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18 Do’s and Don’ts You Should Follow While in Singapore

18 Do’s and Don’ts You Should Follow While in Singapore

Planning a trip to Singapore? That’s awesome! The Lion City is truly a wonderful destination.

But before you dive headfirst into the land of the Merlion and Hawker Center delights, you should be aware of some of the local customs and laws in the city so you won’t end up facing public embarrassment or being behind bars.

Here are 18 do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while exploring the wonderful Garden City!

Do’s in Singapore

Do’s in Singapore

If you’ve come from a Western country, you probably call people by their first name even when they’re elders. 

However, in Singapore, it’s common to address elders with respectful titles like “Uncle” or “Auntie” followed by their first name or a term of endearment.

For example, if you’re speaking to an older gentleman named John, you could address him as “Uncle John” as a sign of respect.

Similarly, for an older lady named Mary, you might refer to her as “Auntie Mary.” It’s a friendly and informal way of showing respect to elders in Singaporean culture.

Or instead of a casual “Hey, how’s it going?” you should throw in a respectful “Mr. Tan, how are you today?” 

Using titles shows respect and acknowledgment of someone’s position or age, which goes a long way in Singaporean culture.

Impatience has no place in Singapore, especially when standing in a long line.

You’ll find everyone patiently waiting their turn, forming an orderly queue like it’s second nature.

That’s why you must have very long patience if you ever find yourself waiting for your turn at the counter or entrance.

We get that with the emergence of technology, people now often rely on their phones to pay via their e-wallets or cards. However, the majority of smaller vendors and hawkers often prefer cash.

From pedestrian etiquette to environmental conservation, Singapore has a set of laws designed to maintain order and harmony in this bustling metropolis.

Did I mention that Lion City is strict in imposing its rules, and there might be no second chance if you’re caught violating the law?

You could end up paying a certain amount of fine or being behind bars!

As you venture into the urban jungle, remember to watch for street signs, follow traffic regulations, and always dispose of your trash responsibly.

Playing by the rules ensures your safety and shows respect for the country and its people. By doing so, you’ll also contribute to keeping the city clean and green!

Ever heard of the tradition of not flushing the toilet after using it in some Singaporean homes?

We know it sounds bizarre and “disgusting,” but it’s actually a sign of good luck according to some Chinese beliefs. 

How about the tradition of exchanging oranges during Chinese New Year?

Giving someone fruit as a gift might seem odd, but in this country, it’s a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. 

Overall, Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, from Chinese and Malay to Indian and Western influences. 

That’s why, while these customs might seem a bit weird to us, embracing them as part of the Singaporean experience is important!

In Singapore, there’s a high chance that you’ll be battling traffic jams and hunting for elusive parking spots. 

Not exactly the stress-free vacation vibe you were hoping for, right? That’s why it’s better to always opt for Singapore’s MRT system.

With trains zipping around the island at lightning speed, you can bid farewell to wasted hours stuck in traffic!

Let’s say you’re out exploring Singapore and embark on a shopping spree in one of its bustling malls. Suddenly, you see a special promotion or discount available exclusively to tourists or residents.

But without your identification card, you might miss out on these sweet deals that could add some extra joy to your Singaporean adventure.

The Lion City officials are strict about carrying out their duties.

So, if you happen to catch their attention, having your identification card ready to present can save you from any unnecessary hassle or misunderstandings.  

Singapore is more than just skyscrapers and shopping malls. It’s also home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species that thrive in its parks, gardens, and nature reserves.

By respecting wildlife protection laws, both tourists and locals can contribute to preserving these natural habitats.

But how exactly can you do your part?

It’s pretty simple – you should stick to designated trails and pathways when exploring parks and nature reserves.

These routes are designed to minimize human impact on the environment while still allowing you to experience the beauty of the Lion City’s greenery!

You should also avoid feeding or disturbing wildlife.

Sure, that cute squirrel might seem hungry, but feeding it can disrupt its natural feeding habits and even make it dependent on human handouts.

Is having nighttime fun at bars part of your Singapore adventure?

Singapore has some pretty strict rules when it comes to drinking alcohol in public, but it’s all in the name of keeping things safe and orderly. 

