Dos and Donts

Dos and Donts

Visiting Singapore: Dos and Don'ts

Singapore is a beautiful, welcoming, historically fascinating city, where travellers can enjoy incredible food and high class shopping by the barrelful. Yet it is also a city of rules and structures and, if you really want to enjoy your time there, you are best advised to know them before your journey. Here are some basic dos and don'ts for the visitor to Singapore.


Speak formally to new acquaintances. Singaporeans prefer to be addressed by their second names, with the the prefix of Mr, Mrs or Ms if you do not know them well. Wait for them to invite you to use their first name before you get that familiar.

Leave something on your plate. As with many Asian societies, eating everything that you have been served is a sign that your host has not provided sufficient food. Leave a bite or two to show your satisfaction and gratitude.

Take off your shoes when entering someone's home. That goes for religious buildings too.


Don't Chew gum. Gum is 100% illegal in Singapore unless it's medicinal gum.


Drop litter. Singaporeans are proudly clean and tidy people and enforce laws to ensure new arrivals are the same way.


Smoke publically. In any enclosed space smoking is against the law and dropping a cigarette butt in the street is a finable offence.


Joke about religion or politics. Due to Singapore's mixture of cultures and faiths, it is a very bad idea to make a humorous remark about religion or politics. In fact, these two subjects are best avoided in general, even with someone you get along with.


Tip. Believe it or not, tipping is actually looked down upon in Singapore!

Don't Point

Don't Point at someone. It's rude in most cultures but particularly offensive in this one.

Useful phrases for the visitor to Singapore

Useful phrases for the visitor to Singapore

Useful phrases for the visitor to Singapore

People from all over the world visit Singapore, for the beautiful sunshine, the charming culture and the calm, tranquillity of the lifestyle. If you are planning a trip to Singapore, you'll be happy to know that English is widely spoken across the majestic island. Yet it is but one of four recognised by the government, the other three being Malay, Chinese and Tamil. So, before you jet off, you would be best advised to at least pick up a few choice phrases from those three. Here are a few suggestions, rendered phonetically and a few words the languages themselves.


13% of Singaporeans speak Malayan as their main language and is a huge part of the state's tradition. In fact, the national anthem is sung in Malay.

Yes: Ya

No: Teedak

Do you speak English?: Ta hook ah ber da ha sa Ingris?

I do not understand: Sa ya tee dak fa ham

Help: To long


Spoken as the main language by most of the Chinese population, it has been popular in the island since the 20s. Though, in the past, many other Chinese languages were spoken on the island, since the 70s there has been a drive to unite the Chinese populations by encouraging them all to speak Mandarin.

Hello - Nee how

Please – Ching

Thank you - Shieh shieh

Do you speak English - Nee huei jeeang Ying you ma

I don't understand - Wo ting bu don


Tamil is spoken by 2/3 of the Indian population of Singapore. Indians make up about 9.2% of the entire population.

Hello: Vanakkam I

don't understand: Puriyavillai

How much is this?: Idhu Evvalavu?

Thank you: Miga Nandri

Things to do in Singapore

Things to do in Singapore

Things to do in Singapore

When you visit the majestic, beautiful island paradise of Singapore, you have simply no excuse for being bored. Though the first things most visitors do on arrival is hit the designer shops and wolf down some top notch food, there is plenty more on offer.

1. Botanic Gardens

Located on Cluny Road, this oasis of green calm is where the locals go to exercise, wind down and soak in the natural beauty after a long, hard day. Over 1,000 species of orchid can be seen in the beautifully tended flower beds, while the nearby food court serves some of the best soft boiled eggs you'll ever eat.

2. Haji Lane

In the middle of Singapore's bustling Muslim quarter is Haji Lane, a laneway so small you could easily walk past it without noticing. Yet down this narrow walkway lies an Aladdin's cave for those who love to shop. Stores like Know It Nothing, Pluck and Salad have made this the hip place for in-the-know Singaporean fashion fiends to spend their bucks on haute couture wares.

3. The Singapore Flyer

If you want to see Singapore, and we mean see it, then the 165 meter high Singapore Flyer is the place for you. At $29.50 a ride, a seat on the Flyer may be expensive but there are few places in the city that boast a better view. Try to get there as the sun goes down and the lights come on in the downtown skyscrapers – absolutely breathtaking.

Hit the Singapore night spots

Hit the Singapore night spots

Hit the Singapore night spots

Singapore is renowned as one of southeast Asia's hippest and hottest places for nightlife. Here are a small selection of the places to be for bar hoppers, clubbers and hedonists. Plus, we'll give you a little bit of good advice for how to act when out on the razz in Singapore.


Located further away from downtown than you might expect for such a famous night spot, Zouk can be found pulsing away on Jiak Kim Street. What keeps it so popular, despite its out-there location, is that, quite simply, it rocks. House music is generally the order of the day, with world renowned DJs banging out hot and heavy sets on a nightly basis. Those with a broader taste might like to come on a Wednesday, when the club goes retro with an upbeat mix of pop from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Any serious clubber who visits southeast Asia simply has to put their head in at Zouk.

Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay is, and always has been, the centre for Singapore's throbbing nightlife. Whether you want to have a quiet drink, share a romantic meal or dance the night away, you will find what you need here, all on the banks of the beautiful Singapore River.

Club Street

Though it originally got its name from the proliferation of private, Chinese clubs that would pepper the area, Club Street now has a much more modern, multicultural vibe. Lots of pub and bars aimed at ex-pats can be found around here, plus it's also one of the best places to go for gay nightlife – just look for the rainbow flag.

A note on Singaporean nightlife

Singapore is a bustling, thriving free market state and, therefore, the people like to kick up their heels and enjoy themselves at night. That does not mean, however, the kind of drunken behaviour accepted on the streets of London will be tolerated over here. Please bear in mind, strict rules apply forbidding the use of racially insensitive language (including the lyrics to certain football songs), smoking and spitting in public. So, while we encourage you to enjoy yourself we also urge you not to forget where you are!