After spending almost a month in Bali, Singapore was such a completely different environment! I kind of had to adjust to it the first day. Bali is of course very relaxed, had nice people, is cheap and not modern at all. Singapore on the other hand, is extremely modern, people dress like they all own a business and behave completely different too. Not to mention, Singapore is a lot more expensive than Bali. It’s actually one of the top 3 most expensive places to live in the world!
Now before you go to Singapore, there are a few things you should know. To make sure you know what youre getting yourself into, haha.
All of these tips are from my own experience, along with information from a local.
Here we go. 10 things you definitely NEED to know about Singapore before you go there!
1. It is not very common to eat or drink while you’re on the move
This first one reminded me about Japan a LOT. Because in Japan, one of the weird unwritten rules they have, is that you can only eat or drink while you’re standing still. And I feel like Singapore has this unwritten rule too. But they don’t even eat or drink when they are standing still. They only eat or drink at home or in a restaurant. I’m not joking, I have never seen anyone else eat or drink while being on the move.
In the stations and in the metros, it’s actually forbidden by law to eat or drink. They want to keep the public places as clean as possible. You will even get a fine of 200 Singapore dollar if you get caught eating or drinking!
2. Want to sit down for a rest? Too bad!
There are almost no places to sit down anywhere in the city. Apart from at the metro station platforms, sometimes outside the metro station and there are some benches in parks. So if you’ve been doing a lot of sightseeing in the city by foot, prepare to spend some money at a restaurant to be able to sit down for a bit. Which there are plenty of, so at least there is that.
3. There is Wi-Fi everywhere
But it almost always requires a password. Which sucks. There are some places though where you can log on to the Wi-Fi by just using your email and giving them some info about yourself. I was able to do that in a mall for example. Most places require a password though, and in order to obtain the password you usually need to buy something.
You could also just buy a SIM card for while you are in Singapore. A 2.2 GB one will cost 15 Singapore dollar. The 15 dollar you can later use to get another data package, but in order to get a decent package you first need to put more money on the SIM card. The brand SIMcard that I got is just the starhub one. I don’t know if there are even other providers.
The good thing about these local SIMcards, is that starhub has a really easy ‘starhub prepaid’ app to see how much data you have left and to upgrade the package or top up the balance. Also, the first 2.2 GB you get is valid for over a month, and in cities outside of Singapore too. I believe it works in Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, all the close countries I guess. If you eventually run out of this data and get a new package with the 15 dollar balance, you can choose yourself how long you want the package to last: a week, 2 weeks, a month or 2 months even I think.
4. Cars in Singapore are super expensive
A basic Toyota can go for about 100.000 Singapore dollar, is what I was told. Which is why a lot of people in Singapore don’t have a car. The traffic here is still quite busy though, but nothing like in Bali.
This is why a lot of locals use the super cheap and easy to use public transportation, such as the metro. There is also gojek and other taxis, but those are very expensive, compared to the metro, which only costs about 1 to 2 Singapore dollar.
5. The people in Singapore are not very nice at all
When walking through Singapore, you’ll notice that the locals are not smiling at all. They kind of look like fancy robots. Apart from not looking bery friendly, they also dont behave very friendly. A ‘thank you’ or ‘you’re welcome’ is very rare. People would even look at me weird when I said ‘have a good day’. Once, I had a cashier that didn’t say anything to me except for the price of the products and once I went into 7-eleven at a station and as soon as I walked in the cashier started ticking his fingers as if he was like ‘hurry up please’. Such a grumpy face too. To be honest, I felt rushed at every place I bought anything. No time to put your items in your bag, no time to put the change in your wallet. The person in line behind you apparently has a train to catch and the cashiers are super willing to help with that.
My local friend told me that the people from Singapore are also not helpful at all. There was an article in the paper (which I did see so it wasn’t a lie) that said a woman’s foot got trapped in the gap between the metro and the platform and nobody did anything to help her. So if anything happens to you while in Singapore, don’t expect help from the locals.
6. There is no such thing as a ‘Singaporean’
Because Singapore is a mix of different, imported people and cultures. There are Chinese people, Indians, Arabs and Malaysian people as well as the expats that live there of course. A lot of those are French, I’ve been told. Because of this mix, there is no such thing as having Singaporean roots, not like how someone can be Dutch or English. There also is no special language that they speak here. It’s mostly English, but then of course also Chinese, Indian, some Arabic and Malay.
Fun fact, Singapore is a country, a state and a city. And because it’s so small, pretty much every building has it’s own zipcode.
7. Everyone originally from Singapore and male, is obligated to join the army
This sounded so strange to me when I first heard about this. How could a country obligate it’s inhabitants to join the army? After the explanation, it made more sense.
Since Singapore is so incredibly small, and the country is sometimes bullied by neighbouring countries, Singapore needs all the citizens it can get to help out in the army. After the original training, they need to come back once a year to make sure that everyone is ready for battle. If it comes to that point. Let’s hope not.
8. In Singapore, they drive on the left side of the road
Which means that you also need to stand on the left side of the elevator and walk on the left side of the road.
I’ve gotten used to all the left hand traffic now, after spending so long in Bali where they do that too. But if you’re not used to it, at least do your best to remember it. Especially if you plan on renting a bicycle for example. Which yes, that is a thing in Singapore.
9. Singaporeans are known for only doing three things
Which are shopping, eating and complaining. Makes sense that there isn’t much else to do in the city apart from shopping and eating. I’m not kidding, there are shops and restaurants in every single street, on every single corner. Huge shopping malls not even 4 streets apart from another. Each mall has a food court too and they are always incredibly busy. People here like to spend their money.
So if you love shopping and eating too, and you don’t mind things being expensive then Singapore is the place to be! And of course they also have a couple nice sightseeing neighbourhoods as well as universal studios and such.
10. Yes, you can drink the tap water
This one made everything so much easier. I didn’t have to think about whether or not my food had been washed with dirty water and I could fill my bottle with water anywhere. Perfect. My belly got a bit upset in Bali, but Singapore has made it better. Too bad the next stop is Kuala Lumpur, haha.
That’s it for today guys! Hope this was helpful! I definitely would have liked to know these things before I went there, but hey, I figured them out anyway and had a great time. Leave a comment down below if there is anything else we need to know about Singapore!