Tips to stay safe while travelling in Singapore

Singapore is a modern, metropolitan city-state that offers a range of amazing experiences for travellers.

While there are limited physical dangers to be wary of, it’s still necessary to be mindful of your surroundings in a city this dense and fast. Most importantly, you need to be aware of the strict legal code and the way this can impact what you might regard as normal behaviour at home.

Singapore is susceptible to smog and airborne pollution most of the year. The government publishes a Pollution Standard Index which indicates how much pollution is airborne, and what precautions are appropriate. It is advisable to follow these guidelines to minimise the impacts of pollution and smog.
Singapore’s healthcare system is world-class and as a tourist you’ll pay full price if any accidents happen. Consider adequate travel insurance cover for you and all of your planned activities.
Heat and humidity can be a tricky combination. Sweating as a cooling function ceases to work when the surrounding air is moist, and can combine with the heat to leave you deceptively dehydrated. As you continue to sweat your body’s salt levels can be affected leading to swollen and painful joints, and dehydration can lead to nausea, headaches and heatstroke. Keep your fluids up with electrolyte drinks and the salt levels in your body balanced.
The smog and tropical heat may affect some travellers with medical conditions (such as asthma, high blood pressure or skin conditions). When applying for travel insurance, it’s important to declare your pre-existing medical conditions so that you can obtain the right level of cover for your holiday.
Singapore has a highly regulated civil society. Rigid laws are in place to ensure a diverse range of cultures can live peacefully in an ultra-high density environment. The Singaporeans are traditionally quite conservative, and many of their local laws and customs reflect that.
 
  • While savouring a Singapore Sling in Raffles or a Tiger Beer at a local noodle bar is completely acceptable and a very enjoyable experience, alcohol is subject to certain legal restrictions that you must be aware of.
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed in public, or sold in retail stores, between 10:30pm and 7am.
  • Restaurants and bars can continue as per their licensing agreements, but public drunkenness can be an offence.
  • Alcohol can only be consumed in public at pre-approved events and within tightly controlled locations.
Be aware that if you have an accident or if your belongings are lost or stolen while you are intoxicated, your travel insurance may not cover you.

Singapore has some of the harshest laws in the world, and applies them severely to locals and foreigners alike.

  • Singapore does not differentiate between drugs that you bring into the country in your suitcase and those already in your system. You can be tested, and charged, for drugs in your system even if you took them in a different country.
  • Positive drug tests can end in jail terms, and even corporal  punishment.
  • Trafficking will generally be punished with the death penalty.
 
  • Is applied in the sentencing of a wide range of criminal offences, some which may be regarded as relatively minor in other parts of the world, like vandalism.
  • Extremely painful and leaves permanent scarring.
  • Applied equally to foreigners and locals alike.
 
  • Spitting, chewing gum, littering and smoking in public all attract fines.
  • Technically homosexuality is still illegal. This is not readily enforced but travellers are advised to keep public affection limited to reduce offence and the chance of prosecution under one of Singapore’s many public order laws.
  • Bribes – Unlike some parts of SE Asia, if you try to bribe a Singaporean official you will end up in significantly more trouble.
Petty crime including theft, pickpocketing and bag-snatching is relatively common in hotels, airports, public transportation facilities and touristic areas, so keep your valuables close to your body and stay alert, particularly in crowded areas.
Keep your luggage close by and valuables locked in your hotel safe, as unsupervised items that are lost or stolen may not be covered by your travel insurance.

NOTICE: While the Information is considered to be true and accurate at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. We strongly recommend verifying the travel advisory of your destination prior to departure.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as at the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.

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