in less than an hour, Singapore is a microcosm of Asia, inhabited by Chinese, Malays, Indians, and a significant group of workers and expatriates from all over the world. Singapore, which recently celebrated its 50th birthday, has favored economic practicality over social concerns, encouraging constant reuse and redevelopment of land with massive projects such as the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa integrated resorts, as well as becoming a major Asian financial hub, but there has also been a growing push back to preserve local heritage.

Flights & Hotels
search and compare

We compare room prices from 120 different hotel booking services (including, Agoda, and others), enabling you to pick the most affordable offers that are not even listed on each service separately.

100% Best Price

The price for one and the same room can differ depending on the website you are using. Price comparison enables finding the best offer. Also, sometimes the same room can have a different availability status in another system.

No charge & No Fees

We don’t charge any commissions or extra fees from our customers and we cooperate only with proven and reliable companies.

Ratings and Reviews

We use TrustYou™, the smart semantic analysis system, to gather reviews from many booking services (including, Agoda, and others), and calculate ratings based on all the reviews available online.

Discounts and Offers

We search for destinations through a large booking services database. This way we find the best discounts and offer them to you.

Singapore - Info Card




Singapore dollar (S$) (SGD)

Time zone

UTC+8 (Singapore Standard Time)


23,200 km2 (9,000 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil

Singapore | Introduction

Demographics Of Singapore

Singapore’s projected population was 5,535,000 individuals as of mid-2015, with 3,375,000 (60.98 percent) citizens and 2,160,000 (39.02 percent) permanent residents (527,700) or international students/foreign workers/dependants (1,632,300). According to the country’s most recent census in 2010, approximately 23% of Singapore residents (i.e. citizens and permanent residents) were foreign born (which implies around 10% of Singapore citizens were foreign-born naturalised citizens); non-residents made up nearly 43% of the overall population.

According to the same census, 74.1 percent of inhabitants were of Chinese ancestry, 13.4 percent were of Malay ancestry, 9.2 percent were of Indian ancestry, and 3.3 percent were of other (including Eurasian) ancestry. Prior to 2010, each individual could only register as a member of one race, by default his or her father’s race, thus mixed-race people were only included in official censuses under their father’s race. People may register using a multi-racial categorization starting in 2010, allowing them to choose one main race and one secondary race, but no more than two.

The average household size in Singapore is 3.43 people, and 90.3 percent of resident households (i.e. households led by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident) own their houses (which include dependants who are neither citizens nor permanent residents). Due to a lack of land, 80.4 percent of resident families live in subsidised, high-rise public housing units called as “HDB flats” by the government body responsible for public housing in the nation (Housing and Development Board). In addition, 75.9% of resident families live in HDB flats or private property that are equivalent to or bigger than a four-room (i.e. three bedrooms + one living room). Singapore has a large number of live-in foreign domestic workers, with about 224,500 foreign domestic workers as of December 2013.

Singaporeans have a median age of 39.3 years, and the total fertility rate in 2014 was projected to be 0.80 children per woman, the lowest in the world and well below the 2.1 required to replace the population.

For decades, the Singapore government has encouraged foreigners to move to Singapore in order to solve this issue. Singapore’s population has remained stable due to the high number of immigrants.

Religion In Singapore

In Singapore, Buddhism is the most commonly practiced religion, with 33% of the population identifying themselves Buddhists in the most recent census. Christianity is the second most popular religion, followed by Islam, Taoism, and Hinduism. A religious affiliation was not held by 17% of the population. Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of Christians, Taoists, and non-religious individuals rose by approximately 3% each, while the number of Buddhists dropped. Other religions’ proportion of the population remained essentially constant. According to a Pew Research Center study, Singapore is the world’s most religiously diverse country.

In Singapore, there are monasteries and Dharma centers from all three main Buddhist traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The majority of Buddhists in Singapore are Chinese and follow the Mahayana tradition, with missionaries arriving from Taiwan and China for decades. However, during the last decade, Thailand’s Theravada Buddhism has grown in favor among the general public (not only the Chinese). Many individuals in Singapore follow the faith of Soka Gakkai International, a Japanese Buddhist organization, although mainly those of Chinese ancestry. In recent years, Tibetan Buddhism has made modest advances within the nation.

Geography Of Singapore

The main island, Pulau Ujong, is one of 63 islands that make up Singapore. The Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north and the Tuas Second Link in the west are two man-made links to Johor, Malaysia. The biggest of Singapore’s minor islands include Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin, and Sentosa. Bukit Timah Hill, at 163.63 meters, is the highest natural peak (537 ft).

Singapore’s land area has grown from 581.5 km2 (224.5 sq mi) in the 1960s to 719.1 km2 (277.6 sq mi) in 2015, a 23 percent growth (130 km2). By 2030, the nation is expected to expand by another 100 km2 (40 sq mi). Some projects, such as Jurong Island, involve combining smaller islands via land reclamation to create bigger, more functional islands.

Because of Singapore’s urbanization, the country has lost 95 percent of its historical forests, and over half of the country’s naturally occurring fauna and flora can now be found in nature reserves like the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which account for only 0.25 percent of the country’s land area. To counteract this loss, the government has set aside almost 10% of Singapore’s land for parks and natural reserves, as well as five decades of greening initiatives aimed at easing the harshness of urbanisation and enhancing the quality of life. In addition, the government has measures to protect the surviving wildlife. Singapore came in fourth place in the 2014 Environmental Performance Index, which assesses the efficacy of government programs aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability.

Climate In Singapore

Because Singapore is just 1.5 degrees north of the Equator, it has year-round sunshine and no distinct seasons. Throughout the year, rain occurs nearly everyday, typically in brief, heavy showers that last little more than an hour. However, the northeast monsoon (November to January) sees the greatest rain, with long periods of continuous rain on occasion. Spectacular thunderstorms may occur at any time of day throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to have an umbrella with you at all times, for both sun protection and rain protection.

Forest fires in neighboring Sumatra may also produce thick smoke between May and October, but this is unpredictable and fleeting: For the most up-to-date information, contact the National Environment Agency.

The average temperature is around:

  • 32°C (86°F) daytime, 25°C (76°F) at night in December and January.
  • 33°C (90°F) daytime, 26°C (81°F) at night for the rest of the year.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Singapore was 19.4°C in 1934.

Visitors from cooler areas of the globe may be affected by the high temperature and humidity, as well as the absence of breeze and the fact that temperatures remain high at night. Keep in mind that spending more than an hour outside, particularly when coupled with moderate activity, may be extremely tiring. Singaporeans, for example, despise the heat, and with good cause. Many people live in air-conditioned apartments, work in air-conditioned workplaces, and commute to air-conditioned retail malls linked by subterranean tunnels, where they buy, dine, and exercise in air-conditioned fitness clubs. If you want to escape discomfort in Singapore’s scorching heat and humidity, follow their lead.

Language In Singapore

Although Malay is designated as the “national” language in the constitution, English is the most commonly spoken language among Singaporeans under the age of 50, with varied degrees of proficiency. Most Asian neighbors speak English far better than we do. Except for mother language topics like as Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil, which are also compulsory to be studied in school by Singaporeans, standard British English is also the medium of teaching in schools. It is not unusual for younger Singaporeans to consider English to be their first language. Furthermore, all government signs and papers are printed in English, with British terminology and spelling used in most cases. Some older individuals may not be able to communicate in English, but you will nearly always be able to locate someone who does. Although the English used in Singapore is primarily based on British English, owing to the prevalence of American pop culture, American English is also commonly understood.

However, since it includes slang terms and phrases from other languages, such as different Chinese dialects, Malay, and Tamil, as well as English words whose pronunciation or meaning has been altered, the unique local patois Singlish may be difficult to comprehend at times. Due to the majority of the original speakers being Chinese, it has an unusual method of constructing phrases. Complex consonant clusters are simplified, articles and plurals are dropped, verb tenses are replaced with adverbs, questions are rewritten in Chinese grammar, and non-English particles are added (especially the infamous “lah”)

Most younger Singaporeans, however, are capable of speaking what the government refers to as “excellent English” when required, thanks to national language instruction programs. To prevent unintended offence, start with normal English and only switch to simplified pidgin if it becomes clear that the other person is unable to understand you. Attempt to avoid the urge to use needless Singlishisms in your speech. If you do it well, it will make you chuckle, but if you do it incorrectly, it will seem patronizing. And since most Singaporeans, particularly the younger and more educated, can communicate well in English in most settings, learning Singlish is not required, even during extended visits.

Mandarin Chinese and Tamil are Singapore’s additional official languages. Most younger Singaporean Chinese speak Mandarin, whereas most Indians speak Tamil. Although all Singaporean Chinese are taught standard Mandarin in school, Mandarin spoken in Singapore has developed into a unique creole, including terms from other Chinese dialects, Malay, and English. Various Chinese dialects (mostly Hokkien, though significant numbers also speak Teochew and Cantonese) are also spoken among ethnic Chinese of the same dialect group, though their use has been declining in the younger generation since the 1980s due to government policies encouraging the use of Mandarin over dialects. Other Indian languages are also spoken, such as Punjabi among the Sikhs.

The simplified script used in mainland China is the official Chinese script used in Singapore. As a result, all government documents (including local media) and signage are written in simplified Chinese, which is also taught in schools. Traditional writing is still preferred by some of the older generation, and the prevalence of Hong Kong and Taiwanese pop culture means that it is also known to younger people.

All government services must be provided in all four official languages, according to the legislation.

Internet & Communications in Singapore

By phone

Singapore’s international telephone country code is 65. SingTel, StarHub, and MobileOne (M1) are the three major telecommunications carriers in Singapore.

In Singapore, phone numbers are formatted as +65 6396 0605, where “65” is the country code for Singapore. Because of Singapore’s tiny size, there are no area codes, and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), Radio Network, and IP Telephony are all part of the same 8-digit numbering system.

The first digit of this eight-digit number indicates the service type:
3nnn-nnnn – VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services
6nnn-nnnn – Fixed Line services, which include Fixed Line Voice Over IP.
8nnn-nnnn – Services for mobile phones
9nnn-nnnn – Paging services, as well as mobile phone services

Most toll-free numbers in Singapore are not accessible from outside the country and have the following formats: 1800-185-0165 or 800-185-0165.

In Singapore, nearly everyone, including many young children, has a mobile phone, and coverage is usually good across the nation. International roaming on all three service providers’ GSM 900/1800 and 3G (W-CDMA) networks may be available; verify with your operator before you travel to be sure. Prepaid SIM cards may be purchased in 7-Eleven convenience stores, phone shops, and currency exchange counters; just bring your own GSM/3G phone or purchase a cheap secondhand phone in Singapore. To sign up, you’ll need an international passport or a Singapore ID.

A local phone call costs between $0.05 and $0.25 per minute, while each local text message (SMS) costs about $0.05, and international SMS costs between $0.15 and $0.25 per minute (but a few dozen local SMS are usually thrown in for free when you top up). Incoming calls may potentially be charged to you. Unless you top-up your prepaid card, it will expire in 6 months (which can be done outside Singapore). The carriers also sell special top-up cards that provide a greater amount of minutes for a lower price, but they expire faster. Mobile data on prepaid voice SIM cards, like in many other countries, may be prohibitively costly. A 1GB bundle is available from StarHub (valid for 30 days). It costs $25 and is designed for BlackBerries, although it can be used on any phone. To activate your StarHub SIM, dial *122# and follow the on-screen instructions. Data-only SIMs may be less expensive. StarHub offers a 2Mbit/s unlimited service for S$15 per week for short visits. Bring a MicroSIM converter for longer visits, and StarHub’s 2GB bundle (valid for 60 days) is $37.

Your phone may automatically switch to a Malaysian network in northern Singapore near Malaysia (e.g. Woodlands, Sungei Buloh, Pulau Ubin), making a local call an international one or, worse, causing data costs to skyrocket. Before you call or browse, check the operational network (or switch to manual network selection).

Public phones are becoming more rare, although they may still be found at certain MRT stations. They’re either coin-operated pay phones (10 cents for a three-minute local call), card phones (with $3, $5, $10, $20, and $50 phone cards), or credit card phones. Phone cards are available through phonecard agents and all post offices. The majority of coin-operated pay phones are exclusively for local calls; however, some take higher value coins and may be used for international calls. Credit card phones are often seen at airports and large hotels.

To make an international call from Singapore, dial 001 (SingTel), 002 (M1), or 008 (StarHub), then the country code, area code, then the other party’s number. Providers have recently begun to offer lower prices for calls made through Internet telephony channels. The access codes for this cheaper service are 019 and 013 for SingTel and 018 for StarHub; if you want to utilize these services, make sure you use these numbers instead of the “+” sign at the beginning of the number.

Calling cards for particular foreign locations are also available, and these are typically less expensive. Singtel’s Hello Card provides a low-cost rate to eight countries (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand).


Although there are a few Internet cafés on the island that charge about $2 per hour, they are not very popular since nearly everyone has broadband Internet connection at home, business, and/or school. If you need to go online, go to Chinatown or Little India, or check out the top floors of several suburban malls, which include Internet cafés that double as on-line gaming parlours. Alternatively, all public libraries  provide low-cost Internet access ($0.03/min or $1.80/hr), but you must first complete a registration process.

The first phase of the free Wireless@SG system is currently operational, and guests are welcome to use it for no charge, but they must first register and obtain a password by e-mail or mobile phone. A current list of hotspots may be found on the Infocomm Development Authority’s website. McDonald’s, which provides free Wi-Fi at most locations; StarHub, a member of the Wireless Broadband Alliance with hotspots in Coffee Bean cafes; and SingTel, which has hotspots at most Starbucks cafes, are commercial options. Roaming or prepaid charges are about $0.10 per minute.

Prepaid 3G/HSPA internet comes in a variety of flavors. Starhub MaxMobile offers a variety of options, ranging from S$2/hour to S$25 for 5 days of unlimited 7.2Mbit/s internet. S$12 for a SIM card. M1 Prepaid Broadband costs S$18/S$30 for three days/five days of unrestricted Internet access.

Mobile internet connection is also offered through several telcos, with packages ranging from hundreds of megabytes to several days’ worth of data. If feasible, though, attempt to use the free Wi-Fi connection; not only will it save you money, but it will also save you battery life.

Singapore’s internet censorship is less severe than in the Middle East or China, and international news sites like the BBC and CNN, as well as a handful of politically dissident websites, are openly accessible from the country. The Media Development Authority (MDA) is in charge of enforcing internet content regulations, and it has shut down over a hundred websites, the majority of which are pornographic. They’ve also demanded apologies or closures from bloggers, while some have been detained and charged with defamation. The “Remote Gaming Act” was enacted in October 2014 to regulate online gambling.

By mail

SingPost maintains offices all around the island, with hours ranging from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sundays The Post Office at Changi Airport T2 (transit side) is open everyday from 06:00 to 23:59, whereas the branch at 1 Killeney Rd is open till 21:00 on weekdays and 10:00-16:00 on Sundays. The service is prompt and dependable. A postcard to anywhere in the globe costs 50 cents, and postage labels may be bought at many MRT stations’ self-service SAM machines.

Airmail costs $3.50 per 100g for small packages up to 2 kg, whereas surface mail costs $1 per 100g. DHL may be able to provide reasonable prices for bigger shipments.

