The name alone evokes a sense of wonder and a promise of attractions, gastronomical adventures and unending shopping sprees.
You’re excited. You’ve booked your ticket to Singapore and now you’re planning your trip.
You can’t wait to dine at all the Michelin starred restaurants, shop for crafts at the local market, unearth historical gems and explore Singapore’s modern world-class attractions.
But, what should you pack?
What language do they speak in Singapore?
How will you get around?
If these are the questions running through your mind, we’ve got you covered!
Read on for the ultimate list of essentials to travel in Singapore.
17 Singapore Travel Guides & Tips
The official currency of Singapore is the Singapore Dollar.
Notes come in denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100, S$1000 and S$10000.
Coins are broken down into 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and S$1.
Singapore enjoys tropical weather that is hot and humid all year round with temperatures exceeding 30°C most days.
Having said that, it is also wise to pack a parka or umbrella as Singapore does experience short spurts of torrential rain.
3. Prayer Facilities
Prayer rooms are conveniently available in most hotels and major attractions for Muslim travellers.
There are also numerous mosques located around the city as Singapore is a Muslim-friendly destination.
4. Power Plug
Singapore uses power plugs with three square prongs.
The standard electrical current is 220-240 volts AC (50 cycles).
5. Safe Drinking Water
In Singapore, you can drink water straight from the tap!
You can also easily purchase bottled drinking water from most shops and convenient stores.
6. No Smoke Areas
Smoking is not allowed in all air-conditioned areas including restaurants and malls.
However, some attractions and open-air eateries may permit smoking in clearly marked smoking zones.
7. Singapore Visitor Centre
You can even purchase attraction tickets, book tours and day trips, or buy a souvenir to remember your trip by.
8. Visa & Customs
Visitors from most nations will not need a visa to enter into Singapore and may instead be given a social visit pass.
To confirm if you need a visa, visit your local consular or check with the Singapore ICA.
9. Wi-Fi & Connectivity
Staying connected is pretty easy in Singapore.
The airport, most hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes offer free Wi-Fi service.
Alternatively, travellers can also register for a free public Wi-Fi account with their foreign mobile numbers at any Wireless@SG hotspots.
10. Useful Numbers
Just in case, it may be wise to key in the following useful numbers into your phone prior to your arrival in Singapore:
Ambulance & Fire Brigade: 995
Flight information: 1800 542 4422
Singapore is a multilingual nation and most Singaporeans are able to speak English fluently.
A vast majority of Singaporeans also speak an additional language or dialect such as Mandarin Chinese, Hokkien Chinese, Malay or Tamil.
While tipping is not necessary in Singapore, it is highly encouraged as an expression of gratitude for exceptional goods and services received.
In general, one would be expected to tip above the 10% gratuity to your bill added by some hospitality providers.
12. Tax Refund
To claim a tax refund on the 7% Goods & Services Tax (GST), you’ll need to spend more than S$100 in any participating shop.
If there is one thing Singapore does exceptionally well, it is their transport network!
Regardless of where you are, you can easily hop on a bus, MRT or taxi to get to your destination.
- Purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass which will allow you unlimited travel for one day (S$10), two days (S$16) or three days (S$20).
- Alternatively, your foreign issue Mastercards and Visa cards can also be used to for public transport fares. Please note that you may be charged processing fees if you decide on this method.
- Purchase an adult stored value smartcard (EZ-Pay/Nets Flashpay)
- Purchase single trip tickets as you go.
- You can use your foreign issued Mastercard or Visa card to tap on and off the bus.
- Purchase an adult stored value smartcard (EZ-Pay/Nets Flashpay) which you can also use for the MRT.
- Pay in cash – however, you will need an exact change!
If you’re in a location that is not accessible by bus or MRT, your best bet would be to hail a taxi.
Taxis in Singapore are metered but you may incur surcharges depending on your location the time of you’re using the taxi service.
Always ask if there are any surcharges before getting in the taxi and ask for a receipt at the end of your ride.
You can hail a taxi by the side of the road or head to a designated taxi stand.
Should you need to book a taxi, you can call 6-DIAL CAB which will direct you to the next available taxi company’s call centre.
14. Consumer Advisory
If you’re planning to shop in Singapore, do note the following:
- Do your research and compare prices
The onus is on you to research the product and consider the price before making your purchase.
- Purchases made are usually final
In Singapore, there may be a no return/refund or exchange policy immediately upon purchase. So do check the stores policies before making payment.
- Check your receipt or invoice
Always hold onto your receipt or invoice and look through it to ensure that it reflects the correct price and details of the item you are purchasing.
When paying for something by weight, always request that the final price is stated on the invoice before making your payment.
- Confirm with ‘international warranty’ covers
There is no ‘standard’ international warranty, so do confirm that the warranty applies in your home country.
Also, ensure that the warranty card has the retailer’s stamp or signature and make it a habit to note down your product’s serial number especially when purchasing electronic goods.
15. Maps, Apps & City Guide
To help you navigate your way around Singapore during your visit, here are a few apps and maps you can download to get you started:
Singapore is a convenient travel destination for elderly folks and those with disabilities.
All existing MRTs ramps, lifts as well as wheelchair-friendly toilets.
Braille plates and audio announcements are also available in all stations for visually impaired commuters.
Those who are hearing impaired can refer to the display screens. Ground staff are also on hand to assist those with special needs.
Currently, over 85% of Singapore’s buses are wheelchair accessible with plans to increase such buses by this year (2020).
Designated seats for the elderly, pregnant and disabled are also available on all buses.
Most taxi drivers and ride-hailing drivers in Singapore will be happy to assist you with storing your wheelchair in their car boots.
You can also download the GrabAssist app which will allow you to book a ride-hailing service that specifically offers additional assistance to those who are wheelchair-bound and senior citizens.
- Service Animals
In Singapore, service animals and guide dogs are legally allowed into buses and trains as well as shopping malls, restaurants and other public areas.
However, do check with your airline before travelling if your animal companion can travel with you on board or in the cargo.
- Pedestrian Facilities & Buildings
Many walkways, taxi stands, bus stops and buildings are barrier-free and have ramps where necessary to accommodate wheelchairs and prams.
Click here for a list of wheelchair-friendly routes.
- Accessible Attractions
Most tourist attractions and destinations in Singapore are wheel chair, guide dog and disability friendly.
Wheelchairs are also available for free at most tourist attractions.