Travellers Essentials

Airport Tax

A passenger service charge of SGD21 should be incorporated in the air ticket (including tickets issued outside of Singapore). If this has not been done, you may be required to pay the SGD21 during check-in. In some cases, the airline may absorb the service charge. Passengers who are in transit for less than 24 hours may leave the airport without having to pay the service charge upon departure from Singapore. For more, visit Singapore Immigration and Customs.

Baby-sitting

Baby-sitting services are provided in most hotels.

Banking

The local currency is Singapore dollars and cents. Notes come in denominations of SGD 2, SGD 5, SGD 10, SGD 20, SGD 50, SGD 100, SGD 500, SGD 1,000, and SGD 10,000.

Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and SGD 1.

Banking hours are Monday to Friday: 10 am to 3 pm, and Saturday: 9.30 am to 1 pm (some banks are open until 3 pm). Sunday, 9.30 am to 3 pm (some banks in Orchard Road).

Most banks handle travellers' cheques and change foreign currencies. However, some banks do not have foreign exchange dealings on Saturday.

Passports are required when cashing travellers' cheques. A nominal commission may be charged.

Credit/Charge Cards

Major cards are widely accepted by establishments in Singapore. Should any shop insist on adding a surcharge, contact the respective card company to report the errant shop-owner.

American Express
Tel: 1800 396 6000 (Local), +65 6396 6000 (Overseas)

Diners Card
Tel: (65) 6416 0800

JCB
Tel: (65) 6734 0096

MasterCard
Tel: 800 - 110 0113 (toll-free in Singapore only)

Visa
Tel: 800 - 448 1250 (toll-free in Singapore only)

Currency

Other than the Singapore Dollar, the US and Australian Dollars, Yen and British Pound are also accepted in most major shopping centres and big departmental stores.

Drinking Water

It is perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, local supermarkets and grocers always have ample stocks.

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is viewed seriously in Singapore. Illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is strictly prohibited.

Electricity

Singapore voltage is 220-240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second. On request, most hotels will provide transformers to visitors with electrical appliances of a different voltage, such as 110-120 volts, 60 cycles per second. When shopping for electrical appliances, do remember to check the voltage of the item against the acceptable voltage in your home country. The power plugs used in Singapore are of the three-pin, square-shaped type.

Fireworks

Any individual found keeping, possessing, having under his control, discharging or letting off dangerous fireworks (including firecrackers, rocket fireworks, sandcrackers and such other fireworks) is liable to a fine not exceeding SGD 5,000 or imprisonment for up to 2 years or both.

Gambling

Charity draws, Toto and Singapore Sweep lotteries, and on-course betting at the Singapore Turf Club on horse races are the only authorised forms of gambling in Singapore. All other gambling activities are illegal in Singapore.

Hair salon

Most major hotels provide hairstylists offering a full range of services. Hair salons are also found in shopping centres, offering standard haircuts as well as more elaborate services like hair perms, facial treatment, manicure and pedicure services.

Hotel Phone Services

Most hotels offer in-room international direct dial (IDD) telephone services. However, some hotels may charge a minimal 30 cents successful call transaction surcharge. As there are different IDD service providers in Singapore, rates and access codes are dependent on the service provider used by the hotel. Generally, local calls are charged at 10 cents for every 3 minutes.

Laundry

Same-day laundry service is available in most hotels. Typically, it costs SGD 5 for a laundered shirt, SGD 10 for a dress and SGD 14 for a dry-cleaned suit.

Medical Facilities

Singapore's medical facilities are among the finest in the world, with well-qualified doctors and dental surgeons.
Pharmaceuticals are available from numerous outlets, including supermarkets, department stores, hotels and shopping centres. Registered pharmacists work from 9 am to 6 pm.
Most hotels have their own doctor on-call around the clock. For an ambulance, dial 995. Visitors could also contact the following hospitals' International Patient Service Centres:

Parkway Group Healthcare Pte Ltd
Tel: (65) 6735 5000
Fax: (65) 6733 8156
Email: p...@parkway.sg

Raffles International Patients Centre
Raffles Hospital
Tel: (65) 6311 1666
Fax: (65) 6311 2333
Email: raff...@raffleshospital.com
24-hour Appointments Hotline
Tel: (65) 6311 1222
Fax: (65) 6311 2136
Email: spec...@raffleshospital.com

National Healthcare Group International Patient Liaison Centre
National University Hospital
Tel: (65) 6779 5555 (24-hour hotline)
Fax: (65) 6779 5678

Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) International Medical Service
Singapore General Hospital
Block 6 Level 1
Outram Road
Singapore 169608
Tel: (65) 6222 3322
Fax: (65) 6224 9221
Email: i...@sgh.com.sg

Mobile Phones

There are two mobile phone networks - GSM900 and GSM1800 - and three mobile telephone service providers - SingTel, M1 and StarHub. To make international calls, the access codes are 001, 013, 0r 019 for SingTel, 002 0r 021 for M1 and 008 or 018 for StarHub.

Money Changers

Apart from banks and hotels, money can be changed wherever the sign "Licensed Money Changer" is displayed. Most shopping complexes have a licensed money changer. Visitors are discouraged from changing money with unlicensed money changers.

Euro Banknotes
As of 1 January 2002, the euro banknotes have been introduced in 12 member states of the European Union (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland), replacing the 12 legacy national currencies.

If you still hold banknotes of the legacy national currencies, these currencies may be exchanged at: the Changi Airport money exchange counters (American Express Foreign Exchange Services Tel: (65) 6543 2580 and United Overseas Bank Tel: (65) 6542 0388) and most money changers.

However, a lower price may be quoted in view of the additional cost incurred for redeeming the legacy national currencies at the respective issuing central banks.

