You know how it is when you visit a new city in a new country- you want to experience all of the things but not look like you are- you want to blend in! It can be overwhelming deciding what is worth visiting or what is a potential tourist trap. To help you avoid making any accidental faux pas while on your visit to Singapore, perhaps bear in mind some of the following:
Don’t bring your durian into the hotel
Don’t bring your durian to your hotel room, or on public transport. I know the temptation is there, to show off what is known as the King of Fruit in the Far East, but reign in the excitement. Durian is banned on Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit, and even taxis will refuse passengers carrying the pungent fruit. Speaking of the MRT, public transport has its own set of rules here. Don’t eat in the carriage, stand to the left and walk up the right of the escalators!
Don’t tip. Singapore may be one of the only cities in the world where it isn’t customary to tip. So, you can leave the restaurant, café or food court with your pennies in your pocket guilt free. While service charge may be added to your final bill, at least you don’t need to worry about carrying change. Singapore is an expensive city, so enjoy the savings where you can.
Don’t blow the budget
Don’t blow your budget by staying in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to access the excellent infinity rooftop pool. Swap your swimming costume for seated dining- book a dinner reservation at the hotel’s Ce La Vi restaurant instead. It’s on the same level as the pool and has 360-degree views of the Singapore skyline.
With those nuggets of wisdom in your pocket, what are some handy Must Dos in the Lion City?
Do visit the Gardens by the Bay
Do watch the light show in the Gardens by The Bay. The first show starts at 7:45 pm sharp, followed by another at 8:45 pm. Find a spot on the grass beneath the enormous sci-fi looking Supergrove trees and enjoy the lights and music as the Marina Bay Sands hotel glitters in the distance. Plus, it’s free!
Do go to the Cloud Forest
Do pay to visit the Cloud Forest. The indoor waterfall alone is worth the $28 ticket price. The planted walls of lush vegetation are beautiful, and you’ll feel like you’ve jetted to the future as you wander along the canopy walkways. Every two hours starting from 10 am, you’ll catch the mist enveloping the waterfall so organise your visit around those timings.
Do visit P.S Cafe
Do have brunch at P.S Café in Ann Siang Hill. Order a lychee and lime fruit soda with your Croque Monsieur and plot how to recreate the café’s décor back home. Afterwards, stroll through the neighbourhood to get a glimpse of old Singapore, with its colourful window shutters and shophouses.
Singapore is efficient, safe and an excellent place for families. So, don’t walk around in the midday sun, do wear loose clothing, stand left not right when taking the MTR and above all, enjoy the exploration.