Travel Etiquette in Singapore

Singapore being one of the most urbanized nations of the world marks the visit of a large number of tourists every year. Every nation has some unique features of their own and the visitors are expected to follow the traditional travel etiquettes to create a good impression. Since time immemorial it has been a tradition followed by the discerning travelers to remain adhere to the basic travel etiquettes for a memorable journey. Travel etiquette is some of the special norms that a traveler is expected to follow while getting around a foreign nation or staying there for a short period of time.

Singapore is a multi-religious nation and people from all religions reside here. The tourists are expected to show full respect to the various religious groups present in Singapore. The travelers in Singapore mainly for business purposes are advised to be punctual while visiting formal meetings and conferences.

Singapore is one the most affluent countries in the world. The not-so-big island country is fairly populated, with opulent sky-scrapers, and a rich culture that betrays resemblance to Malay, Indian and Chinese influences. Singaporeans are exclusively specific about their long and age-old culture. So, while wandering in the magnificent roads or strolling in the mesmeric gardens, one must follow certain travel etiquette in Singapore.

The Singapore businessmen are well known for maintaining a high standard of punctuality level.

The men travelers are expected

to maintain the decency level while conversing with Singaporean women. The visitors are advised to remain tactful and indulge moderately with the local people. The custom laws in Singapore are very severe and the tourists are expected to remain adhere to the local laws. The narcotic laws can even lead an accused to face the death penalty. Smoking is not allowed in the air-conditioned areas of Singapore. Littering and jaywalking is also taken to be an offense in Singapore. The tourists are advised not to spend much in tipping, as it is not taken to be a respected practice in Singapore. The travelers are advised not to carry any restricted items with them. Take care of your own belongings and never leave it on charge of any unknown person.

Singapore travel etiquette includes some very basic Asian norms pertaining to eating habits, greeting people, giving or receiving gifts and body language.

Giving Gifts to a Singaporean

Certain important information about Singapore travel etiquette must be obtained beforehand, and observed while giving gifts to someone.

Singapore is a nation where Chinese, Malays and Indians cohabit harmoniously. Giving gifts with the left hand is considered disrespectful. Malays are mostly Muslims, so their gifts should not be wrapped in white, as it implies bereavement and lamentation.

It is better to refrain from giving a present made from pig skin and alcohol as a gift item to Malay. As a demonstration of humility, a Chinese resident rejects the gift several times before finally accepting it. Utensils such as knives and scissors should not be given as a gift, as it shows that you want to dissolve the liaison. Straw sandal, clock and handkerchief are certain items associated with funeral, and hence should not be offered as a gift to someone.

In your floral present to an Indian resident in Singapore make sure you have not included frangipani, as it is used in burial wreaths. Give liquor as a gift only when you are sure that recipient will appreciate it. Refrain from gifting any leather products, and your gifts should not be wrapped in black or white. Gifts are always opened by the Singaporeans only after the giver has left.

Travel Etiquette to be Followed on Roads and Public Places

Travellers in Singapore must be very cautious about how they behave in public places. Smoking in the streets, office buildings and public service vehicles is an absolute no-no. Restaurants and bars have special smoking parlours. Smoking in areas where it is prohibited can result to a fine up to S$ 1000. Government in Singapore is extra careful about neatness of the roads. So, it is advisable to make sincere endeavours about gracefulness. Littering of roads and buildings are against the law. Chewing gum is considered as a menace to the cleanliness of surroundings; selling of chewing gums is strictly prohibited. They can be carried by travellers for personal use but one must remember to dispose them safely. Politicians and leaders in Singapore should not be openly criticized in public, as it might give rise to sensitive issues.

Jaywalking, talking on cell phones while crossing roads, walking unmindfully with head phones on is considered unlawful. So, while travelling in Singapore one must always use labelled pedestrian crossings or overhead bridges.

Supper in Singapore

While visiting your relatives, on a business trip or simply holidaying in Singapore one must remember certain etiquette, especially while dining with a native. When having dinner with Chinese acquaintances it is polite to leave some food on your plate. It symbolizes your appreciation for the hostís generosity in serving. They usually use chopsticks to have supper, but you can always ask for forks or knives if you are not comfortable with sticks. Chinese are more prone to non-veg, while Indians in Singapore usually fall in the vegetarian category. Some fervent Buddhist Chinese make an exception. Pig is sacred to the Muslims, so if you are inviting Malay to have meal with you, make sure you have not included pork in the menu.

Last Updated: June 27,2013

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