Economy Of Singapore

Singapore has a well-developed market economy that has traditionally relied on long-distance commerce. Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan, although it has outperformed its rivals in terms of GDP per capita. Between 1965 and 1995, annual growth rates averaged approximately 6%, changing the population’s living standards. Singapore’s economy is regarded as one of the most open, creative, competitive, dynamic, and business-friendly in the world. Singapore is rated second freest economy in the world in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, and the Ease of Doing Business Index has placed Singapore as the easiest location to conduct business for the last decade. Singapore, along with New Zealand and the Scandinavian nations, is regularly rated as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Singapore has been the only Asian nation to obtain top-tier AAA sovereign ratings from all major credit rating agencies, including Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch, for the last ten years. It is one of just nine nations in the world to get a AAA grade from the Big Three (credit rating agencies). Because of its location, talented workforce, low tax rates, modern infrastructure, and zero tolerance for corruption, Singapore draws a significant amount of international investment. In Singapore, there are over 7,000 multinational companies from the United States, Japan, and Europe. There are also around 1,500 Chinese businesses and a comparable number of Indian companies. Foreign companies operate in virtually every area of the economy. In addition, Singapore is India’s second-largest foreign investor. Non-Singaporeans account for about 44% of the Singaporean workforce. With various nations and areas, over 10 free-trade agreements have been struck. Despite its market independence, Singapore’s government activities play an important role in the economy, accounting for 22% of GDP.

Due to its significant reliance on foreign commerce, Singapore is seen as a gauge of global economic health, particularly throughout Asia. Its international trade and money flows account for 407.9% of its GDP, making it the world’s most trade-dependent economy. It is the world’s 14th biggest exporter and 15th largest importer.

Singapore has the tenth biggest foreign reserves in the world, as well as one of the best net international investment positions per capita.

Singapore’s currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD or S$), which is issued by the Singapore Monetary Authority (MAS). Due to their historically strong ties, it has been convertible at par value with the Brunei dollar since 1967. The Singapore dollar exchange rate is allowed to increase or fall within an undisclosed trading range by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This is in contrast to most central banks, which control policy via interest rates.

Due to the low tax rate on personal income and tax exemptions on foreign-based income and capital gains, the nation has been a favorite tax haven for the affluent in recent years. Brett Blundy, a multi-billionaire Australian retailer, and Eduardo Saverin, a multi-billionaire Facebook co-founder, are two rich people who have moved in Singapore (Blundy in 2013 and Saverin in 2012). Singapore was removed off the OCDE’s “liste grise” of tax havens in 2009, yet it nevertheless came in fifth on the Tax Justice Network’s 2013 Financial Secrecy Index of the world’s top tax havens, just ahead of the United States.

The Straits Times reported in August 2016 that Indonesia has planned to establish tax havens on two islands near Singapore in order to reintroduce Indonesian money into the tax base. For their suspected involvement in the Malaysian Sovereign Fund scam, the Monetary Authority of Singapore reprimanded and fined UBS and DBS, as well as withdrawing Falcon Private Bank’s banking license, in October 2016.

With one out of every six families possessing at least one million dollars in disposable wealth, Singapore has the highest proportion of millionaires in the world. This does not include property, companies, or luxury items, which, if included, would increase the number of millionaires, particularly because Singapore property is among the most expensive in the world. Singapore does not have a minimum wage because it believes it would reduce the country’s competitiveness. It also has one of the most pronounced economic disparities among industrialized nations.

Entry Requirements For Singapore

Visa & Passport for Singapore

Visa restrictions:
As part of immigration entrance and departure processes, all foreigners aged 6 and above are electronically fingerprinted. The immigration officer may next conduct a brief interview with you. If any of these processes are rejected, entry will be denied.

For visits of 90 days or less, citizens of the European Union, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States do not need a visa.

Most other nations’ citizens may remain for 30 days or fewer without a visa, therefore if your country isn’t included below, that’s the case.

Citizens of the following countries are exempt from having to apply for an advance, online visa:Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Myanmar, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen have to apply for an advance visa at a Singaporean embassy or consulate.

Citizens of Kosovo are refused entry.

For most African and South American nationals, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for admission into Singapore.

Males who enter Singapore unlawfully or overstay their visas for more than 14 days are subject to a mandatory three-stroke cane penalty.

Singapore’s drug laws are very stringent, and drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence, which also applies to foreigners. Even if you haven’t entered Singapore and are simply transiting (i.e. changing planes without having to go through passport control and customs), you will face the death penalty if you are in possession of narcotics. The paranoid may also be interested to know that it is illegal in Singapore to have any drug metabolites in your system, even if they were ingested outside the country, and Customs conducts random urine testing at the airport! Bringing explosives or weapons into Singapore without a permission is also a capital crime.

Bring your prescriptions with you and get permission from the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA: new main page at [web]) before bringing in any sedatives (e.g. Valium/diazepam) or powerful painkillers (e.g. codeine ingredients). (If you scan and attach all necessary papers to an e-mail message requested by the website, you may get written approval in as short as 10 days, and at the very least 3–4 weeks.) Allow a few months for ordinary mail from any considerable distance.) While hippies may anticipate a little more scrutiny from Customs, a shave and haircut are no longer required for admission.

Unless you are coming from Malaysia, duty-free alcohol limits are one litre each of wine, beer, and spirits, but the 1 litre of spirits may be substituted with 1 litre of wine or beer. No duty-free allowance is available to visitors arriving from Malaysia. Persons under the age of 18 are not permitted to bring alcohol into the facility. There is no duty-free allowance for cigarettes; all cigarettes supplied lawfully in Singapore are branded “SDPC,” and smokers found with unmarked cigarettes face a fine of up to $500 per pack. (However, bringing in one opened pack is generally allowed in reality.) You may pay the tax or let the customs officials hold the smokes until your departure if you report your cigarettes or extra alcohol at customs. Although it is legally prohibited to import non-medical chewing gum, customs officials are unlikely to object to a few sticks for personal use.

The quantity of money that may be carried into or out of Singapore is unrestricted. If you’re taking in or out more over $20,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency), Singapore customs will ask you to report it, and you’ll be required to fill out some paperwork. You risk being arrested, fined heavily, and even imprisoned if you do not declare.

Pornography, pirated products, and publications by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Unification Church are prohibited from being brought into Singapore, and all luggage is inspected at land and sea entry ports. The Board of Censors must approve all entertainment material, including movies and video games, before they can be imported into Singapore, although this is seldom if ever enforced for genuine (non-pirated) products. On the other hand, pirated CDs or DVDs may result in penalties of up to $1000 per disc.

How To Travel To Singapore

Get In - By plane

Singapore is one of Southeast Asia’s busiest aviation hubs, so unless you’re traveling from Peninsular Malaysia or Indonesia’s Batam/Bintan, flying is the most convenient method to get there. Singapore is home to low-cost carriers Tiger Airways, Jetstar Asia, and Scoot, in addition to flag-carrier Singapore Airlines, which is widely considered as one of the world’s finest airlines in terms of customer care, and its regional subsidiary SilkAir.

Apart from Singaporeans, every Asian airline of any size flies to Singapore, with pan-Asian budget carrier AirAsia and Malaysian regional carrier Firefly running extensive networks from the city-state. Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, North America, and even South Africa all have direct flights. Singapore is a major stopping location on the “Kangaroo Route” between Australia and Europe, with airlines such as British Airways utilizing the city-state as a hub.

Changi Airport

Changi Airport (IATA: SIN) is officially the ‘best airport in the world,’ as befits the country’s primary airport and significant regional hub position (see Skytrax). It’s spacious, comfortable, and well-organized, with immigration and luggage distribution moving at a breakneck pace. There are three major terminals at the airport (T1, T2 and T3).

The MRT is a quick 45-minute ride into town for less than $2, with trains operating from 05:31 to 23:18. Taxis are the quickest route into town, costing about $20–30 plus a $3–5 airport fee. From 00:01-06:00, there is an extra 50% fee.

Seletar Airport

Singapore’s first airport, Seletar Airport (IATA: XSP), was built in 1928 and initially utilized for civil aircraft in 1930. The Paya Lebar airport has been turned into a military airfield, although Seletar remains operational.

Seletar Airport is now mainly utilized for general aviation, thus you’ll most likely arrive here if you’re flying your own plane to Singapore. The only feasible mode of transportation to Seletar is taxi, which costs $3 from the airport.

Get In - By road

Peninsular Malaysia is connected to Singapore through two land crossings:

The Causeway is a highly popular and, as a result, very crowded entrance point linking Woodlands in Singapore’s north to Johor Bahru’s center. While traffic isn’t as terrible as it previously was, the Causeway is still congested on Friday and Sunday nights (towards Malaysia) (towards Singapore). The Causeway may be traversed by bus, rail, cab, or vehicle, although it is no longer possible to do so on foot because Malaysia’s customs and immigration complex was moved 2 kilometers inland.

The Second Link, a second crossing between Malaysia and Singapore, was constructed between Tuas in western Singapore and Tanjung Kupang in western Johor state. It is utilized by some of the luxury bus services to Kuala Lumpur and is highly recommended if you have your own vehicle. It is much quicker and less crowded than the Causeway. Only Malaysian “limousine” taxis are permitted to cross the Second Link, which is only served by one occasional bus (and charge RM150 and up for the privilege). Walking over is likewise prohibited, despite the fact that there would be no practical way to continue the trip from either end.

Driving into Singapore with a foreign-registered vehicle is time-consuming and costly. Cars registered in Peninsular Malaysia must provide proof of current road tax and Malaysian insurance coverage. Vehicle Registration Certificate, Customs Document (Carnet), Vehicle Insurance bought from a Singapore-based insurance provider, and an International Circulation Permit are required for other foreign vehicles. All foreign-registered automobiles and motorbikes are allowed to drive in Singapore for a maximum of 10 days per calendar year without paying a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) charge, but beyond that, a VEP fee of up to $20 per day is required.

To begin, go through immigration and get your passport stamped. Then take the Red Lane to the LTA office to purchase an AutoPass ($10). An LTA officer will check your car, road tax, and insurance cover note at the parking area and give you a little piece of paper to go to the LTA counter to purchase your AutoPass and rent an In-vehicle Unit (IU) for road pricing costs (or pay a flat $5/day price instead). Proceed to customs, where you will be required to open the boot for examination. Following that, you are free to travel anywhere you want in Singapore. When you leave Singapore, any VEP costs, road pricing charges, and tolls will be taken from your AutoPass. This is accomplished by inserting your AutoPass into the reader at the immigration desk while your passport is being stamped.

Driving into Malaysia from Singapore is very simple, but there are modest charges for both the bridge and the neighboring expressway (for the Second Link). Furthermore, cars registered in Singapore must have at least 3/4 of their gasoline tanks filled before leaving the country. Before crossing, be sure to convert some ringgit, since Singapore dollars are only accepted at the unfavorable rate of one-to-one. Additionally, expect lengthier lines since Malaysia has implemented a biometric system for foreigners seeking to enter the country.

In both ways, keep in mind that rental car companies often restrict or charge extra for crossing the border with their vehicles.

Get In - By bus

Direct flights to and from Malaysia The Woodlands Checkpoint and the Second Link at Tuas provide buses to and from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and many other Malaysian locations. Unfortunately, there is no central bus station, and buses depart from several locations around the city. The following are some of the major operators:

  • Aeroline,  +65 6258 8800. To Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, luxury buses with on-board meals, power outlets, and lounge areas are available. The departure point is HarbourFront Centre. One-way tickets start at $47.
  • First Coach,  +65 6822 2111. The buses have no frills, but they have plenty of legroom and utilize the Second Link. Buses leave at Novena Square (Novena MRT) in Singapore and arrive directly next to the (KJ 16) Bangsar LRT in Kuala Lumpur, which is another selling factor. $33/55 for a one-way ticket and $33/55 for a round-trip ticket.
  • NiCE,  +65 6256 5755. From Kuala Lumpur’s historic train station, there are around 20 daily departures. NiCE 2 buses (27 seats) cost RM80, whereas NiCE++ buses (18 seats) cost RM88. Departures from Dunearn RdCopthorne .’s Orchid Hotel.
  • Transnasional,  +60 2 6294 7034 (Malaysia). Malaysia’s biggest bus company provides direct bus service from Singapore to the rest of the peninsula. Executive/economy buses RM80/35. Departures from Lavender St.
  • Transtar,  +65 6299 9009. With amenities like massage seats, onboard attendants, movies on demand, and even Wi-Fi, Transtar’s sleeper-equipped Solitaire ($63) and leather-seated First Class ($49) coaches are presently the finest available. SuperVIP/Executive buses are more plebeian and cost $25/39, with direct service to Malacca and Genting also available. Departures from Beach Rd., Golden Mile Complex (near Lavender MRT).

The more you spend, the quicker and more pleasant your journey will be. The most costly buses arrive on schedule, utilize the Second Link, and make no stops along the route; the cheapest buses arrive late, if at all, and take the constantly congested Causeway, making more stops. Book early for popular departure periods such as Friday and Sunday evenings, Chinese New Year, and so on, and allow additional time for immigration delays.

Making the short trip to Johor Bahru and catching domestic Malaysian long-distance express buses to different Malaysian locations from the Larkin Bus Terminal is an alternative to boarding a direct “international bus.” Because you will be paying in Malaysian ringgit rather than Singaporean dollars, fares may be cheaper. The disadvantage is the lengthy journey from Singapore to Johor Bahru and then to Larkin Terminal on the outskirts of town.

Get In - By train

Since July 2015, Singapore has been the primary southern endpoint of Malaysia’s Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railway or KTMB) network, with trains usually ending at Johor Bahru’s JB Sentral railway station. A new shuttle service between the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (in Singapore’s north) and Johor Bahru Sentral has begun. It’s just a 5-minute journey, but one-way tickets from Singapore will set you back $5, while the reverse would set you back MYR5. Before boarding, immigration procedures for both nations are completed from Woodlands. Malaysia immigration stamps you out before boarding at Johor Bahru, and Singapore immigration stamps you in when you arrive at Woodlands. When you include in the time it takes to pass immigration, the trip from Johor Bahru to Woodlands takes 30-60 minutes, and the trip back takes approximately 30 minutes.

Shuttle trains will leave JB Sentral for Woodlands at 05:30, 06:00, 06:30, 07:00, 08:30, 09:00, 11:00, 12:30, 15:30, 17:00, 19:00, 21:00, 22:15 and leave Woodlands for JB Sentral at 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 13:30, 16:30, 18:00, 18:45, 20:00, 20:45, 22:00, 23:15. 30 minutes before to departure, the gate opens and shuts 10 minutes prior to departure. Commuters working in Singapore use the early morning departures from JB Sentral and the evening departures from Woodlands on weekdays, and tickets sell out as soon as they go on sale 30 days in advance. Morning departures from Woodlands and evening departures from JB Sentral are popular with day trippers visiting Johor Bahru on weekends, and both sell out a few days in advance.

The Woodlands Train Checkpoint and the Woodlands MRT station are unrelated. You may take a bus to the Kranji, Marsiling, or Woodlands MRT stations from the Woodlands Train Checkpoint. Fortunately, each MRT station’s bus numbers are plainly marked. To travel to Woodlands Railway Checkpoint from the MRT stations, make sure the bus goes through “Woodlands Train Checkpoint,” not “Woodlands Checkpoint,” which is a checkpoint facility for buses and other road vehicles that does not have direct access to the train checkpoint.

Get In - By taxi

While ordinary Singaporean taxis are not permitted to cross into Malaysia and vice versa, specially licensed Singaporean taxis permitted to go to Larkin bus terminal (only) can be booked from Johor Taxi Service (+65 6296 7054, $45 one way), while Malaysian taxis, which can go anywhere in Malaysia, can be taken from the taxi terminal at Ban San St ($32 to charter, or $8 per person if shared with others). You may take Singaporean taxis from Larkin to any location in downtown Singapore ($30) or Changi Airport ($40), while Malaysian taxis can only take you to Ban San St. (MYR80). The primary benefit is that you don’t have to carry your belongings (or yourself) through Customs on both ends; you can just sit in the vehicle.

A combined trip from anywhere in Singapore to anyplace in Malaysia may be booked, but you’ll have to change cabs halfway through, which will cost SGD50 and more, payable to the Singaporean driver. The most costly alternative is to take a limousine cab, which is specifically licensed to transport people from any location to any destination. However, there are only a handful available, and they demand a high MYR150 each journey.

