What should you absolutely NOT do when visiting Singapore?

Do NOT underestimate Tropical Summer

When you get down at the Singapore Changi Airport, you are only 142 km north of the Equator! Singapore is HOT! and very humid round the year. The average high temperature throughout the year is 30 degree (feels like 40 degrees) and the average lowest temperature is 24 degrees. Unless you have grown in sub-Sahara regions you will feel the days be pretty hot. It is very easy to get sunburnt in Singapore or get dehydrated. If you plan to spend a lot of daytime visiting places, do not forget to put a generous amount of sun block on your body. I will also suggest to carrying an Umbrella (Will save from unexpected rains also) and some drinking water.  Though most public paths or subways are sheltered from Sun and rain and all modes of public transport (Trains, bus etc) are completely AC.

Last year, one of my friends visited Singapore with her sister and a small kid. The kid fell ill (Vomitings) on the second day of visit and she had to leave back to her hometown because the kid wasn’t well even after two days of treatment. Better be extra cautious rather than putting the whole trip in jeopardy.


Do NOT talk loudly on phone, neither keep phone ringer ON in public places

Over 80% of the local population will be seen either playing games, listening to music or watching TV show/Movies on the phone. Like people of Korea, Japan, and China, Singaporeans love their phones and can’t live without it. But rarely I have heard someone playing loud music or talking to someone loudly in public transports or public places. These are some general etiquettes in Singapore. It is best to avoid keeping phone ringer on and talking loudly.

Do NOT smile at strangers

Unlike our western hosts, Singaporeans do not like being smiled at. When I first landed in Singapore I thought, due to its multi-culture environment and lot of foreigner presence, people would be socially interactive. But this is not the case. Be ready to get ignored or stared if you smile at strangers. But please do not get me wrong here. Singaporeans are ever ready to help people, only when asked to do so.

Do NOT eat in public transport

There is no dearth of food courts in Singapore. Every MRT (train) station, bus interchanges  have dedicated food courts, the cafes and shopping malls. As a general rule, it is not allowed to eat or drink anything in public transport. There is even a penalty if someone is found eating or drinking anything in trains or buses. If you plan to drink a coke inside a private cab, please ask the driver before boarding the cab.

Do NOT tip hawkers

My most preferred place for eating in Singapore are Local hawker centers. Every residential block or commercial area has a dedicated hawker center serving Asian and western cuisines. There are several small self-serving shops in each of these centers.  They are also the most budgeted option for eating.

If you are vegetarian like me, you should try these budget places

Another important tip is, do not remove any visiting cards or Id cards from tables in hawker centers. Local people use them for reserving their seats before buying a meal. Have you ever been to India? people use handkerchiefs to do the same thing 😉

Do NOT underestimate Medical expense

Singapore has world’s best medical facilities. But it is pricey as hell! One visit to a specialist can set back by 200$ at least. It is best to buy a medical insurance before stepping in Singapore.

Do NOT stand on right side on escalators

As an unsaid rule, people will stand on left side of escalators, while the right side is free for anyone to climb. If you happen to stand on the right side you will be blocking the patch for climbers.

Do NOT carry durians in public transport

Durian is a fruit native to South East Asia. it is national Fruit of Singapore but is not allowed to be carried in Public Transport. Because it is also the smelliest fruit in the World. Though smell is a very subjective term. I generally avoid taking roads where Durian sellers are based, Forget about tasting one 😉

Do NOT carry drugs

Singapore has very stringent anti-drug laws. There is a death penalty for all traffickers. So it’s better to be clean a few weeks before coming to Singapore.

Do NOT bring chewing gums

This one was surprising to me when I got to know this. Chewing Gums are banned in Singapore. You are not allowed to bring chewing gums. Also, no shops sell Chewing gums here. Chewing gums are banned as they are a mess to clean. And Singapore is really a clean country.

Do NOT hug Singaporean girls tightly

“Outrage of modesty” is a term commonly used by media to refer to cases where a man touches/gropes a woman inappropriately and ends up serving jail time for it. According to law “assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty“ is a punishable offense. Though key point here is “force” and “criminal intent”. It’s better to shake hands rather than being judged by someone 😉

Do NOT litter in public places

Singapore is a very neat and clean country. So please leave the country as you find it. To make waste management easier, local authorities have put dustbins everywhere. So all you need to do is carry your waste to next train station or bus stop to locate a dust bin.

** Did you find anything unusual about Singapore? **

11 thoughts on “What should you absolutely NOT do when visiting Singapore?

  1. Tatiana Ermolina

    Hi Ankur,
    Just wanted to comment on “Do NOT smile at strangers” – I positively disagree with this statement. And I should know – Russian people never smile (I am a bit weird that way). In Singapore, however, I always receive a smile back, never once was I ignored.
    So my advise here to everyone – smile whenever you feel like it 😉

    1. Ankur Post author

      Tanya, That means I am missing a pretty face 🙂
      On a serious note, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I need to smile more often now!

    1. Ankur Post author

      haha, on a side note. No one in Singapore uses handkerchief at all 😉
      Everyone carries a pack of tissue paper.

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