While you can definitely enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the country’s many bars or restaurants, just make sure you do it in the right place and at the right time.

Public drinking in places like parks or beaches is a big no-no, and you could end up with a hefty fine of up to S$500 if caught.

Don’ts in Singapore

Don’ts in Singapore

Chewing gum is forbidden in the city-state. It sounds strange, right? 

But there’s a good reason behind it: to keep the streets clean and tidy.

If you get caught chewing gum in public, you could face a hefty fine ranging from S$300 to S$1,000 for the first offense. And if you’re a repeat offender, those fines can skyrocket to S$10,000.

Just like in other countries, jaywalking is a big no-no here in Singapore, and if you get caught, you could face a hefty fine of S$1,000 or even up to 3 months of jail time.

Plus, with so many pedestrian crossings and traffic lights around, there’s really no need to risk it. 

There are also underpasses and overpasses on most streets in the country if you can’t wait for the red light to turn green or are afraid to cross the streets.

This ensures you can safely navigate your way in the city without risking a run-in with the law.

Tossing that candy wrapper on the ground might not seem like a big deal, but in Singapore, littering is a serious offense.

We’re talking fines of up to S$300 for caught offenders. 

With the city’s commitment to keeping things clean and green, leaving your trash lying around is not cool, it’s a basic manner taught in grade school.

So, do yourself (and the environment) a favor and hold onto that rubbish until you find a proper bin. 

Smoking a cigarette in public places is illegal in Singapore.

Our country takes its cleanliness and public health seriously, and smoking in non-designated areas is considered a big no.

With the city’s strict laws and surveillance systems, you could be fined S$1,000 if you’re caught smoking in public areas.

Note that while there are designated smoking areas scattered throughout the city, they may not always be conveniently located.

So, if you’re craving a smoke, it’s best to plan ahead and find the nearest smoking zone to avoid any run-ins with the law.

Temples in Singapore aren’t just pretty buildings with intricate architecture – they’re sacred spaces where people come to find peace, seek blessings, and connect with their spirituality. 

Being loud or disruptive can not only disturb their prayers but also disrespect the sanctity of the space. 

When you visit sacred places in the city-state, remember to keep your voice down, maintain a respectful demeanor, and soak in the tranquility.

Here’s the scoop: public displays of affection, or PDA for short, are highly discouraged in this country.

Think of it as keeping the romance down low while you’re out and about.

Sure, holding hands is usually fine, but save the passionate smooches for a more private setting.

Durian is practically the king of fruits here in Singapore. But bringing it to public transportation with you is not a pretty good idea.

While locals adore the fruit, not everyone is enthusiastic about its distinctive scent. 

But how can you travel if it’s not allowed on public transportation?

You’ll often find dedicated durian delivery services that cater to all your fruit transportation needs. These ingenious will safely transport durians from point A to point B without subjecting innocent bystanders to that notorious aroma. 

Unlike some Western countries where tipping is customary and expected, Singaporean staff generally don’t rely on tips to supplement their income.

In fact, many service industry workers, like waitstaff and taxi drivers, receive fair wages and don’t expect additional gratuities.

So, when you tip excessively in Singapore, it can actually create a bit of confusion or even discomfort for the person receiving it. They’ll appreciate the gesture, but it’s a tad over-the-top.

Don’t get me wrong, showing appreciation for exceptional service is totally cool, but leaving a small tip for stellar service is already a great way to say “thanks” without going overboard.

In Singaporean culture, pointing fingers at someone, even unintentionally or mistakenly, can get you in trouble.

It is often associated with assigning blame or accusing someone of wrongdoing. It can also be confrontational and disrespectful, stirring up unnecessary tension or discomfort in social interactions. 

In some cases, it could be interpreted as a sign of aggression, which is definitely not the vibe you want to send out.

So, to avoid any potential misunderstandings or awkward moments, it’s best to keep your hands in check and opt for more diplomatic ways to express yourself.

By diligently following these essential do’s and don’ts, you’re ensuring a smooth journey and demonstrating a profound respect for the rich tapestry of local customs and laws in Singapore.

Knowing that with each courteous gesture and mindful action, you’re not just a visitor but a respectful participant in the dynamic rhythm of this captivating city-state!