5 Dos & Don'ts While Visiting Singapore

Singapore is one of the most interesting destinations in entire Asia. This island city-state is famous for its cleanliness, green gardens and high-tech advancements, so it attracts many people from all over the globe. So, in order to be respectful to everyone you meet and leave a good impression, here are a few dos and don’ts while visiting Singapore.

Do be respectful

Singapore is very conservative, so try to be as respectful to people as possible. Avoid subjects like religion and politics, because Singaporeans are a mix of various religions, so you might offend somebody. Additionally, it’s a common courtesy to ask someone for permission before you snap a photo of them, but you should also ask to take photos of places of worship. Removing shoes before you enter a home is also a must.

Do carry cash

It’s super handy to have some cash in your wallet. While most businesses accept plastics, some places are still old school and consider cash to be the best way to pay. Have some paper with you, especially when visiting street markets and hawker centers.

Do treat people with respect

When talking to locals, it’s best if you address them using their titles. Using Mr, Mrs or Miss is highly recommended, unless you’re invited to use someone’s first name. 

Do use public transportation

Cabs in Singapore are very expensive, so it’s much better to use public transportation to move around. It’s safe, cost-effective, clean and very reliable and developed. Additionally, most attractions are within walking distance from a public transport station, so you have no need for taxis.

Don’t smoke in public

Smoking is illegal in most places in Singapore, so don’t try to smoke or drop a cigarette butt anywhere outdoors. The police are very serious about the law and they don’t hesitate to hand out immediate fines as high as $1000.

Do leave some food on your plate

If you happen to dine at somebody’s home or if a local is paying for your meal in a restaurant, make sure to leave some food on your plate to show that you’re full. If you clean your plate, the gesture can be interpreted as a call to get more food. Keep this in mind, because restaurants in Singapore have mouthwatering offers and you’ll surely want to eat everything they put in front of you. If you think you’ll be very hungry, grab a snack before.

Don’t jaywalk

Crossing the road outside of the crosswalk is not only very dangerous, but it can also be very expensive (fines go anywhere from $20 to $1000). It’s better to stick to traffic lights and wait with other people.

Don’t chew gum

Chewing gum is not only rude in Singapore, but also highly illegal. Smacking gum or even having it in your pocket can result in a $1000 fine. This law stems from many cleanliness issues the government suffered due to gums stuck under seats, on pavements, in public toilets and in elevators. Cleaning those took money and time, so the government didn’t want to risk it with gums anymore and banned them. 

Don’t litter

Singapore is one of the cleanest cities in the world. Littering is not only frowned upon but also illegal with fines around $300 for first offenders. Throwing anything bigger like a can or a bottle can even land you in court. So, just don’t litter—it’s a great habit to take up.

Don’t tip

Don’t bother with tips in Singapore. When you get your bill at a restaurant, you’ll be charged goods and service tax as well as service charges and there’s no need to leave any tip money. It’s not customary and is even considered offensive.

No matter if you’re a first-time visitor or no stranger to Singapore, these tips will definitely help you be a better tourist (and even save you some money on expensive fines)! 

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