Here you will find a short summary of useful facts, tips and advice for planning a trip to Singapore. Does the overview below not answer your questions? Feel free to contact Asiatracks for tailored advice! Please email us at info@asiatracks.nl

 

Travel documents

For some countries a visa exemption is applied when entering Singapore for a maximum of 90 days. If so, you will receive a 'tourist visa on arrival' upon arrival at the airport or at the border. Please check the official visa information of the Singapore government if your country is mentioned as one of the countries that needs to apply for a visa. Is your country not mentioned? Then you have two options:

Notice: Your passport must be valid for at least six months after leaving Singapore and must contain at least one empty visa page. You are always responsible for being in possession of valid documents and visas.

 

Vaccinations

For a valid vaccination advice please contact a recognised travel clinic, as the current vaccination advice often differs per instance. In general, the following vaccinations are recommended for Singapore: Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Yellow Fever. For different parts of Singapore other advice may apply. Your health insurer will sometimes partially reimburse these costs. Consult your health care policy and check in advance through which health care institution these vaccinations may be reimbursed.

 

Health and medicines

Bring a compact travel pharmacy, which offers a solution for the first, small accidents. Iodine, band-aids and painkillers are practical items. ORS, a salt-sugar solution to be mixed with water, is also a good remedy for diarrhoea to prevent dehydration. Also diarrhoea inhibitors (iodine, loperamide) can be useful. These things are also available on location, but it is convenient in case of an emergency when you already have it with you.

If you are on daily medication, please check if you need a medical passport or certificate. If your medication falls under the Opium Act, you might have to submit a medical certificate upon arrival. Opiates include sleeping pills, strong painkillers and medication for ADHD.

Tip: No matter where you travel, you should carry all medications (even vitamins) in their original packaging, along with their original prescription. It is also a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor explaining what the medications are (using generic names, what they're for and dosage instructions.

 

Money matters

The currency in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar. Look for today's exchange rate on for example xe.com. It is most practical to withdraw cash directly from an ATM upon arrival at the airport. Always take some cash euros or US dollars (clean notes, without tears, folds, scratches) with you from home. These are easy to exchange and can come in handy. Finally, a credit card is also highly recommended: it allows you to pay and/or withdraw money from an ATM in case of an emergency (i.e. your regular bank card does not work). 

Important: some bank accounts require you to set your debit card to 'World' so that you can also withdraw money and pay outside your country or continent. It is best to use ATMs that are affiliated with your bank. 

As a spending indication, we estimate you to spend at least around 350 euros per person per week on activities, meals, admission tickets or entrances to National Parks.

Tip: download the taxi app Grab (Uber of Asia): with this you can order a (car or motorbike) taxi anywhere, with the price indicated in advance.

 

Entrance fee

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Tipping

Tipping is common in many tourist spots in Singapore; in larger restaurants (about 10% of the bill), in hotels (----- per bag for a porter) and also for drivers. For a driver who stays with you for a longer period of time, you can assume about ---- euro per person per day (depending on the number of travelers and the number of days). For a guide staying with you for several days we recommend an amount of --- euro per person per day (depending on the number of participants). Further global guidelines: A tip for someone providing a one-time, small service: approx. S$ ----; for someone you really want to reward for a special, one-time service (e.g. a day guide): S$ ---- in total.

 

Climate

Singapore has two seasons. The rainy season runs from November to February. The dry season runs from February to October. The temperature is tropically warm all year round and fluctuates from just below to above 30 degrees. In high altitude areas it is logically a bit fresher and especially in the evening it may be necessary to put on a jacket or coat. More information about the weather can be found here.

 

Public holidays

Besides the usual New Year's Eve, Singapore celebrates the Chinese New Year in a grand way. Most holidays are related to Buddhism and Hinduism. During the full moon, around the end of January the Thaipusam festival is celebrated. The victory of Lord Muruga over the evil spirit Soorapadam is celebrated with great glory. This holiday is not for those with a weak stomach, because the men in this parade have trained for months to wear heavy constructions with hooks in their skin. Thaipusam can be seen in Little India or the temples of Sri Thendayuthapani and Sri Mariamman. More information about holidays in Singapore can be found here.

 

Safety

For visitors, Singapore is a travel destination with no particular safety risks, check the foreign travel advice here. Risks that you as a traveller should always be aware of are petty crime (pickpockets, bag theft).

Tip: Scan your travel documents/credit cards/insurance details and keep them on your phone or in a folder in your mail, so you can access them anywhere on the internet. Use the lockers in your accommodation or carry your valuables in a money belt on your body.

