A well-known, extremely developed and prosperous country, Singapore was founded as a British colony, yet its best years started after gaining independence. Its charm lies in the mixture of its breathtaking skyscrapers and subways of a modern, contemporary city and a medley of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. Also, some if this country’s many virtues are tasty food (Singaporean food is legendary and very well known, with huge and crowded food centers and 24-hour coffee shops offering cheap food from all parts of Asia), excellent shopping opportunities and a lively night-life.
However, it’s not all about technology and vibrant city centers: more than 50% of Singapore’s area is covered in greenery, while boasting over 50 major parks and 4 nature reserves, resembling a real enchanting garden city. Since it’s known for its stability, it earned the nickname ‘Switzerland of Asia’ since it’s so predictable, squeaky clean and, many say, sterile compared to the poverty, dirt and crime rates of much of the Southeast Asia. But if you scratch below the surface just a stray from the tourist trail you’ll see there’s so much more to this amazing country.
Warnings & Dangers in Singapore
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Generally, Singapore is very safe to visit. It is probably the safest country in Asia to travel to, but it has its dangers. Use your common sense and keep your valuables closely by your side, since the most common type of crime is petty theft.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transportation is very safe, reliable and excellently maintained in Singapore. When renting a boat, keep in mind there's piracy near the coastal areas of Singapore.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpockets aren't that common but they do operate. However, following and applying basic precaution should get you out of any uncomfortable situations.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Singapore is immune to natural disasters: there is nothing in its near vicinity that could represent a threat, though Indonesia's earthquakes can sometimes be barely felt. Other landmasses shield this country from tsunamis, typhoons and tornadoes. Flooding from November-January monsoon season has been known to happen, but represents a minor threat.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Singapore is very safe when it comes to kidnapping and mugging: they rarely occur, and even less so to tourists and foreign visitors.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There haven't been recent terrorist attacks in Singapore's recent history, but they shouldn't be ruled out, so remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are scammers in Singapore, but are easily avoided, only if you use your common sense. There are con artists pretending to be landlords offering a property for rent on website, and as soon as you pay, they disappear, so be very cautious when making reservations through untrustworthy resources. Like in rest of Asia, the street or store vendors are pretty persuasive and tiring, so if you feel pressured into purchasing goods, leave the store.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel completely safe in this country, even at night. That does not mean you should let your guard down - keep to your wits and your common sense, and do not do anything you wouldn't in your own country.
So... How Safe Is Singapore Really?
Singapore is extremely safe to visit, by virtually any measure. The majority of tourists, including women traveling solo will not encounter any problems walking along the streets alone at night. There’s no police on the streets either, but it is still very safe. However, it is not without its dangers: beware of pickpockets in crowded areas and tourist landmarks and do not let your guard down just because you are feeling safe. Keep your valuables close by your side and remain vigilant at all times, especially in the area along Orchard Road, since it is known as a pickpocketing heart of the Singapore and there were numerous reports of theft submitted in this area.
Now, even though it’s perfectly safe, Singapore women avoid walking alone through the “lorongs” in Geylang and prefer sticking to the main road. Geyland is the red light district of Singapore, so women avoid appearing there in order to steer clear of unwanted attention at night. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid this area completely: it is an area well-known for its late night local food fare. So, if you are dressed conservatively (to set yourself apart from the sex workers) or look as a tourist, you should have no problems.
- Visas - Many countries need a visa to enter Singapore, but it is relatively easy to acquire. US residents intending to stay less than 30 days do not need a visa. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of return. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - The official currency in Singapore is the Singapore dollar. ATMs are widely available and credit cards are accepted and used throughout the country. Your best shot when exchanging money in Singapore is to withdraw it from the ATM. This way, you are getting the best exchange rate possible and you avoid any chance of getting scammed.
- Weather - Singapore has tropical climate. Since it is located only 1.5 degrees north of the Equator, its weather is mostly sunny with no distinct seasons. There is rain, almost daily throughout the year, but it falls in sudden, heavy showers that usually don't last longer than an hour.
- Airports - Singapore Changi Airport. usually simply referred to as Changi Airport, is the primary and busiest civilian airport for Singapore, and also one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Singapore, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.