Tips for travel to Singapore
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Singapore is a small country in size but an economic giant especially in South
East Asia. Singapore is situated at the south tip of Malaysia, just one degree north of the
equator. The city is a blend with the culture and religions of
Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European. The four main religions are celebrated by the different ethnicity and the
auspicious day like Muslim celebrating the end of Ramadan, Vesak day for the Buddhist, the festival of lights
celebrated by Hindus, Christmas and Easter for the Christians, New Year Day and the Lunar New Year celebrated by
the Chinese are officially public holiday for all. Food is a passion to many and a very much talk about topic
amongst the locals due to the wide selections of multi ethnic food and European cuisines.
Though it is relatively easy to get around in Singapore, it is always good to
find out some useful information before you begin your travel. Here are some useful tips for your travel to
All travellers to Singapore are required to go through immigration clearance upon
their arrival into the country. The granting of social visit passes to visitors is determined by the Immigration
& Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the point of entry. Visitors must satisfy the following basic entry
requirements before they are allowed to enter Singapore:
passport with at least 6 months validity
· Valid Singapore visa, if applicable
· Sufficient funds to last for the intended period of stay in Singapore
· Confirmed onward/return tickets (where applicable)
· Entry facilities to their onward destinations, e.g. visas.
· Completed Disembarkation/Embarkation Card
· Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, if applicable
The period of stay granted is shown on the social visit pass endorsement given on
the visitor's passport. Visitors are advised to check their passports for the arrival endorsement and take note of
the number of days stay given before leaving the checkpoint. All visitors on social visit passes are not permitted
to engage in any form of business, profession, occupation or paid employment while in Singapore.
More information about entry requirements to Singapore can be obtain from the
official website, http://www.ica.gov.sg/services_centre.aspx?pageid=232&secid=20
The climate in Singapore is equatorial and hence it is constantly warm with high
humidity and plentiful rainfall. The average temperature stays around 26C to 30C throughout the year. Though there
are no distinct seasons, November to January tends to be slightly cooler and May through to August is some of the
Car Hire in
If you decide to rent a car in Singapore, a valid driver’s licence with your
passport is required. Though the legal driving age is 18, some car rental companies may refuse to rent a car to
someone who is under 21. Singaporeans drive on the left hand side of the road and seat belts must be put on at all
times. The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 50km/h and 90km/h for expressways. When driving in Singapore,
it is also important to know about when you can drive on bus lanes, the different time and charges for entering
zones with ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) gantry.
Electricity connection in
Visitors to Singapore must check if their electrical appliances can handle the
voltage of 220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. The power plugs used in Singapore are of the three-pin, square-shaped type. If
your electrical device does not accept the voltage and the appliance plug shape is different, you will need a
voltage converter and a plug adapter. However, most hotels in Singapore will provide transformers to visitors with
electrical appliances of a different voltage when requested.
Customs requirements in
The custom regulations in Singapore require dutiable tax on certain items before
you can bring them into the country. The types of dutiable goods in Singapore are as follow: intoxicating liquors,
including spirits, wine, beer, ale and stout; tobacco, including cigarettes and cigars; motor spirit and motor cars
and motorcycles/motor scooters. If you are 18 years and above, have arrived from countries other than Malaysia and
have spent 48 hours and more outside Singapore immediately before your arrival, you may be granted the following
duty-free allowance: 1 litre of spirits (brandy, whisky, gin, rum, vodka, etc), 1 litre of wine and 1 litre of
beer. There is no duty-free allowance on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Detailed information about custom
requirements can be obtained at http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=98&secid=94
The local currency is Singapore dollars and cents. Notes come in denominations of
SGD 2, SGD 5, SGD 10, SGD 20, SGD 50, SGD 100, SGD 500, SGD 1,000, and SGD 10,000. Coins come in denominations of
1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. The currency code of Singapore Dollar is SGD. All international credit cards such as
Diners, American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in hotels, shops and other commercial
machines in Singapore
Cash dispensing machines or Automatic Teller Machines are widely available in
Singapore. A surcharge may be levied when you draw cash from the cash machine. The fee varies between institutions.
Foreign currency exchange in
Foreign currency exchange are widely available at licensed money changer, hotels
and banks. Some of these exchange outlets levy a transaction charge. Shop around for the best exchange rate as
there many foreign exchange outlets available for you to compare.
Business hours in
You can enjoy all day and all night shopping and dining in Singapore. The common
trading hours in Singapore are from 10am to 9 or 10pm, from Monday to Sunday.
Sales tax refunds in
The Goods and Service tax in Singapore is 5%. To qualify for sales tax refunds,
you need to have a minimum purchase amount ranging between SGD$300 to SGD$500. To claim your GST refunds, pack the
items in hand luggage, and present the item(s) and the receipt at the Global Refund Services after immigration and
security when leaving Singapore. Also allow an extra 15 minutes before departure. The refund payment can be made by
cash, credit card payment or cheque. A small handling fee will be deducted from the refund amount.
Crime rates in
The crime rate in Singapore is one of the lowest in the world. Petty crime such as
pickpocket and street theft can happen as in big cities. As such, visitors in Singapore should always be aware of
their surrounding and not leave your bag unattended.
Tipping in Singapore is not compulsory as a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) will
be included in the total figure of your restaurant bill.
Emergency numbers in
There are several emergency call numbers
in Singapore. Used these toll free numbers, 999 for police and 995 for
ambulance and fire brigade.
English is the business language and is widely used. Malay, Mandarin and Tamil are
also official languages in Singapore.
Smoking is not permitted in public service vehicles, museums, libraries, lifts,
theatres, cinemas, air-conditioned restaurants, non-airconditioned eating houses, hawker centers, hair salons,
supermarkets, department stores and government offices. Smoking is only allowed in approved smoking rooms or
smoking corners in all pubs, discos, karaoke bars and nightspots. Offenders can be fined up to SGD 1,000 if
Spitting in public places is an offence and it carry a fine if caught.