Last Updated on November 24, 2019 by Chef Mireille
Singapore Travel Tips
Learn the basics before you leave – Singapore’s Strict Laws, Public Transportation, Money Saving Tips and What to See & Do
Singapore is a beautiful island nation in Southeast Asia. There are many things to see and do in Singapore. For such a small island, the place is very diverse with many cultures and neighborhoods to explore. However, it is also one of the most expensive and conservative places in Southeast Asia so knowing a few basics will help make the best out of your trip and get you the most bang for your buck!
Follow these Singapore Travel Tips and have a fabulous vacation!
Be Aware of their Strict Laws
Singapore is probably the most monitored nation in the world. There are video cameras everywhere and strictly adhering to their laws will make your vacation an enjoyable one. I’m sure I don’t have to mention major crimes like drugs or theft. However, a few other basic rules to remember. Don’t eat or drink on public transportation and Don’t litter. If you have any doubt about something, ask someone or play on the side of caution and don’t do it. Violations of their laws carry harsh penalties. You may think it uncomfortable to be so monitored, but it can also prove to be beneficial.
Adhere to the laws and DONT GET ARRESTED
When one of my travel partners lost her wallet on the bus, it was returned to the police station with everything still in it. I guarantee that would NEVER happen here in NYC but when you know you’re on camera, stealing doesn’t seem worth it. For some more insights into the laws for travelers and the penalties, here are a few more to be aware of.
If you choose to fly on Singapore Airlines, it will be one of the most pleasurable flying experiences ever with excellent customer service and fabulous dining. Read more about flying on Singapore Airlines here. No matter what airline you arrive on at Changi Airport on, try to take in some of the airport attractions. As a major hub of Southeast Asia, Singapore Airport has a lot to offer for those on long layovers. Even if you’re not on a layover, you might want to plan some time either when you arrive or when you are leaving to take in some of the sights. If you are doing it when you arrive, make sure to do it before you clear customs. Once you clear customs, you won’t be able to get back in to see the attractions until you are leaving.
In addition to the shopping and dining you find at any airport, you can also visit:
- Cactus Garden – rooftop garden with over 100 species of cacti
- Sunflower Garden – another rooftop garden with over 500 sunflowers
- Orchid Garden – garden features gorgeous varieties of orchids
- The movie theaters – Two free movie theaters are available 24 hours a day
- Swimming Pool
- Facilities for shower and massage
- Seasonal Attractions
Traveling by public transportation is easy in Singapore, whether you are using the subway or bus. Simply get a map from your hotel. The subway system is most likely the cleanest and safest in the world, so don’t be apprehensive. It’s the cheapest and most convenient way to get around. The subways run from 5:30am-midnight.
It is illegal to sell food on the street in Singapore. They instead have hawker centers. Hawker Centers will have dozens of food stalls to choose from. Seating and public restrooms are also available at the hawker centers. They are clean with delicious local food and will cost you a fraction of what you will pay at fancy restaurants.
Explore the Cultural Enclaves
For such a small island nation, there are many cultures each with their own neighborhood. Here are a few to explore:
- Haji Lane & Arab Street – The Arab section is full of textiles where you can purchase clothing, cloth bags and more. Have a cup of Turkish Coffee or an Arab pastry and visit the Sultan Mosque. Make sure you are dressed appropriately if you are visiting the mosque. Be respectful!
- Pub Row – In the mood for fish and chips and a glass of ale? At Pub Row, there is a strip of British style pubs featuring Brit cuisine.
- Little India – Along Serangoon Road, there are many places of worship including Hindu mandhir’s, Muslim mosque’s and a Sikh Gurudwara. There are also stores selling Indian clothing and foods.
- Chinatown – As the largest ethnic group in Singapore, Chinese culture is located throughout the island, however it is concentrated in Chinatown. You can enjoy delicious Chinese food and visit one of the Buddhist temples or purchase any variety of Chinese clothing or products. Here’s a great guide to the temples in Singapore!
There are also other streets known for shopping, malls, bars or expat communities! – Don’t miss these either!
- Bugis Street (food and drink)
- Orchard Street (malls)
- Holland Village (expats – lots of European cuisine)
Don’t forget to check out some of my other Singapore Travel posts if you’re going!
The public transport can be a little confusing but after a day or two you get used to it and it’s ok. Singapore is great and should be on everyone’s list.
i guess coming from a public transport city (NYC) i usually find them pretty convenient and understandable but regardless Singapore is great for so many reasons!
Interesting post. Exploring Singapore was my dream and finally I am going there. Thanks for sharing such helpful tips with the readers so that even they can become of various things over there. Keep posting such articles.
Thanks for sharing these great tips on Singapore. Love the easy transportation system and eating at the hawker centers in Singapore. We had a layover in Singapore during our last visit so we need to do a return trip to see more of Little India, Chinatown, and Bugis Street. We’ll use this post for planning our return trip.
Yes the little cultural neighborhoods are great to explore. You should definitely make time to do that next time!
The Travel Bunny
Wow, this is a great guide! Your tips will come in really handy should I ever get to visit Singapore!
You should definitely include it in your future plans. I had a wonderful time!
Wow, I had no idea about all the strict laws and surveillance in Singapore! But you are probably right, there is some benefit to it as well as some discomfort with being “watched.” This was really helpful. My son is interested in Singapore. Now we know what to expect!
The monitoring did not bother me as this is what keeps the city safe and I had no reservations about traveling about the city even by myself at night. It really allows you to enjoy the complete Singapore experience!
Singapore is definitely on my list. I’ve heard about the strict laws over there. It’s not something that has deterred me and it’s good to know that it is a safe city to travel in. Thank you for the recommendations! Hopefully I’ll be able to visit soon!
Yes as long as you’re not up to anything nefarious and are conscious of the laws, you should have a great time. I had a fab time and they did not effect me one bit!
I do think it would feel a little uncomfortable to always be on camera! I loved hearing about the communities you described within Singapore, like Little India and Pub Row. So much to experience along with the Chinese culture….Thank you for sharing your insights!
To tell you the truth, I barely gave it a second thought. Here in the US there are so many cameras also – it’s just not as publicized . As long as you are just there to enjoy the culture, sights and the foods – it is a non issue!
Thanks for these wonderful tips on visiting Singapore. I would agree it is important to familiarize with the local laws. Not been here so far but I know chewing gum is not allowed here right.. I am seeing some of the recommended places for the first time and like the freshness in these travel tips to Singapore.
yes you are right chewing gum is not allowed!
I have had thoughts of going to Singapore but not until reading this was I really super game. Bravo!
You should definitely plan on it. It is a wonderful place where all the cultures of Asia meet!
Great tips! Very useful for us since we are planning a Southeast Asian backpacking adventure next year. Singapore is in our itinerary. 🙂
You will love Singapore. It is the place where all the cultures of Asia meet!
Singapore is definitely on my bucket list! I’m planning on going to south east asia soon, so i might add this one to the list!! 😉 Thanks for the tips!
Even if its just for a day or two, I highly recommend including Singapore in your itinerary