Do’s and Don’ts in Singapore – A Guide to Safe and Enjoyable Tour

Traveling to a new country always comes with a lot of preparations. This includes the requirements (passport, visa, flight ticket booking, hotel booking) and mental preparations. You just don’t want to leave behind your favorite plushy in a new country!

When talking about a new country, you need to know a little about the country you are traveling to. The place you are going to stay right after you arrive, where you are going to eat, what sights you are going to see, all should be listed in your to-do list.

At the same time, you do need to know about the culture of the country and what is normal and what is not. Like the Dos and Don’ts of a culture.

Today, we are going to talk about the Dos and Don’ts in Singapore because you don’t want to be in an uncomfortable situation around the locals. So, let’s learn something new before the journey.

Dos and Don'ts in Singapore for Travelers

Singapore is a popular vacation spot, so it gets a steady stream of visitors all year long. Usually, some of these visitors may upset locals by not following rules that are foreign to them. Also, Singapore is known for its harsh punishments, like caning and mandatory execution for crimes like cheating, murder, and rape. It also has strong punishments for crimes that seem minor, like smoking or flushing. Actually, the city is clean and well-run because there are strict rules about how people should act in public.

The name “The Fine City” for Singapore is not a bad one. If you’re a tourist and want to get the most out of your trip, it’s in your best interest to follow all the rules and laws. People who are new to Singapore should learn the dos and don’ts of the country so they can settle in easily and avoid getting fined a lot of money.

Do’s - Things you need to do in Singapore

As we mentioned about Singapore being the safest and one of the finest countries to visit, there are some things that they do their way. Doesn’t every country? Yes, every country has its way of doing things, and there are benefits to them too.

So here are the things you should absolutely DO while you are visiting Singapore.

Make Sure you Walk in Public the Right Way

Make Sure you Walk in Public the Right Way

When Singaporeans use escalators or stairs, they stand on the left and walk on the right. So, if you’re going up an escalator, step to the left to make room for people walking. Singapore also has bike lanes and footpaths for people to walk on. Don’t walk in the bike lanes; instead, walk on the paved walkways. This makes things easier and less frustrating.

Singaporeans make sure that everyone gets their turn by forming orderly lines. You can use these lines to order food or get on a train. Newcomers should watch how the people act who live there. Join the line instead of cutting in.

Be Respectful of the Culture and Locals

To gain the respect of the natives, you should act as conservatively as possible. Singapore is home to Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Taoists. So, to avoid offending anyone, it’s best not to talk about sensitive subjects like religion and politics.

Moreover, asking for permission before taking a picture of someone or going into a mosque or temple is also common in Singapore, as is taking your shoes off at the door.

People in Singapore are both friendly and respectful to their elders. When talking to people who are much older than you, it is common and proper to call them “Aunty” or “Uncle.” This is a nice way to show respect for your older people.

Take Public Transportation in Singapore

Whenever you can, Take Public Transportation

Taking the MRT or any other form of public transportation in Singapore is not only the fastest and most cost-effective way to get around, but also the cheapest. The MRT, which stands for the Mass Rapid Transit system, makes it easy to get around Singapore. In a similar way, many of Singapore’s best attractions are close enough to an MRT or bus stop that you can easily walk there.

Follow the Liquor Laws

Even though it’s not against the law to sell or drink alcohol, there are rules in Singapore that must be followed. After 10.30 p.m., many places need a special license to sell alcohol, and you need a separate license to drink alcohol in public.

If you are caught drinking alcohol at a public hospital in Singapore, you could go to jail for up to two months, pay a fine of up to S$1,000, or both. This is unless the hospital has posted signs allowing you to drink alcohol there.

Singapore Hawker centers

Try their Amazing Hawker centers

Street food doesn’t have a great name around the world, but in Singapore, you can eat at a hawker center without worrying. In fact, these booths, which you can find all over the country, are where you can find some of the best food from each region. A hawker center is a place where you can get cheap, tasty food like Nasi Lemak, Singapore Laksa, Char Kuey Tiao, Roti Prata, and a lot of other dishes.

Keep in Mind that Locals Reserve Tables

As there are so many people who go to hawker centers, it is common for people to hold a table while they order their food. People leave things like tissue boxes, umbrellas, and water bottles on the table to claim it as their own. So if you see any other belongings on the table, your best bet until then is to keep looking for a new table.

Always have Some Cash in hand

The best piece of advice I can give a tourist is to always have cash on hand, as this is how most locals and smaller shops prefer to be paid. It can also be used at vending machines all over the city. To make small purchases, it’s best to have cash on hand and not rely solely on credit or debit cards.

Drink Water from the Tap in Singapore

Drink Water from the Tap

Singapore has such high hygiene and safety standards that even the tap water is clean. Because of strict safety rules, both tourists and locals can drink safe water from the tap. Even though it’s hot and humid in the tropics, staying hydrated is easy because tap water is usually free for customers in most restaurants.

