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13 Mistakes Travellers to Singapore Make

Heading to the Lion City for the first time? Get informed and make sure you don’t make these common mistakes travellers to Singapore make.

Singapore CBD.

Whether it’s your first visit to Singapore or you travel there several times a year, these tips will help you avoid 10 of the biggest travel mistakes that can ruin your trip!

With a little planning, it’s easy enough to steer clear of some of the most common travel mishaps so you can spend your time enjoying the Lion City.

Packing the wrong clothes 

Singapore is hot and humid at all times of year. Many visitors to Singapore completely underestimate just how humid it can be. 

The temperatures are not particularly high compared to some countries, with the average around 26-29°C (80-84°F). However, humidity averages from 80 – 85% and often reaches 100% during prolonged rain periods. 

If you’re not used to a tropical climate, then you are really going to feel it as soon as you leave the air-conditioned comfort of your hotel.

So, when packing for Singapore, be sure to have lightweight clothing. Shorts and flip flops are the norm for daytime sightseeing. 

Not booking a hotel with a pool

Did you read what I said about the heat and humidity? 

If you have been out and about sightseeing all day, you are going to really appreciate having a swimming pool to jump in when you get back to your hotel. 

You don’t have to book a fancy hotel either. Even some of Singapore’s budget hotels have swimming pools. 

Infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

Buying bottled water

It is really important that you drink a lot of water when you are in Singapore due to the heat and humidity. 

However, you don’t need to buy bottled water. The tap water in Singapore is perfectly safe to drink. 

So do your wallet (and the environment) a favour and pack a refillable water bottle and fill it up in your hotel room before you venture out. 

Skipping on travel insurance 

Singapore has amazing healthcare, but it comes at a cost. And it’s a cost that most people just can’t afford should the unthinkable happen. 

In my opinion, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel to Singapore.

It’s just not worth the risk.

I recommend buying travel insurance as soon as you book your flights as they will start covering you for some problems from that point.

I recommend the following travel insurance companies depending on your country of origin:

  • If you’re travelling from Australia, I always use Cover More.
  • For visitors from the rest of the world, I suggest using HeyMondo.
Thunderstorm with lightning over Boat Quay in Singapore.

Not packing an umbrella 

You may have already heard – but yes, it rains a lot in Singapore. On average, it rains on 167 days of the year.

Much of this rain tends to be short and sharp with torrential rain accompanied by thunder. Even if you leave your hotel in bright sunshine in the morning, there is still a good chance that a thunderstorm will put in an appearance in the afternoon.

So I always recommend carrying an umbrella with you when you are in Singapore. 

PS. Don’t be put off by all that rain, sunny days are also plentiful and you will find plenty of opportunities to hit the beach, swimming pool and sightsee in Singapore!

Not eating the local food

Ok, this one isn’t just a mistake. It’s a crime, in my book.

Seriously, you can eat the most incredible local food in Singapore. Do yourself a favour, and hit one of the city’s top hawker centres and feast on as many different dishes as you can. 

You won’t regret it. 

Scene from a hawker centre in Singapore.

Planning too short an itinerary 

We asked the members of our Facebook Group, Singapore Travel Tips, what one thing they would have done differently with their Singapore trip. 

The overwhelming majority of people said that they would have stayed longer. There are so many amazing things to do in Singapore, so many cool areas to explore, so many bars and restaurants to try… so much food to eat! 

Don’t be that person who only plans to be in Singapore for two days.

Trying to do too much in a day

This mistake goes hand-in-hand with the one above. Remember that heat and humidity we talked about? 

It saps your energy if you’re not used to it, and a lot of visitors find that they are exhausted by trying to do too much in a day. 

Give yourselves a few extra days to do everything you want to and plan to spend some time chilling at your hotel pool on the Sentosa beaches instead. 

Shoppers on Orchard Road Singapore.

Not packing a light sweater 

OK, now I’m going to sound crazy given I have been going on about how hot and humid Singapore is. 

But what I haven’t told you about is how crazy-efficient the air conditioning is in Singapore. Just take a walk down Orchard Road and you will feel it blasting out of the shopping malls. 

If you are planning to spend much time indoors – in shopping malls, restaurants or any other indoor activity, chances are it will be a little chilly in there! 

So pack a lightweight sweater, cardigan, pashmina and carry it in your bag with you. 

Only using taxis/ride share 

Singapore has an amazing public transport system. Most tourists choose to use the MRT (underground train). 

It is clean, efficient, cheap and (importantly) air-conditioned. It will also take you to almost anywhere you want to get to as a visitor to Singapore. 

Having said that, taxis and ride shares are plentiful and also relatively cheap compared to most other cities, so they are also a good option. 

Inside the Singapore MRT.

Standing on the right hand side of the escalator 

Ok this one isn’t major, but if you don’t want to look like a tourist, pay attention. 

In Singapore, locals stand on the left-hand side of the escalator. If you’re in a hurry, you can walk up (or down) the right-hand side. 

If you’re coming from London then this will take some getting used to. If you’re coming from Japan then you’ll be just fine. 

However, unlike London, people in Singapore will generally be polite about it if you get it wrong! 

Eating & drinking in the MRT 

You’ll notice how clean the MRT trains and stations are. One of the reasons is that there is no eating and drinking allowed. 

And it’s not just a rule that nobody pays attention to. If you do eat or drink on the MRT, be prepared for some very disapproving looks. 

And you’ve heard about Singapore being a FINE city, right? Well, if you get caught eating or drinking on the MRT, you could wind up with a $500 fine for your trouble. 

Not bringing mosquito repellent

Yes, there are mosquitos in Singapore. 

If you are heading outdoors, particularly if you are heading to one of Singapore’s parks, or al-fresco dining in the evening, be sure to spray yourself with bug spray before you head out. 

Crucially, the mosquitos in Singapore can carry both the Dengue and Zika viruses, so besides being annoying, they can actually be a real danger to your health,