Get In - By boat

Singapore has ferries connecting it to the Indonesian province of Riau Islands and the Malaysian state of Johor. International ferries are handled by five ferry terminals in Singapore: HarbourFront (formerly World Trade Centre) near Sentosa, Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Marina Bay, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on the East Coast, and Changi Ferry Terminal and Changi Point Ferry Terminal at the island’s eastern extremity.

Getting to/away from the ferry terminals:

  • HarbourFront FT is a restaurant located inside the HarbourFront Shopping Mall (alight at HarbourFront MRT station).
  • Alight at Marina South Pier MRT station for the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. Alternatively, take bus 402 from Tanjong Pagar MRT station (Exit C).
  • Tanah Merah FT: Take bus No. 35 to the ferry terminal from Bedok MRT station.
  • Changi FT: There is no bus stop nearby; take a cab to Changi Village from Tanah Merah MRT station.
  • Take bus No. 2, 29, or 59 to Changi Village Bus Port and walk to the ferry terminal from Changi Point FT.

To/from Indonesia

To/from Batam: HarbourFront FT is used for ferries to/from Batam Centre, Batu Ampar (Harbour Bay), Sekupang, and Waterfront City (Teluk Senimba), whereas Tanah Merah FT is used for ferries to/from Nongsapura. At Harbourfront, you’ll find the following businesses:

  • Penguin may be reached at +65 6271 4866 in HarbourFront, +62 778 467574 in Batam Centre, +62 778 321636 in Sekupang, and +62 778 381280 in Waterfront City. There are almost hourly boats between Batam Centre and Sekupang, but fewer ferries between Waterfront City and Batam Centre. Before taxes and fuel surcharges, one-way/return tickets are $16/20.
  • Indo Falcon,+65 6278 3167, Indo Falcon There are ferries to Batam Centre every hour, but fewer to Waterfront City. This business does not travel to or from Sekupang. Ticket prices are comparable.
  • +65 6546 8830, Berlian/Wave Master. There are 16 departures each day to and from Batu Ampar. The fares are comparable to those of the other carriers.
  • Dino/Batam Fast, +62 778 467793, +62 778 470344 in Batam Centre, +62 778 325085, +62 778 3250856 in Sekupang, +62 778 381150 in Waterfront City, Dino/Batam Fast, +65 6270 0311 in Harbourfront, +62 778 467793, +62 778 470344 in Batam Centre, +62 778 325085, +62 778 3250856 in Sekupang There are also hourly boats between Batam Centre and Sekupang and Waterfront City, but fewer vessels between Sekupang and Waterfront City. Before taxes and fees, one-way/return tickets are $14/20.

To/from Bintan: The Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal is used by all ferries to and from Bintan. Tanjung Pinang has a total of 6 ferries each day, with the number rising to 9 on weekends. Before taxes and surcharges, one-way and return tickets are $25/35. Operators include the following:

  • Dino/Batam Fast,  +65 6542 6310 in Tanah Merah.
  • Penguin,  +65 6542 7105 in Tanah Merah +62 771 315143 in Tanjung Pinang  +62 770 696120 in Lobam.
  • Indo Falcon,  +65 6542 6786 in Tanah Merah.
  • Berlian/Wave Master,  +65 6546 8830 in Tanah Merah.

Bintan Resort Boats, +65 6542 4369, runs five ferries from Tanah Merah FT on weekdays and seven on weekends for Bintan Resorts (Bandar Bentan Telani). Peak period: $34.60/50.20 one-way/return, off-peak period: $26.60/39.20 one-way/return, taxes and fuel fee included.

To/from Karimun: Penguin and IndoFalcon run ferries from Harbourfront to Tanjung Balai, with six boats on weekdays and eight on weekends. Taxes and fuel fee are included in the $24/33 one-way/return fare.

To/From Malaysia

Ferries go from Singapore to southern Johor, making it easy to get to Desaru Beach Resort.

  • Pengerang: Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lorong Bekukong, +65 6545 2305, +65 6545 1616, and Pengerang, a hamlet on Johor’s southeastern edge, are served by bumboats. Boats run from 7:00 to 19:00 and depart when the 12-passenger limit is reached ($10 per person, $2 each bicycle one-way).
  • Sebana Cove Resort, Desaru: Ferries to/from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal operated by Indo Falcon,  +65 6542 6786 in Tanah Merah, . Except on Tuesdays, there are three ferries each day. Taxes and fuel fee are included in the return price of $48 for adults and $38 for children.


Star Cruises departs from HarbourFront FT on multi-day cruises from Singapore to destinations across Southeast Asia. Malacca, Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Penang, Langkawi, Redang, and Tioman in Malaysia, as well as Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui, and Bangkok in Thailand, are popular destinations. Every year, cruises to Borneo (Malaysia), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and even Hong Kong (for 10 nights) are offered. If you book early enough, an all-inclusive two-night cruise may be as little as $400 per person in the lowest cabin class, but be aware of the many fees and the fact that non-residents may be charged considerably higher prices.

Singapore is also a prominent port of call for round-the-world and major regional cruises, with ships arriving from Japan, China, Australia, Europe, and North America. Many of those cruises stop here to embark/disembark passengers, while others stop for port calls and dock at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. For further information, contact cruise companies and vendors.

How To Travel Around Singapore

Getting across Singapore is simple: the public transit system is well-organized, and taxis are inexpensive if you can find one. Only a small percentage of tourists hire automobiles. performs an excellent job at calculating the quickest MRT and bus routes, as well as predicting taxi prices between any two places.

The EZ-link contactless RFID farecard or a Nets Flash Paycard may be a good investment if you are staying in Singapore for an extended period of time or intend to return to Singapore many times in the future. The EZ-link and Nets Flash Pay cards are recognizable to anyone who have used Hong Kong’s Octopus card, London Underground’s Oyster card, Washington DC’s SmarTrip card, Melbourne’s myki card, Vancouver’s Compass card, or Japan Railways’ IC cards. You may put money on it and use it to get a 15% discount on MRT trains and all city buses. The card costs $12, which includes $7 in stored value, and it can be “filled up” in $10 increments at any ticketing machine or 7-Eleven (the latter will allow a top-up for a service fee). The same card may be used for a period of five years. The card technology was updated in 2009, however if you have any old cards hanging around, they may be swapped for free at TransitLink ticket offices at all MRT stations with their value intact. The $5 card fee will not be reimbursed and will be forfeited. If you’re leaving Singapore and have money on your card, you may get a refund at any TransitLink ticket office, but your card will be invalidated, and the $5 will be lost once again.

The Singapore Tourist Pass, which is available at certain TransitLink ticket offices (including Changi Airport and Orchard MRT stations) and incorporates ez-link card capabilities as well as a range of attraction discounts, is another option. The pass, which covers unlimited MRT and non-premium bus travel, costs $10 for one day, $16 for two days, or $20 for three days (with a $10 rental fee that will be reimbursed if the card is returned within five days of purchase). On the day they expire, the passes are good until the conclusion of operation hours.

Single tickets are available for MRT and buses, however they are inconvenient and, in the case of buses, they create delays for others since the driver must count fee stages to inform you how much you must pay. Furthermore, the bus does not provide change, and you will need to purchase a second ticket if you want to transfer to another bus later in your trip.

In July 2010, distance-based tariffs were implemented to better unify Singapore’s public transportation pricing system. On the bus, LRT, and MRT, all passengers are paid a ticket based on the entire distance traveled, and they may make transfers without incurring extra charges. Fares are now calculated on a journey-by-journey basis, with no boarding fee applied to each transfer trip that makes up the route. Although the tariffs seem to be complex, fare look-up tables can be found at every bus stop and MRT station.

If you have a single-trip ticket that has been used, you may use it up to five additional times. Go to the ticket machine, insert your ticket into the reading area, choose your destination, and pay your price. You may now tap in and out for your next journey using the same piece of ticket. You will get a modest reduction on your ticket after the sixth visit.

The biggest denomination that may be used to purchase a single-trip ticket from a ticketing system is $5.

Get Around - By rail

The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and LRT (Light Rail Transit) are the major arteries of Singapore’s public transportation system. They are a low-cost and dependable form of transportation, and the network covers the majority of the visitor’s places of interest. Contactless RFID tickets are used on all railway lines. When entering and leaving paid sections of stations, just touch the reader to verify your train ticket at the ticket gate.

Single-trip tickets have been phased out since 2012, in favor of new standard tickets that may be used up to six times in 30 days. A journey costs between $0.80 and $2, with a deposit of $0.10 required at the time of purchasing. On the third top-up of the ticket, the deposit is returned, and on the sixth top-up, a $0.10 discount is automatically applied. After then, the ticket may be tossed or preserved as a memento. The simplest and most common methods to utilize the MRT are the EZ-Link or NETS FlashPay farecards (explained above). You don’t need to purchase a new ticket or travel through numerous gates to move between various operators’ lines since all lines are fully linked, even if they are run by different transport firms.

The MRT stations are clean and provide free restrooms. There is no danger of falling into the tracks since all stations have screen doors. Without a driver, the North-East Line, Circle Line, Downtown Line, LRT, and all future lines run autonomously.

Get Around - By bus

Buses link different parts of Singapore, although they are slower and more difficult to use than the MRT. Their benefit is that instead of a gloomy subterranean tube, you get to view the attractions for a cheap fee. When traveling by bus over a long distance, keep in mind that numerous pauses and sluggish speeds may cause your trip to take two to three times as long as the same trip by MRT. In buses, you can pay with cash (coins), but the fare stage system is complicated (it’s best to ask the driver for the price to your destination), you’ll be charged somewhat extra, and there’s no way to receive change. The simplest form of payment is to touch your EZ-Link or NETS Flashpay card against the reader at the front door of the bus upon boarding, and a maximum fare is taken from the card. When you get off, touch your card again at the exit to get your money back. If you don’t tap out, you’ll be charged the maximum fee. Inspectors patrol buses from time to time to ensure that everyone has paid or tapped, therefore individuals with tourist day tickets should tap before taking a seat. Bus riders who are dishonest risk being fined $20 for not paying or underpaying fares (due to early tapping-out) and $50 for using concession cards improperly. Another benefit of using ez-link or Nets Flashpay cards is that you may get distance-based rates without having to pay a boarding charge.

With 13 lines operating every 20 to 30 minutes after midnight on Fridays, Saturdays, and the eve of public holidays, the NightRider and Nite Owl bus services are a pretty handy way to get about. Before splintering off, all services pass via the main nightlife city areas of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Mohamed Sultan, and Orchard. The price ranges from $4.00 to $4.40, and both the EZ-link and Nets Flashpay cards are accepted; however, the Singapore Tourist Pass is not valid on this line.

As previously said, will provide you with choices for which buses will transport you from your starting point to your final destination.

Get Around - By taxi

Taxicabs utilize meters and are cost-effective and trustworthy. Trips inside the city centre should not cost more than $10 outside of weekday peak hours, and even a journey across the island from Changi to Jurong should not cost more than $35. It can often cheaper and quicker to take a cab than to use the MRT if you are in a party of three or four. However, demand frequently exceeds supply during peak hours and when it rains, so if there’s a lengthy line at a taxi stand, contact a cab through the unified booking system at +65 6342 5222 (6-DIAL-CAB) or use the MRT instead.

The flag down fee for a taxi is $3.00-3.90 (depending on the kind of vehicle used), which lasts for 1 km before increments of $0.22 every 400 m (for the first 10 km) or $0.22 per 350 m are added (after the first 10 km). (SMRT’s huge black Chryslers, which charge $5 and then $0.30 every 385 m, are the only exception.) There are a variety of fees, including peak hour (25 percent), late night (50 percent), central business district ($3), airport or casino excursions ($3–5 during peak hours), phone booking ($3.00 and higher), and Electronic Road Pricing levies, which may add a significant amount to your taxi price. All such costs are shown on the meter’s bottom right-hard corner, documented on the printed receipt, and explained in painstaking detail on a window sticker; if you think the taxi is attempting to deceive you, contact the business and ask for an explanation. Trips to the airport are not subject to a fee. While all cabs are able to take credit cards (and are obliged to do so), many cabbies refuse to accept electronic payment. Always inquire before entering. A 17 percent fee will be added if you pay by credit card. Tips are not required in Singapore, as is customary.

Taxis may only pick up customers in the Central Business District at taxi stops (located outside any shopping center) or buildings with their own driveways (including virtually all hotels). Outside of the city center, you may hail cabs on the street or have one delivered to your door. Touts may approach you in nighttime hotspots with lengthy lines, such as Clarke Quay, offering a fast flat rate to your destination. This is illegal and very costly, but it is rather safe for you. (On the other side, if discovered, drivers are likely to lose their jobs.)

Some taxi drivers in Singapore have little geographical knowledge and may assume you to know where you want to go, so it’s a good idea to carry a map of your target region or instructions on how to get there. Some cabbies may additionally inquire as to whatever route you want; most are content with “either way is quicker.”

Get Around - By trishaw

The area surrounding the Singapore River and Chinatown is crawling with trishaws, three-wheeled bicycle taxis. They are designed only for visitors and should not be used for real travel since they are not used by locals. There’s hardly much opportunity for haggling: small trips cost $10–20, and a one-hour tour charter costs about $50 per person.

Get Around - By boat

Tourist-oriented bumboats ply the Singapore River, with point-to-point trips beginning at $3 and excursions with spectacular views of the CBD cityscape starting at $13.

Bumboats also transport people from Changi Village to Pulau Ubin ($2.50 one-way), a tiny island off Singapore’s northeast coast that is as near to leisurely country life as the city-state gets.

Get Around - By car

Visitors to Singapore seldom hire cars since public transportation covers almost the whole island and it is usually cheaper to ride taxis all day than to rent. The smallest car from the big rental firms would typically set you back upwards of $100 per day, but smaller businesses may be less expensive, and there are sometimes excellent weekend deals available. This does not include the cost of gasoline, which is approximately $2 per litre, or electronic road pricing (ERP) taxes, which are typically additional costs while driving to Malaysia. If you’re intending on visiting Malaysia by vehicle, it’s far more cost-effective to drive over the border to Johor Bahru, where car rentals and gasoline are both half-price, and you may drop your car off anywhere in the nation. This also avoids the unwanted attention that Singapore vehicles often get from criminals and greedy police.

Foreign licenses issued in English or from other ASEAN member nations are valid in Singapore for one year from the date of arrival, after which you must convert your foreign license to a Singapore version. To be valid, other foreign licenses need an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an official English translation (typically obtainable from your embassy).

Singaporeans (like their Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai neighbors) drive on the left side of the road, and the legal driving age is 18. Singapore’s roads are in great condition, and driving behaviors are usually decent in comparison to other nations in the area, with most individuals adhering to traffic laws due to strict enforcement, but road politeness is missing. On expressways, the speed limit is 90 km/h, while on other highways, it is 60 km/h. The Pan Island Expressway is “PIE,” the East Coast Parkway is “ECP,” and so on. While signage are generally excellent, expressways are nearly always referred to solely by acronyms. Parking is surprisingly simple to come by, although it is seldom free, with prices ranging from approximately $3/hour in private CBD carparks to $1/hour in public carparks, all of which are typically paid with the CashCard.

ERP payments need a stored-value CashCard, which is typically provided by the rental agency; nevertheless, it is your duty to ensure that it has sufficient value. ERP gantries are triggered at various times, typically in the direction that most vehicles are traveling. As a general rule, gantries on roads coming into the CBD are triggered during morning rush hour, while gantries on highways leaving the CBD are activated during evening rush hour. An alert will be sent to your registered address if you pass through an active ERP gantry with insufficient value. In addition to the difference between the remaining amount and the actual charge, you will be charged an administrative fee. You only have a certain amount of time to resolve this, otherwise the punishment will grow more severe.

