A 1st timers checklist for visiting Singapore.
Visiting Singapore is a super, exciting adventure. I’m blessed to have friends and family from around the world, that visit.
Because of the excitement of international travel, fascinating food and spending time with my friends. It’s easy to overlook a few simple things to do, before visiting Singapore.
Besides, I wouldn’t be much of a host if I didn’t bring these simple checks to surface.
Here are the insider tips (that I give to friends) when visiting Singapore.
8 Simple checks for visiting Singapore.
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Have a layover in Singapore? Read what you can do during a short, long and super long layover in Singapore.
What seems obvious, it’s easy to forget about the expiration date on a passport. This has comes up more times, than one would think.
Ensure a valid passport is within at least six months beyond the travel date.
If you intent to visit neighboring countries that require a Visa. Make sure you have at least 4 blank pages.
There are 34 visa-exempt countries that do not need a Visa when visiting Singapore.
Check the Visa Check site for Singapore for your eligibility. The ease of receiving a visa is fairly simple, given enough time and valid paperwork.
Singapore has a no drug tolerance policy and I’m also talking about prescriptions. Some prescriptions are allowed, while others need to be registered for entry.
Check out what’s not allowed for entry and prescription drugs that are on the no entry list.
Note: ecigarettes and chewing tobacco are prohibited.
4. Bank Travel Notification
Turn on your bank travel notification. Provide the dates and which countries will be visited (if additional countries are scheduled).
I know, another obvious tip, but not putting it on the Things to Do List before leaving. Can lead to anguish whilst on travel.
There’s nothing more annoying and inconvenient when your bank card is frozen while traveling. Especially when you’re in a different time zone, it’s a weekend and did you get International Data calling? Which leads into the next tip.
5. SIM cards and International Data Coverage
Will you use a SIM card, add an International Data plan that includes roaming, or pick up a local mobile?
The fastest and hardest way to learn that having an international data plan, is crucial. Is not having one and receiving a heavy $$$ bill. This is such a common travel woe, that for most, it only takes that one time. (Thanks Verizon for that $400 international data roaming charge for 2 minutes of use).
Note: If you plan on purchasing a SIM Card. Make sure your phone is unlocked. If you don’t know if your mobile is unlocked, check with your provider.
Pro Tip: Download a free messaging platform. WhatsApp allows you to send messages over Wifi. It’s globally used by many businesses and users.
6. Back Up & Find My Phone
Speaking of phones. Have you backed yours up lately?
Making it a habit to backup your phone prior to traveling, is good practice.
If you haven’t already, turn on Find my Phone.
Again, another traveling woe tip that you learn the hard way. I was with a friend, bicycling around Singapore, at night. It wasn’t until miles later, she noticed her phone wasn’t in her pocket anymore.
We found it when we got back to my place, turned on her laptop and located her phone, via Find My Phone feature. Thankfully a good samaritan found it and left it at a restaurant for us to pick it up.
7. Brace for Heat & Humidity Impact
Singapore is 2 degrees from the equator and it is hot. And I’m not just talking heat, it’s more so the humidity. Imagine sauna like temperatures, year round. Get ready to sweat. A lot.
Wearing clothing that is loose and light is paramount, to beating the heat. Materials that are designed to keep moisture away, breathes freely and dries quickly in tropical climates, is key.
Baleaf Company is a fantastic clothing line that provides sun protection, lightweight, breathes freely, dries quickly, true to size and great quality.
They have collections for women, men and kids. It’s perfect for travel and great for outdoor activities such as, sports, gardening, etc.
An umbrella serves well for both rain and sun. Albeit, it’s thought as strange (by Westerners) to use an umbrella for sun. It’s another option that provides protection from the skin cancer creating UV rays. Additionally, wearing a hat and sunglasses are good for protection, as well.
Find additional tips, to how to live in a humid climate comfortably.
Cash is a must have for hawker centers and markets. They are cash businesses and a must visit, when visiting Singapore.
There are plenty of cash exchange counters at Changi airport and many credit unions and banks around the island. Most are in the CBD (city business district).
Hawker centres are a huge part of Singapore culture. The food is inexpensive, delicious and it’s where you feast upon a Michelin star awarded food, on the cheap.
Known as wet markets, many locals frequent them to purchase vegetables, meat and fish. It’s great for tourists because you can visit vendor stalls that sell souvenirs. Also, if you’re a foodie there are great spices for purchase on the cheap.
AND many wet markets are attached to hawker centres.
Pro tip: In markets, it’s expected and necessary to exercise your negotiating power. Don’t get overcharged.
4 FAQs I get asked about Singapore
Whether people are visiting or not, here are the common questions that I receive from around the world.
1. Is chewing gum really illegal in Singapore?
Or, I get the statement, “Singapore, where chewing gum is illegal.”
The answer is. Chewing gum is not illegal in Singapore.
A visitor can bring a minimum amount for their own consumption.
What is a finable offense, is spitting out chewed gum onto the streets. That’s littering (and gross).
What is illegal, is the selling and importing chewing gum in Singapore. BUT, you can get chewing gum from a dentist or pharmacist for dental or medical reasons (not chewing tobacco – that’s on the banned list).
2. When is the light show at Marina Bay Sands?
There are two light shows at Marina Bay Sands and they are every evening. Also, yes you can see both in one night.
The SuperTrees light show is part of the Gardens by the Bay. It is behind the hotel (Marina Bay Sands). The show times are: 7:45 pm and 8:45pm.
Spectra is a light water show that is the front of the hotel. The show times are: Sun – Thurs: 8pm & 9pm. Fri & Sat: 8pm, 9pm & 10pm.
Pro Tip: To see both shows in one night, the recommendation is. Start at the SuperTrees at 7:45 pm, then make your way through the hotel towards the bay, to watch the Spectra show at 9pm. Each show is 15 minutes and it’s about a 20 minute walk between each (it’s a walk through the hotel and shopping mall (and crowds).
3. Do I tip in Singapore?
There is no tipping in Singapore nor is it expected. If you receive exceptional, out of the way, top notched, unparalleled friendly customer service and feel compelled to tip. Feel free to do so.
Just know, some venues automatically add a service % amount to the bill.
4. What language is spoken in Singapore?
There are 4 official languages in Singapore. They are English, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin. English is used island wide. The street signs and public transit signs are in English.
Happy trails and see you in Singapore!