 

Electricity

In Singapore you may need an adapter and/or inverter, please check here if this is the case for you. It might be useful to purchase a travel plug just in case. In some remote areas there is no 24-hour electricity, so it mght come in handy to bring a flashlight on your travel. 

 

Communication

Singapore has a good mobile network. Calling over regular lines is possible, but often the most expensive option. Calling via internet and apps is easy to do and much cheaper. After arrival in Singapore you can possibly buy a local SIM card with an internet bundle, so you are also online during the trip. Many hotels also offer free Wifi, which you as a guest can use with a password.

 

Time difference

The time zone in Singapore is GMT+8 and they do not make use of summer time. Here you can find the actual time in Singapore.

 

Language

Singapore has 4 official languages: Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil. Most Singaporeans can speak English well, but this is strongly influenced by Chinese and is therefore sometimes called 'Singlish'.

 

Eating and drinking

The food in Singapore mixes the cuisines of neighboring countries: Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese; every cuisine is present. Fruit juices are also plentiful and good thirst quenchers. Despite the fact that the food hygiene rules are stricter than in neighboring countries, you should always take a good look at the food. Water from the tap is generally drinkable in Singapore, but if you stay in an old building, the pipes may be old and affect the quality of the water. Buy a refillable bottle and use refill stations where possible to reduce plastic waste.

Tip: if you want to learn more about the Singapore kitchen, we can organize fun cooking workshops in different places.

 

Visiting

If you are invited to a family home in Singapore, take off your shoes at the door. Make sure you are dressed appropriately (shoulders and knees covered). You can bring a present (e.g. a tin of biscuits or other snacks) and this will be accepted and out of courtesy only opened out of sight. Remember that it is rude to show the bottom of your feet to the company or point at someone.

If you want to give something to children along the way, think of pencils, notebooks or children's books (and not candy or money). Do not distribute directly to children, but do so through an adult, who will distribute it to the children for you.

 

Clothing

Despite the tropical climate, it is not common in Asia to go scantily clothed on the streets. Especially, when visiting someone's house, temples and other religious buildings it is advisable to dress with respect: knees and shoulders covered, shirts with (half long) sleeves and 'just in case' always bring a thin scarf or sarong. During normal days shorts/skirts up to the knee and a T-shirt with sleeve are acceptable in most areas. Avoid cleavage with, for example, singlets (for women) or mountain bikes with a loose-fitting T-shirt. Swimwear should only be worn on the beach or by the pool. When visiting the jungle, it is best to wear closed shoes with a good profile. In an area with a lot of mosquitoes, we always recommend long sleeves and long trousers.

 

Smoking

Smoking is prohibited in air-conditioned areas, all airports and some other public areas. Make sure you do not run into a fine and check in advance whether smoking is prohibited.

 

Photography

People in Singapore generally like to be photographed if you ask permission beforehand. If you want to photograph people in Singapore, always ask permission first. You run the risk of them asking if they can photograph you. It is forbidden to take photographs of barracks, checkpoints, airports, bridges and other strategic objects.

 

Travel guides and books

  • ANWB-wereldreisgids Indonesië (Nederlands): complete gids over de meeste eilanden.
  • Michelin gids Indonesië (Nederlands): complete gids voor Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores en Sulawesi.
  • Dominicus Indonesië (Nederlands): Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumatra, vooral veel achtergrond-info; minder praktische info.
  • Elmar reishandboek Indonesië (Nederlands; 2018): Java, Bali, Lombok & Komodo
  • Trotter reisgids Indonesië (Nederlands): Java, Bali, Lombok; kwalitatief goede informatie maar weinig uitgebreid.
  • Gids Historische Stadswandelingen Indonesië (Nederlands): stadswandelingen in 9 Indonesische steden
  • Reisgids Indonesië oorlogsplekken 1942-1949 (Nederlands): uitgebreide informatie over alle locaties van kampen en gebeurtenissen in Nederlands-Indië uit die tijd.
  • Rough Guide Indonesia (Engels): Bijzonder uitgebreide reisgids voor heel Indonesië. Veel praktische informatie.
  • Lonely Planet Indonesia (Engels): de bekendste reisgids voor heel Indonesië, vol met praktische informatie. Er bestaat ook een versie met alleen Bali & Lombok. Alle teksten zijn ook digitaal te verkrijgen.
Emile Leushuis

Emile Leushuis

Asiatracks co-founder

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