Payphone Services

Public payphones operated by credit card and/or stored-value phonecards can be used to make both local and international calls. Public payphones can be found in most shopping complexes and MRT stations. Local calls are charged at 10 cents per 3 minutes. Stored-value phonecards in denominations of SGD2, SGD5, SGD10, SGD20 and SGD50 can be purchased from post offices and phonecard agents. To make an international call, dial the access code followed by the country code, area code & telephone number. Different telephone companies use different access codes - 001 for SingTel, 002 for M1 and 008 for Starhub. International Calling Cards in denominations of SGD10, SGD20 and SGD50 are also available at all post offices including Changi Airport, 7-Eleven stores and other retail outlets.

Postal Services

Singapore Post operates a network of more than 1,300 postal outlets conveniently located throughout the island. These outlets offer a wide range of postal, telecommunication and agency services. Most postal outlets are open Monday through Friday, from 8.30 am to 5 pm and until 1 pm on Saturday.

Post service is available at:

Singapore Post Pte Ltd.
Tel: +65 6841 2000

Safety

Travellers across the world are understandably more concerned about personal safety and security issues today than ever before. The Singapore Tourism Board would like to assure all our visitors that the situation in Singapore remains calm and stable and it is business as usual.

The Singapore Government has and will continue to be vigilant in ensuring that Singapore remains safe. It has stepped up security measures at key installations and other sensitive places. The Government has also made it known that extremism originating from religion or race has no place in Singapore and it will not hesitate to take action against any extremist or terrorist groups or individuals.

The swift and definite actions of the Singapore Internal Security Department over the recent arrests of the 15 terrorists in January 2002 is testimony to this.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in public service vehicles, museums, libraries, lifts, theatres, cinemas, air-conditioned restaurants, hair salons, supermarkets, department stores and government offices. Offenders can be fined up to SGD 1,000. While it is an offence to smoke in air-conditioned eating places, smoking is permitted in air-conditioned pubs, discos, karaoke bars and nightspots.

Spitting

Spitting in public places is an offence.

Time Differences

City Hours Behind/
Ahead of Singapore
Amsterdam -7
Athens -6
Auckland +4
Bahrain -5
Bandar Seri Begawan none
Bangkok -1
Beijing none
Beirut -6
Brisbane +2
Brussels -7
Cairo -6
Calcutta -2.5
Chicago -14
Colombo -2.5
Copenhagen -7
Darwin +1.5
Dublin -8
Frankfurt -7
Geneva -7
Hanoi -1
Helsinki -6
Hong Kong none
Honolulu -18
Jakarta -1
Johannesburg -6
Karachi -3
Kuala Lumpur none
Lisbon -8
London -7
Los Angeles -16
Madrid -7
Manila none
Melbourne +2
Montreal -13
Moscow -5
Mumbai -2.5
Nairobi -5
New Delhi -2.5
New York -13
Osaka +1
Oslo -7
Paris -6
Perth none
Prague -7
Rio de Janeiro -11
Rome -6
San Francisco -16
Seoul +1
Stockholm -7
Sydney +2
Taipei none
Tehran -4.5
Tel Aviv -6
Tokyo +1
Toronto -13
Vancouver -16
Vienna -7
Yangon -1.5
Zurich -7

Tipping

Tipping is not mandatory although it is often appreciated. Most hotel and restaurant bills come with a 10% service charge.

Touting and Soliciting

While shopping in Singapore is a hassle-free and pleasurable experience, there have been incidents of touting and soliciting. There have also been occasions where visitors felt pressured into buying products or services from vendors who approached them on the streets. Please keep in mind your right as a consumer not to go into any transaction with any of these vendors. If you are not interested, ignore the touts or tell them firmly you are not interested and then walk away.

Here is a short list of what to be wary of:

- representatives from companies selling timeshare programmes, promising freebies or deals if you fill in a survey form, visit their showroom or attend a briefing at their office.
- representatives claiming to be from reputable department stores selling premium products like perfume or watches at attractive prices.

Transit Passengers

Passengers who are in transit for less than 24 hours and holding valid travel documents may leave the airport without having to pay the passenger service charge of SGD 21 upon departure from Singapore.

Trishaws

An interesting way to tour the streets of Singapore is to take a trishaw ride. We recommend that you avoid hailing a trishaw off the road. If you do, make sure that you agree on the fare to your destination before the trip commences. However, there are many trishaw tours that you can join that are run by some of the major tour operators.

Visa and Entry Facilities

Generally, foreigners who do not require visas for entry and are visiting Singapore as tourists, may be given up to 30-day social visit passes upon their arrival in Singapore. For more please visit Singapore Immigration and Customs.

Useful Telephone Numbers

Here is a list of useful telephone numbers.

  • Police
    999 (toll-free)
    Emergencies/Ambulance/Fire Brigade
    995 (toll-free)
  • STB Touristline (24-hr automated tourist information system)
    Tel:
    1800 736 2000 (toll-free in Singapore only)
  • CitySearch (operator-assisted Yellow Pages)
    Tel: (65) 1900 777 7777
  • International Calls
    Tel:
    104
  • Time of day
    Tel:
    1711
  • Trunk Calls to Malaysia
    Dial
    109 for operator assistance or 02 for direct dial.
  • Toll-free lines
    Dial 1800 followed by the toll-free line number (in Singapore only).
  • Weather
    Tel: (65) 6542 7788

What to Wear

Singapore has a warm and humid climate throughout the year with a daily average temperature range of 24 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius. Light and summer clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton is best for everyday wear. Casual dress is acceptable for most situations and occasions but some establishments may require a more formal dress code. It is always advisable to check beforehand on dress regulations, if any.

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