21 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Singapore

Singapore may be a small country, but it certainly has a lot to offer. If you are planning on visiting Singapore, it is a good idea to have an understanding about the country before you visit. This will ensure you make the most of your trip and do not come home feeling like you have missed out. With that in mind, read on to discover some of the most important things you need to know before making your visit:

  1. Get a tourist-friendly SIM card – There is nothing worse than coming home from your vacation and being faced with an enormous phone bill. You can make sure this does not happen by buying a tourist-friendly SIM card from Starhub. This is the best way to keep your costs low.
  2. You can visit any time in the year – One of the best things about Singapore is that the weather is pretty much consistently warm all year round. This means you can visit whenever suits you.
  3. Yes, chewing gum is banned – You may have heard that chewing gum is banned in Singapore. While this is true, it is nowhere near as scary as it sounds. Basically, this ban was introduced in an attempt to prevent vandals from messing with train door sensors, which was causing trains to malfunction. However, the ban was partially lifted following a trade agreement with the US, which means the sale and import of gum for therapeutic use is allowed. The ban, therefore, has very little impact on daily living in Singapore. Just make sure you dispose of chewing gum properly!
  4. Alcohol is expensive – A little tip… buy your alcohol from the duty-free shop in the airport. It’s very expensive in Singapore! This is due to the alcohol ‘sin’ tax that’s in place.
  5. Chilli crab is a must-try – If there is one dish you should try while you are in Singapore, it is chilli crab. It is actually a rather large dish, so before you order it, ask how many people they recommend it for.
  6. Hop on the bus – It is really easy to get around in Singapore, either by bus or by Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains. You can buy passes per trip if required, or it is often cheaper to purchase an ezLink card. You can easily buy these cards at any MRT station.
  7. Spend a day at Sentosa – It is definitely a good idea to spend a day at Sentosa, especially if you love the beach. Vivocity is the nearest MRT station to Sentosa. You can also visit the SEA Aquarium, Adventure Cove, and Universal Studio while in the area.
  8. Experience nightlife in Clark Quay – If you are looking to have a good night out, you won’t be short of options in Singapore. The nightlife can certainly be crazy. If you are looking for a chilled out evening, you will love Clark Quay.
  9. Most locals live in HDB – Singapore real estate is very different than what you may be used to. In fact, 80 per cent of the locals live in an HDB, which stands for Housing and Development Board. This is public housing that is offered under temporary leaseholds for 99 years only. These are usually high-rise flats.
  10. Expect to see Lee Kuan Yew everywhere – Lee Kuan Yew is the first prime minister of Singapore and the founding father of the modern Singapore we know and love today. His personality and politics have shaped a lot of aspects of life in Singapore, and you can expect to see his face everywhere.
  11. Singapore is a democracy, kind of – In 1959, the People’s Action Party (PAP) came into power, and that is where they have remained ever since. Lee Kuan Yew was the first prime minister of this party. He governed for three decades. At present, his son, Lee Hsien Loong, is the prime minister. It’s a very popular party, and they won 70 per cent of the vote in the last general election. However, to say Singapore is completely free is not accurate. Citizen’s rights and political opposition are limited.
  12. Changi Airport is very impressive – Singapore’s Changi Airport is the best in the world, and that’s not something said lightly! In fact, it has been named the best airport in the world for the past five years. There is so much to see and do here.
  13. Durian fruit is very popular – This may seem like a very boring fact. However, this fruit stinks – a lot! If you want to give it a try, some tips include buying it at the start of the day and eating it before it gets too ripe.
  14. Go to hawker centre – There are a lot of amazing cafes and restaurants in Singapore that serve local cuisine. But if you want to have a true taste of Singapore, you really should head to a hawker centre. This is a good market that has a wide selection of stalls that serve local and international fare. It’s a self-service place. So all you need to do is grab a seat and you can order anything you want.
  15. Visit Orchard Road – If you are someone who likes to shop, you will love Orchard Road. It is home to all of the luxury brands and big shopping malls.
  16. Singapore is expensive – It’s not just the alcohol that is expensive in Singapore, it is generally a costly place to visit. In fact, Singapore has the highest ratio of millionaires in the world. Every one in 35 people in Singapore are millionaires! Phenomenal, right?
  17. Don’t litter – One thing you should never do in Singapore is litter. Well, you shouldn’t do it anywhere, but especially not in Singapore. Singapore is considered a tropical garden city, and so if you litter, you could be fined.
  18. Singapore is very safe – Another one of the amazing benefits associated with Singapore is that it is incredibly safe. You can walk on the streets in the early hours of the morning, and you won’t have to be overcautious with your possessions. Of course, it’s still advisable to have your wits about you, but you don’t need to worry so much.
  19. Shopping malls are taking over – Shopping is a big deal in Singapore. Singaporeans spend a lot of their time in the shopping malls, whether they are shopping, seeking shelter from the humidity, catching a movie with friends, or having drinks in the cafes. Sometimes you cannot avoid the malls even if you want to, as a lot of mini malls have been incorporated into underpasses and train stations.
  20. Learn some Singlish – There are four official languages in Singapore: Tamil, Malay, Mandarin, and English. So, what is Singlish? This is a unique, hybrid language, which has been developed from interactions between various ethnic groups in Singapore. It is used a lot in Singapore. The president even uses it!
  21. Singapore is a city and a country – A lot of people can’t figure out whether Singapore is a country or a city, and this is because they are both. It is essentially a city-state, which means Singaporeans do need to emigrate if they want to leave the state, and those who come to the city are immigrants.

As you can see, there is a lot to love about Singapore, and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time. Take note of the tips mentioned above and you cannot go wrong.

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