All passengers must wear seat belts, and driving while using a phone is prohibited. Drunk driving is not tolerated: the legal limit is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration, with roadblocks put up at night to capture violators, who are punished severely and potentially imprisoned. Even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit, you may be charged with drunk driving if the authorities believe that the presence of alcohol has impaired your ability to operate the car (e.g., if you are involved in a collision). The police set up roadblocks on a regular basis, and speed cameras are everywhere. Fines will be sent to you or your rental agency, who will then charge you a fee to cover the expense. If you’re stopped for a traffic violation, don’t even consider bribing your way out.

Get Around - By bicycle

Bicycles may be used as an alternative to public transportation. Because the city is tiny and the terrain is flat, predicting how rideable a route will be without previously scouting it out may be tricky. Buses, taxis, and vehicles stopping to drop off or pick up passengers seldom look for bicycles before merging back into the road, making certain routes particularly hazardous. When temporary road surfaces are not kept safe for biking, portable traffic barriers make it difficult for vehicles to see cyclists, and construction teams directing traffic are unsure of how to deal with cyclists on the roadway, the ubiquitous road works around Singapore can make cycling more dangerous.

The quality of the air may also be an issue. Singapore has around 178,000 diesel-powered vehicles, taxis, buses, and lorries, according to the LTA, which may make riding on Singapore’s congested roads extremely uncomfortable. When heavy smoke from Indonesian forest fires reaches Singapore, air quality deteriorates much further. “1.5m Matters,” a 2010 campaign, seemed to have had no impact on Singaporeans’ driving behavior, since they often pass bicycles too closely. However, this may be due to the absence of a bicycle lane on the roadways, which forces cars to veer into the next lane to avoid striking a cyclist. In 2008, 22 cyclists were murdered on Singapore roads, while 19 were killed in 2009. Every day in Singapore, two bicycles are struck by motor cars, according to the “Ride of Silence” campaign. In most parts of Singapore, cycling on the pavement is theoretically prohibited, although enforcement is virtually non-existent except in high-traffic locations like the CBD or town centers.

Singapore is developing a network of segregated bike lanes known as “park connectors” (PCN) since they are mainly used for recreation rather than commuting. The Park Connector Network website has an up-to-date cycling route map, however keep in mind that not all of the routes are segregated bicycle lanes; some are just suggested routes. In the CBD, there are no PCNs.

During certain times of the day, small folding bicycles are permitted on the MRT, while big bicycles are prohibited. Bicycles are permitted to traverse the Malaysian causeway (on motorcycle lanes), but not on expressways.

Get Around - On foot

Singapore is a rather ‘pedestrian-friendly’ city. Pavements and pedestrian crossings are in excellent condition and abundant in the central business area and along major thoroughfares. Even though every accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle is considered to be the driver’s responsibility by law, drivers are less likely to be aware or courteous of pedestrians crossing at street corners on less busy streets where crossings are not marked. Jaywalking is a crime that carries a fine of up to $25 and a sentence of up to three months in prison.

Walking along the river from the Merlion via the Quays, hiking over the Southern Ridges Walk, or just meandering through Chinatown, Little India, or Bugis are all popular walks in Singapore.

The tropical heat and humidity, however, are inevitable drawbacks that leave many tourists sticky and weary, so do as the natives do and carry a small towel and a bottle of water with you. It’s better to get a head start, cool down in air-conditioned stores, cafés, and museums, then return to the shopping center or hotel pool before midday. Evenings, on the other hand, may be quite chilly after sunset. On the other side, since the sun is often obscured by clouds, you won’t get sunburned as readily as you would at higher latitudes.

Accommodation & Hotels in Singapore

In comparison to other Southeast Asian cities, Singapore is an expensive place to stay. Demand has lately outstripped availability, particularly in the higher price ranges, and it’s not unusual for almost everything to sell out during major events such as the Formula One race or some of the bigger conferences. Lower-cost hotels and hostels, on the other hand, remain cheap and accessible all year.

Singapore’s regulations prohibiting building late at night and early in the morning only apply to residential neighborhoods, not the city center. Late at night or early in the morning, you may expect to hear noisy piling from locations like the new Downtown MRT Line tunnels. Before making your final selection, keep this in mind and listen for any noisy construction activity near your hotel of choice; work is unlikely to halt simply because you want to sleep.

Unless you’re a die-hard Orchard Road shopper looking to maximize your time in the malls, the Riverside is arguably the finest location to stay in Singapore.


Little India, Bugis, Clarke Quay, and the East Coast are the most popular destinations for backpackers. A dorm bed at a backpacker hostel costs between $12 and $40.

Cheap hotels are concentrated in the areas of Geylang, Balestier, and Little India, where they cater mostly to customers who hire rooms by the hour. Rooms are often tiny and unprepossessing, but they are clean and include basic amenities like a shower and a television. Prices range from $15 for a few hours of “travel” to $40 for a full night’s stay.


Much of Singapore’s mid-range lodging is in older hotels that are fairly bland but practical, with a noteworthy concentration around the Singapore River’s western end. However, there has been a recent boom of “boutique” hotels in restored shophouses here and in Chinatown, which may be very affordable, with prices beginning at $100/night.


Singapore offers a broad range of high-end accommodations, including the world-famous Raffles Hotel. A room at a five-star hotel will often cost you upwards of $300 per night, which is still a fantastic bargain by most standards. Hotel costs vary a lot: a big conference may treble expenses, while significant reductions are frequently available on weekends during the off-peak season. The biggest hotel clusters can be located near Marina Bay (which is great for tourists) and Orchard Road (good for shopping).


Singapore housing is costly due to the high population density and lack of land, which pushes up real estate prices. As a consequence, you’ll often find rents comparable to those in New York and London.

Ascott, which also operates under the Somerset and Citadines brands in Singapore, is an example of an apartment hotel. Prices are comparable to hotels, but more costly than flats.

In most cases, a working visa is required to rent an apartment in Singapore. While over 80% of Singaporeans live in government-subsidized Housing Development Board (HDB) apartments, the availability of these flats for tourists is restricted, but JTC’s SHiFT program makes some accessible for $1700–2,800 per month.

Most foreigners, on the other hand, opt for private housing blocks known as condominiums, where a three-bedroom flat may cost anything from $3,200 per month in the suburbs to $20,000 for a top-of-the-line luxury one on Orchard Road. The majority of condominiums include amenities such as pools, gyms, tennis courts, parking, and 24-hour security. Due to the scarcity of studio and one-bedroom homes, most low-income individuals share an apartment with friends or coworkers, or just rent a single room. Bungalows, or landed homes, are very costly near the city center (rents are often in the tens of thousands of dollars), but they may be cheaper if you’re prepared to live outside of the city center — and keep in mind that you can travel across the country in 30 minutes.

Security deposits of one or two months are common, and for monthly rentals under $3,000, you must pay the agency a fee of two weeks each year of lease. Leases are typically for two years, with a one-year “diplomatic provision” allowing you to end it sooner. Singapore Expatriates is the country’s biggest real estate firm for expats, and its free ads are a popular place to look for roommates or flat mates. You could also go through the classified advertisements in your local newspaper.

Things To See in Singapore

  • Beaches and tourist resorts: Visit one of Sentosa’s three beaches or the southern islands’ beaches. On the East Coast, there are more beaches.
  • Culture and cuisine: For Chinese delights, visit Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam (Arab St), or the East Coast for excellent seafood, including the renowned chilli and black pepper crab.
  • History and museumsThe colonial centre of Singapore, east of Orchard and north of the Singapore River, is home to historical buildings and museums.
  • Nature and wildlife: Attractions for tourists The Botanical Gardens, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park, and the Night Safari are all located in the north and west of the city. It’s a bit more difficult to find “genuine” nature, although the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (in the same area as the zoo) contains more plant species than the whole continent of North America. Pulau Ubin, an island off the coast of Changi Village in the east, is a throwback to Singapore’s agricultural past. Everywhere you look, there are city parks filled with people running or doing tai chi. For a fun day with these amazing animals, visit the tortoise and turtle refuge in the Chinese Gardens on the west side of town. Adult entrance is $5, and green vegetables and feeding pellets are $2.
  • Skyscrapers and shopping: Orchard Road has the most retail malls, while skyscrapers are concentrated along the Singapore River; nevertheless, you should also visit Bugis and Marina Bay to observe where Singaporeans shop.
  • Places of worship: Don’t overlook this facet of Singapore, where Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha’i religion, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all have significant followings. Non-believers are allowed to visit religious places outside of service hours. The huge Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Ang Mo Kio/Bishan, the colorful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple in Chinatown, the kaleidoscopic Burmese Buddhist Temple in Balestier, and the majestic Masjid Sultan on Arab Street are all well worth a visit.

Things To Do in Singapore

While you can find a location to practice almost every activity in Singapore — golfing, surfing, scuba diving, even ice skating and snow skiing — your choices are restricted and costs are rather expensive owing to the country’s tiny size. The sea surrounding Singapore is murky for watersports because of the busy shipping routes and sheer human pressure, so most residents go north to Tioman (Malaysia) or Bintan (Indonesia) instead. On the plus side, Singapore has a plethora of diving shops, and they often organize weekend excursions to excellent dive sites off Malaysia’s East Coast, making them a viable choice for getting to some of Malaysia’s less-touristy dive locations.


Singapore has been attempting, with mixed success, to shake off its dull, buttoned-down image and attract more artists and performances on the cultural front. The Esplanade Theatre in Marina Bay, a world-class venue for the arts and a regular platform for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, is the cultural star of Singapore. Although local starlets Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin have had some success in the Chinese music scene, pop culture choices are limited, and Singapore’s home-grown arts sector remains dormant. On the plus side, any bands or DJs visiting Asia are almost certain to play in Singapore.

Going to the cinema is a popular activity in Singapore, however if you like movies with fewer cuts, search for “R21” classifications (for those aged 21 and above only). Cathay, Golden Village, and Shaw Brothers are the three major theater chains. The local film industry is still being stifled by censorship, but Jack Neo’s famous comedy capture the quirks of Singaporean life.

Don’t miss the annual Singapore Arts Festival in May or June. SISTIC sells advance tickets for virtually every cultural event, either online or in one of their many ticketing locations, including the Singapore Visitor Centre on Orchard Rd.


Singapore boasts two enormous casinos, usually referred to as “integrated resorts,” that bring in almost as much money as all of Las Vegas combined. The bigger and swankier Marina Bay Sands in Marina Bay, while Resorts World Sentosa at Sentosa seeks for a more family-friendly experience (though it also offer No Limit Holdem from $5/$10). Foreign tourists may access for free after showing their passport, but locals (citizens and permanent residents) must pay $100 per day.

Aside from the casino, there are other legalized betting options that are more accessible to residents. This includes horse racing, which is held on weekends by the Singapore Turf Club, as well as football (soccer) betting and numerous Singapore Pools lotteries.

In Singapore, mahjong is also a popular activity. The Singaporeese version is identical to the Cantonese version, except it includes additional “animal tiles” not seen in the Cantonese version. There are no (legal) mahjong parlours, therefore it’s mostly a family and friends affair.


Despite its tiny size, Singapore boasts a remarkable number of golf courses; however, the majority of the finest are operated by private clubs and are only accessible to members and their visitors. The Sentosa Golf Club,, site of the Barclays Singapore Open, and the Marina Bay Golf Course, the only 18-hole public course, are the sole exceptions. For a cheaper round, go to the neighboring Indonesian islands of Batam or Bintan, or further north to the Malaysian town of Malacca, according to the Singapore Golf Association.


In September 2008, the first Singapore Formula One Grand Prix was place at night, and the organizers have confirmed that the night event would continue through 2017. All except racing aficionados would want to skip this event, which is held on a street circuit in the center of Singapore and raced at night, since hotel costs, particularly those with views of the F1 circuits, are through the sky. Tickets start at $150, but the exciting night racing experience will be memorable for all F1 fans and photographers. Apart from being a night race, the carnival atmosphere and pop concert hosted surrounding the racing track, as well as the proximity of hotels and restaurants, set the event apart from other F1 races located in isolated locations away from cities.

On most Fridays, the Singapore Turf Club  in Kranji conducts horse races, including a number of international cups, and is popular with local gamblers. On competition days, the Singapore Polo Club near Balestier is also accessible to the public.


Singapore has lately seen a’spa boom,’ with a wide range of services available, ranging from comprehensive Ayurveda to green tea hydrotherapy. However, costs aren’t as low as they are in neighboring Indonesia and Thailand, and even a basic one-hour massage may cost upwards of $50. Premium spas can be found in most five-star hotels and on Orchard, while Sentosa’s Spa Botanica is also well-known. There are also a plethora of businesses that provide traditional Chinese massage, the most of which are genuine. The “health centers” that were less genuine were closed down. There are no public baths in the traditional Asian manner.

If you’re searching for a beauty salon on Orchard Road, go to Lucky Plaza’s fourth floor. Manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, and hair treatments are among the services they provide. Due to the cheaper rates compared to the sky-high prices of other salons along the retail strip, it is a favorite among flight crews and return visitors. Check around for pricing; some of the more attractive ones may charge less.


If you like competitive or recreational swimming, forget about your cramped hotel pool: Singapore is a swimmer’s heaven, with the world’s greatest density of public pools. They are all open-air 50-meter pools (some facilities have up to three 50-meter pools) with a $1–1.50 entry charge. Some of the tourists don’t even know how to swim. They just come from neighboring apartment complexes for a few hours of sunbathing, reading, and relaxing. Most are open from 8:00 a.m. to 21:00 p.m., and all include a small café. Imagine swimming your lanes in the dark of a tropical night, surrounded by lit-up palm palms.

The Singapore Sports Council keeps track of swimming pools, the majority of which are part of a bigger sports complex with a gym, tennis courts, and other amenities and are close to the MRT station they’re named after. Perhaps the finest is in Katong (111 Wilkinson Road, East Coast): after your swim, take a walk around the villa neighborhood immediately in front of the pool entry and see the exquisite, original architecture of the homes of Singapore’s super-rich. If conventional swimming pools boring you, visit the Jurong East Swimming Complex, which has a wave pool, water slides, and a Jacuzzi for a ridiculously low entry charge of $1.50 on weekdays and $2 on weekends. Visit the Wild Wild Wet water theme park or the Adventure Cove Waterpark to get wet with numerous thrilling water slides and tidal wave pools for those who feel wealthier.

If you don’t like swimming pools, go to the beach. The East Coast Park includes a 15-kilometer long beautiful shoreline. Singaporeans flock here to swim, bike, barbecue, and participate in a variety of other sports and pastimes. Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, and Tanjong Beach are three white sand beaches on Sentosa Island, each with its own unique features and popularity among residents.

Water sports

Aside from more traditional water sports like water skiing, wake boarding, windsurfing, and canoeing, Singapore now offers contemporary activities like cable skiing and wave surfing in specifically designed settings.

Food & Drinks in Singapore

Food in Singapore

Singapore is a melting pot of international cuisines, and many Singaporeans are food connoisseurs who love to eat (“eat” in Malay). This city-state has excellent Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, American, and other cuisines.

Most meals are eaten with a fork and spoon, with the fork in the left hand pushing and cutting and the spoon in the right hand eating. Noodles and Chinese meals usually arrive with chopsticks, while Malay and Indian cuisine may be eaten with your hands. However, if you ask for a fork and spoon instead, no one will bat an eye. If you’re eating by hand, always select your food with your right hand, since Malays and Indians often use their left hand to handle filthy items. When using chopsticks, keep in mind the typical traditional Chinese etiquette, and most importantly, do not insert your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. Serving plates are usually shared while dining in a group, but you’ll receive your own bowl of rice and soup. It’s customary to pick up food from shared plates using your own chopsticks, although serving spoons may be requested.

Singapore is well-known for its cuisine, which is a unique blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western influences. The list below is only a sampling of the most popular meals.

Peranakan/Nonya cuisine

Peranakan or Nonya cuisine is the most well-known cuisine in the area, having evolved from the mixed Malay and Chinese populations of what were formerly British possessions in the Straits Settlements (modern-day Singapore, Penang and Malacca).

