People always think about the high costs traveling to Singapore entails, hence the reason most travelers opt not to include it in their itinerary. However, skipping this tiny and fascinating country could be a big mistake. That is because it offers a lot more.
According to travel writer Jaclyn Seah, “The city-state has all the modern trappings, is small, and easy to navigate.”
No wonder it is often dubbed as the “fine city.” However, it is important that you know the dos and don’ts of the country. After all, Singapore is also notorious for its strict laws and regulations.
That way, you can ensure that your vacation in Singapore is as smooth as possible.
Things to Bring to Singapore
If you are a first-time traveler to Singapore, it is just right to know what are the things you have to bring to ensure the efficiency of your trip.
Do not be fooled by its minimal landmass. You will surely be surprised how culturally diverse the country is, and how the choices of food could be endless.
Remember that you are traveling to a country in Southeast Asia, so expect the weather to be humid. Rain happens sporadically as well, hence to bring the right pair of shoes is a must.
Another misconception about Singapore is that the country is all about high-end brands when, in reality, it is not. It has its own set of bazaars so tourists could do a bit of shopping without splurging a lot.
Still clueless of what to bring? Fret not, listed below are the most suggested items you have to bring when visiting The Lion City.
1. Travel Insurance
When people initially plan on booking a flight, the first thing that usually gets neglected is to get travel insurance.
Some think, to pay extra for insurance is totally out of the budget. Others think “nothing is going to happen anyway” or, since the itinerary only lasts for three days max, what could go wrong?
In contrast, securing travel insurance whenever you plan a holiday should always be a top priority. Regardless of how long the trip will be, or how close the destination is from your home country.
Let’s take traveling to Singapore as an example. Although it is known to have a zero crime rate, accidents are still inevitable. And not just that, since the country is already known to be very successful, its healthcare services would, of course, cost too much for any tourists like you. Therefore, little support would go a long way.
And the best of all, for any stolen or lost luggage, travel insurance could come to the rescue.
Yes, acquiring travel insurance is indeed another cost you have to bear. However, if you think about the benefits it could provide, you are getting more than what you paid for. There are also a lot of travel companies who offer insurance and a free quote.
2. Travel wallet
Singapore is a pedestrianized country. Meaning, a lot of their roads are reserved for people and not for automobiles.
No wonder, people and tourists prefer to walk around. That’s because everywhere you look and go to is an Instagram-worthy spot.
Therefore, to always bring a big purse with you is not ideal. You will always be on-the-go soon as you first step in the country.
Make sure you bring a travel wallet with you. It is like an ordinary wallet, only it has more space and slots that can contain all of your travel essentials. This is where you keep your items such as cards, cash, passport, and even some memorabilia stamps in an organized manner.
But aside from keeping your travel essentials, it is also handy in case of emergencies. For instance, you lost your travel bag or luggage. If you have your travel wallet with you, you can rest assured that you still have your important documents with you to continue your trip.
3. Nomatic travel bag
If you are planning to travel light for a short Singapore holiday, then a Nomatic travel bag is the best choice to have.
For one, it has an optimized size for maximum legal carry-on. It comes with a trendy style that could match any outfits. Its built-in pockets and compartments help you become an organized traveler.
Nomatic travel bag is a waterproof bag, which makes it perfect for the rainy weather in Singapore.
4. Rain gears
As mentioned before, it rains almost every day in Singapore. Sometimes it rains early in the morning, other days it is at night like around 5:00 to 7:00 pm.
It is mainly because of its location in the globe. Not to mention that the humidity in The Lion City is really high (the average temperature ranges from 78 – 93 degrees Fahrenheit).
The last thing you want to happen while you are having a stroll is to get wet by the rain, of course. So make sure to be ready with your waterproof shoes, umbrellas, or even a waterproof coat.
Being said that, it is also essential to always wear and bring comfortable clothes when you go, because the humidity feels even worse after rain.
5. Collapsible water bottle
Singapore is a spotless and neat country. Therefore, tourists should do their part in preserving its cleanliness.
Before you start your day, you may grab a cup of coffee in one of its cozy cafes. And during the day, as humidity gets even harder to bear, water intake happens more often.
But instead of buying bottled water. Opt to bring a collapsible water battle. That way, you can refill your water at the first water station you will see. And when you are not using it, you can simply fold it so that it is compact and light to carry.
Clueless as to what a daypack is? As the name implies, a daypack is a type of bag that is used to put all the necessary items a traveler will be using during a day activity.
This type of container can be folded easily and tucked in your suitcase or even in your carry-on luggage when not being used.
Do your part in protecting the environment and let go of those plastic bags and replace them with a single and reusable daypack instead.
