Best time to go: February – September (except May and June which are the hottest months)
Best for: Orchard Road (world class shopping), Religious Sites, Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Airport: Changi Airport
Official Name: Republic of Singapore
Local Name: Republik Singapura
Capital: Singapore (SIN)
Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD). Brunei Dollar is also legal tender. US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Yen and Pounds Sterling may also be accepted.
Language: English. Chinese Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are also spoken.
Dialling code from SA: +65
Time Zone: UTC / GMT +8 (6 hours ahead of South Africa)
Side of the Road: Left
Plugs: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style square three-pin plugs are in use. Many hotels have 110-volt outlets.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: The family name is usually given first. Shoes should be removed when entering mosques and temples, and people’s homes. Dress is informal, but some restaurants may have a dress code (jacket and tie).
Local Offences / Laws: Smoking is prohibited in public places. Citizens are very law abiding and fines are issued for offences from littering to eating on public transport. It is advisable to obey all information / regulatory signs. There are heavy sentences for drug-related crimes.
Travel Tips / Warnings: Singapore is hot and humid all year around, be sure to carry bottled water with you when sightseeing and travelling as dehydration is very common. Be respectful when photographing, especially religious buildings.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Singapore by travellers aged 18 years and older without incurring customs duty:
• 1L of spirits
• 1L of wine
• 1L of beer
• Goods to the value of S$600 (if out of the country for more than 48 hours) or S$150 (if out of the country for less than 48 hours).
There is no duty-free allowance for cigarettes and tobacco products. These allowances do not apply if arriving from Malaysia or if you`ve spent less than 48 hours out of Singapore. If you don`t use your allowance of spirits, then you may import an additional 1L of either wine or beer without incurring customs duty. Alcohol is expensive in Singapore, so bringing in duty-free drinks within these limits is a popular way to save a little money. You can find further information on the Singapore Customs website (www.customs.gov.sg).
Prohibited Imports: Chewing gum, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and other ‘imitation tobacco products’, cigarette lighters of revolver or pistol shape, controlled drugs or psychotrophic substances, firecrackers, endangered species of wildlife and their by-products, all pornographic films and literature, reproduction of copyright material, and seditious or treasonous material. The penalties for possession of narcotics are severe and visitors not complying with drug regulations do so at the risk of death. A permit is required in order to import various restricted items. These include animals and their by-products, meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, arms, explosives, bullet-proof clothing, toy guns, weapons, films, videos, video games, publications, audio records, pharmaceuticals, poisons, telecommunication and radio communication equipment and radioactive materials.
Prohibited Exports: Export permits are required for items including arms, ammunition, explosives, animals, telecommunications equipment, film, videotapes and discs, precious metals and stones, and drugs and poisons.
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