Singapore is an Island nation which is one of the few countries where the capitol is same as the country. It is around 750 square kilometers including all new reclamation, with the east-west length of around 40 km and north-south length of around 20 km. Here are some important facts for the first time travelers to the Garden Island, Singapore.
Singapore offers On-arrival visa for many nationalities. You can check further details from following link. Make sure to keep the last part of the boarding document given as it may be required to produce whenever necessary. You can find the list of countries who have On-Arrival visa here.
Singapore has almost constant weather activities all around the year. As it is located near the equator the climate is bit warm. There will be a drizzle in the afternoon which will be over in about an hour, So better be prepared if you are planning to walk or visit a park. You can use an weather app just to make sure.
Main three transportation methods in Singapore are MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), Buses or Taxis. Singapore highly promotes the usage of Public transport. Therefore, you can experience one of the best public transportation systems there. There are even driver-less MRTs. If you are planning to travel more on public transport, it is recommended to buy a Singapore Tourist Pass, which will save you a lot!
MRTs are the cheapest option for traveling. Singapore has a good train network, covering almost every place you need to go and it is further evolving. You need a ticket to enter the MRT platform. If you don’t have a Tourist pass you can purchase a ticket from the automated machines at each MRT station, which you still can recharge and reuse to get discounts on your 3rd and 6th rides.
Buses are the next cheap mode of transport. Traveling in the Buses will be tricky if you don’t have that re-chargeable card. Then you will need the exact amount of bus fare as there is no bus conductor. So better be aware of the bus fare and recheck your wallet for change before getting in on a bus.
Taxis are common in Singapore, but may cost you more than public transport. There are Taxi stands at common places where you can get one by being in the queue. Else you can use services like Uber.
Other than above modes of transport Walking and Cycling are the best ways to explore Singapore. Some places rent bicycles for daily basis. But with the hassle of finding a place to safely park the bicycle I would prefer walking. Singapore has this amazing concept of sheltered walkways, which they said to have constructed shelters above more than 50% of the walkway length.
You can always use roaming facility of your mobile service provider. But I strongly suggest to purchase Starhub, Singtel or any other SIM which you can find every corner. They come with complementary Data allocation which you can use to make calls through Viber or similar methods cheaper than the standard roaming charges.
Singaporeans are generally very open minded people. They do not have conservative mindset like most of other Asian countries. There are many ethnic groups living together in peace and harmony. There main language is Malay, but all speaks English fluently. There are certain areas named according to the ethnicity of the people who live there. China town, Little India and Arab Street are examples. But Singapore encourages people to live as mixed ethnic groups, they even try to maintain the racial balance in apartment buildings! Singaporeans don’t try to talk much, but they are social and a kind crowd. They respect their elders and take special care of the young. They are very conscious about physical health and most of them spend their evenings in a gym, working out or in doing cardio in walking tracks.
Singaporean cuisines are rich as they have all Malay, Chinese and Indian influences. There are Open areas with many food stalls called Hawker Centers everywhere you go. Singapore encourages small scale food stalls by low rentals on Hawker center food stalls, so that they can sell meals at a lower price. That way even people with lowest incomes can survive. There are all kinds of international food chains in Singapore, but people tend to give lower preference to those as they have many more to choose from. There are middle level restaurants that the price can be high as two times the Hawker center and small scale restaurant prices and High end restaurants that you can spend a fortune for a meal!
“Do”s and “Don’t”s
- Do offer your seat for elders, pregnant ladies and people with infants when you are traveling in public transport.
- Always use the pedestrian crossings or over passes to cross the roads.
- Always use the designated bins to throw garbage, else you will be fined.
- Singaporeans admire silence in Public transport, try not to shout.
- Don’t consume Chewing-gum as it is prohibited in the country, you will be fined.
- Don’t use or keep Drugs as it is prohibited. Singapore give death penalty to drug traffickers.
- Don’t eat or Drink in Public Transport, you will be fined.
- Don’t take Dooriyan to Buses or MRTs, you will be fined.
- Don’t leave tips at restaurants.
Must Visit Places
- Gardens by the Bay (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- Marina by the Bay (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- Sentosa Island (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- Jurong Bird park
- Singapore zoo, River Safari and Night Safari (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- China Town, Little India, Arab Street (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- Singapore Botanical Gardens and National Orchid Gardens (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- Singapore Food Hunt (Trip report will be uploaded soon)
- Shopping in Singapore (Trip report will be uploaded soon)