  • Chilli crab is a whole crab that has been smothered in a sticky, acidic chilli sauce. It’s a little hot at first, but it becomes better as you eat more. It’s notoriously tough to eat, so skip the white shirt and simply dive in with your hands, ignoring the mess. This is a specialty of East Coast seafood eateries. Black pepper crab is a less messy but equally delicious option.
  • Kaya is a jam-like spread made with egg and coconut, an unusual yet delicious combination. For breakfast, it’s traditionally served on toast with runny eggs and strong, sweet coffee (kopi). There are two different styles: a greenish Nonya variant with pandan leaf coloring and a brownish Hainanese variation.
  • Laksa, especially Katong laksa or laksa lemak, is perhaps the most well-known Singaporean dish: white noodles in a creamy, rich coconut-based curry broth with cockles or prawns on top. Although you may request less or no chilli to reduce the intensity, the typical version seen at hawker centres is extremely hot. The Katong version is considerably less spicy and is often exclusively seen in Katong.
  • Mee siam is rice flour noodles served with bean curd cubes and hard boiled eggs in a sweet-sour soup prepared with tamarind, dried shrimp, and fermented beans. Despite the fact that the Chinese, Malays, and Indians all have their own variations, Singaporeans prefer the Peranakan version. This is usually seen at Malay stalls.
  • Popiah (薄饼), or spring rolls, come fresh or fried. They’re made out of a filling of boiled turnip, fried tofu, pork, shrimp, and a variety of other ingredients wrapped in a thin crepe slathered with sweet black soy sauce and eaten like a fajita. They are connected to other Chinese groups in Asia’s lumpia and runbing.
  • Rojak – In Malay, rojak means “a combination of everything,” and there are two kinds. Pineapple, white turnip, cucumber, tau pok (fried bean curd), and thinly sliced bunga kantan (torch ginger blossom buds) are mixed in shrimp paste sauce and sugar, then topped with crushed peanuts in Chinese rojak. Indian rojak is mostly composed out of fried fritters consisting of wheat and different pulses, as well as cucumber and tofu, and served with sweet and spicy sauces.
  • Satay bee hoon is rice vermicelli (bee hoon) served with the same peanut and chili sauce as satay. Cockles, dried squid, and pig pieces are often used.
  • Ice cream is available in the same way it is in Western nations. However, there are a variety of unique flavors in Singapore, like as durian and red bean, that are not available anywhere else in the world and are well worth trying. Request ice cream in roti to wow the natives (bread).

Apart from these meals, the Peranakans are famous for their kueh, or snacks, which vary from Malay counterparts owing to greater Chinese influences.

Malay cuisine

Despite being outnumbered by the Chinese, the Malays were the first residents of Singapore, and their unique food remains popular to this day. Most Malay meals are curries, stews, or dips of some kind, and nasi padang restaurants, which serve a variety of them to pour over your rice, are extremely popular.

  • Mee rebus – Egg noodles are served with a spicy, somewhat sweet sauce, a piece of hard boiled egg, and lime in mee rebus.
  • Mee soto is a Malay-style chicken soup made with shredded chicken breast and egg noodles in a clear broth.
  • Nasi lemak is the quintessential Malay breakfast, consisting of rice cooked in light coconut milk, anchovies, peanuts, a piece of cucumber, and a dab of chilli on the side. A bigger ikan kuning (fried fish) or chicken wing is a popular side dish. Frequently served with a variety of curries and/or sambal.
  • Otah/Otak is a kind of fish cake composed of minced fish (mainly mackerel), coconut milk, chili, and many other spices, then fried in a banana or coconut leaf. It is often eaten with other meals such as nasi lemak.
  • Rendang, a hot (but rarely flaming) coconut-based curry paste that originated in Indonesia and is often referred to as “dry curry,” is meat that has been cooked for hours in a spicy (but rarely scorching) coconut-based curry paste until nearly all of the water has been absorbed. The most frequent rendang is beef, but chicken and mutton are sometimes seen.
  • Sambal is a general name for a variety of chilli sauces. Sambal belacan is a famous condiment created by combining chilli with the shrimp paste belacan, whereas sambal sotong is a popular meal made with squid (sotong) fried in red chilli sauce.
  • Satay are grilled meat skewers, usually chicken, mutton, or beef. The spices used to season the meat, as well as the somewhat spicy peanut-based dipping sauce, distinguish satay from regular kebab. One famous venue for this delicacy is the Satay Club in Lau Pa Sat near Raffles Place.

Malay dishes, particularly sweet pastries and jellies (kuih or kueh) made mostly from coconut and palm sugar (gula melaka), resemble Thai delicacies. In the scorching heat of the tropics, though, try one of the numerous ice-based concoctions:

  • Bubur cha-cha is a coconut milk soup with cubed yam, sweet potato, and sago. This dish may be served either hot or chilled.
  • Green pea noodles, kidney beans, palm sugar, and coconut milk are used to make Chendol.
  • Durian is a native fruit with a unique odor that can be detected from a mile away and a sharp prickly husk. Both the scent and the taste are difficult to describe, but I can imagine eating garlic ice cream next to an open sewer. You should try it if you’re brave enough, but be warned: you’ll either love it or loathe it. The rich creamy yellow flesh is often sold in handy pre-packaged packets in areas like Geylang and Bugis, costing anything from $1 for a small fruit to $18/kg depending on the season and kind of durian. Ice cream, cakes, sweets, puddings, and other delicious treats are all created using this ‘king of fruits.’ Durians are not permitted to be carried on the MRT or buses, and they are prohibited in many hotels.
  • Ice kachang literally translates to “ice bean” in Malay, which gives you a hint about the main ingredients: shaved ice and delicious red beans. However, gula melaka (palm sugar), grass jelly, sweet corn, attap palm seeds, and whatever else is on hand are often added, and the entire dish is then drizzled with canned evaporated milk or coconut cream and colored syrups. The final product is intriguing — and invigorating.
  • Kuih (or kueh) is a term used to describe a variety of steamed or baked “cakes” made mostly with coconut milk, shredded coconut meat, sticky rice, or tapioca. They’re frequently brightly colored and sliced into whimsical shapes, but despite their wide range of appearances, they all taste very much the same.
  • Pisang goreng is a deep-fried banana that has been battered.

Chinese cuisine

The majority of Chinese cuisine consumed in Singapore comes from southern China, especially Fujian and Guangdong. While “genuine” food can be found in fine dining establishments, the everyday cuisine offered at hawker centers has absorbed a number of tropical touches, most notably the liberal use of chilli and the Malay fermented shrimp paste belacan as condiments. Noodles may be served not just in soup (tang), but also “dry” (gan), which means the noodles will be tossed with chilli and spices in one bowl and the soup will be served in another.

  • Bak chor mee (肉脞面)consists of minced pig noodles mixed in a chilli-based sauce with fat, ikan bilis (fried anchovies), veggies, and mushrooms. You may also use black vinegar.
  • Bak kut teh (肉骨茶), literally “pork bone tea,” is a simple-sounding soup made with pork ribs cooked in stock for hours until they come off the bone. The light and peppery Teochew variety (“white”) is preferred among Singaporeans, although a few stores provide the original dark and fragrant Fujian version (“black”). Bak kut teh is traditionally served with white rice, mui choy (pickled vegetables), and a pot of strong Chinese tea, despite the broth’s lack of tea. Order some you tiao fritters from a neighboring vendor and chop them up into bite-sized pieces to dip into your soup to wow the locals.
  • Char kway teow (炒粿条) consists of various kinds of noodles in a rich brown sauce with pieces of fishcake, Chinese sausage, a token vegetable or two, and either cockles or shrimp. It’s inexpensive ($2–3/serving), satisfying, and has nothing to do with the meal known elsewhere as “Singapore fried noodles.” (And which, in Singapore, does not exist.)
  • Chee cheong fun (豬腸粉) is a popular breakfast dish made of folded up lasagna-style rice noodles with different fried meats such as fishballs and fried tofu. A large quantity of sauce is typically served on top of the meal.
  • Chwee kway (水粿)is a breakfast meal made of rice cakes topped with chai po (salted fermented turnips) and served with chili sauce.
  • Fishball noodles (魚丸面) occur in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the most common noodle type is mee pok, which are flat egg noodles. The noodles are mixed in chili sauce and served with a dish of soupy fishballs.
  • Hainanese chicken rice (海南鸡饭). Steamed (“white”) or roasted (“red”) chicken flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil is served over a bed of fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and flavored with ginger and garlic in Hainanese chicken rice (). Chilli sauce prepared with fresh crushed chillis, ginger, garlic, and thick black soy sauce, as well as cucumber and a small bowl of chicken broth, are served alongside. Despite its name, only the chicken-preparation technique originated in Hainan, while the rice-cooking method was developed by Hainanese immigrants in what is now Singapore and Malaysia.
  • Hokkien mee (福建面) is a soupy fried noodle dish with prawns and other shellfish in a light, aromatic stock. Surprisingly, it bears little similarity to the same-named Kuala Lumpur dish, which employs thick noodles in black soy sauce, or even the Penang version, which is served in a hot soup.
  • Kway chap (粿汁) is a dish consisting of rice flour sheets served in a brown stock with a platter of braised pork and pig parts (tongue, ear and intestines).
  • Prawn noodles (虾面, hae mee in Hokkien) A dark-brown prawn broth is served with egg noodles and a big tiger prawn or two on top of prawn noodles (, hae mee in Hokkien). Some vendors also offer it with cooked pig ribs. The greatest versions are extremely addicting, and you’ll find yourself sucking up the remaining MSG-laced droplets (most likely off the shrimp heads).
  • Steamboat (火锅), (also known as hot pot) is a Chinese-style do-it-yourself soup. You start a pot of broth on a tabletop burner, then choose your meat, fish, and vegetables from a menu or buffet table, and prepare it to your preference. When you’re done, add noodles or rice to fill you up. This generally requires at least two individuals, but the more the merrier.
  • Tau huay (豆花), commonly known as beancurd, is a bowl of tofu curds in syrup eaten hot or cold, and is perhaps the most popular traditional Chinese dessert. A wonderful custard-like variant (“soft tau huay”) that contains no syrup and is very soft while being solid has recently swept the island.
  • Wonton mee (云吞面) is a thin noodle dish topped with seasoned minced pork wantan dumplings. It is typically served ‘dry’ with soy sauce and chilli, as opposed to the soupy Hong Kong version.
  • Yong tau foo (酿豆腐) simply translates as “stuffed tofu,” but it’s a lot more interesting than that. The diner chooses their favorites from a wide variety of tofu, fish paste, seafood, and vegetables, which are then cut into bite-size pieces, boiled quickly in boiling water, and served either in broth as soup or “dry” with the broth in a separate bowl. The meal is delicious on its own or with any kind of noodle. Spicy chili sauce and sweet sauce for dipping are required accompaniments.

Indian cuisine

Indians, the smallest of Singapore’s three major ethnic communities, have had the least effect on the local culinary scene in terms of population, although there is no lack of Indian cuisine at numerous hawker centres. Little India serves delicious and genuine Indian cuisine, including south Indian favorites like dosa (thosai) crepes, idli lentil-rice cakes, and sambar soup, as well as north Indian favorites like curries, naan bread, and tandoori chicken. A number of Indian cuisines, on the other hand, have been “Singaporeanized” and embraced by the whole community, including:

  • Fish head curry – True to its name, fish head curry is a massive curried fish head cooked entire till it falls apart. This may be found in Singapore’s Little India. It’s worth noting that there are two different styles: hot Indian and gentler Chinese.
  • Nasi briyani is rice that has been cooked with turmeric to give it an orange hue. It’s generally fairly bland, unlike the Hyderabadi original, but specialty stores do produce more flavorful variations. It’s typically accompanied with curry chicken and Indian crackers.
  • Roti prata – The local equivalent of paratha is roti prata, which is a flatbread thrown in the air like pizza, quickly fried in oil, and consumed dipped in curry. Modern-day variants may contain unusual components such as cheese, chocolate, and even ice cream, but classic forms include roti kosong (plain), roti telur (egg), and murtabak (layered with chicken, mutton or fish). Beware, vegans: unlike Indian flatbread, roti prata batter often contains eggs.
  • Putu mayam is a delicious delicacy made of vermicelli-like noodles and shredded coconut with orange sugar on top.

Hawker centres

Hawker centres, basically former pushcart sellers pushed into massive complexes by government decree, are the cheapest and most popular places to eat in Singapore. Prices are cheap ($2.50–5), cleanliness standards are good (every booth must publicly display a hygiene certificate rating it from A to D), and the cuisine may be superb. Although the ambiance is often lacking and there is no air conditioning, a trip to a hawker centre is a must when visiting Singapore. Be wary of pushy pushers-cum-salesmen, particularly at the Satay Club in Lau Pa Sat and the Newton Food Centre in Newton Circus: the best booths don’t require high-pressure methods to get consumers. Touting for business is against the law, and reminding individuals of this may cause them to back off a little.

To place an order, first chope (reserve) a table by parking a buddy near it, note the table number, and then make your order at your preferred stall. Employees bring the meal to your table, and you pay when you get it. Note that certain stalls (especially the most popular ones) are “self-service,” as stated by a sign, although they will generally deliver if it is quiet or you are seated close. Almost every stall offers takeaway (also known as “package” or “ta pao () in Hokkien dialect), in which case workers wrap your food in a plastic box/bag and even provide disposable cutlery. Simply get up and go after you’ve done, since the tables will be cleaned by professional cleaners.

Every district in Singapore has its own hawker centre, and as you go farther out into the countryside, costs drop. For tourists, the most popular options are Newton Circus near (Newton MRT Exit B), Gluttons Bay near (Esplanade MRT Exit D), and Lau Pa Sat near (Raffles Place MRT Exit I, the River). However, this does not mean they are the cheapest or the tastiest, and the demanding gourmand would be better off heading to Chinatown or the heartlands instead. In the busy Tekka Centre on the outskirts of Little India, a dizzying variety of food vendors with a strong South Indian presence can be found. The easiest method to discover the finest food stalls is to ask locals for suggestions. Many of the best food stalls are situated in residential areas off the tourist route and do not promote in the media, so asking locals for recommendations is the best way to find them. Old Airport Road Food Centre (near Dakota MRT Exit B) and Tiong Bahru Market (near Tiong Bahru MRT) are two good examples closer to the city center, both of which are vast and home to a lot of popular booths. Botak Jones provides relatively genuine and moderately large American-restaurant type meals at hawker rates in a number of hawker centres.

Coffee shops

Despite their name, coffee shops, or kopitiam, offer much more than coffee; they are essentially mini-hawker centers, with just a few booths (one of which will, however, sell coffee and other drinks). People gather here for the classic Singaporean breakfast of kopi (strong, sweet coffee), kaya (egg-coconut jam) toast, and runny eggs, as well as to drink a beer or two and talk away in the evenings. Although English ability is occasionally limited, most stall owners are able to explain the essentials, and even if they are unable to do so, surrounding residents will generally assist you if you ask. For supper, many coffee shops provide zi char/cze cha (), which is a menu of local foods, mostly Chinese-style seafood, served at your table at mid-range rates.

Any shopping mall will have Starbucks and other local cafe chains like as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, but an iced coffee or tea can cost you back $5 or more, while a teh tarik (“pulled”) milky tea or kopi coffee would set you back closer to $1 at any hawker centre. While touring the city, you’ll certainly come across a slew of independent cafes serving gourmet coffee, pastries, and cakes, which have sprung up all over the place in the previous decade.

Food courts

Food courts are the air-conditioned counterpart of hawker centres, and they may be found in the basement or top level of almost every shopping mall. The range of cuisine on offer is almost similar, but costs are $1–3 more on average than at hawker centres and coffee shops (depending on the region, it is slightly more costly in tourist-heavy areas), and the quality is excellent but not always value for money.