Dress Accordingly to the Weather in Singapore

One of the things you have to know about Singapore is the weather. Yes, the weather will tell you what you do need to pack for your trip to the country.

Why? Because Singapore is a tropical country. So the weather is humid all year long. The temperature goes around 27 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius (80-90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Dress Accordingly to the Weather in Singapore

Though it has a humid climate, you get to wear a whole lot of clothing. Anything you wear back at home or wish to wear in a humid climate, like shorts and crop tops, can now happen here. So make sure you pack them.

The fabric should be breathable, lightweight, and quick to dry. As it might rain anytime, or you will sweat a lot, it is advised not to wear heavy fabrics. You don’t want to catch a cold on your trip due to wet clothes, right?

Another thing is, you should carry an umbrella or raincoat. Nobody knows when a sudden rain shower will drench you in the middle of the sunny afternoon, which happens pretty often in Singapore.

Also, pack some waterproof shoes. Sandals are just fine, but make sure they are waterproof as well. Make sure to bring some sun protection, too, to survive the outing during the day. Carry them in a lightweight tote bag, which you should have along with your packing list.

Join the Queue: Singaporean Etiquette

Have you ever been to a Starbucks to get a new drink and had to queue for hours? Get ready to join the queue in Singapore, everywhere!

Public transport, ticket counters, hawker centers, food courts, service centers, and anywhere in between will have a queue. While food courts and hawker center queues indicate that the place serves some mouthwatering food, other places are just there because it is the Singaporean discipline.

Queue in Singapore

Nobody cuts anyone out of the line, nobody breaks or complains, and it goes on for hours sometimes. This might seem odd from a tourist’s point of view, but that’s how Singapore is, letting the people in front of them pass before their time comes.

So enjoy the queue while you are visiting, and admire their patience, respect for one another, and enthusiasm.

Give up Your Seat on Public Transport: Singaporean Courtesy

Every country has a culture of giving up their seat in public transport for the ones who need it the most. Singapore is no different.

While other countries have seats for the elderly and disabled, Singapore public transport has the ‘Priority Seating’ system that allows any elderly passenger, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities to have their allotted seats

Give up Your Seat on Public Transport - Singaporean Courtesy

No matter how many passengers are there in the transport, the seats will be given up for them. Make sure you practice this while you are here.

Obviously, you will find some people not noticing a person in need right away, but when they do, Singaporeans let go of their seats for the one in need. Not giving up your seat won’t get you in any serious trouble, but it’s an etiquette that we humans should practice everywhere.

Understand Local Body Language in Singapore

Every country has its own body language. The Tamils have their head nods; almost the whole world has the thumbs up, the victory sign, and so on.

There are also some hand gestures that are not quite right, and you know what we mean. Giving the middle finger isn’t good in any country, so you should always avoid that, even in Singapore.

Understand Local Body Language in Singapore

When calling someone far away, make sure you call them by raising your hand and slowly waving or inviting them towards you rather than pointing with a finger. Pointing someone with a finger is rude.

We often like to touch people on the head, which is a normal sign of affection for some, but not in Singapore. The head is considered sacred, and you should avoid it, even for children.

While speaking to someone older than you, make sure you don’t look eye to eye and talk softly. Singaporeans are soft-spoken people; they like to pause while they are talking with someone. So do practice this when you are here.

Don'ts - Things To Avoid In Singapore

While there are a lot of things to do in Singapore, there are also a lot of Don’ts. Some of them even cause serious offense and can fine you up to S$1000 or more. So better know them before you travel to the country.

Here are the things to avoid in Singapore while you are visiting.

Don't do Jaywalking on the road in Singapore

Don't do Jaywalking on the road

Even though Jaywalking looks harmless, this behavior is actually very dangerous for drivers and pedestrians and could cause long delays on the highways. In Singapore, jaywalking is most often defined as crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk.

Always use the pedestrian crossing lanes when crossing the street to avoid a big fine and keep yourself and others safe from accidents.

Don’t Leave Any Kind of Tip

Don’t Leave Any Kind of Tip in Singapore

Tourists in Singapore can be surprised to learn that they don’t have to tip their waiter or other people who work in the restaurant industry. Tipping isn’t expected in Singapore, just like it isn’t expected in Japan.

Most restaurant bills in Singapore already include a 10% service charge. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is added to every payment in Singapore, so you’re already tipping.

Don't Feed the Wild Animals and Pigeons

By fining people who feed wild animals, the government is trying to stop a practice that makes it more likely that people and animals will fight.

If you are caught feeding any wild animal, even a baby, you could get in trouble with the law. First-time offenders can be fined up to S$5,000, while repeat offenders can be fined up to S$10,000. This Singapore travel tip is for you if you also like to feed pigeons. In Singapore, you can get a fine of up to S$500 if you feed pigeons.

