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The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (S$). Money changing services can be found not only at the Singapore Changi Airport but also most shopping centers and hotels around the island. You can also access the automated teller machines (ATMs) located everywhere (even in the most obscure bits) in Singapore, that accept most of the main credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Singapore is known for its hot and humid weather, with little variation throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 31ºC (88ºF), dropping to around 24ºC (75ºF) in the evenings. The monsoon season can bear down pretty heavily on their tropical weather from November onwards, so be prepared for rain on a daily basis during this period.
Remember although Singapore has hot tropical weather all year, it may be useful for participants to bring a sweater or light windbreaker for use in air-conditioned spaces.
Cell Phone Usage
Singapore’s international dialing code is +(65). While in Singapore and if you have international roaming service on your cell phone, you don’t have to press +(65) as it will automatically connect you to the local numbers here.
The smoking ban has also been imposed on public eateries and within a five-metre radius from most building entrances, except for allocated smoking areas that are clearly marked with bright yellow paint.
Tax Refund Schemes
To enjoy tax-free shopping in Singapore, simply look out for retailers that display the “Tax Refund” logo on their shop front and spend SG100 in a single receipt to qualify.
For additional assistance or complaints, call Touristline at 1800 736 2000 (toll-free in Singapore), or (65) 6736 2000 (from overseas).Operating hours for Touristline is Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays), 9am to 6pm.
Loss of Passports
Should you lose your passport while in Singapore, please make a police report immediately and approach your embassy in Singapore to apply for a replacement travel document. You should also report to the ICA (across from the Lavender MRT Station at 10 Kallang Road) for a visit pass which will regularize your stay in Singapore.
Most retailers have fair business practices, but there are a small number of shops and restaurants that might make your shopping experience less than ideal. Here are some smart shopping tips to ensure that your retail experience is a pleasant one.
1. Always do price comparisons to get the best deals
Prices can vary widely between shops because distributors are not obliged to abide by each product’s Recommended Retail Price (RRP). Ask the retailer also if the Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies.
2. Note that purchases made are usually final
Retailers generally enforce strict return, exchange or refund policies the moment payment is
made. Always ask your retailer about their policies before making payment for your purchase.
3. Check receipts or invoices for accuracy
Do remember to ask for a receipt of invoice whenever you make a purchase, and keep it for reference. Also check that prices and item descriptions are correct to ensure that you do not pay more than what is required. Remember to check that gifts, when applicable, should be indicated as such.
4. Verify what your ‘international warranty’ covers
International warranties are not standardized, and you should always ask and verify that your warranty is valid in your home country. Ensure that both your invoice and warranty card bear your retailer’s stamp and signature. In the case of electronic goods, note down the product’s serial number as well.
Also note that there are no international warranties on the purchase of mobile phones.
A “worldwide local warranty” means that the warranty is available only in the country of purchase – “worldwide” here refers to the availability of the product, not the warranty.
Parallel imported items have no warranty, and retailers usually do not entertain returns, refunds or exchanges.
5. Check before leaving the store
Before making payment, make sure that you test the item you wish to purchase, and take time to check that the promised accessories and peripherals are included in the package, and work as they should.
Some Important Numbers at Singapore
Police – 999
Ambulance – 995
Fire Brigade – 995
Flight Information – 1800 542 4422
Raffles Hospital (585 North Bridge Road) – (65) 6311 1111
Singapore General Hospital (Outram Road) – (65) 6222 3322
Gleneagles Hospital (6A Napier Road) – (65) 6473 7222
American Express – 1800 396 6000
JCB – (65) 6734 0096
Diners Card – (65) 6416 0800
Visa – 800 448 1250
MasterCard – 800 110 0113
Indian Consulate in Singapore, Singapore
High Commission of India in Singapore
India House Estate, 31 Grange Road, 239702
Phone: 00-65-67376777, 62382537
Working hours: 0900 hours to 1730 hours (Monday to Friday)
Do’s and Don’ts
Singapore is generally a laid back and relaxed country. However, it has its own customs and visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. The following guidelines will help visitors understand the country and its people better, for a smooth and pleasant stay in Singapore.
- Do not chew gums, which are banned in Singapore and may get you arrested. Leave it home before you travel.
- Do not litter while in Singapore. Laws are strictly enforced relating to littering.
- Do not smoke in public. Smoking is illegal in enclosed public places (including restaurants).
- Do not get involved in any drugs. Singapore carries a mandatory death penalty for drug-trafficking and harsh penalties for possession and use within the country.
- Do not discuss religion or politics. Do not make jokes either.
- Do not touch someone’s head. The head is considered sacred.
- Do not show the bottoms of your feet or use your feet to point. Feet are considered dirty.
- Do not bring in food into MRT (Mass Rapid Transport). Offenders will be fined.
- Do not point at someone with your index finger, which is considered very rude.
- Do not take cabs which are very expensive in Singapore. The Singapore transportation system is exceptionally well planned.
- Do not eat or offer anything with your left hand when with Muslims and do not use your left hand when shaking hands with a Muslim.
- Do not tip, which is not customary in Singapore and even frowned down upon by the Govt.
- Do not open a gift immediately in front of the giver. Do not wrap gifts in white, which is a mourning color.
- Do not, for a Chinese descent, give clocks, handkerchiefs or flowers to as they are associated with death and funerals.
- Do not, for a Malay descent, give alcohol, or anything made of pigskin, as Malays are Muslim. Give the gift upon departing, not arriving, and use your right hand or both hands to give or receive presents. Never use only left hand.
- Do not, for an Indian descent, give alcohol or something made of leather. Use your right hand to give or receive presents and not your left. If it’s large, you may use both hands.
- Do address someone using the title of Mr., Mrs. or Miss with the surname. Do not use first names unless you are invited to.
- Do shake hands for a warm greeting, but be aware that Malays will not always shake hands. Muslims will not shake hands with the opposite sex. Do give a slight bow for older Chinese people.
- Do remove your shoes while entering a private home, a temple or a mosque.
- Do leave a little on the plate when you have finished eating.
- Do be conservative in your behavior. Dress conservatively for business functions and dress casual in other situations.
- Do have coins with you when you need to use the public toilet.
- Do stay on the left side of the escalator. The right lane is for all those people in a rush. Do drive on the left hand side too.
- Do have some handy cash ready to use. Do not rely on your credit cards.
- Do keep your receipts, this is a matter of potential savings. At the airport, before you depart, you may be able to reclaim Goods and Services Tax (GST) you’ve paid for certain items during your visit. The current GST rate is 7%, so the amount you’re entitled to reclaim can be substantial – especially if you’ve spent hours at Orchard Road.
- Do keep extra set of recent passport size photos with you
- Do keep your passports along while traveling
- Always hire experts for any adventurous sports
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