Fast food

McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., Burger King, KFC, MOS Burger, Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Subway, and other international fast food brands may be found in most shopping malls. The cost of a standard burger ranges from $2 to $5 for a set meal. Self-service is available in all restaurants, and cleaning your table after your meal is optional.


Singapore also has a diverse range of full-service restaurants to suit every taste and budget.

Because ethnic Chinese make up the majority of Singapore’s population, there are many Chinese restaurants in the city-state, most of which serve southern Chinese cuisine (mostly Hokkien, Teochew, or Cantonese), though due to the large number of expatriates and foreign workers from China these days, cuisine from Shanghai and further north is also available. Due to the mix of their southern Chinese origins and local influences, true local Chinese restaurants typically offer foods that are seldom found in Chinese restaurants abroad or in Mainland China.

Prices vary significantly depending on where you go and what you get. Ordinary restaurants charge between $15 to $35 per person, while top-end restaurants in luxury hotels charge up to $300 per person for delicacies like abalone, suckling pig, and lobster. Food is eaten with chopsticks and served with Chinese tea, as it is at all Chinese restaurants.

As a coastal city, seafood restaurants are popular, including Chinese-influenced Singaporean classics like chilli crabs. It’s a lot more enjoyable to go with a group, but be cautious what you order: gourmet delicacies like Sri Lankan gigantic crab may quickly add up to hundreds of dollars on your tab. Menus usually state “market price,” and if you ask, they’ll tell you the amount per 100g, although a large crab may easily weigh more than 2kg. The finest seafood restaurants are concentrated on the East Coast, although the riverfront eateries at Boat Quay and Clarke Quay can’t be matched for atmosphere. Always ask about costs if they aren’t mentioned explicitly, and be cautious of touts.

Singapore also boasts a number of excellent Western restaurants, with British and American-influenced cuisine being particularly popular among Singaporeans. The majority of the more inexpensive franchises can be found in different shopping malls throughout the island, with main dish pricing ranging from $14 to $22. Try Hainanese Western food for a more regionalized version of Western cuisine, which may be traced back to Hainanese migrants who worked as chefs for Western employers during the colonial era. Food from France, Italy, Japan, and Korea is also widely accessible, but costs tend to be on the high side, while Thai and Indonesian restaurants are more reasonably priced.

High tea is a popular British import in Singapore. This is a small afternoon meal consisting of tea and a variety of British-style savory nibbles and sweet pastries such as finger sandwiches and scones, typically provided by better hotels throughout the island. However, the phrase is rapidly being used to all types of afternoon buffets, with Chinese dim sum and other Singaporean cuisines being popular additions. Prices vary, but expect to pay between $35 to $80 per person. Many restaurants only offer high tea on weekends, and hours may be limited: for example, the renowned feast at the Raffles Hotel’s Tiffin Room is only accessible from 15:30-17:00.

Buffets are popular among Singaporeans, particularly foreign buffets that provide a large range of meals at a set price, including Western, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines as well as certain indigenous specialties. Sakura, Pariss, Vienna, and Todai are popular chains.

Buffets are available at most hotels for lunch and supper. Champagne brunches on Sundays are especially popular, but expect to spend over $100 per person and make reservations at famous places like Mezza9 at the Hyatt on Orchard.

Fine dining

While Singapore was historically renowned for its outstanding casual eating but a dearth of fine dining choices, the construction of the two casinos in Marina Bay and Sentosa has resulted in many of the world’s best chefs, including Santi, Waku Ghin, and Guy Savoy, establishing local branches of their restaurants. Prices are typically in line with what you’d expect to pay in a fine dining restaurant in the West, with tasting menus costing $400 or more per person.

Dietary restrictions

Almost everyone can find something to eat in Singapore. Certain Indians and small numbers of Chinese Buddhists are vegetarians, thus vegetarian choices may be available at Indian stalls, and some hawker centres may include a Chinese vegetarian stall or two, frequently dishing up excellent gluten-free meat imitations. Chinese vegetarian cuisine is nearly always vegan since it does not utilize eggs or dairy products; Indian vegetarian food, on the other hand, often uses cheese and other milk products. In regular Chinese restaurants, however, be cautious since even meals that seem to be vegetarian on the menu may include marine items such as oyster sauce or salted fish – ask the waiter if you’re unsure. There are eateries that utilize “no garlic, no onions.”

Muslims should be on the lookout for halal certifications given by MUIS, Singapore’s Islamic Religious Council. This can be found at almost every Malay booth, as well as many Indian Muslim businesses, although it’s more uncommon in Chinese businesses owned by people who aren’t Muslims. However, there are a few halal food courts in the area that are a great place to try halal Chinese cuisine in a safe environment. In Singapore, many Western fast-food restaurants utilize halal meat; check for a certificate at the ordering area or ask a manager if you’re unsure. A few establishments forego the official certification and just post “no pork, no lard” signs; it’s up to you to decide whether this is sufficient.

Kosher-observant Jews, on the other hand, will have a tougher time finding kosher cuisine in Singapore, which is almost non-existent outside of the Central Business District’s two synagogues at Oxley Rise and Waterloo Street.

Drinks in Singapore

Singapore’s nightlife isn’t nearly as good as Patpong’s, but it’s far from bad. Some clubs have 24-hour licenses, and just a few establishments shut before 3 a.m. Any musician visiting Asia is almost certain to stop in Singapore, with superclub Zouk routinely ranking at the top of lists of the world’s finest nightclubs. Singapore’s nightlife is mainly centered around the Riverside’s three quays — Boat, Clarke, and Robertson — with Sentosa’s clubs and the adjacent St James Power Station providing party enthusiasts even more incentive to dance the night away, as well as the casino on Marina Bay. The majority of gay clubs are concentrated in Chinatown. While the legal drinking age is 18, it is surprisingly laxly enforced, and certain clubs have greater age restrictions.

Friday is usually the busiest night of the week for nightlife, with Saturday following closely after. In many pubs and clubs, Sunday is homosexual night, whereas Wednesday or Thursday is ladies’ night, which usually entails not just free admission but also free beverages for women. On Mondays and Tuesdays, most clubs are closed, whereas pubs are usually open but extremely quiet.

Gather a bunch of pals and go to the closest karaoke box — prominent franchises include K-Box and Party World — for a night out in Singapore style. The cost of renting a room starts at $30 per hour and goes higher from there. Be aware that non-chain, glamorous (or shady) neon-covered KTV clubs may demand significantly higher prices, and short-skirted hostesses may provide more services than simply pouring your drinks. In Singapore, karaoke is pronounced “karah-oh-kay” rather than “carry-oh-key,” as it is in the United States.


Due to Singapore’s high sin taxes, alcohol is readily accessible yet costly. Tax-free shopping at Changi Airport, on the other hand, offers some of the finest deals in the world. If you come from a country other than Malaysia, you may carry in up to one litre of liquor and two litres of wine and beer. Common basic Australian wine brands may also be found for around $20 if you search carefully at big supermarkets.

Muslims consider alcohol to be haram (forbidden), therefore most Muslim Singaporeans avoid it. While most non-Muslim Singaporeans are not puritans and like a drink now and then, don’t expect to discover the same binge-drinking culture as in other Western nations. Unlike many Western nations, public intoxication is frowned upon in Singapore, and misbehaving while under the influence of alcohol will earn you little respect from your Singaporean friends. Allowing any disagreements to develop into fights may result in the police being called, and you may be sentenced to jail and/or caning.

When it comes to drinking out, prices differ. For less than $6, you can get a big bottle of beer of your choosing at a coffee shop or hawker center (and the local colour comes thrown in for free). Drinks at any bar, club, or luxury restaurant, on the other hand, remain expensive, with a basic drink costing $10–15 and extravagant cocktails costing $15–25. On the plus side, happy hours and two-for-one deals are frequent, and club admission typically includes several drink tickets. Almost every restaurant in Singapore allows you to bring your own (BYO) wine, and most restaurants without a wine menu don’t even charge corkage, but you’ll need to provide your own bottle opener and glasses. The most upscale establishments charge $20–50, but many provide free corkage on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Tourists rush to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel to try the original Singapore Sling, a hideously sweet pink concoction of pineapple juice, gin, and other ingredients, while locals (almost) never drink it. The indigenous beer, Tiger, is a rather average lager, but there has been a recent microbrewery explosion in Singapore, with Archipelago (Boat Quay), Brewerkz (Riverside Point), Paulaner Brauhaus (Millenia Walk), and Pump Room (Clarke Quay) all providing intriguing alternatives.


Tobacco is highly taxed, and you are only permitted to carry one opened pack of cigarettes into the nation (not a carton, but a single pack!) This is especially severe at the land crossings with Malaysia, where every luggage is X-rayed on a regular basis. Smoking is banned in most public areas, including hawker centers, and it is also prohibited in public transportation. Smoking is prohibited in all air-conditioned establishments (including bars and discos), and there are severe restrictions on where you may smoke outdoors (e.g.,within 5 metres of bus stops and building entrances, parks, covered walkways and shelters, playgrounds and all except the designated sections of hawker centres are off limits). The smoking zone should be identified by a yellow border and a sign that reads “smoking zone.” A government website.publishes a list of locations where smoking is banned as well as a (much shorter) list of places where it is permitted.


Prostitution is permitted in six authorized areas, the most famous of which is Geylang, which also happens to have some of the city’s cheapest accommodation and finest cuisine. While the legal age of consent in Singapore is 16, prostitutes must be at least 18 years old. The business keeps a low profile (no go-go clubs here) and isn’t considered a tourist draw by any means. Commercial sex workers must register with the government and visit specific clinics for sexually transmitted disease screening on a regular basis. Please, however, use caution and use safe sex—even though most legally practicing sex workers will insist on it nonetheless.

Orchard Towers, on Orchard Road, has been dubbed “four storeys of prostitutes” and, despite periodic government crackdowns, continues to live up to its moniker. Be aware that the prostitutes working here are almost always unregistered, increasing the danger of theft and STDs. Also, notice that a handful of the ladies are transsexuals.

Money & Shopping in Singapore


The Singapore dollar is split into 100 cents and is abbreviated SGD, S$, or just $ (as used throughout this article). Coins in the denominations of $0.05 (gold), $0.10 (silver), $0.20 (silver), $0.50 (silver), and $1 (gold) are available, as well as notes in the denominations of $2 (purple), $5 (green), $10 (red), $50 (blue), $100 (orange), $1,000 (purple), and $10,000. (gold).

The SGD10,000 banknote, along with its Brunei equivalent, has the highest intrinsic value of any banknote currently in circulation (valued at USD7,840 in September 2014). Despite the fact that Singapore is a spotless city-state, it will stop printing its currency in October 2014 since it promotes bribery and corruption in neighboring nations such as Indonesia.

Because the Brunei dollar and the Singapore dollar are tied at par and the two currencies may be used interchangeably in both nations, don’t be shocked if you receive a Brunei note as change. Unless it contains additional initials (e.g., US$ or USD to stand for US dollar), you may reasonably presume that the “$” symbol used in the island-nation refers to SGD.

Currency exchange booths may be found in almost every shopping mall and often provide better rates, longer hours of operation, and quicker service than banks. The massive 24-hour operation at Mustafa in Little India, as well as the highly competitive little businesses at the appropriately called Change Alley close to Raffles Place MRT, take virtually any currency at extremely excellent rates. Ask for a quotation if you’re buying a big quantity, since you’ll frequently receive a better deal than what’s on the board. The rates at the airport aren’t as favorable as they are in the city, and although many department shops take major foreign currencies, the exchange rates are often exorbitant.


Tipping is not customary in Singapore and is expressly discouraged by the government; nevertheless, restaurants often charge a 10% service fee before the local goods and services tax, or GST. Restaurants often show pricing like $19.99++, indicating that service fee (10%) and sales tax (7%) are not included and will be added to your bill; in most restaurants, the service charge is never received by the staff. When you see NETT, it indicates that the price includes all taxes and fees.

Bellhops still demand around $2 each bag. Taxis typically refund your change to the last 5 cents or round in your favor if they can’t be bothered to rummage for change; congestion or Electronic Road Pricing charges are often already included in the final price. All taxis must provide a hotline for customers to contact if they are unhappy. At the airport, tipping is not permitted.

Do not provide a tip to any government official, particularly police officers, since this is considered bribery and would very certainly result in you being detained and facing criminal charges.


Singapore is pricey by Asian standards, but inexpensive by OECD ones: $50 is a perfectly adequate daily backpacker budget if you’re prepared to cut corners, but you’ll definitely want to double that for comfort. The food, in particular, is a bargain, with good hawker cuisine costing around $5 for a large portion. Accommodation is more expensive, but a bed in a hostel can cost less than $20, a basic room in a mid-range hotel in the city center can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 per night, and the most luxurious hotels (such as Raffles Hotel and most hotels in Sentosa) can cost $300 after discounts during the off-peak season.

Prices in Singapore are about twice as expensive as those in Malaysia and Thailand, and 3-5 times more than those in Indonesia and the Philippines.


As a national hobby, shopping is second only to eating, which means that Singapore has a plethora of shopping malls, and cheap import taxes and tariffs, along with high volume, mean that pricing are generally extremely competitive. While there are no bazaars selling dirt-cheap local handicrafts (in fact, almost everything sold in Singapore is produced abroad), products are usually of high quality, and merchants are generally trustworthy because to strict consumer protection regulations. The majority of shops are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., but smaller businesses (especially those outside of shopping malls) may shut earlier — 19:00 is typical — and perhaps on Sundays as well. Mustafa in Little India is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. On the final Friday of the month, several shops along Orchard Road and Scotts Road offer late night shopping, with over 250 establishments remaining open until midnight.

