Singapore has been known as “a Lion Island Nation”. This is a great potential tourist country in Asia in recent years. Singapore has made significant strides in many areas and has attracted an encouraging number of international accolades which recognize the city as vibrant and world-class. Singapore is simply, the place where worlds meet. Due to being a multicultural country, Singapore has its own laws and customs compliance for visitors.
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So, what to know before going to Singapore, what to know before traveling to Singapore, what to know before visiting Singapore? Let’s check out our Singapore travel tips blog (Singapore trip tips blog, tips for visiting Singapore) with the suggested +15 dos and don’ts in Singapore and things to know before going to Singapore, things to know before visiting Singapore, what to know when traveling to Singapore, things to know before traveling to Singapore as follows!
Let’s find out and must-know what not to do for your perfect trip to Singapore.
Things to know before going to Singapore: Problems in public places
Singapore is a modern country with massive constructions and buildings and is the cleanest country in the world. That is why environmental protection in Singapore is a top priority. Through movies or the media, you can see the extremely hygienic streets of Singapore that when tourists walk, they do not find any garbage. Therefore, you should not litter anywhere when you come to Singapore. If you violate it, you will be fined and receive unpleasant looks from the local people.
The ban on littering is accompanied by a ban on smoking in public places. So in some places such as elevators, cinemas, or even on most public transport or even in offices, etc., the smoking rule is strictly prohibited. If you violate it, a fine of 500 Singapore dollars (SGD) is immediately regulated for you. Hence, when tourists want to smoke, they should go to the permitted areas to avoid fines!
Chewing gum (#things to know before going to Singapore)
One of the notable taboos in Singapore is chewing gum. Travelers who intend to put in their luggage a little chewing gum pack for their traveling to Singapore should abandon their thinking immediately if they don’t want to be fined 1,000 SGD and have to implement a Corrective Work Order for about 10 hours (or your objection or get a penalty) because Singapore strictly prohibits chewing gum. The penalty for an illegal gum dealer is one year in jail and 10,000 SGD.
Of course, there are some exceptions. You’re able to bring one or two packs legally as a tourist, there will be no problem. Alternatively, if you have a prescription from your doctor and chewing gum is part of your treatment, you can still use them.
Eating and drinking on the public transport
In many other countries, eating and drinking on public transport such as buses, trams, subways, and so on are normal, but in Singapore, you can be fined for this behavior. A prompt is done for your first trespass, otherwise, you will be invited to go down or fined for your later times according to the regulations of the Singapore government. In 2009, a fine of up to S$30 was implemented on a woman for eating candy on a train. In addition, durian is also a “forbidden product” on trains because of its strong scent.
Another funny thing, Singapore is a country that seems a bit “obsessed” with hygiene. In some other countries, this action may simply involve common sense and courtesy, but Singapore has raised to legal status. If caught not flushing after using the toilet in a public place, the penalty can be up to 150 SGD.
Dos and don’ts in Singapore: Avoid talking about religion or politics
Singapore is a multicultural and racial country having many coexisting different religions. Therefore, religion can be a very sensitive topic to discuss. The Singapore Religion is technically a mix of several communities. There are five major religions in Singapore.
To avoid unnecessary disagreements and controversies, it is better for all visitors not to mention them.
What to know before traveling to Singapore: Gift-Giving
Gift-giving is an essential act to describe affection. However, it is not as simple as you think. Singapore is a multicultural country. Therefore, gift giving is also seriously complicated. For example, you refrain from wrapping a white gift because the white represents mourning. Gifts such as watches, handkerchiefs, and flowers should also be limited as they mean a funeral connotation in Chinese culture.
For Muslims or people of Indian descent, you should pay attention to giving up items in pork skin. You must use your right hand or both hands to give gifts. Moreover, gift giving is on farewell occasions. When you get gifts, you should refuse three times before actually receiving them and not open gifts in front of the gift-givers.
