Singapore is often described as the paragon of globalisation and economic liberalisation. It is truly a beautiful country that runs like a well-oiled German machine year after year and is extremely welcoming towards tourists and foreigners.
Rules are enforced strictly and locals, foreigners and tourists are expected to abide by them. Hence, doing a little research about the rules and culture of the place will help you mingle better and stay out of trouble.
If you follow the basic tips shared in this article, you can really enjoy the famed hospitality of the place and get inspired by the penchant for life the people of this city-state display every day.
Things to Keep in Mind When in Singapore
1) Read Up on the Culture Before Coming
Before coming to Singapore, read up a little on the colonial history of the place, the culture which is a melange of other cultures connect the indigenous Malay, the dominating Chinese, the influential Indian and settlers from other corners of the world. While English is widely spoken and understood, understanding some of the colloquial phrases and local words helps with easy conversation.
Read books to understand how this small place that boasts of more millionaires per unit of population today that Luxemburg or Dubai transformed from being a small port-city to be one of the most advanced economies in the world in a matter of decades. Understanding the local culture would help you to accept the cultural differences that you may notice.
2) Rules are Strict but Law Enforcers are Helpful
Although smuggling of alcohol, drugs and chewing gums into the country is strictly prohibited by law, there are world-class bars and shopping centres where these items are available. Read up on the immigration rules beforehand. You’ll feel safe in Singapore since vigilance is strong and rate of crime is low. The law enforcers are helpful.
The country is extremely clean because tolerance is low against litter. Your local embassy would be more than happy to bring you up to speed with the local regulations. You can also check out the guide books available at tourist places to know more about the country and its rules.
3) Keep the Weather in Mind
Being extremely close to the equator, Singapore will give you a chance to experience heat and rain throughout the year. January is the coldest, April is the hottest and November is generally the wettest month. You should be carrying an umbrella, loose-fitting clothes, a sunscreen lotion with high SPF, a bottle of water and electrolyte drinks to avoid dehydration whenever you’re out. Whenever haze exceeds recommended levels, the local government advises people to stay indoors. Don’t ignore such advisories.
4) Easy Transportation
Singapore can be easily explored on foot or by using public transportation. If you don’t have enough time or energy to explore the city on foot, the MRT and the buses are there to help you get to tourist attractions conveniently. Get an EZ-Link card for hassle-free travel. You can easily recharge the card anytime you want.
5) Make a List Before You Go Shopping
Singapore is one of the best destinations in the world for shopping. You can get almost anything that you care to find. Whether you’re looking for value deals or the latest items from the high streets of fashion, you’ll find it in one of the shopping arcades or malls. Before you go shopping though, make yourself a list of items you need, the price range you’re targeting and the shopping districts you want to explore.
6) Try the Food Available at Hawker Centres
The government provides grades to every hawker in the city-state based on their cleanliness and hygiene evaluations. Every hawker is mandated to hang out a card with one of the letters A to D indicating the rating they have received according to the assessment made by the local civic authorities. Food sold by hawkers is very safe, cost-effective and filling. You’ll get a taste of the diverse culinary traditions that blend to create the city’s unique culinary culture.
Nasi Lemak and Hainanese chicken rice are two of the must-try items in Singapore. The upscale cafes and bars also serve authentic food. However, if you want to try the popular and refreshing Sling, a drink that the country is credited with concocting during the colonial era, visit Raffles Hotel.
Shopping and dining becomes easy in Singapore with credit cards. Don’t bother carrying too much cash.
7) Booking Tickets Way Ahead Of Time
How do people from other parts of the world afford travelling for months at a stretch? For one, their home currency might be the stronger Dollar or Pound. But the secret is, they plan ahead of time. They plan and book their tickets many months in advance. This saves them several precious bucks which can be put to better use at the destination. Adopt this strategy. Purchasing flight tickets is one of the biggest expenses you incur when planning a holiday. Last-minute bookings throw your budget off balance. Imagine, half of your holiday savings going towards purchasing a very expensive and yet uncomfortable economy class flight ticket. Make sure that your economyclass tickets stay economical.
8) Visit the Temples
There are temples around Chinatown of the Buddhists, the Chinese and the Hindus. The architecture is sure to catch your eye. Visit Chinatown to buy some quirky stuff for your folks back home. Soak in the colours, sounds and scent of the area and you will remember it for a long time.
9) Visit a Museum for Freshness
Relish the past and wonder at the evolution of life at the oldest museum of Singapore. The entry is free to the National Museum on all days. You will have to buy a ticket only if you want to visit the main gallery.