  • Antiques: If you’re searching for the genuine thing, the second floor of the Tanglin Shopping Centre on Orchard and the stores on South Bridge Rd in Chinatown are excellent places to start (or high-quality reproductions).
  • Books: Borders at Wheelock Place is no longer in business. However, the biggest bookshop in Singapore is Kinokuniya, which is located in Ngee Ann City on Orchard Road. It also has two additional locations, one in Liang Court (near Robertson Walk) and the other at Bugis Junction (a shopping complex located directly above Bugis MRT station). Many second-hand book shops can be found at Far East Plaza and Bras Basah Complex, where you may try to haggle if you are purchasing a large quantity of books. The bookstores at the National University of Singapore offer the best pricing on the island for university textbooks, saving up to 80% compared to prices in the West.
  • Cameras: Peninsula Plaza, near City Hall, offers the largest variety of camera stores in Singapore. There are no spectacular discounts to be found, and many camera shops in Singapore (especially those at Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim Square) have a reputation for defrauding even the most cautious visitors. The ideal approach is to know precisely what you want and then stop by the stores in the airport’s transit area to check prices and see if they have any specials when you arrive. Then proceed to the downtown stores and compare prices/packages to find which one offers the best value. Always check pricing and bundles for anything you’re interested in at big shops first, such as Courts, Harvey Norman, and Best Denki, to be safe. When shop employees try to sell you a brand or model that isn’t the one you want, be wary; a few shops in Sim Lim Square, Lucky Plaza, and others have been known to utilize this technique and sell goods for two to four times their real list costs. Keep an eye out for bait-and-switches. Examine the item’s model number and condition before paying, and don’t allow it out of your sight. (The most frequent fraud at Lucky Plaza is increasing the fee without your consent.)
  • Clothes, high-street: The most branded shops can be found at Ion, Ngee Ann City (Takashimaya), and Paragon on Orchard. Another mall, Raffles City, is situated near City Hall MRT and has a range of brands like as Kate Spade and Timberland.
  • Clothes, tailored: Almost every hotel has a tailor shop connected, and promoting tailors may be a nuisance in Chinatown. If you don’t have the time for numerous fits or the expertise to inspect what you’re receiving, you’ll get what you paid for, and you’ll get bad quality. Prices vary greatly: a shirt may be made for $40 at a local store using low-cost fabrics, while a shirt from Singapore’s best-known tailor, CYC the Custom Shop in the Raffles Hotel, would set you back at least $120.
  • Clothes, youth: Bugis caters to the youthful, trendy, and budget-conscious. Bugis St (opposite Bugis MRT) is now the most popular shopping street in the Bugis district, with three floors of stores. Some Orchard locations, such as Far East Plaza (not to be confused with Far East Shopping Centre) and the Heeren’s top floor, also cater to the same clientele, albeit at a higher price.
  • Computers: Sim Lim Square (near Little India) is ideal for the hardcore geek who knows exactly what he wants – component pricing lists are accessible on and are distributed throughout Sim Lim, allowing for simple price comparison. Lesser mortals (i.e., those who have failed to do their price-checking homework) are at danger of being ripped off while shopping, although this is seldom an issue with most businesses’ pricing lists. Some Singaporeans buy their electronic devices during quarterly “IT exhibitions” hosted at the Suntec City Convention Centre or the Expo, where prices on electronics are often reduced (but often only to Sim Lim levels). Another option is to shop in Funan IT Mall, where the shops are often more honest (according to some). Do not be enticed by side gifts/sweeteners such as thumbdrives, mouse, or other similar items; they simply serve to conceal increased costs.
  • Consumer electronics: Singapore used to be renowned for its low pricing, but these days, electronics in Singapore are usually more costly than those sold by US and worldwide internet retailers. Mustafa (Little India) and Funan IT Mall (Riverside#Buy|Riverside) are also excellent options. If you want to avoid being ripped off, stay away from the tourist traps on Orchard Road, especially the infamous Lucky Plaza. Avoid shops on the 1st and 2nd levels of Sim Lim Square, as some of them rip off tourists and locals alike by overcharging by 100% or more, adding ludicrous charges beyond what was agreed upon, swapping items for used ones, leaving out cases and batteries, and a variety of other practices that should (or are) illegal. Please do your homework before purchasing electronics from any store in Singapore; internet research and pricing comparisons from several stores (as well as occasional haggling) are required. Mustafa, like Challenger and other major fixed-price shops, offers set, reasonable pricing and is an excellent choice. Remember that Singapore utilizes 230V electricity and a three-pin British-style plug for all purchases.
  • Electronic components: Sim Lim Tower (opposite Sim Lim Square), in Little India, has a large selection of electronic components and related equipment for do-it-yourselfers and engineers. Most typical electrical components (such as breadboards, transistors, different ICs, and so on) are available, as are discount pricing for greater quantities.
  • Ethnic knick-knacks: Chinatown boasts the highest concentration of glow-in-the-dark Merlion soap dispensers and ethnic souvenirs in Singapore, mainly but not completely Chinese and almost all imported from outside. Geylang Serai and Little India are the finest locations to shop for Malay and Indian items, respectively.
  • Fabrics: There is a good variety of foreign and indigenous fabrics, such as batik, on Arab Street and Little India. Chinatown has reasonably priced and inexpensive textiles; haggling is permitted, so know what you’re looking for. Fabrics in Singapore may not be as inexpensive as those in other countries since most fabrics are imported.
  • Fakes: Unlike other Southeast Asian nations, pirated products are not publicly available for purchase, and bringing them into the city-state is punishable by steep penalties. Fake products are not difficult to obtain by in Little India, Bugis, or even the Orchard Road underpasses.
  • Food: Supermarkets in the area Cold Storage, Prime Mart, Shop ‘n’ Save, and NTUC Fairprice are all over town, but Jason’s Marketplace in Raffles City’s basement and Tanglin Market Place in Tanglin Mall (both on Orchard) are two of Singapore’s best-stocked gourmet supermarkets, with a wide range of foreign goods. Takashimaya’s basement (Orchard) contains several tiny eccentric stores, making for a more fascinating browsing experience. Seek out any neighborhood wet market, like as Tekka Market in Little India, for a more Singaporean (and far cheaper) shopping experience. In addition to a food court or two, most shopping malls include a variety of tiny snack shops and restaurants in their basements.
  • Games: Although video and PC games are readily accessible in Singapore, they are not always cheaper than in the West. Although some games imported from Hong Kong or Taiwan are in Chinese, most games marketed for the local market are in English. Note that Singapore’s official region code (along with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries) is NTSC-J, which implies that games sold in Singapore may not be compatible with consoles in mainland China, North America, Europe, or Australia. PC, Xbox, Wii, and PlayStation games costs may decrease at the four times a year IT Shows, if not the games will be packaged with others (Example: Buy 2 for $49.90). Look for trustworthy stores online and, as usual, avoid the first two levels of Sim Lim Square.
  • Hi-fi stereos: The Adelphi (Riverside) offers the finest variety of audiophile stores in Singapore.
  • Marine sports: Many of the shophouses on Beach Rd in Bugis opposite The Concourse offer fishing and scuba diving equipment.
  • Mobile phones: Due to large consumer volume, mobile phones are very reasonably priced in Singapore, and they are accessible both used and new across the nation. Phones are never SIM locked, so you may use them anywhere you choose, and many stores will let you “trade in” your old phone to help pay for a new one. If visitor stories are to be believed, don’t buy phones in Lucky Plaza because there’s a good chance you’ll be nearly physically stolen.
  • Music: Singapore’s biggest music shop, HMV, is located at Marina Square. Unfortunately, many local CD shops have closed due to rampant digital piracy. For those willing to sample Asian music, CD Rama at local bookshops Popular still the best option.
  • Peranakan goods: Although the Peranakan, or Malay-Chinese, are dwindling in numbers, their vibrant apparel and artwork, particularly the unique pastel-colored pottery, are still readily available. Antiques are costly, but contemporary copies are reasonably priced. On the East Coast, Katong has the greatest variety and best pricing.
  • Sporting goods: The Queensway Shopping Centre, off Alexandra Rd and a little off the main path (hire a cab), seems to be entirely made up of sporting goods stores. Sporty clothes and shoes in international sizes are also available. Make a deal! For the same goods, expect to save 40-50 percent if you buy in Orchard. Velocity in Novena is likewise a sports store, although it is a little more upscale. Although most of the clothing stores surrounding Pagoda Street in Chinatown offer basic silk taiji/wushu outfits, martial arts equipment is surprisingly hard to come by. It’s worth noting that if you want to purchase weapons like swords, you’ll need to request for a permission from the police (costs about $10) to get them out of the country.
  • Tea: For both price and variety, Chinatown’s Yue Hwa (2nd floor) is unmatched, while Time for Tea in Lucky Plaza (Orchard) is also an excellent choice. Around Orchard Road, English tea is also commonly offered. TWG, a local company that specializes in high-end luxury tea blends, has locations all over the island to serve this market.
  • Watches: High-end timepieces are reasonably priced. Ngee Ann City (Orchard) contains dedicated Piaget and Cartier stores, while Millenia Walk (Marina Bay) has the Cortina Watch Espace, which has 30 brands ranging from Audemars Piguet to Patek Philippe, as well as many other freestanding boutiques.

You may be able to receive a 6% refund of your 7% GST at Changi Airport or Seletar Airport if you spend more than $100 each day per participating store, however the procedure is a bit of a headache. You must request a tax refund check at the store. Present this cheque, together with the goods bought and your passport, at the GST customs desk before checking in at the airport. It’s a good idea to have the receipt stamped there. After that, check in and walk through security. Bring the stamped check to the refund counter to cash it in or have the GST refunded to your credit card on the ground side. For further information, go visit Singapore Customs.

Many stores lower their prices by 50-80% or more during the annual Great Singapore Sale. This implies that residents go insane since most of them save up for a year only for the sale, and as a result, virtually all retail malls, particularly those along Orchard Road, become very packed on weekends. If you prefer not to shop in crowded malls, take advantage of discounts on weekdays when the majority of the population is at work.

Festivals & Holidays in Singapore

Holidays in Singapore

Singapore is a secular city-state, although it observes Chinese, Muslim, Indian, and Christian festivals owing to its heterogeneous population.

The year begins with a boom on January 1st, when Singaporeans, like those in the West, celebrate New Year with a fireworks display and parties at every nightclub in town. The wet and wild foam parties on the beaches of resort island Sentosa are particularly renowned – at least during those years when the authorities deign to allow such relative depravity.

The biggest celebration, by far, is Chinese New Year or, more politically acceptable, Lunar New Year, which is typically celebrated in late January or early February due to the influence of the Chinese majority. While this may seem to be an excellent time to come, many smaller businesses and eateries will be closed for two to three days during this time, but convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores, theaters, fast-food restaurants, and high-end restaurants will stay open. The entire festival lasts 42 days, but the frenzied build-up to the peak takes place just before the new moon’s night, with exhortations of gong xi fa cai (“congratulations and prosper”), red tinsel, mandarin oranges, and the year’s zodiac animal emblazoned everywhere and crowds of shoppers queuing in Chinatown, where there are also extensive street decorations to add sprightliness. The next two days are spent with family, and much of the island grinds to a halt, until life returns to normal… with the exception of the last burst of Chingay, a colorful parade near the Singapore Flyer, which takes place 10 days later.

The Dragon Boat Festival is held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar to honor a Chinese folk hero. Rice dumplings, which are often wrapped in pandan leaves instead of the traditional bamboo leaves in Singapore, are typically consumed as part of the festivities. On this day, dragon boat races are often conducted on the Singapore River. The Chinese lunar calendar’s seventh month, typically August, begins with a plume of smoke as “hell money” is burnt and food sacrifices are given to appease the spirits of ancestors who are believed to return to earth at this time. The Hungry Ghost Festival (), which takes place on the 15th day of the lunar calendar, is when the living gather to eat and watch plays and Chinese opera performances. The Mid-Autumn Festival, which takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (Sep/Oct), is also a major event, with elaborate lantern decorations — particularly at Gardens by the Bay and Jurong’s Chinese Garden — and moon cakes filled with red bean paste, nuts, and other goodies being consumed merrily.

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a Hindu festival of lights that takes place in October or November, and Little India is beautifully adorned for the event. Thaipusam, a Tamil Hindu festival in which male devotees carry a kavadi, an elaborate structure that pierces through various parts of his body, and join a procession from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India to the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple in Tank Road, takes place around January–February. Instead of carrying pots of milk, female devotees typically join the procession. Thimithi, the fire-walking event, takes place around a week before Deepavali and features male worshippers walking on flaming coals at the Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown.

The Islamic month of Ramadan, and its celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, or Hari Raya Puasa as it is known in Malaysia, is a significant event in Malay areas of town, especially Geylang Serai on the East Coast, which is decked up with elaborate decorations. The Malays also commemorate Eid-ul-Adha, also known as Hari Raya Haji, which is the time when Muslims go to Mecca to conduct the Hajj ritual. Lambs donated by the devout are sacrificed at local mosques, and the flesh is fed to the needy.

The Buddhist Vesak Day, which commemorates the Buddha Sakyamuni’s birthday, is followed by the Christian holidays of Christmas Day, for which Orchard Road is lavishly adorned, and Good Friday.

On 9 August, National Day, fluttering flags fill Singapore and magnificent National Day parades are conducted to commemorate the country’s independence.

Events in Singapore

Every year, Singapore hosts a number of events. The Singapore Food Festival, the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, the Singapore Arts Festival, the Chingay Parade, the World Gourmet Summit, and ZoukOut are just a few of the city’s well-known festivals and events.

Christmas is also extensively celebrated in Singapore, with the city streets and retail centers along Orchard Road, the city’s renowned shopping belt, lighted up and adorned in bright colors. Furthermore, the Singapore Jewel Festival, which is a showcase of rare stones, renowned jewels, and masterpieces from worldwide jewellers and designers, draws a large number of visitors each year.

Traditions & Customs in Singapore

Singaporeans are unconcerned with formal etiquette. What is considered appropriate behavior at home, wherever that may be, is unlikely to upset anybody in Singapore. Women wearing exposing clothes or males wearing shorts and slippers are completely normal in Singapore, unlike most of Southeast Asia. However, upmarket bars and restaurants may have dress codes, and Singaporeans are more socially conservative than Westerners, so public displays of affection (holding hands is fine, but making out in public is considered impolite) and toplessness for women are not permitted anywhere, even on the beach. Most Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as mosques, demand women to wear modestly, with no exposed shoulders or skirts longer than the knee-cap. Visitors will be able to cover themselves before visiting the main touristic temples using shawls and sarongs.

In the heartlands, people are usually friendlier, and it is not unusual to see merchants and customers of various ethnicities joking about. While Singaporeans are not unfriendly to foreigners, they are usually unresponsive to excessive politeness from them. Furthermore, although the local dialect may seem abrupt or even harsh due to its strong Chinese influences, stating “You want beer or not?” is actually more courteous in Chinese than asking whether you want beer; after all, the person asking the question is giving you a choice, not making a demand.

If you are welcomed to someone’s home, take off your shoes before entering since most Singaporeans do not wear shoes at home. Socks, on the other hand, are fine as long as they are not too dirty. You must also remove your shoes before entering many places of worship.

During rush hour, expect a lot of jostling and pushing on the MRT (even simply to alight) as everyone scrambles for an empty seat in a fairly organized fashion. Despite signs urging people to be a bit more polite, this is a typical sight on a daily basis. When trying to board trains during rush hours, gently nudge people to avoid getting left behind and having to wait for the next MRT train.

If you’re giving presents, keep an eye out for taboos. White flowers, as well as any items (food or otherwise) containing animals, should be avoided (usually reserved for funerals). Knives and clocks are also symbols of severing connections and death, respectively, and the number four is considered superstitious by the Chinese. It’s also worth noting that opening a present in front of the person who gave it to you is considered impolite in Singapore. Instead, wait until the individual has gone before opening it. Many Muslims and Hindus in Singapore refrain from drinking alcohol.

Swastikas may be seen in Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as in Buddhist and Hindu goods. They are considered religious symbols and are not associated with Nazism or anti-Semitism. As a result, Western tourists should not be upset if they find a swastika in their hosts’ houses, and many locals will be perplexed. Nazi swastikas are sometimes used as fashion statements by those who are unaware of the philosophy.

When inviting Singaporean friends for a dinner, keep in mind their dietary limitations. Vegetarianism is practiced by many Indians and a few Chinese. Because most Malays are Muslims, they consume only halal cuisine, while most Hindus (and a few Chinese) avoid meat.

Immigration, politics, race/religion, LGBT rights, and Singaporean men’ National Service (1 year and 10 months plus annual reservist duties) are all sensitive topics in Singapore. These subjects should be avoided while conversing with locals, unless you are conversing with close friends. The subject of immigration, in particular, is especially delicate; remember that only 60% of Singapore’s population has Singaporean citizenship, with an even smaller percentage having been born and reared in the nation. While open xenophobia is uncommon in Singapore, many locals dislike foreign immigrants for, in their opinion, stealing the best positions, failing to integrate into society, failing to do National Service, and discriminating against Singaporeans.

Business in Singapore

Show up on time since Singaporeans are punctual. A strong handshake is the customary greeting. Conservative Muslims, on the other hand, should not touch the other sex, thus a man meeting a Malay woman should let her give her hand first, and a woman meeting a Malay man should wait for him to offer his. Simply follow their lead if they want to put their hand over their heart and bow gently instead. Singaporeans do not embrace strangers, and doing so would make your host uncomfortable, but the other person would be too polite to say anything since preserving face is a key Asian virtue.

A long-sleeved shirt and a tie are typical business dress for males, but the tie is frequently removed and the shirt’s collar buttoned instead. Jackets are seldom worn since the weather is usually excessively hot. The majority of women dress in Western work clothing, although a handful choose Malay-style kebaya and sarongs.

