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This is one of the 20 smallest countries in the world, but you'd still need a car/taxi to get around.
Local time zone is UTC/GMT +8 hours, meaning that it’s exactly 12 hours ahead of NYC and 7 hours ahead of London (excluding daylight savings).
According to Ministry Foreign Affairs Singapore, all visitors must meet the following entry requirements:
- Valid travel document (minimum validity of 6 months at the time of departure)
- Confirmed onward or return tickets (if applicable)
- Entry facilities, including visa to the next destination
- Sufficient funds to maintain themselves during their stay in Singapore
- Visa for entry into Singapore (if applicable)
- Yellow Fever Vaccination (if applicable)
For US and EU passport holders, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your entry date into Singapore. You do not need a visa for tourist or business visits up to 90 days.
For British passport holders, you don’t need a visa for traveling to Singapore up to 30 days.
Indian passport holders can apply for a tourist visa that allows a stay for maximum period of 30 days with a validity of 2 years.
Check ivisa.com for more information regarding other countries and whether you need a visa to enter Singapore.
The country hosts over 100 airlines to and from 400 cities around the world. The Changi International Airport (earned Skytrax’s “World’s Best Airport” award 6 times) and Seletar Airport are two of the most common. Click here for more info.
The three main modes of public transport are the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), buses, and taxis. Singapore’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is probably the fastest way to get around. Key attractions are within walking distance from an MRT station. Also, Singapore’s bus system has an extensive route network, being quite an economical and scenic way to get around. Bus fares can be paid using an EZ-Link value card or STP Singapore Tourist Pass, which you tap the card reader located next to your bus driver once on board. Taxis can be hailed at most places roadside, found at shopping malls, hotels, and tourist attractions. Click here for more transportation info.
Singapore is arguably one of the safest countries in the world for solo travelers, especially for female solo travelers. The country is small, and has strict guidelines and laws. Locals are extremely friendly and everyone is multilingual (English, Mandarin, Singalese…etc.) The country is also very clean, making it a delight to explore on your own.
For emergency, dial 112 or 911 and your call will be directed to the 999 emergency hotline. For the police, call 1800 255 0000 or contact the Neighbourhood Police Center.
Expect tropical weather while winter practically doesn’t exist. The coldest month in January, temperature average at 79°F (26°C).
Weather-wise, Feb through April are the most pleasant months to visit since it’s between winter and summer. Rainy season comes between November through January. If you hate heat, then avoid going to Singapore from May through August.
Since Singapore is a multi-ethnic society, Singaporeans speak many languages, including: English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, Singlish (which is a mixture of English and Hokkien-Taiwanese.)
English is a widely spoken language since most people are educated mainly in English and it’s also considered their mother-tongue.
In public: It’s not a surprise that Singapore has strict laws to keep their country safe and clean. DO NOT LITTER, it’s illegal or you’ll be fined with S$1,000 (approximately USD $ 738.)
You won’t find chewing gum in Singapore, it’s banned from being sold since ten years ago due to chewing gum being stuck in train doors which caused a subway system shutdown. You can still bring it in the country, but make sure to throw them away properly.
Smoking isn’t allowed inside most buildings, and you can be fined with S$1,000 if you’re caught. But most restaurants and bars will have smoking areas on the patio.
In mosques or temples: You may be expected to take off your shoes, and be sure to dress conservatively by covering your shoulders and knees.
With locals: Singapore is made up of Chinese (76%), Malay (15%) and Indian (6%) so the racial and religious mixture is rich with Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus.
Official unit of currency is SGD, or “sing-dollar.”
Tipping! Most restaurants add a 10% service fee, so tipping isn’t necessary. With hotel porters, it’s not expected but appreciated. SGD1-2 per bag is good, and taxi drivers do not expected a tip.
Power plugs and sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Your converter should look like this:
You can drink tap water since the government maintains it at a very high standard without further filtration. The tap water quality is even higher than the World Health Organization’s drinking water guidelines.
Fortunately, local government makes it easy for travelers to freely use Wi-Fi. Wireless@SG is a government initiative that provides Wi-Fi in public places, and there are hotspots all over the country. You can also connect to the internet password-free using the Wireless@SG app.
Although Singapore has strict laws against homosexuality, because it is such an international destination that it’s one of the best Asian cities for gay travelers. Excess PDA might not be the best idea, but most Singaporeans are open-minded people despite the law, and most gay travelers have found their experiences positive while traveling there.
Theoretically, homosexuals can be imprisoned for up to two years since same-sex sexual activity is illegal and same-sex relationships are not recognized by the law. Despite its strict laws, Singapore is oddly gay-friendly. Every August, there’s a Gay Pride Parade: IndigNation. Change is slowly happening with a recent law allowing gay men to serve in the army, and allowing gay men to adopt his child through surrogacy.
Singapore has been described as one of the most environmentally-friendly nations. Singapore’s first prime minister kickstarted this with the dream of making Singapore as green as possible. In terms of Environmental Performance Ranking, this country holds 17th place, being first position in all of Asia. Car reduction has decreased pollution and crowding, as people take only necessary and sustainable means of transportation. Most Singaporeans walk, bike, or use public transportation to navigate around. Singapore also uses three water management systems: reuse of reclaimed water, rainwater catchment systems, and saltwater desalination.
Ecotourism activities which offer sustainable, environmentally-friendly practice:
~Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve:
This is one of the few unadulterated reserves you will find in Singapore, known for its immense biodiversity for migratory birds. Spend a whole day exploring here!
~Tampines Eco Green Park
No bikes or vehicles are allowed here; this park is tailored to people with a love for slow-living and a diverse amount of wildlife.
~Central Catchment Nature Reserve
This is the largest nature reserve in Singapore. Endangered animals are cared for here, and the entire forestland encloses four of Singapore’s reservoirs with little carbon footprint.
Click here for more eco-travel experiences.
HOTELS WE LOVE
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Make sure to bring your passport when you shop in Singapore, because of its 7% Goods & Service Tax if you spend more than SGD100 (US $64) in one shop with a blue "Tax-Free Shopping”sticker.
The most popular hawker center is: Old Airport Road Food Centre, with 150 food stalls to choose from.
According to legend, Singapore was founded by the prince Sri Tri Buana from Srivijaya when he landed on the island and saw a lion. He took it as a good omen and founded a city called Singapura, which means “lion city.”
Modern Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles where he ruled from 1781-1826.
The British East India Company was given Singapore in return for money in a treaty, resulting in the British establishing a new trading post in Singapore that grew very rapidly.
The Sri Mariamman Temple was first built, but was later rebuilt in 1843.