Wondering what the weather’s like, what currency you’ll need, what kind of plug adaptor to invest in at the airport and how you’ll get around on the ground? Here’s a beginner’s guide to being in the city, put together with help from our good friends at Your Singapore.
Communicating will be easy: many Singaporeans are fluent in English. Lots of Singaporeans also speak an additional language, usually Mandarin Chinese, Malay or Tamil.
Singapore tends to be hot and humid all year round, with temperatures usually topping 85°F. Be prepared for rain at any time; this can be torrential, but is often brief.
The Singapore dollar is used here; notes come in denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100, S$1,000 and S$10,000. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and S$1.
Drop by one of the three handy Singapore Visitor Centers at ION Orchard, Orchard or Chinatown if you need local help or advice from the friendly staff.
Singapore’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is probably the fastest way to zip around the city. You can also flag taxis (which use a meter system, with occasional surcharges) or hop on a bus. [Editor’s note: Singapore Airlines runs its own SIA Hop-on Bus service, with stop-offs at more than 20 points across the city; if you’ve booked a Singapore Stopover Holiday or Singapore Explorer Pass, you won’t have to pay anything to use this nifty service. Some like it hot, but if you’re not one of them, sit on the bus’ air-conditioned lower deck instead of the open-air top deck – those views are pretty unmissable, mind.]
WiFi and connectivity
Visitors can register for a free public WiFi account with their foreign mobile number at any Wireless@SG hotspot. (Overseas charges may apply; check with your mobile provider if you’re unsure.)
The standard electrical current used in Singapore is 220-240 volts AC (50 cycles) and you can use power plugs with three square prongs here.
You’re encouraged to leave a tip as a thank you for good service; this is on top of the standard 10 per cent gratuity added to your bill by some restaurants and hotels.
As a tourist, you can claim a refund on the seven per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid on purchases if you spend more than $100 at participating shops.
For a regret-free shopping experience, compare prices, enquire about refund policies and check the invoice – as well as the product warranty – before splashing out.
Smoking is forbidden in most of Singapore’s air-conditioned malls and eateries. There are designated smoking areas in some entertainment outlets and open-air eateries.
Safe drinking water
You can drink water straight from the tap here without worrying: Singapore’s water passes World Health Organization standards.
Singapore caters to diverse needs: the elderly, wheelchair-users and visually- or hearing-impaired tourists have all been considered when it comes to exploring the city.
Hopefully you’ll have no need to call these numbers, but just in case…
Ambulance + Fire Brigade: 995
Flight information: 1800 542 4422
You’ll find many more Singapore travel tips, recommendations and on-the-ground know-how at Your Singapore.
Book your Singapore Stopover Holiday
When you book a Singapore Airlines Stopover Holiday, you can bed down in the garden city and enjoy massive discounts on shops, attractions and restaurants – all from just $40 per person. There’s no catch.
· Accommodation for one night at hotel in applicable price category
· Airport-hotel-airport transfers on seat-in-coach basis
· 50% discount on the a la carte food menu at the designated restaurant or food outlet at your hotel when you select the full package option
· Unlimited rides on SIA Hop-on Bus, throughout duration of your Singapore Stopover Holiday stay when you select the full package option