Things to know before visiting Singapore: Consider using a taxi
Just consider likely an experience that you need to know before going to Singapore. It’s not about bad or poorly qualified taxis in Singapore, but whether taxis are quite expensive and unnecessary to use due to waste of your journey, and especially there is a Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT) in Singapore. The MRT system is evaluated to be one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world, and most tourist attractions are located very near to train stations.
Moreover, MRT/bus fares in Singapore are very affordable; especially if you have an EZ Link card.
Remember that if you are late, do not run a red light! If you ride a taxi, whether you sit in the front or in the back, you must wear a seat belt, this is a habit and a rule.
What to know before going to Singapore: Gestures in communication
Visitors refrain from pointing at others or sitting cross-legged in front of an older person if they don’t want to be seen as rude.
Singapore is an immigrant country with the majority of the population being Indians and Muslims. Indians and Muslims often go to the toilet using water and their left hand for washing. Therefore, they are very taboo to use the left hand in behavioral activities such as gift giving, handshake, eating and etc. Hence, all visitors should use their right hand to match the local culture in Singapore.
Most Singaporeans are bilingual, mother tongue and English. Singaporeans often exchange name cards. Please remember to receive the card with both hands and always take it seriously, don’t put the card in your pocket without looking at it.
In Singapore, handshake culture is expressed in meeting cases, visitors can shake hands with anyone in Singapore except Muslim women. Because Muslim women are forbidden to shake hands with strangers. To avoid misunderstandings and violations of taboos, visitors should smile and nod their heads every time they meet together.
Another cultural taboo in Singapore, people cannot use their index finger to point at others, that behavior is synonymous with rudeness and impoliteness. Therefore, do not be surprised to receive discriminatory glances from natives if you incidentally do this action.
What to know before traveling to Singapore: Eating and drinking
When eating rice, do not place chopsticks on top of the bowl or on the plate of food. When you don’t eat anymore, don’t put it around, but put it on a rack, a plate of chili sauce, or in a dish with food scraps.
Muslims do not eat pork. When you invite a Muslim friend to dinner, you must ensure that no pork or alcohol is used in the dishes and that other meats are purchased in the slaughterhouse in accordance with religious precepts. And Muslims are also averse to alcohol, so when visiting their house, visitors desist from carrying this drink. If Muslims do not eat pork, Hindus do not eat beef.
What to know before visiting Singapore: Do not get nude or watch pornographic films, even indoors
Singapore has issued a nudity law since the late 20th century. In particular, it states that “any person who appears nude in a public place; or in a private place and is exposed to public view shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both”.
For pornographic films, it is best to keep away or at least avoid being caught. Singaporean Law in prohibition is primarily that one refrain from providing or distributing pornographic material. Meanwhile, to avoid involving legal issues, you should pay attention to this.
What to know when traveling to Singapore: Do not connect to unauthorized Wi-Fi networks
Access to unauthorized Wi-Fi networks can be considered a crime under the Computer Misuse Act of Singapore and can be strictly punished.
Things to know before traveling to Singapore: No tipping
Like Japan, Singapore does not a tipping culture so this practice is unnecessary here. In some cases, you will already pay what is the equivalent of a tip as a charged fee added to the bill.
Singapore travel tips blog: No vandalism
An act likely stealing and vandalism in public places such as writing, carving your name on buildings, or even graffiti painting are violations in many countries around the world, but Singapore is even much more rigorous. In 1994, Mr. Michael Fay, an American teenager resident has sentenced to four strokes for stealing and vandalizing a car.
More recently, in 2010, a Swiss citizen received up to three strokes and was sentenced to imprisonment for five months after being caught painting spray on a ship. That’s right, you read it right, a leading developed country in the world still uses stroke as a punishment to establish discipline.
Tips for visiting Singapore: Some other taboos
On the first days of the year in Singapore, the residents omit cleaning houses and do not wash their hair to against unluckiness; they do not break furniture, especially mirrors; they do not wear white clothes, and do not use needles, or scissors which cause bad things.