When individuals meet for the first time for business, they always exchange business cards: hold yours in both hands by the top corners, so the text faces the receiver, while simultaneously accepting theirs. (This seems to be more difficult than it is.) Study the cards you’ve been given and feel free to ask questions; when you’re done, put them on the table in front of you, not in your shirt pocket or wallet, and don’t write on them (some may find it disrespectful).

Bribery is frowned upon, thus business presents are usually frowned upon. Small conversation and bringing up the topic in an oblique manner are neither required or expected. The majority of meetings go right to the point.

Culture Of Singapore

Singapore is a nation with a wide range of cultures. For a nation of its size, it boasts a diverse range of languages, faiths, and civilizations. Former Singapore Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong have stated that Singapore does not fit the traditional definition of a nation, referring to it as a “society in transition,” citing the fact that Singaporeans do not all speak the same language, share the same religion, or follow the same customs. Despite the fact that English is the country’s first language, the government’s 2010 census found that 20% of Singaporeans, or one in every five, are illiterate in English. This is a significant improvement from 1990, when 40% of Singaporeans were illiterate in English.

When Singapore gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1963, the majority of the newcomers were illiterate laborers from Malaysia, China, and India. Many of them were transitory laborers looking for a quick buck in Singapore, with no intention of remaining permanently. The Peranakans, a large minority of middle-class, local-born people, also existed. Most of the laborers’ sympathies were with their individual homelands of Malaysia, China, and India, with the exception of the Peranakans (descendants of late 15th and 16th century Chinese immigrants) who swore their allegiance to Singapore. Following independence, a concerted effort to create a Singaporean identity and culture started.

Singaporeans’ languages, faiths, and traditions are not divided based on skin color or heritage. One in every five Chinese Singaporeans is Christian, one in every five is atheist, and the remainder are mainly Buddhists or Taoists. One-third of the population speaks English at home, while the other half speaks Mandarin Chinese. At home, the remainder of the group speaks different Chinese dialects. The majority of Malays in Singapore speak Malay at home, with a few speaking English. Indians in Singapore are considerably more pious. Atheists make up only 1% of the population. Six out of ten people are Hindus, two out of ten are Muslims, and the remainder are mainly Christians. Four out of ten people speak English as their first language, followed by three out of ten Tamil, one out of ten Malay, and the remainder of Indian languages. [258] As a result, a Singaporean’s behavior and views are affected by a variety of factors, including his or her native language and religion. Singaporeans who speak English as their first language have a strong affinity for Western culture, while those who speak Chinese have a strong affinity for Chinese culture and Confucianism. Malay-speaking Singaporeans have a strong affinity for Malay culture, which is closely related to Islamic culture.

Singaporeans consider racial and religious peace as a critical component of the country’s prosperity, and it has aided in the formation of a Singaporean identity. Singapore is known for being a nanny state. The hybrid orchid Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ is Singapore’s national flower, named after a Singapore-born Armenian lady who crossbred the bloom in her Tanjong Pagar garden in 1893. The lion appears in several national emblems, including the Singapore Coat of Arms and the Lion Head symbol, since Singapore is renowned as the Lion City. The Garden City and the Red Dot are two more nicknames given to Singapore. Singapore’s public holidays include significant Chinese, Western, Malay, and Indian festivities.

Meritocracy, or judging people based on their abilities, is strongly emphasized at the national level in Singapore. Singapore has one of the world’s lowest drug usage rates. In contrast to many European cultures, Singaporeans see the use of illegal substances as extremely undesirable. The condemnation of drug usage by Singaporeans has resulted in legislation mandating the death penalty for some severe drug trafficking offenses. Singapore also boasts one of the lowest rates of deliberate murder in the world, as well as a low rate of alcohol use per capita. The typical adult consumes just 2 litres of alcohol per year, which is considerably below the global average. Employees in Singapore work an average of 45 hours a week, which is quite lengthy in comparison to many other countries. Three out of every four Singaporean workers polled said they take pleasure in performing good job and that it boosts their self-esteem.


Dining is considered to be the country’s national activity, along with shopping. Because of the emphasis on food, nations such as Australia are attracting Singaporean visitors with food-related itineraries. The country’s culinary diversity is promoted as an incentive to come, and the government views the range of foods from many nationalities as a sign of the country’s multiculturalism. The durian is Singapore’s “national fruit.”

Cuisine products are clearly identified as belonging to a specific ethnicity in popular culture, with Chinese, Malay, and Indian food being the most well-known. The “hybridization” of various styles, on the other hand, has expanded the variety of food even more (e.g., the Peranakan cuisine, a mix of Chinese and Malay cuisine).


Singapore has been marketing itself as a center for arts and culture, particularly the performing arts, since the 1990s, in order to turn the nation into a cosmopolitan “gateway between East and West.” The building of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, a performing arts center that opened in October 2002, was a highlight. At the Esplanade, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the country’s national orchestra, performs. The National Arts Council organizes the yearly Singapore Arts Festival. With a weekly open mic, the stand-up comedy scene has been expanding. The 2009 Genée International Ballet Competition, a classical ballet competition organized by London’s Royal Academy of Dance, was held in Singapore.

Sport and recreation

Football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis, and badminton are all popular sports. The majority of Singaporeans live in “HDB flats,” which are public housing estates with facilities like as public swimming pools, outdoor basketball courts, and indoor sports complexes. Sailing, kayaking, and water skiing are prominent water sports. Another prominent leisure activity is scuba diving. Pulau Hantu, the southernmost island, is renowned for its abundant coral reefs.

The S-League, Singapore’s football league, was founded in 1996 and now has nine clubs, including two international teams. The Singapore Slingers, previously known as the Hunter Pirates in the Australian National Basketball League, were one of the first clubs to join the ASEAN Basketball League, which was established in October 2009.

In 2008, Singapore hosted the Singapore Grand Prix, a round of the Formula One World Championship. The event was the first F1 night race and the first F1 street race in Asia, and it took place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. After race organizers negotiated a contract extension with Formula One Group on the night of the 2012 event, the Singapore Grand Prix will stay on the F1 schedule until at least 2017.

The Singapore Turf Club manages Kranji Racecourse, which holds a number of weekly meetings as well as a number of significant local and international races, including the famous Singapore Airlines International Cup.

Singapore also hosted the first Summer Youth Olympics in 2010.


Much of Singapore’s domestic media is controlled by government-linked companies. In Singapore, MediaCorp owns and runs the majority of free-to-air television networks and radio stations. Mediacorp offers a total of seven free-to-air television stations. Channel 5 (English channel), Channel News Asia (English channel), Okto (English channel), Channel 8 (Chinese channel), Channel U (Chinese channel), Suria (Malay channel), and Vasantham (Malay channel) are the channels that are available (Indian channel). Singtel’s Mio TV provides an IPTV service, while Starhub Cable Vision (SCV) delivers cable television with channels from all over the globe. The majority of Singapore’s newspaper business is controlled by Singapore Press Holdings, a group with strong ties to the government.

Human rights organizations such as Freedom House have criticized Singapore’s media sector for being too controlled and lacking in freedom. Reporters Without Borders, a non-governmental organization headquartered in France, rated Singapore 153rd out of 180 countries in its 2014 Press Freedom Index. This was Singapore’s lowest rating since the index’s establishment in 2002. Singapore’s media is regulated by the Media Development Authority, which claims to strike a balance between the desire for variety and protection against objectionable and dangerous content.

The possession of TV satellite dishes by individuals is prohibited. Singapore has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world, with 3.4 million internet users. Although the Singapore government does not participate in broad internet censorship, it does have a list of one hundred websites (mainly pornographic) that it bans as a “symbolic expression of the Singaporean community’s stance on harmful and unwanted material on the Internet.” Users may still access the banned websites from their workplace PCs since the restriction only affects residential internet connection.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Singapore

Singapore takes drug offenses very seriously. Those convicted of trafficking, producing, importing, or exporting more than 15 g of heroin, 30 g of morphine, 30 g of cocaine, 500 g of cannabis, 200 g of cannabis resin, or 1.2 kg of opium face the death sentence, and just possession of these amounts is enough to condemn you. Unauthorized ingestion is punishable by up to ten years in jail, a $20,000 fine, or both. You can be charged with unauthorised consumption if traces of illicit drugs are found in your system, even if you can prove that you consumed them outside of the country, and you can be charged with trafficking if drugs are found in bags in your possession or in your room, even if they aren’t yours and you aren’t aware of them. If you must carry possibly prohibited medications, contact the Singapore Health Sciences Authority to find out what they are and to get formal authorization to bring them (if necessary and permitted). This can be done quickly through e-mail, but it may take a few weeks via conventional mail.

Stay Safe in Singapore

By almost every metric, Singapore is one of the safest large cities in the world. The majority of individuals, even single female travelers, will have no trouble strolling alone through the streets at night. But, as the local police say, “low crime does not imply no crime” – keep an eye out for pickpockets in busy places and use common sense.

The Singapore Police Force is in charge of law enforcement across the nation, and officers are distinguished by their dark blue uniforms. The majority of tourists will find Singaporean police officers to be competent and friendly, and any crimes you see should be reported to them as quickly as possible. If you are detained, bear in mind that Singaporean police have more authority than you may be accustomed to in other countries. While you have the right to have a lawyer defend you at trial, the police have the authority to limit your access to a counsel during an interview if they think it might jeopardize their investigation. Furthermore, although you have the right against self-incrimination, you do not have the right to silence and must answer the police’s inquiries honestly until the former is violated. If you do not make all of your defense statements during your questioning, the court will not believe you when you mention them at your trial for the first time.

Singapore’s immaculate cleanliness is due in part to stringent regulations prohibiting activities that are permitted in other nations. Jay-walking, spitting, littering, and drinking and eating on public transportation, for example, are all banned. Singaporeans joke about it being a fine city because if you’re found committing an offense, you’ll face hefty penalties. Look for signs outlining the “Don’ts” and the penalties connected with these infractions and pay attention to them. Avoid littering since offenders face penalties as well as a “Corrective Work Order,” which requires offenders to wear a bright yellow jacket and clean up trash in public areas. However, enforcement is inconsistent at best, and it’s not unusual to see people littering, spitting, smoking in non-smoking zones, and so on. Chewing gum, which has been very long prohibited, is now accessible for medicinal reasons (e.g., nicotine gum) at pharmacies if you ask for it, present your ID, and sign the register. While importing gum is still illegal, you should be able to bring in a few packets for personal use without issue.

Singapore uses caning as a punishment for some offences, most notably unlawful entrance and overstaying your visa for more than 30 or 90 days. Vandalism, theft, molestation, and rape are among the other crimes for which caning is used as a punishment. Having intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 is considered rape in Singapore, regardless of whether the girl consents, and will result in you receiving a few cane strokes. This isn’t a light reprimand. The thick rattan cane strikes are extremely painful, take weeks to heal, and leave a permanent scar. Corruption is also punished by caning, thus offering a bribe or gratuity to a police officer is never a good idea. Murder, abduction, unlicensed weapon possession, and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.

In October 2007, colonial-era sodomy laws were repealed, making oral and anal intercourse lawful for heterosexuals. However, homosexual intercourse is still prohibited, with a potential penalty of two years in jail and/or caning. However, this legislation is seldom implemented, and the homosexual community is quite active, but gays can anticipate legalized discrimination and censorious attitudes from residents and government officials. Regardless of the above, outright violence against gays is virtually unheard of, and you’re unlikely to receive much more than blank looks and murmurs.

Begging is prohibited in Singapore, although you’ll encounter beggars on the streets from time to time. Even the “monks” clad in robes who sometimes pester visitors for contributions are generally not Singaporeans.

While jaywalking is against the law, it is nevertheless a frequent occurrence in the city. If you are caught by a police officer, you may face a minor fee; much worse, though you are struck by a bicycle rider or a vehicle, it is deemed the pedestrian’s responsibility even if it isn’t their right of way, and they may be liable for damages. Simply said, vehicles belong on the roads, whereas pedestrians belong on the sidewalks.

Although Singapore’s constitution guarantees “freedom of speech,” this right is severely restricted in reality, as shown by the country’s censored domestic press. Although you will not be arrested for expressing anti-government sentiments in casual discussion with your friends, foreigners in Singapore are not permitted to participate in any kind of political action, including attending demonstrations or protests, regardless of the topic.

Singapore is largely impervious to natural disasters: there are no fault lines close, despite the fact that Indonesia’s earthquakes may be barely felt at times, and other landmasses protect it from typhoons, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Flooding is a risk during the November–January monsoon season, particularly in low-lying areas of the East Coast, although the water generally drains within a day and life goes on as usual.


In both public and private life, Singapore is usually seen to be largely devoid of corruption. Bribery is a severe crime punishable by lengthy prison sentences, fines. Under no circumstances should you propose a bribe to a police officer or other government official, since this will almost certainly end in your detention.

Racial and Religious Discrimination

Singapore has made significant efforts to create a peaceful, cohesive community; making derogatory comments about any race or religion is a felony punishable by imprisonment in Singapore. Bloggers have been imprisoned and sentenced to jail for posting racist comments on their sites, while charismatic pastors have also been arrested and sentenced to prison for disparaging other faiths in their sermons.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses religion is prohibited in Singapore for residents (owing to their refusal to serve in the military), although this has no effect on visitors.


Unauthorized possession of weapons in Singapore is punished by lengthy prison sentences at best, and the death penalty at worst.

Licences to buy and possess guns are usually only given for sports reasons (i.e. target shooting), and you must be a member of a recognized shooting club to do so. At a shooting range, firearms must be kept safely, and taking one out of the range is usually prohibited unless you have obtained specific authorization in advance.

Visitors who want to carry guns into the country must first request for a permission, which is usually only given for formal shooting contests. You’ll also be escorted by police from the port of entry to the shooting range, where you’ll have to keep your weapon safely until you depart the nation.

Emergency numbers

  • Ambulance  995
  • Fire  995
  • Police (main number for Emergency Services)  999
  • Singapore General Hospital  +65 6222 3322
  • Drug & Poison Information Centre  +65 6423 9119

Stay Healthy in Singapore

With extremely high cleanliness standards, tap water is safe to drink. Drinking lots of water is recommended due to the hot and humid environment.

Malaria is not a problem, but the area is plagued by dengue disease. Although Singapore has rigorous mosquito control (leaving standing water around can result in a fine), the government’s reach does not extend into the island’s natural reserves, so pack insect repellent if you intend on trekking.

In August and September 2016, Singapore was hit by a Zika virus epidemic, prompting travel advisories from a number of nations. Hundreds of individuals might have been infected at worst, but as of early November, there are just a few new cases each week. The National Environment Agency’s website has up-to-date information about the Zika virus.

Medical care

Singapore’s medical treatment is consistently good, and the city-state is a favorite destination for medical tourism (as well as medical evacuations) in the area. Despite the cheaper costs, quality at both public and private clinics are generally on par with those in the West, making this an excellent location to get your jabs and tabs before going out into the jungle elsewhere. Before a lengthy stay in the hospital and/or significant surgery, be sure your insurance is in good working condition.

Look for a general practitioner at the closest suburban shopping mall or HDB retail area for mild illnesses (GP). Patients are typically seen without an appointment, and they may prescribe medicines on the spot, and the entire cost of a consultation, including prescription, is seldom more than $30. Visit a hospital if you have a more serious issue. Singapore’s public hospital services are not free, although they are subsidized by the government. Regardless of your capacity to pay, public hospitals are obliged by law to provide emergency medical treatment; nevertheless, you will be billed at a later date. As previously stated, 995 is the emergency number to call if you just need an ambulance; but, if your situation necessitates police assistance, you should dial 999; the police will arrange for an ambulance, and you will not need to call for one separately. If you have a true medical emergency, the ambulance service is free; but, if your condition is deemed trivial by the emergency room doctor, you may expect to pay a high fee.



South America


North America

Read Next

Singapore City

Singapore, formally the Republic of Singapore, is a worldwide metropolis in Southeast Asia and the world’s only island city-state. It is also known as...