Singapore is a beautiful and friendly country in Asia. With high level development and high living standard, Singapore can offer travellers luxuries that are equal to that of in developed countries, andalso being a country in Asia offers western traveller a different kind of experience that they would never find in their continent.
Avoid the Haze
The severity of the haze varies from year to year, but is at its worst during September. In 2016, the haze only lasted a few days, but in 2015 the hazy conditions persisted through most of November. During years with moderate haze, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) will read around 100-200, which is already an unhealthy range. In years where the haze is worse, the PSI is typically 200+ and even occasionally exceeds 300. When the pollution levels are that high, the Singapore government recommends that even healthy adults stay indoors as much as possible, so definitely not an ideal time for sightseeing.
Know the Duty-Free Rules
Singapore is very strict about what is given duty-free concession. Alcohol is limited based on what you’re buying; for example, you can buy one liter each of spirits, wine and beer, or two litres of wine and one liter of beer, but you can never exceed one liter of spirits. There is zero duty-free allowance on cigarettes and tobacco products and, if caught bringing cigarettes from other countries, you potentially face very stiff fines.
Singapore is very strict about drug possession and being caught with even small amounts will land you in hot water with the authorities. Larger amounts will lead to charges of trafficking. The punishment for these offenses are steep fines and jail time, if you’re lucky. Make sure to double check your suitcases and bags before travelling there o be 100% sure there aren’t any remnants of any questionable substances lurking in the bottom of your luggage.
Learn the Laws
Some laws are common sense, but it’s good to keep in mind that what are seen as small offenses in some countries may be considered serious offenses in Singapore. For example, you can be fined for spitting on the street, throwing cigarette butts on the ground or even jaywalking. Read up on Singapore and its local laws, as police officers who reprimand you for these offenses will not accept ignorance of the law as a reason to not pay the fines.
Join A Community Before You Arrive
There are fewer travellers in Singapore than the rest of Southeast Asia, so don’t depend on meeting people in your hostel – especially if you’ve ignored our first tip and come during the hazy season! The best is to join Couchsurfing, as they organize many events such as pub crawls, cycling tours and beach volleyball every week. If you would prefer to hang out with an older, expat crowd, join Internations, another website where members of the international community run all types of events, from networking to free fitness classes around the city.
Singapore is Expensive!
Although there are many budget-friendly activities in Singapore, if you are arriving from neighboring Southeast Asian countries, you will be shocked by the price of things. Admission to most museums costs around $20. Eating in a café will cost a similar amount. The most offending cost is that of alcohol; a pint of beer or a glass of wine in one of the city’s many bars will set you back anywhere between $15-25. The famous Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel comes in at $35 after service fee and GST.
Hope these tips will help you “survive” in Singapore and also have a great time in the small-island-country.
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