1. DO eat at a Hawker Center
Singapore is famous for its numerous food markets. If you want to taste the local specialties, go for the food stalls with the longest queues. A full meal costs between 3-5 SGD. Personal favorite: Rice Chicken Lemon…I just can’t get enough!
2. DO know the rules
Foreigners are expected to stick to Singapore’s strict laws, no matter how silly they seem to many. Be careful where you smoke, eat, drink…etc. Just be careful as death penality or life in prison might spoil your holidays.
3. DO use public transportation
Why? Because their subway AC is just amazing after a hot sweaty day. Other than that, the MRT network is one of the most modern in the world; it’s fast, clean, on time and dirt cheap. Fares are based on distance with an average of 2 SGD.
4. DON’T spend a lot of time on Orchard Road
You don’t fly thousands of miles the waste your time in shopping malls with the ‘same same’ brands that you can find everywhere else in the world. Do take the MRT to Orchard Rd and walk up to Botanic Gardens instead where you’ll be able to relax in one of their numerous tropical gardens…for FREE.
5. DON’T be afraid to talk to the locals
People have been more than welcoming during my short stay in the city. They are proud to show you around and even make you taste their most delicious meals (Thanks to Maurice, my Couchsurfing host ;)). One afternoon I got lost in a more residential area of the city looking for a place that sells stamps. A lovely old lady then offered me to walk around with her for 20 minutes and show me where to post my letters.
6. DON’T do drugs
Drugs are a big NO NO in Singapore. If you get caught with illegal substances when crossing a border, death penalty will apply. Even entering the country with traces of drugs in your body will get you into big trouble. As a backpacker, always check your bags for drugs that someone else might have hidden there, this is even more likely when traveling over land from Malaysia.
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures: You can find Hindu temples in the heart of Chinatown, Mosquees surrounded by nightlife venues and a downtown area bursting with western expatriates. The strict rules have allowed them to develop a modern society which is not facing many of the issues of similar big cities around the globe (pollution, excessive crime, drugs and prostitution etc.)