Singapore is one of the safest places on the planet. It’s known for its tremendous opulence, gorgeous marina, and fantastic shopping. You’ll meet people from all over the world in Singapore.
You don’t have to worry too much about things like petty theft or violent crime when you visit. One of the critical things that really surprises people when they visit Singapore is how many different laws and regulations there are there.
Familiarizing yourself with laws around smoking, drinking, and observing the general rules of the road will get you far in this country and keep you out of unnecessary trouble.
Some standard practices like vaping are illegal in Singapore. Keep reading to learn about the general safety of visiting Singapore and learn tips to stay out of trouble while you’re there!
Is Singapore Safe to Visit?
The short answer is yes, Singapore is very safe to visit! Note that tourists sometimes have to deal with petty theft and other common, travel-related hazards.
The most dangerous and unpleasant things you’ll encounter in Singapore are pickpocketing and crimes of opportunity. However, violent crime is generally not an issue for people visiting Singapore.
Additionally, the tiny country is one of the cleanest in Southeast Asia with highly regulated taxis. This makes it very appealing to westerners and families. Be prepared to spend more money in Singapore than you would in other countries around Southeast Asia.
It’s notoriously expensive, rivaling even those in the United States. However, as long as you’re ready for the possible sticker shock, you should have a fantastic time in this jewel of Southeast Asia.
Crime in Singapore
Crime against tourists tends to be exceptionally rare in Singapore, although there are a few things that you should watch out for when you visit this tiny, idyllic island country.
While taxi scams and transportation woes are problems in a lot of Southeast Asia, you won’t necessarily find these issues in Singapore. Instead, transportation is a breeze. The taxis will use meters, and they’re safe at night. In addition, women are exceptionally safe in Singapore.
Catcalling and street harassment are heavily frowned upon, making it a suitable environment for solo female travelers. Other issues, like political unrest and terrorism, are relatively unproblematic in Singapore, and most tourists will rarely encounter any problems related to these things.
Still, it’s a good idea to report your travel to your embassy just in case something does happen while you’re away. Singapore is a modest country, so it’s very important for tourists to behave in publicly mandated ways.
Public displays of affection and skimpy dress are sometimes frowned upon in Singapore, and you should avoid doing these things at all costs if you want to fit in and respect the local culture properly.
You won’t really see too many people engaging in kissing on the street, so if you’re traveling with your partner, keep the PDA to a minimum.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
Singapore is exceptionally safe, but like any country, it does have its bad neighborhoods. There are a few places that you will want to watch out for, but fortunately, most of them are off the primary tourist radar.
Tampines is a more local neighborhood that’s generally violent crime free, especially for tourists, but there is some petty theft. If you go there, don’t leave valuables in your car unattended.
Yishun is another place where crime has increased in recent years, although tourists will not likely encounter any significant problems. Still, if you’re hoping to make your Singapore trip as stress and drama-free as possible, it’s best to avoid it.
The major problem in Yishun, especially in the northern part of the district, is predatory lending practices. These will not really impact tourists, but they can make for a seedier environment overall. Nanyang Ward and Woodlands East have the same problem.
Health and Disease Concerns in Singapore
One of the top things tourists often find is that Singapore’s health concerns differ from those of their home countries. Malaria and dengue fever are concerns in Singapore by virtue of its tropical location.
It’s a good idea to have health insurance before you go. Carry mosquito spray to prevent illnesses that mosquitoes are a vector for. If you start to have symptoms of dengue or malaria, including general malaise, high fever, or disorientation, you should see a doctor immediately.
Heatstroke can also manifest itself in these symptoms and it’s equally dangerous. Staying hydrated and seeking shade on hot, sunny days is important.
Although it’s clean, Singapore does have some pollution, especially in the city core itself. Wearing a mask when it’s super hazy out can help you breathe safer.
Singapore Drug Laws
Singapore has notoriously strict drug laws — it’s nothing you want to mess with as a tourist. Don’t import or smuggle drugs into Singapore under any circumstances. If caught, you could face steep penalties, even as a tourist.
Recreational drug use is also prohibited. The penalty for recreational drug use is death in Singapore. Although this might seem severe, it’s one of the laws that Singaporeans feel helps to keep crime down in their city.
Unfortunately, tourists are not immune to these laws, and the embassy will not help you if you’re caught with illegal materials.
It’s best to err on the side of caution and refrain from consuming any illegal substances in Singapore. If there’s any Southeast Asian country where you don’t want to play fast and loose with the drug laws, Singapore is it.
Using Transportation Safely in Singapore
Transportation is generally very safe in Singapore. Since plenty of people speak English here, you shouldn’t have a problem hopping on local buses or taking public transportation.
Like everything else in the country, expect a clean, hassle-free ride. Buses tend to have air conditioning, and Singapore’s MRT line will get you anywhere you want to go within the downtown hub. It’s a fast and efficient way to get around.