Don’t Join Random Wireless Networks

Wireless@SG, the city’s free public Wi-Fi, can help you save money when you’re in Singapore. If you’d rather have a reliable Wi-Fi connection all the time, you can rent a pocket Wi-Fi device or buy SIM Card data.

In Singapore, there are serious consequences for “hacking” into someone else’s network that is not secure. Under the Computer Misuse Act, using someone else’s Wi-Fi without their permission is illegal. The same penalties apply as for hacking: up to three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

Don't Smoke at Public Places in Singapore

Don't Smoke in Public Places

In Singapore, no one is allowed to smoke in public places like stores, theaters, restaurants, buses, trains, and other enclosed places. But if you need to smoke, you can do so in designated smoking areas, which are usually outside and painted yellow. If you are caught smoking in public places, you will have to pay a fine of at least $200 and no more than $1,000.

Don't Litter or Spit at Public Places in Singapore

Don't Litter or Spit in Public Places

Littering and spitting in public are taken very seriously in Singapore, a country that is proud of its reputation for being clean.

In the media and in movies, it is often said that Singapore has very clean streets where people can walk around without worrying about trash. A fine of up to S$1,000 could be given to a first-time offender. If someone breaks the law again, they could get a Corrective Work Order and a fine of up to S$2,000.

The rule that you can’t spit in public is just one of a long list of rules that are important for keeping a city clean and healthy. If you are caught doing this disgusting thing, you will have to pay a $1,000 fine. If you are caught spitting, you might have to pay a fine or do community service cleaning a certain area.

Don’t eat Food and Drink while Riding Public Transportation

Don’t eat Food and Drink while Riding Public Transportation

In Singapore, it is against the law to eat or drink on buses, MRT, subways, etc., which is not the case in many other countries. According to Singaporean law, the first time someone breaks the law, they get a warning. Those who break the rules could be fined S$500 if they are caught.. This rule is in place to keep the public transportation system clean and healthy and to stop rodents from spreading.

Don’t Forget to Flush the Toilet

If you don’t flush the toilet when you’re done in Singapore, you’re breaking the law and local standards of behavior. You’ll have to pay a fee if you get caught. Section 16 of the Public Cleansing Act says that you could be fined up to S$1,50 if you don’t flush the toilet after using it.

Don't Discuss Politics and Religion: Social Etiquette in Singapore

Singapore has the most stable political ground in the world. This makes the country one of the business hubs in Southeast Asia. The reason behind that is their rule of not talking about politics and religion in the open.

Singapore is a country where Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Taoists live in harmony. It is a harmony among the people and their culture. Nobody discusses their religion or politics anywhere.

Don't Discuss Politics and Religion Social Etiquette in Singapore

As the subjects are sensitive, this might end up in a heated argument. So it is best you avoid both topics.

Also, always greet with your right hand, as the left is considered dirty in some cultures. Always wrap gifts in colorful wrappers instead of white, as white is considered a funeral attire in Chinese culture.

Singapore is open to liquor, but make sure you don’t offer to anyone who doesn’t drink. So wait for the invitation.

Don't Eat Durian in Public Transport or Carry: Singaporean Durian Etiquette

While you are in Singapore, you should try the tropical fruit Durian. It’s a pungent-smelling fruit that smells horribly but tastes like a custard.

Don't Eat Durian at Public Transport in Singapore

Although it originated from this region, you cannot buy it and take it to your hotel room. The carrying and transporting of Durian in public places and transports is strictly prohibited.

If you are found carrying the fruit in public transport, you will be fined $500. So, it is best you practice the ‘eat where it is sold’ method if you wish to try it.

Don't Do Drugs: Singapore's Strict Drug Laws

One of the strict rules of Singapore is the Drug laws. If you are found doing drugs or posses them, you will get a penalty of 10 years imprisonment or a $20,000 fine.

Don't Do Drugs in Singapore

Sometimes, both of them are imposed depending on the type of drug found. So it is best to avoid the harmful things while you are traveling.

Instead, have drinks with your friends in bars and enjoy the trip.

Don’t Overstay Your Visa

Singapore is a beautiful country for tourists. But what happens if you overstay your visa? It is highly discouraged that you overstay your visa.

The Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) has strict laws for overstaying your visa. The penalty ranges from a fine, jail time, and even a ban from the country.

So, if you need to extend your stay, you should apply for a Singapore visa. Also, keep in mind about the visa expiration date. The last thing you want is to get banned from a country you always dreamed of visiting.

Parting Words

As there are more “Do’s” than “Don’ts,” it’s clear that there are lots of things to do in Singapore as long as you keep an open mind and act decently. Now that you know what to expect in Singapore and what to avoid, you can book one of the Singapore vacation packages and start making plans for your trip.

We hope that these travel tips for Singapore will be helpful to you.

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