Singaporeans think that the numbers “4”, “7”, “13”, “37”, and “69” are negative and unlucky numbers, they hate the number “7”, which normally they do their best to avoid encountering. Singaporeans believe that black is an unlucky color, and purple is also a color they don’t like. They only like pink and red, because this color symbolizes solemnity, intense enthusiasm, joyfulness, courage, and express tolerance and generosity. They like blue and green as well.
Punishments to know before traveling to Singapore
- Make noise: Causing noise to affect the surroundings in any form can be fined up to 1,000 SGD.
- Drink alcohol or harassment in public areas: being drunk and behaving in ways that likely harassment in public areas will result in a fine of 1,000 SGD or raised to jail time for up to 6 months, or both
- Drink/bring alcohol in public places: Singapore prohibits drinking or bringing alcohol into public hospitals. If you unintentionally or knowingly drink alcohol in any public hospital, you can be jailed for up to two months, fined up to S$1,000, or both, unless the hospital has Signposts that permit the above action.
- Cheating in trade: It is forbidden to cheat on size and weight when buying and selling goods, otherwise, you can be sentenced to one year in jail, fined, or both.
- Harassment or obscenity in public: is a violation of Singapore’s criminal law. You can be fined or imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both, depending on the severity of your behavior.
- Take a bath in public: you absolutely must not bathe on the street, in a public place, or in a public reservoir. Violations will be fined up to 1,000 SGD
- Letting dogs bite other people: in Singapore, it is illegal for dogs to bite people. If an owner lets his dog bite another person, causing injury, he or she can be fined up to 5,000 SGD
- Chewing gum: violations will result in a fine of up to $1,000. Ideally, you should just chew gum in the house
- Littering: the first violation will be fined up to 1,000 SGD, repeat offenders will increase the fine to 2,000 to 5,000 SGD and have to do community service
- Smoking in public places: there are a few cities in the world where tobacco and smoking bans are strictly enforced as in Singapore. The fine for the first time is about 200 to 300 SGD. If you do not pay the fine within 7 days, the violator will be taken to court for trial
- Penalties for not flushing public toilets: The fine can be up to 150 In the elevator, there is also a device to sense the smell of urine. If someone makes a mistake, the ladder will automatically sound the alarm and close the door until the police arrive.
Above are basic tips that you need to keep in mind to avoid being fined, even being in jail to explore the best things to do in Singapore on your trip. These tips for traveling to Singapore will make sure you have a smooth, safe and super fun stay in this vibrant and eclectic city.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Singapore you can refer to
- Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) Private Transfer
- Shared Changi Airport Transfers (SIN) for Singapore Hotels
- Singapore Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour (Open-Top)
- Sentosa FUN Pass
- Singapore City Pass (2/3 Days)
- [Klook Exclusive] Universal Studios Singapore™ 1 Day Ticket
- Gardens by the Bay Ticket Singapore
- S.E.A. Aquarium™ One-Day Ticket
- ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands Ticket
- Singapore Cable Car Sky Pass
- Jewel Changi Airport Attraction Tickets in Singapore
- Singapore Flyer Tickets
- Skyline Luge Singapore: Skyline Luge & Skyride
- Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck or Sampan Ride
- Adventure Cove Waterpark™ One-Day Ticket
- Science Centre Singapore, Butterflies Up-Close, Omni Theatre
- Singapore River Cruise
- Madame Tussauds Singapore Ticket
- Wings of Time Show Ticket in Singapore
- LiHO TEA in Singapore
- Singapore Travel Card (NETS FlashPay)
- Universal Studios Singapore Tickets
- Klook Pass Singapore
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (Changi Airport Pick Up) for Singapore
- 4G WiFi (SG Airport Pick Up) for Singapore
- 4G Portable WiFi for Singapore from Uroaming
- 4G WiFi (SG Pick Up) for Europe
Are you finding more top things to do in Singapore: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Singapore travel blog — The fullest Singapore travel guide blog for a budget trip to Singapore for the first-timers.