Things NOT to Bring to Singapore
If there is one thing that makes Singapore stand out from other countries in Southeast Asia; it is how disciplined their people are.
How Singaporeans treat their own country with the utmost respect is one of the character traits that make them stand out. As a tourist, it is your responsibility, therefore, to be aware of the country’s rules and regulations.
To start, make sure you familiarize yourself with things you should not bring when you enter Singapore.
1. Chewing gums
Tourists are only allowed to carry a maximum of two packs of chewing gum in Singapore. More than that, you could be charged up to $5,500 and imprisonment of one to two years.
Chewing gums were banned from the country mainly to prevent vandals from using them to disrupt their Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) services. In Singapore, trains are one of the primary public transportation systems that everyone uses ‒ regardless of class.
So if you want to be on the safe side, it is better not to bring any at all.
If you are a chain-smoker, you might want to have a change of heart first for a while, or at least while you are in Singapore.
For one, in most indoor locations, smoking is not allowed. Yes, there are designated places to smoke, but very limited. And if you are caught smoking in a place where you are not supposed to, you will be held liable for a fine of worth $200 up to $1000.
If you are planning on purchasing there instead, it is not a good idea as well. The cigarette cost is way too much. Surely, you would want to spend your travel money on something relevant and memorable.
If you are wondering when did this start? It has been going on since 1970.
It was first banned in buses, cinemas, and theaters until it was extended to an indoor location where people frequent in 1977. Following the King’s Cross fire in London, Singapore banned smoking in MRT in 1987.
By January 2017, the Singaporean government prohibits smoking along the Orchard Road shopping district.
Anything that has nicotine content is not permitted, and that includes gums and patches. You also need to keep in mind that there are no duty-free concessions for tobacco products.
The same rule applies to electronic cigarettes and the like. Anything that involves smoking, natural or electric, is prohibited. E-cigarettes have been banned in the city-state since 2011 and could cost you $5,000 in a penalty if caught importing or distributing it.
3. Alcoholic beverages
Just like cigarettes, another thing that costs too much in Singapore is alcoholic beverages.
Both cigarettes and alcoholic drinks are highly-taxed. Luckily, Duty-Free gives an allowance of three liters of alcohol for a traveler to bring or could be brought in.
As Seah explains, “You can buy one liter each of spirits, wine, and beer; or two liters of wine plus one liter of beer, and vice versa.”
If you have the budget to buy alcoholic beverages in a local store or restaurant, keep in mind that purchasing liquor after 10:30 PM is prohibited.
This prohibition has been in effect since 2015, following a riot at Race Course Road ‒ excessive drinking that led to a public disorder.
If there is one thing you do not want to mess Singapore up with, that is to be caught with drugs in your possession.
Singapore is stringent and severe when it comes to drug laws. The country’s penal provisions include imprisonment and capital punishment.
And regardless of your nationality, you could be given death penalty once proven you illegally brought drugs with you as you enter the country.
5. Flammable items
If you are celebrating the New Year’s countdown in Singapore, make sure you do not bring any flammable items with you. These items include firecrackers and the like.
It all started back in 1970 when a firecracker caused a fire that killed and injured locals.
That’s why during the New Year, they have just one designated area to do the countdown and the fireworks display.
And if you would like to see a pyrotechnic display, be sure to travel around the first or second week of August in time for the National Day celebrations.
6. Pornographic materials
According to statistics, 15-20% of the population in Singapore are Muslims.
Think about other Muslim countries and how they deal with pornography. Like Saudi Arabia, for example, where they still practice traditional forms of punishments occasionally.
Singapore takes pornography seriously too. Make sure your printed journals does not include any vulgar illustrations. And scan your phone even for any illegal copies of movies as well.
The country is not lenient when it comes to giving punishment for any illegal actions taken while inside their jurisdiction.
Recap and last say
Just to recap, here are the things that you should bring in Singapore:
- Travel insurance
- Travel wallet
- Nomatic travel bag
- Rain gears
- Collapsible water bottle
On the other hand, you should not bring the following in The Lion City:
- Chewing gums
- Cigarettes (or anything that has nicotine)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Flammable items
- Pornographic materials
Traveling indeed brings out happy hormones to the body, so as planning for one. But, do not let the excitement overcome you and make you forget the essential things you need to remember before embarking on a new adventure. Remember that ignorance of the law is never and will never be an excuse.
Nonetheless, do not let Singapore’s penchant for peace and order scare you.
As long as you follow this list of dos and dont’s, where you are sure to have a pleasant trip. Not to mention that the city-state will remain to be a remarkable country to visit.
Check my list of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia.