Singapore has been a popular transit destination on my way to Australia. This time I wanted to visit the country, not just see the Changi airport, and booked direct flights from Helsinki. And what an experience it was! Singapore was a clean, modern, organised country, an interesting combination of Asia and Western countries. The public transportation was cheap and functioning, streets were litter-free and it felt really safe everywhere.
I guess all of us are more or less familiar with the strict rules of Singapore. I had heard rumours of not being able to eat bubble gum and getting $1000 fines for littering so I wanted to be sure to “behave” and follow all the rules.
Singapore and rules – know at least these
The rules in Singapore may come as a surprise to some. Before my trip, I read a couple of articles, which had the following info:
Selling bubble gum has been restricted since 1992. You can still get it for therapeutic and dental purposes.
It is forbidden to eat or drink in metros. You can get fined for just putting a piece of chocolate into your mouth.
Singapore has the death penalty. Never ever try to bring drugs into the country, nor use drugs prior to your visit. Have all descriptions with you and keep your medicine in their original packaging.
In Singapore, you need to remember to flush your toilet! They sometimes actually check this and if you haven’t flush, you can get fined. Well, luckily most toilets seemed to flush themselves.
Don’t visit porn sites in Singapore, or bring Playboy magazines etc. with you into the country.
Hacking is forbidden. You should not even connect to unsecured wifi without permission.
You can get fined for littering, spitting and dumbing cigarettes.
Don’t jaywalk or cross a road in non-designated areas.
Great things about Singapore
Singapore is a great, easy country to begin your travels in Asia. Everything was rather spotless and safe. English is the official language, which makes everything super easy, all from ordering a meal to asking for directions.
Singaporean cuisine is a delicious combination of Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Indonesian food culture. You have a lot of great variation to choose from. I recommend chilli crab, laksa soup, satay chicken and world-famous cocktail Singapore Sling. Restaurants are rather expensive but you can find budget-friendly meals in food courts (that are located at the bottom levels in shopping malls) and in street hawkers.
Singapore is full of things to see and do, like stunning Botanic Garden and Gardens by the Bay that has over million plants. Weather is humid and warm year-round.
A couple of helpful tips
Immigration. When entering Singapore, you need to fill out an immigration form and give your fingerprints. If you are staying overnight, you will need to have the address of your accommodation. The whole immigration process was quick and smooth so nothing to worry about. They will give you a part of your immigration form that you will need to have when you leave the country. However, they never asked for it.
From the Singapore airport to the city. You can take a bus, metro or taxi. I think the metro is the most convenient option (and it doesn’t cost almost anything). Metro leaves at terminal 2 (just follow signs “Train to City”). You need to change in Tanah Merah station and take East-West Line towards Tuas Link. If you plan to use public transport a bit more, I recommend buying EZ Link travel card.
Is it expensive? Singapore is definitely one of the most expensive countries in Asia but for a person coming from Finland, it is fine. When you are checking restaurant menus, you might see ++ after prices. This means that they will add tax and service fee (like + 17 %).
Cash. Visa and MasterCards are widely accepted but they can add a small transaction fee. You will need cash for small street hawkers though.
Adapter. In Singapore, the sockets are British.
Have you been to Singapore? Do you have more tips?