Singapore Survival Guide: Top Travel Tips You Need To Know

Although Thailand and the Philippines are the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, Singapore is quickly gaining momentum as the country to visit. 

The small but mighty city-state is famous for its skyscrapers, green parks, cultural heritage, and jaw-dropping futuristic design, all of which leave visitors amazed and wanting more. In fact, it’s no wonder why applying for the Singapore arrival card online is so popular!

In order not to get lost in this huge and fast-paced metropolis, it helps to keep a few travel tips in mind.  

Gardens by the Bay at night in Singapore

Take advantage of public transportation

Singapore’s public transportation is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, and it’s not hard to see why.   

The country’s transportation network is a convenient combination of buses and mass rapid transit trains (MRT) that cover the entire city, from the central business district to even the most remote residential areas.   

The main attractions of Singapore are well within walking distance of any MRT station and, thanks to useful public transportation apps (like MyTransport SG), you definitely won’t get lost!  

Budget-friendly tourists can also opt to purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass. The pass comes in different durations (1-, 2-, or 3-day passes) and allows travelers to enjoy unlimited rides on all public transport in Singapore for the entire validity of the card. For example, a three-day pass is only $30, and is much more convenient than having to buy a ticket every time you want to ride the MRT or bus.   

Cash and gratuities

Despite the fact that Singapore is a modern metropolis, it’s a good idea to keep a few paper bills on hand for small stores and food stalls. Although Singapore is in the process of modernizing its hawker centres, there are still some places that are cash only. 

Pay attention to local rules

Singapore is often stereotyped as a spotlessly clean and tidy city, and it’s true. However, this was achieved with the help of a few strange but practical laws (which are good to keep in mind!).

For example, travelers cannot take chewing gum into Singapore. This snack, which is the bane of many janitors, can result in a fine of up to $1,000 if caught. On a similar note, eating on public transport and littering is not allowed.

Another harmless action — connecting to random WiFi networks (also known as piggybacking) — can lead to a fine or even time in jail! The best way to stay connected with friends and family is by buying a prepaid SIM card, which is widely available everywhere.

Dress for the weather

Singapore has a tropical climate, which means that travelers can expect hot and humid weather and an average temperature between 24 to 36 C all year round.

Before departing for Singapore, be sure to pack plenty of moisture-wicking and lightweight clothes. Likewise, it’s a good idea to throw in a waterproof jacket or umbrella, as unexpected rainstorms are not uncommon during monsoon season.
Finally, it is better to plan sightseeing trips or activities in the early morning or evening, as this is the most comfortable time temperature-wise. No plans for midday? No worries! Explore one of the 50+ museums across Singapore or do some souvenir shopping — the majority of buildings are air-conditioned and a great way to escape the heat.

A versatile city

Singapore has a huge number of attractions and entertainment for every traveler, from modern museums and shopping centers to natural parks and ornate temples.

For example, travelers can choose to be wowed by the futuristic exhibits at the ArtScience Museum, or by the city skyline while riding in the Singapore Flyer ferris wheel. 

Those who are foodies can eat to their heart’s content at hawker centres (open air markets) or at the dozen Michelin-starred establishments. Looking for family-friendly fun? Universal Studios Singapore is a surefire guarantee to spend a day or two.

Everyone speaks English

Singapore is one of those cities where you can easily communicate with locals and not have any issues with the language barrier.

In fact, take your pick: English is one of the official languages ​​of Singapore, along with Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, and Malay!

Everything you need to know, including maps, tourist information boards, and metro announcements are transcribed in 3 languages, including English.

Use this opportunity to get to know the locals, so you can get to know the culture better, learn about the best places in the city, and maybe even make new friends.

Short on time? Consider Singapore on a layover

Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and is often called the gateway between Asia and the rest of the world.

Thanks to its thousands of routes and connections, Singapore is a great stopover destination when traveling to Asia. Most travelers spend one or two days in Singapore on a layover, although if you’re short on time, there are free city tours offered by Changi Airport!

Speaking of which: the airport is also considered a tourist attraction in its own right. Travelers can enjoy strolling through the cactus garden, catching a movie, plane spotting, or even visiting one of the many museums while waiting for their flight.