U.S. citizens seeking entry as tourists or visitors are required to present a valid passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your intended stay in order to travel to Singapore. Visas are not required for tourist or business visits of up to 90 days. Visitors must also have sufficient funds to last for the intended period of stay in Singapore and confirmed onward/return tickets. Make sure that your passport has enough empty pages (two fully blank passport pages) available for entry and exit stamps to ensure your entry and exit. Travelers should be careful not to stay beyond the date permitted in order to avoid difficulties when departing the country.
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Please note: Each traveler is fully responsible for bringing and acquiring travel documents (e-tickets, hotel and travel vouchers, etc.) necessary for his or her itinerary. If you are not a citizen of the United States, your entry requirements may vary—please contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the country or countries to be visited and obtain the specific requirements for entry.
Please refer to the instructions given in your itinerary confirmation. If in the event that you are unable to locate our representative, please call the local contact number as specified on your voucher or confirmation itinerary for immediate assistance.
Population: 5.312 million
Location: Southeast Asia
Type of Country: City-state
System of Government: Parliamentary Republic
Religions: Buddhism 33.3%, Christianity 18.3%, Islam 14.7%, Taoism 10.9%, Hinduism 5.1%
Ethnic Groups: Chinese 74.2%, Malay 13.4%, Indian 9.2%, other ethnicities 3.2%
Singapore operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), plus 8 hours.
At 9:00 am anywhere in Singapore, it is:
• 8:00 pm the previous day in New York – Eastern Standard Time (EST)
• 7:00 pm the previous day in Chicago and Houston – Central Standard Time (CST)
• 5:00 pm the previous day in Los Angeles and San Francisco – Pacific Standard Time (PST)
• 3:00 pm the previous day in Hawaii – Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST)
*Note: Add one hour to local time during Daylight Savings Time.
A good source of health information for travelers is the Center for Disease Control (CDC). You can visit the CDC web site at http://www.cdc.gov. Although good medical care is widely available in Singapore, you should still remain up to date on routine vaccinations before traveling. Tourist facilities are modern and frequently available. Sightseeing may require, at minimum, the ability to walk at a moderate pace for a mile or two, and the balance and agility necessary to climb stairs, enter and exit buses and boats, and navigate uneven or cobble-stoned streets. Some sightseeing stops do not have elevators or wheelchair access. Bring medications in their original, clearly labeled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or needles be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. When on vacation, it is always wise to watch what you eat and drink. Most hotels will provide complimentary bottled water and additional bottled water can be purchased throughout your trip.
Singapore’s unit of currency is the Singapore Dollar (S$) available in the following denominations: Banknotes: S$10,000, 1,000, 100, 50, 10, 5, 2; Coins: S$1, 0.50, 0.20, 0.10, and 0.05. Foreign currency and traveler’s checks can be exchanged only at authorized agencies such as banks, exchange offices, and hotels. Major credit cards such as American Express, Master Card, Visa, and Diners Club are widely accepted but be cautious of service charges. Tipping is generally not practiced in Singapore and is frowned upon by the government, yet hotel bellhops still expect a small tip. The exchange rate is constantly fluctuating, but it can be found to be approximately 1 USD = 1.20 SGD. For the most updated exchange rate, please check http://www.xe.com.
Electrical service in Singapore is supplied at 240 volts and 50 Hertz. Bringing an adaptor is a good idea if you are planning on using electronics (i.e. cell phones, laptops, cameras, etc.) during your trip.
Singapore’s rich multicultural heritage is especially reflected in the country’s cuisine. The vast melting pot of flavors and local foods are largely influenced by Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, and Perankakan cuisines, among others. Throughout Singapore you can easily find an immense variety of foods that reflect its cultural diversity from their Cantonese dim sum, halal Malay food, North Indian naans and briyani, to South Indian vegetarian thali. Don’t forget to try the delectable chili crab, fish head curry, char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles with Chinese sausage, prawns, fish cake, and egg), and kaya toast.
Some other popular dishes amongst locals are Hainanese chicken rice, nasi lemak, and laksa. Quench your thirst with a cup of teh tarik, or “pulled tea,” a creamy and frothy milk tea. After enjoying your gratifying meal, try one of Singapore’s many desserts such as the ice kacang or chendol that will be sure to leave your taste buds satisfied.
The four official languages in Singapore are English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.
You will notice that almost everyone is bilingual (some can even speak 3-4 languages), and can speak and understand English well since it is the common language used for business, government, and as the main language of instruction in schools.
Located almost directly on the equator, Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate like most of Southeast Asia. It is generally hot and very humid throughout the year with temperatures frequently reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and almost never dropping below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night. Rain is common throughout the year and is often heavy and abrupt. Monsoon season occurs between November and January, which is the wettest time of the year. Although it may rain every day during the wet season, it will rarely rain all day. Dry season is considered to be from May through July, but even then it still rains often. Don’t let the weather discourage you though, as when it does rain it is usually only for a short period and can be refreshing in the hot and humid temperatures.
This will be contingent on your own personal preference and the time of year you are traveling. Generally, we suggest that travelers pack lightly and to bring comfortable, casual clothes in natural, “breathable” fabrics because of the humidity. Choose versatile styles that can be layered. A lightweight (preferably non-plastic) raincoat or poncho is a good idea, especially during the rainy season, as well as a sweater or lightweight jacket for when the weather cools down or in air-conditioned buildings. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must, as sandals may not be comfortable for some sightseeing activities. Some hotels have pools, so you may want to pack your swimming suit. Do not forget to bring sun block, sunglasses, insect repellent, pocket packs of tissues, a sunhat, an umbrella (for both the sun and rain), and any medications you may need. Most hotels offer reliable laundry and dry cleaning services.
Singapore is a country that maintains a vivacious Asian culture fused with western influences, which is also represented in their fashion tastes. Always wear what you are most comfortable traveling in, but a reasonable amount of modesty ought to be exercised. In most areas, comfortable, casual clothes such as short sleeved shirts, polo shorts, tank tops, shorts, long skirts, etc., are great for sightseeing. Remember that temperatures are likely to be hot and humid so wearing lightweight, loose fitting fabrics is a good idea. While wearing thin, casual clothes is common throughout Singapore, be cautious of the dress codes in religious sites and fine dining restaurants.
Although the dress code when visiting temples in Singapore is not as strict as in other countries, these temples are still considered a place of worship, so one should dress politely in modest and conservative clothing as they would at any other religious place. Clothing such as short sleeved shirts, polo shirts, and bottoms or skirts that cover the knees are acceptable. Socks are also a good idea since you may have to remove your shoes before entering the temples.
Hotels may impose a hefty charge on international calls. Check your hotel’s policy before placing any calls. To avoid hotel markups you can use a calling card from your local long-distance carrier. A number of United States cell phones manufactured today have the ability to operate overseas on the GSM (Global System for Mobile) standard. We recommend that you contact your cell phone service provider to determine if your phone operates on the GSM and what, if any, activation may be required. In Singapore, reception on any cell phone can be unreliable and unpredictable. In some locations, transmission is not possible at all. If access to e-mail is of critical importance during your trip, please check availability in advanced. Most hotels have business centers or in room WI-FI service, surcharges may apply.
The nationwide emergency phone numbers are:
Lonely Planet Singapore (City Travel Guide) by Shawn Low and Daniel McCrohan
Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore, & Brunei by Lonely Planet
Malaysia and Singapore (Eyewitness Travel Guide) by Andrew Forbes, Linda Whitman, Nigel Hicks, and Demetrio Carrasco