Singapore Travel Tips
Singapore is a very fascinating and beautiful blend of culture that requires travellers to follow a few rules of etiquette to enjoy this diverse country.
Public transport has strict rules
These include; no smoking, no flammable goods, no eating or drinking (including water) and you may even see signs saying NO DURIANS. Durian is Malay for a type of fruit.
Get a tourist pass for public transport
The Singapore Tourist Pass is a special card that offers tourists unlimited travel on Singapore’s basic bus services, MRT and LRT trains for the duration that it is valid. You can now take in the sights and sounds of Singapore in the comfort of the island’s extensive train system and public bus network. Make sure you hand your card back before leaving Singapore to get a refund.
Don't be a stare bear
Direct eye contact for a long period of time is considered rude. So if you're tempted to have a staring competition with a stranger sitting opposite you – don't do it.
In Singapore, pornography is illegal. If you are walking around your hotel room naked, ensure the curtains are closed – nudity is linked to pornography and you need to be aware of who may see you as you may be reported to the police.
Consider the ethnic background of the person whom you are giving gifts to
Singapore is a diverse blend of ethnic backgrounds with their own separate beliefs and culture. The blend of cultures include; Chinese, Malay and Indian.
Use both hands when handing someone a gift
You also should not be surprised if the gift is not opened in front of you. Avoid wrapping gifts in white as this is seen as a mourning colour. Red is thought of as a happy colour so this is a good choice of colour for gift wrap.
Do not spit in public
Not only does this look uncouth, it is also considered littering – and spitting in public carries fines, as does littering.
If it's yellow OR brown, flush it down!
It is the law and also a public offense to not flush the toilet after using it. There are police officers randomly checking on public restrooms to ensure there are no offenders.
Stick to private displays of affection
Avoid public displays of affection in general as they are frowned upon.
The left hand is associated with using the bathroom
Therefore do not greet or wave to people with your left hand. Do not eat or pass food to another person with the left hand. The feet are also considered dirty, so never point with your feet or show the bottoms of your feet (for example; sitting on public transport).
Do not touch a person's head
The head is considered a sacred part of the human body and touching someone else's head is seen as disrespectful.
Tipping is not necessary
Tipping for service at a restaurant or café is not customary in Singapore and sometimes a service charge has already been added to the total of your bill.
Remove your shoes if you have been invited to someone else's house
Also remember to be barefoot when you enter a temple or mosque.
Serve yourself at the food stalls in the street
A majority of street side food vendors allow you to order and pay – then serve yourself. So don't order and sit around vacantly wondering why you haven't been given your lunch.
Visit a Hawker Center
These hawker centers are scattered throughout the city and offer a huge variety of good quality inexpensive meals. There are many more, but Maxwell Road Food Center, Little India, Hong Lim Food Centre, Chinatown Complex Food Centre and Old Airport Road Food Centre are some of the better known hawker centers.
There are certain topics of conversation that should be avoided
These include; religion, sex, politics, money and personal relationships. This is of course with people you don't know very well, so perhaps talking about arts, music, local foods or travel attractions instead.