You have so many reasons to plan a trip to Singapore. This lovely East Asian peninsula is known as one of the safest travel destinations on earth, as well as presenting loads of hot tourist destinations. No doubt you’ve seen countless photos of Singapore on your Instagram feed, usually from friends backpacking around the world. It’s always a main stop for people that are doing the classic gap year route around Thailand, Malaysia and Bali. Its popularity has grown even more over the last few years, so maybe it’s time to plot a trip there?
If this is your first time visiting Singapore, you need to prepare for your trip. Most of your preparation is the standard travel advice, but there are a few Singapore-specific things to know about. Start your prep by using the travel tips below.
Don’t bother renting a car
There’s absolutely no need to rent a car during your trip to Singapore. After going there for the first time, you’ll soon realise why. The country has one of the best public transport systems in the world, offering affordable tickets and passes for tourists. What’s more, it connects you to all of the main hotspots around the area, so there’s honestly no excuse to not use it. It’s a pretty safe public transport system as well, just remain your usual vigilant self if travelling alone during the quiet hours of the day.
Renting a car is basically pointless as you can get everywhere you need to be via the trains and buses. So, you’re basically just wasting money on something that’s more of a hindrance than anything else. Plus, who likes driving in foreign countries anyway?!
Rent a house or an apartment
There’s no shortage of hotels in Singapore, but they can be quite pricey. Also, Singapore isn’t one of those places where you visit for a couple of days. It’s the type of location where you really need to spend as much time as possible soaking up all the local delights. In this situation, paying for a hotel simply isn’t a good option. It will cost a fortune to stay anywhere for more than a few days, meaning you run through your travel budget before a week has gone by.
Instead, renting somewhere to stay makes more sense. There are so many Singapore rental property options for you to take a look at. Find a small house or an apartment in a great location, and you have the perfect base for your trip. It’s usually way more affordable, and you have lots of space and privacy as well. This makes it even better if your first trip is with a group of friends – you can all stay in the same place, splitting the rental costs to make it even more affordable.
Tipping isn’t always required
In most countries, you feel obliged to tip the servers or waiters at restaurants and cafés. Usually, your biggest worry is trying to figure out how much you should tip. In some places, the waiters don’t give out change when you pay in cash, so they basically take the change as a tip. Then you have to awkwardly ask for change, before giving them less back as a tip. It’s all so annoying and awkward, which is why you’ll be pleased to know that tipping isn’t always needed in Singapore.
This probably has something to do with the fact that Singapore offers some of the best wages for employees. As a result, waiters and servers are actually on decent wages, so they don’t depend on tips to make a living. It’s also just not part of the culture in Singapore at all. So, if you tip, it’s more an expression that you really liked the service. Nobody will refuse a tip, but you won’t get any nasty looks if you don’t leave one.
Pack for hot and humid weather
The climate in Singapore is extremely tropical. You rarely see it reach cold temperatures, with almost constant humidity in the air. It gets very warm, so expect to feel quite sweaty and clammy most of the time. Therefore, you should pack for this type of weather, ensuring you have lightweight and breathable garments. This isn’t the type of place where you’ll get much use out of a woolly jumper!
However, the humidity also means that tropical storms are quite common. You can expect to see at least one rain shower if you’re there for over a week or so. They tend to come out of the blue, so locals always recommend bringing an umbrella when you’re out, or maybe packing a lightweight waterproof coat.
Brush up on the local rules
Singapore has a few rules that you might not know about. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll break some of these laws without even realising. It’s a very nice and polite place, which is based on a culture that’s all about respect. So, many of the laws in Singapore will penalise people that do disrespectful things. The act of spitting on the street is seen as illegal, as is throwing a cigarette down a drain. You can be fined for these things, so make sure you don’t get caught.
There are plenty of other weird and wonderful laws in Singapore, so brush up on all of them before you go. To be honest, that’s a good travel tip for any new location: look at the laws. You’ll be surprised at how different laws are across the world, what one country sees as fine, another can deem illegal. Singapore has an especially low tolerance for any crime and misbehaviour, which is probably why it’s always ranked as one of the safest countries on the planet. People abide by the rules and don’t want to risk harsh punishments if they get caught.
These travel tips should help you plan your first ever trip to Singapore. It genuinely is a wonderful place, and everyone should try to visit there at least once. Start planning today, and it won’t be long before you can jet off.