• Singapore Travel Tips

    March 31, 2014 by Stuart | Category: Travel Etiquette by Country

    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.

    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.

    Naturists beware

    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.

    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.