BasicsTime: GMT +8
Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin, square-shaped plugs are in use.
Money: Singapore's currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD), which is divided into 100 cents. The US and Australian Dollars, Yen, and British Pound are also accepted in the larger shopping centres. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants. ATMs are widely distributed and banks advance cash against the major credit cards. Banks are open daily, but some do not do foreign exchange on Saturdays.
Currency Exchange Rates
Language: Singapore's official languages are English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. A patois called Singlish, or Singaporean English is widely spoken. It is the by-product of mixing English, Chinese and Malay syntax and idiom.
Entry requirements for Americans: United States passport holders do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 90 days. A passport valid for six months after intended travel is required.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British passport holders endorsed British Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen with Right to Abode, or British Subject with Right to Abode do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 90 days. British passport holders endorsed British Overseas Territories Citizen, or British Subject without Right to Abode do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 30 days. Passports should be valid for six months beyond date of arrival.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian passport holders do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 30 days. Passports should be valid for six months beyond date of arrival.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australian passport holders do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 90 days. A passport valid for six months beyond arrival is required. Australian citizens with an APEC business travel card endorsed for travel in Singapore may stay up to 90 days.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South African passport holders do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 30 days. Passports should be valid for six months beyond date of arrival.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for travel to Singapore for a stay of up to 30 days. A passport valid for six months after intended travel is required. Passport holders with an APEC business travel card endorsed for travel in Singapore may stay up to 60 days.
Passport/Visa Note: Travellers should hold confirmed documents and tickets for onward or return travel and enough funds to cover their stay. Male travellers with long hair are advised to tie their hair back on arrival. Women who are six months pregnant or more may be refused entry. All nationals, regardless of visa requirements, may be issued with a Social Visitor's Pass on arrival allowing for a stay of 14 or 30 days provided their visit is for touristic or business purposes. Extensions are possible for S$40, but the initial Pass is free. Passports must be valid for at least six months from date of arrival. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Travel Health: Travellers from countries where yellow fever occurs need to present vaccination records on arrival in Singapore to prove they are not infected. No other vaccinations are required but vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. A Japanese encephalitis vaccination is recommended for travellers spending a month or more in rural areas or for those spending substantial time outdoors in rural areas, but as the country is highly urbanised this is seldom necessary. There is a high risk of dengue fever and there have been outbreaks of chikungunya fever in recent years as well - both are mosquito-borne diseases and measures should be taken to avoid mosquito bites. Visitors should also avoid poorly cooked food, particularly seafood, and be cautious of certain types of fish that contain biotoxins even if cooked. Health care is excellent in Singapore but also very expensive and comprehensive medical insurance is advised. Pharmacies are well stocked in Singapore but it is still advisable to take along all required medication, in its original packaging, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what it is and why it is needed.
Tipping: Tipping is not encouraged as most hotels and restaurants in Singapore already levy a 10 percent service charge on customers' bills. Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore, but is appreciated for excellent service.
Climate: Singapore has a tropical climate, meaning that it is hot and humid all year round with hardly any variation in temperature between seasons and plenty of rain, which is possible all year round, usually falling in heavy downpours. The wettest months are between November and January. There is generally more rain in the west of the island than in the east. Average temperatures range between 74°F (23°C) and 89°F (32°C) during the day with cooler temperatures at night. Humidity is constantly high, usually above 75 percent. April and May are the hottest months. The air-conditioning in most buildings provides a welcome escape from the heat and humidity, but is sometimes so cool that visitors will require light sweaters indoors. Between June and September, Singapore may suffer from air pollution due to forest fires in Indonesia. There isn't really an agreed upon best time to visit Singapore, although the weather is often at its most pleasant between June and August.
Safety Information: Singapore is a very safe travel destination with crime generally limited to occasional petty theft. The Singaporean government has stepped up security measures due to an increased risk of terror attacks in the region and is committed to maintaining Singapore's reputation as a safe destination.
Local Customs: Singapore is a fairly diverse society and has been moulded by its immigrant population, primarily Malay, Chinese and Indian, along with the large expat community. The city is incredibly efficient and the citizens very law-abiding - there are fines issued for just about any offence in Singapore, including smoking in public places, jaywalking, littering and for eating, drinking or chewing gum. There are even fines for not flushing public toilets so it goes without saying that getting involved in illegal drugs is not advisable; drug trafficking carries a maximum penalty of death. Chinese Singaporeans have three names, the first of which is their surname, or family name. As a result visitors should be prepared for hotels mistakenly reserving rooms under their first names. For clarity surnames may be underlined.
Business: Business in Singapore is conducted formally. The adherence to a dress code is strict, with suits the preferred business attire. Punctuality is essential in all business meetings, unlike social engagements where a 'fashionably-late' policy is observed. Appointments should be made at least two weeks in advance. The exchange of business cards is vital upon introduction and the ceremony of this exchange is important for creating good relations. Business cards are to be treated with respect and not folded, written upon or vandalised in any way. Shaking hands is the common form of greeting for both men and women and may last up to 10 seconds. The person is to be addressed by their respective title followed by their surname. It is a good idea to ask beforehand how the person is correctly addressed as this may vary depending on the different cultures within Singapore. Business hours are generally 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with an hour taken over lunch.
Communications: The international access code for Singapore is +65. The outgoing code is either 001, 002, 008 or 018, depending on the service provider, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00144 for the United Kingdom). Calls made from hotels are free of any surcharges. There are several local mobile phone networks available, and wifi is easily available.
Duty free: Travellers to Singapore over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 1 litre of wine, spirits and beer unless they are arriving from Malaysia. Chewing gum and tobacco products must be declared on arrival. Strictly prohibited is the trafficking in illegal drugs, which carries the death sentence. Prohibited items include meat and meat products, and firearms and explosives without a permit.