Singapore is safe. There's no doubt of that. Still, when heading to any foreign destination you'll need to know the terrain before landing in order not to waste time and money. Below are some fast facts that will help facilitate your stay in the city-state.
A Passenger Service Charge of SG$ 15 should be incorporated in the air ticket (including tickets issued outside of Singapore). If not, you are not required to pay the SG$ 15 during check-in. Your airline will absorb the service charge.
Passengers who are in transit for less than 24 hours may leave the airport without having Read More...
Around the Island with One Card
Save yourself from the hassle of carrying too many coins around and buy an EZ Link Card upon arrival in Singapore. This stored-value card works on the MRT trains, public buses and taxis (TransCab and Premier taxis only). It costs SGD 15, which comes with SGD 7 stored value and SGD 3 refundable value (the SGD 5 left is non-refundable). You can buy the card and top up the value at most MRT stations.
Other than the Singapore Dollar, the US and Australian Dollars, Japanese Yen and British Pound are also accepted in most major shopping centres and big department stores.
- The local currency is Singapore dollars and cents. Notes come in denominations of SG$ 2, SG$ 5, SG$ 10, SG$ 20, SG$ 50, SG$ 100, SG$ 500, SG$ 1,000, and SG$
Major cards are widely accepted by establishments in Singapore. Should any shop insist on adding a surcharge, contact the respective card company to report the errant shop-owner.
OUB Credit Card
Tel: 1 800 221 7888 (toll-free in Singapore only)
Standard Chartered Visa
Tel: 1 800 789 7662 (toll-free in Singapore only)
UOB Card Centre
Tel: (65) 355 6933 / 6940 / 6937 / 6942
It is perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, local supermarkets and grocers always have ample stocks.
Trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15g of heroin, 30g of morphine, 30g of cocaine, 500g of cannabis, 200g of cannabis resin and 1.2 kg of opium carries the death penalty if convicted. Possession of such quantities is deemed as prima facie evidence of trafficking. Persons convicted of unauthorised traffic in the following drugs in the respective quantities face an imprisonment term of 20-30 years and 15 strokes of the cane.
• Opium - Not less than 800g and not more than 1200g
• Heroin - Not less than 10g and not more than 15g
• Cannabis - Not less than 330g and not more than 500g
• Morphine & Cocaine - Not less than 20g and not more than 30g
• Cannabis Resin - Not less than 130g and not more than 200g
Voltage is 230 Volts, 50 cycles per second, with 3-pin flat blades (Type G plug as used in the UK).
Any individual found keeping, possessing, having under his control, discharging or letting off dangerous fireworks (including firecrackers, rocket fireworks, sandcrackers and such other fireworks) is liable to a fine not exceeding SG$ 5,000 or imprisonment for up to 2 years or both.
Pedestrians crossing a road within 50 metres of a pedestrian crossing risk a SG$ 50 fine.
Same-day laundry service is available in most hotels. Typically, it costs SG$ 5 for a laundered shirt, SG$ 10 for a dress and SG$ 14 for a dry-cleaned suit. Independent dry-cleaners can be found in the Yellow Pages of the Singapore Phone Book.
Any person convicted of littering faces a fine of up to SG$ 1,000 for the first offence. Repeat offenders may be fined SG$ 2,000 including a stint of a corrective work order cleaning public places.
Singapore's medical facilities are among the finest in the world, with well-qualified doctors and dental surgeons.
Pharmaceuticals are available from numerous outlets, including supermarkets, department stores, hotels and shopping centres.
No Smoking (Please)
The smoking ban in Singapore basically says that smoking is not allowed anywhere except in allocated smoking areas that are clearly marked with bright yellow paint (and, perhaps, your friend’s home). Specifically, smoking is not allowed in air-conditioned areas, such as shopping centres, restaurants, entertainment outlets, MRT trains, public buses, taxis, lifts, public eateries and within a five-metre radius from most building entrances. So, butt out.
SIM Cards and Dialing Prefixes
Pre-paid SIM cards (S$10 to S$50) are available at 7-Eleven stores, Cheers convenience stores and at the Singapore Post. The three mobile phone service providers are SingTel, MobileOne (M1) and Starhub. Singapore doesn’t use area codes; to call a number within Singapore, simply dial the eight-digit number.
To call Singapore from outside the city-state, dial +65, the country code, then the eight-digit number. To make an international call from Singapore, dial the access code 001 (Sing Tel), 002 (M1), or 008 (StarHub), followed by the country code, area code and the number.
Important Phone Numbers:
- Police 999 (toll free)
- Police Hotline 6225 0000
- Emergencies/Ambulance/Fire 995
- Singapore General Hospital 6321 4103
- National University Hospital 6779 5555
- Mt. Elizabeth 6737 2666
- Tourism Information 1800 7362 00
- City Cab Taxi 6552 2222
- Premier Taxi 6363 6888
- Airport Flight Information 1800 542 4422
- Directory Assistance 6777 7777
When out on a shopping spree, look for shops with the ‘Tax Refund’ logo and take advantage of the 7% tax refunds on goods and services. The tax levy is imposed on local Singaporeans, so as visitors you can claim your money back upon departure. To qualify, though, you must spend SGD 100 or more at that particular shop and leave Singapore by air.
In Singapore, where and when you take a taxi can affect your fare rate. Surcharges are added on top of the fare when you take a taxi during the rush hours (07:30-09:30 and 17:00-20:00, except Sundays, SGD 1 surcharge), from the airport (add SGD 3), and again after midnight (50% surcharge). Better alternatives are the MRT trains, buses and, ahem, your two feet.
GMT+8 (the same as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia)
Eating out is much less complicated when you don’t have to worry about how much to tip. In fact, tipping is discouraged at hotels and restaurants, where a 10% service charge is already included in the bill (but if it doesn’t come included, feel free to leave a tip). Tipping is prohibited at the airport.