Those who prefer to take taxis can breathe a sigh of relief. The taxis in Singapore are metered and ripping off tourists is not a very common practice in the country. In addition, traditional taxis, Grab, and Uber are all available in Singapore.
Littering in Singapore
One of the most famous Singaporean rules is the mandate against littering. People from Singapore take littering very seriously. Even the downtown core is pristine!
Littering is a highly frowned upon and illegal practice, and like everything else in the country, tourists are not immune to the repercussions.
If you’re caught littering, expect fines or even imprisonment. Street art is considered vandalism in Singapore. If you’re caught spraying graffiti anywhere, you could face the consequences up to and including jail time.
There is no leniency for first-time offenders, so know this upfront. One of the best things you can do when visiting Singapore is err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure if you’re allowed to do something, refrain from doing it.
Smoking in Singapore
While you can technically smoke and drink in Singapore, there are certainly places where you can’t do either. Familiarizing yourself with this will help you tremendously when you travel there.
For example, smoking is only allowed in certain designated areas or at certain times. You can also expect to spend a lot of money on cigarettes in Singapore – everything is pretty pricey here.
You can’t import cigarettes into the country. It’s also worth noting that like many other areas of the world, drinking and driving are illegal in the city with heavy fines.
Things to Consider
We’ve got a few helpful tips to share to make your Singapore stay even better! Keep these things in mind when you visit Singapore to make the most of your experience there.
- You’ll easily stay connected. WiFi is readily available all over the city and cell service is not an issue for travelers here.
- Expect super clean streets. Singapore takes littering very seriously and prides itself on the cleanliness of the city, including the streets. It’s an amazing thing to see if you’re used to littered streets in most major cities!
- Things are expensive here. If you’ve been to other Southeastern Asian countries, you might assume things are equally low-priced in Singapore. They’re actually going to be much more expensive here! Prepare to pay more than you would in the rest of Southeast Asia. The overall cleanliness and safety of the city make it worth it for many tourists.
- Tipping is not necessary. While you may be accustomed to tipping service industry employees, it’s not really a thing in Singapore. If you visit a restaurant, you may be charged an automatic 10% gratuity fee with the bill. So you won’t feel like you’ve stiffed your waiter!
- The city is walkable. Singapore is designed for easy walking all over the city. You can definitely take advantage of the different modes of transportation here, but as a tourist, it’s great to get out and walk the city to get to know it.
Frequently Asked Questions
These frequently asked questions and answers will help you understand how to navigate Singapore, what to look out for, and how to have the best time possible in the city.
Understanding the climate, culture, and language will help you minimize mistakes and represent both you and your country well while you’re abroad!
Can I use credit cards in Singapore?
You can use credit cards in Singapore. Most major credit cards are readily accepted virtually anywhere in the city or country, although you might not be able to use them for street vendors.
Singapore's currency is the Singapore dollar. You can take it out at any central bank, although transaction fees could apply depending on your home bank.
Is Singapore the name of the country or city?
Singapore is both the name of the city and the country. The capital of Singapore is Singapore City, where you'll be spending most of your time.
There are several different islands that you can also explore. Since Singapore is so tiny, it's easy to get around and you'll never be far from anything, no matter where you are.
Is it ever cold in Singapore?
Singapore is a tropical country right near the equator, so it doesn't really get cold there. Instead, expect hot temperatures all year round.
Since it's balmy and breezy no matter when you go, there's not much of a high season. The only thing you need to worry about is dealing with heat-related effects like sunstroke and sunburn.
Can tourists get SIM cards in Singapore?
You can get Singaporean SIM cards if you'd like. These cards are available in major airports and around the city itself.
Most major cell phone providers have international calling or data plans that work in Singapore, but they tend to be more expensive. If you want to go that route, talk to your provider in advance and set up a travel plan to avoid costly roaming fees.
Do people speak English in Singapore?
Yes, most people in Singapore speak English. It's straightforward to get around even if you don't speak other dialects. In addition to English, you'll hear Tamil, Mandarin, and Malay.
The vast majority of tourists have absolutely no issue communicating with locals in Singapore, and this is especially true if you are staying in the downtown area.
Some Singaporeans speak a dialect commonly referred to as "Singlish," which is a combination of English and local dialects.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
Singapore is one of the most amazing countries in Southeast Asia – it’s clean, full of energy, and safe for tourists. Locals are friendly and welcoming here and there’s so much to see and discover!
Keeping the customs and traditions in mind will help you go far, avoid trouble, and have a great vacation. Don’t bring or do illegal drugs, stay alert and keep your belongings secure, and stick to the tourist areas while avoiding the few “bad” neighborhoods here.
Singapore is quite safe for virtually anyone that visits. You’ll have a stellar time visiting this Southeastern Asian country as long as you know the rules ahead of time and remember to respect them!