Planning your trip to Singapore? We’ve done the homework for you with our essential list of top sites for Singapore travel planning and inspiration.
Singapore seems to be a city thinking on a different tangent to anyone else. The Singapore Zoo is designed uniquely to make the animals seem touchable, the aquarium is the world’s largest, the theme parks are based around nature with the Forest Adventure, Underwater World and Jurong Bird Park being the headline acts, and the resorts have roller coasters and are little cities in themselves. Then there’s the shopping, which is a bargain-hunter’s delight.
Or head away from the main sights to visit one of the smaller islands, where you’ll see colourful marine life and experience camping, hiking and relaxing in Singapore style.
Then there’s the food. Known for its multicultural cuisines, you’ll take your pick from Malay, Chinese and Indian foods, some so spicy your head may burst and others just filled with flavour that will have you slurping noodles at every turn. (Is your stomach starting to rumble yet?) Try China Town and Little India as well as the hawker’s markets for some of the best foods.
The Lion City is waiting for you! To help you plan your trip we’ve scoured the internet for the best Singapore travel tips.
Singapore is an island country in Southeast Asia. It lies at the southernmost tip of continental Asia, only one degree north of the equator, and is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to the north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to the south. Singapore’s territory consists of the diamond-shaped main island – or Singapore Island, and more than 60 significantly smaller islets
Australian tourists enter Singapore via Singapore Changi Airport, about 20 minutes from Singapore’s CBD.
Thanks to low cost carriers like Jetstar and Scoot – Singapore Airlines’ new low budget carrier, getting to Singapore from Australia is hassle-free and budget-friendly.
The flight options are plenty with dozens of direct and connecting flights a day from Australia’s major centres. For a direct 5h20m flight from Perth to Singapore book with Jetstar, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Scoot. Fly Sydney to Singapore in 8h 20m with Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Scoot and British Airways. Or, Melbourne to Singapore in 7h 55m with Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Jetstar and Emirates.
The latest advice from the High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Canberra is that if you’re travelling with an Australian Passport you do not need to have an Entry Visa to enter Singapore. However, you do need to fulfil the following requirements:
- A passport with at least 6 months’ validity at the intended date of arrival in Singapore
- Sufficient funds to last for the intended period of stay in Singapore
- Confirmed onward/return tickets (where applicable)
- Entry facilities to their onward destinations, e.g. visas.
- Completed Disembarkation/Embarkation Card
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, if applicable
As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice, you should contact the nearest Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of Singapore.
Each country has its own laws and Singapore is no exception. Smartraveller’s Singapore advice reminds us that Australian visitors are subject to the local laws of Singapore, including ones that appear harsh by our standards. Here’s what to look out for in particular:
- Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. Serious crimes, such as murder, abduction and weapons offences, may also attract the death penalty.
- Corporal punishment (including the rattan cane) may be imposed for crimes including drug offences, rape, rioting, extortion, visa offences and vandalism.
- The presence of illegal drugs detected in blood and urine tests constitutes an offence. You can be prosecuted for consumption of drugs even if they were taken outside Singapore.
- Airline passengers who become intoxicated, behave badly or use offensive language during a flight may be arrested on arrival in Singapore. Similar behaviour in transit may also lead to arrest.
- It is illegal to consume alcohol in public places between 10.30pm and 7am. Offenders will face a fine of up to $1,000. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 and imprisoned for up to three months. Specified areas in Geylang and Little India are designated as Liquor Control Zones and additional restrictions are imposed for weekends and public holidays in these zones. Liquor-related offences committed within these zones will result in an enhanced penalty of one and a half times that in non-designated areas.
- Homosexual acts between men, including kissing, are illegal in Singapore and penalties include imprisonment. There is no specific law against homosexual acts between women, however you should be aware of local sensitivities.
- Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
- Shoplifting and theft are considered serious offences in Singapore. Australians visiting Singapore and transiting Changi Airport have received jail sentences for such offences. Shopping centres, including those at Changi Airport, have sophisticated surveillance equipment to prevent shoplifting.
- Singapore has strict laws and penalties against a variety of actions that may not be illegal or may be considered minor offences in Australia, including smoking in public places or indoor restaurants, spitting, chewing or importing gum (including chewing tobacco), littering and jaywalking.
- Singaporean laws on “outrage of modesty” (such as men behaving inappropriately towards women, using inappropriate language and inappropriate touching) are strict. Penalties include imprisonment, fines, corporal punishment (caning) or a combination of these.
- Crimes that disrupt social, racial or ethnic harmony, such as racial insults or otherwise promoting ill-will and hostility between different races or classes in Singapore, may attract severe penalties
- The importation of pirated copyright material is prohibited. Offenders may be fined and/or jailed. Printed and recorded material legal in Australia may be considered obscene and prohibited under Singaporean law. For details, visit the Singapore Customs website.
Smartraveller notes that violent crimes against tourists are rare but that petty crime such as pickpocketing and street theft does occur at the airport, tourist destinations, hotels and on public transport.
Be aware of the risk of street crime, particularly bag snatching. Take particular care of your passport. Leave valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Don’t leave valuables in unattended vehicles.
If you need medical attention or find yourself needing hospitalisation the good news is that medical facilities in Singapore are of a very high standard. The bad news? Medical treatment is expensive and you could be asked to pay for treatment up front. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of emergency medical treatment or medical evacuation. It’s also a good idea to bring enough medication to cover your stay and to carry it in your hand baggage. Not all Australian prescribed drugs are available in Singapore while some over-the-counter medicines like Ibuprofen need a prescription.
From June to September Singapore can be hit by high levels of pollution (haze) from fires burning in Indonesia. The haze can disrupt local and regional air travel, while the air pollution can impact your health. Singapore’s National Environment Agency provides updates when smoke haze occurs and contains further information about public health issues.
While many areas of Singapore are regularly ‘fogged’ to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Japanese encephalitis can be a problem during the wetter months.
Smartraveller advises that Earthquakes in the region can have a knock-on affect for visitors in Singapore:
Singapore is a major aviation hub. Flight disruptions occurring in many parts of the world, including due to volcanic ash plumes, may impact on flights in and out of Singapore. Australians affected by such flight disruptions should contact their airline or travel agent for the latest flight information.
Also be aware that the monsoon season (December to March and June to September) can bring with it strong winds and heavy rain. Register your Singapore travel details with Smartraveller to stay in the loop via their emergency email service.
DRIVING IN SINGAPORE
Thinking about renting a car in Singapore? The good news is that driving is on the left, as it is in Australia. Win! Also, road conditions in Singapore are generally good and Australians can drive in Singapore using a valid Australian driving licence for up to 1 year. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Singapore. The traffic police regularly carry out breath tests. Sentences can include a fine or imprisonment. If you’re caught up in an accident remain at the scene until the police have arrived.
THE BEST OF SINGAPORE
Sometimes you just want to cut to the chase and experience the big hitters, right? For an awesome range of top Singapore travel lists, we love Time Out Singapore for their current recommendations and inspiring photo galleries.
Here you’ll find a great guide to the best nightclubs, live music and concerts in Singapore and the best restaurants and cafés in Singapore, including restaurant reviews and editors’ picks among dozens of lists and guides on the best of Singapore.
SINGAPORE PLUGS AND ADAPTORS
You’re probably travelling with an armload of devices, so keeping those gadgets charged will be a priority.Singapore uses plug type G – the same as in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Unfortunately that means Aussie travellers will need to bring adaptors. Check it all out here.
You’ll need travel insurance before heading to Singapore to ensure your dream island getaway stays as perfect as possible. Head here to check out our easy and budget-friendly Travel with Jane options.