Here’s What You Should Know Before Traveling to Singapore
Planning a trip to the smallest Asian country? Its massive offerings and rich culture will surely surprise you.
Singapore is one of three city-states in the world and the only one outside Europe. Although it’s one of the world’s smallest countries, it’s also one of the coolest to visit. It’s also among the largest and busiest transport hubs in Asia.
But before booking a trip, take a look at some of the things you should know about Singapore.
Before deciding on your next vacation destination, you’re probably asking this question: Is it safe to travel to Singapore?
Although it’s not exactly crime-free, it does have a very low crime rate. It’s safe to travel to Singapore alone or with your family compared to many other Asian destinations.
Singapore Isn’t Cheap
The city offers plenty of places to grab a bite, from fast food joints to fine-dining restaurants. But you should know that some things aren’t cheap in Singapore.
Alcohol and cigarettes are quite expensive, with the latter found everywhere and the former sold mostly outside of supermarkets or hawker centers.
Another thing that isn’t cheap is healthcare. The country has good medical facilities, but care comes at a price. That’s why it’s best to get some travel insurance whenever you’re traveling to Singapore.
Most Singapore residents live in HDB estates. It’s a form of public housing that, under the law, can’t be rented out to tourists.
As such, Airbnb-like accommodations are hard to come by. Hotels and hostels are the safer and often cheaper alternatives.
Has Sufficient Free Attractions
Since Singapore isn’t the cheapest to visit, it pays off to learn about its free attractions before you decide to travel to Singapore.
For example, you can visit the botanic gardens without paying an entry fee. Many venues host live performances without admissions.
There are also many churches and temples that you can tour for free. Try catching a light and water show at the Gardens too, or hop on a free city tour from the Changi Airport.
It’s better to use the MRT subway system to get around. Most attractions and cool locations around the country are in close proximity to MRT stations.
Taxis are relatively expensive in the city. By law, cabbies have to charge clients by the meter. It’s also common to encounter surcharges for a variety of reasons. So, it’s best to avoid taxis and stick to the subway and buses.
You Don’t Have to Leave a Tip in Most Places
When you travel to Singapore, you should know that you don’t have to tip. Cafes and restaurants charge a service fee, usually up to 10%. That comes on top of the consumption tax, which renders tipping unnecessary.
However, this isn’t a law. Locations such as fast-food places and food courts may not charge either the consumption or the service tax. You can leave a tip in those venues, but note that since locals rarely do it, no one would look at you funny if you don’t tip.
Research Singapore Weather
Interestingly enough, Singapore gets pretty much the same weather year-round. However, it does get plenty of smog, too. It tends to happen in the second half of the year and it’s called the haze.
It’s not a yearly thing, which means you can get lucky. But it never hurts to check forecasts before booking your trip.
You should also know that Singapore is also a very humid place. And to tourists visiting from more temperate climates, it may seem like a sauna. Remember to pack plenty of light clothes and try to stay hydrated.
It Has Strict Laws
Some may look at Singapore’s public cleanliness or public order laws and consider them exaggerated.
That said, the city-state is very clean and there are almost no public disturbances to worry about. To avoid huge fines for the tiniest infractions, read up on the local laws.
Tips for Artists
Singapore is one of those cities where busking requires a license. Although not many people on vacation travel to Singapore to sing on the streets, it’s worth knowing what the consequences of doing so are. Even an impromptu jam session could earn you a hefty fine.
A Location Bursting with Culture
To say that Singapore is a multicultural destination would be an understatement. Despite not having a very authentic feel to it, the country combines a variety of cultures from around the world.
Some say it’s much like visiting the whole world in one vacation. It’s safe to say there’s something in Singapore for everyone’s taste.
It’s Easy to Get Around Using Plain English
The country has four official languages. While Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil would seem obvious for the local racial composition, the most prominent is actually English.
Thanks to the massive number of expats living in Singapore and compulsory English classes in public ed, communication shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who speaks the language.
Tissues for Reservations
It’s definitely one of the local habits you should remember – people reserve seats and tables in Singapore with tissue packets. Knowing what to look for can save you from a lot of trouble when hunting for a spot.
If Not in a Hurry, Stick to the Left
Another local quirk you should notice quickly is that people stick to the left side. It’s a common sight on escalators, and it’s a very old tradition that’s seen as a form of courtesy.
Doing so allows those in a hurry to move faster on a free lane.
A Unique Social Travelling Experience
Singapore sure has some strict regulations and quite a few quirks. Yet the country remains one of the most visited on the Asian continent.
Its gorgeous parks, rich culinary scene, and cultural blend make it an ideal vacation destination. Just remember that despite its size, Singapore is not the cheapest place to visit if you don’t plan your trip with care.