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Things to Know Before Visiting Singapore On a Vacation

By Siddhi - May 29, 2020
Singapore City Skyline

Singapore is regarded as a safe and all year round destination. But yet there are important things to know before visiting Singapore. Here are some of them listed below. Read on.

Singapore is not warm but humid

Singapore is warm all year long and many visitors don’t realise that it is not the tropical temperature but the high humidity level that makes it uncomfortable. Stepping into Singapore is like visiting a sauna as you will get sweaty, so you need to constantly hydrate. Do carry a small towel or something similar for to clean up every half hour or a change of clothing is not a bad idea either. In case you are new to this tropical weather, take things slowly. The climate will wear down your body through many ways without you realising. You definitely don’t have to visit the doctor when on a vacation.

Gardens by the Bay in Singapore
Image Credits: Google Images

Singapore Has Stringent Duty-free Regulations

Singapore’s duty-free regulations are stringent, especially for cigarettes and the most important is that there is no concession for tobacco irrespective of travel origin. You will definitely have taxes if purchase a carton at your departure point or before your flight. The rules are a bit lenient in case alcohol and travellers are allowed around three litres of alcohol. Don’t even think about bringing narcotics in any form which includes soft drugs and marijuana as it is strictly prohibited.

Always Carry Some Cash When Going About Singapore

Singapore dollars for travel
Image Credits: Google Images

From 2018 onwards the national campaign was to go cashless in Singapore. Many options for cashless payment in Singapore also exists but it is always essential, to carry some cash with you. Places where you definitely need cash would be older hawker centres, residential neighbourhood shops, and kopi-tiam eateries. You will only need somewhere between fifty and a hundred dollars for one day unless you are looking to buy expensive products. In case you run out of cash there are ATMs everywhere and money changers are also available.

Singapore Is Safe, Not Crime Free

Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world but that doesn’t mean the country is crime-less. For tourists, the most common threats are scams as there are many recent cases that involve drunk assaulting taxi drivers. In case you encounter such incidents while visiting Singapore notify the police immediately by dialling 999. In case you are stuck in an establishment do not panic, just leave as quickly as possible as it is assured that the staff would have called for help before you are even through the door. Clicking pictures and videos will only invite violence, so your priority should always be to quickly leave the place.

Most Singaporeans Speak Some Degree of English

Most Singaporeans speak English, even though there are local intonations and colloquiums in it. To clear some myths, Singaporeans speak English faster than Americans and Europeans. They might be less fluent also but they clip well to pronunciations. Singlish often includes onomatopoeic words for emphasis and most of them are “lah” and “loh.” You tend to subconsciously ignore them once you are mindful of them.

Merolin Park in Singapore
Image Credits: Google Images

You Don’t Have To Tip In Singapore

One of the top important things to know before visiting Singapore is that all restaurants and cafes in Singapore charge a 10% service fee on top of the usual consumption tax. Hence, tipping is considered unnecessary at such restaurants. Less formal eateries like street food stalls and food courts don’t charge service or consumption tax and most Singaporeans find it odd to tip at these places.

Be Aware Of Scam Hotspots

In Singapore, there are several tourist scam hotspots to take note of travelling to Singapore and all specialise in electronic and telecommunication products. If you intend to buy at these places during your stay, please do research about prices before taking this initiative and do not be intimidated in while bargaining especially be careful about “compulsory warranties.” In case you are threatened in any way, leave the shop immediately and don’t forget to call the police at 999. The Singapore police are always there to assist you!

Tourism Events In Singapore

Tourism Events in Singapore
Image Credits: Google Images

The Singapore Tourism Board hosts many events annually. This is to drive in tourism in festivals like The Singapore International Festival of Arts, The Singapore Jazz Festival, Dragon Boating Regattas, and, for those into retailers, there are a two months long Great Singapore Sale. You should definitely try to time your vacation to coincide with these events.

Tap Water in Singapore Is Safe

Across the world, it is widely known that Singapore tap water is safe to drink. When you visit Singapore, there’s absolutely no need to buy bottled water. That is, unless you need the bottle. Take note, though. Tap water is safe for consumption doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be contaminated by the pipes and taps serving it. While you cannot be sure completely, it’s usually not a good idea to fill up from rusty and tarnished taps. Also, note that the colouration of the water is a sure sign of contamination too. Singaporean tap water is clear. Most Singaporeans would also baulk at the idea of drinking straight from taps at places like coffee shops and hawker centres. Many might even consider it disgusting, another important things to know before visiting Singapore.

Don’t Miss Out to Take Day Trips to Malaysia or Indonesia!

Despite being small, Singapore has a lot to offer tourists. You will at least need around ten days to go through all attractions. Two weeks would allow for a more leisurely itinerary. In case you have more time, consider going for some day drips out of Singapore. Johor Bahru in Malaysia has modern attractions like Legoland and Hello Kitty Town. A short ferry ride down south brings you to the Indonesian resort island of Bintan too. Lastly, with a little more time, you could even take an overnight trip to Malacca or Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

It Is Expensive To Smoke And Drink In Singapore

If you have to drink alcohol when in Singapore don’t choose hawker centres and kopi-tiam as they don’t serve hard liquor or wine here. You will have to buy them from supermarket chains like NTUC Fairprice. Coming to cigarettes, there’s no way around it as you have to either pay high prices or give your lungs a reboot.

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