Simple Dos and Donts for the Singapore Tourist

On how to conduct yourself:

1. DON’T be brash, loud or rude even while speaking in your native language. Specially if you’re Filipino and you’re in Singapore. Chances are, there are plenty around you who understand perfectly well what you’re saying. Singapore is the new Manila.

Once at the Singapore Zoo, while we were looking at the polar bear, one rather loud woman was telling her young son, “kung tulakin ka ng babae, tulakin mo rin!” (if a girl pushes you, push her back), while shoving people around her to get a closer look… and promptly stepping on my foot. Apparently, there were plenty of Filipinos in the group because we all looked at each other scandalized.

2. DO stay on the left side of the escalator. Think of your right as the fast lane, for all those people in a rush.

3. DO get up from the reserved seat at the MRT when the elderly, handicapped, pregnant or those carrying children, get in.

On shopping:

4. When shopping, DON’T assume that sizing standards are the same everywhere. ALWAYS try everything on before purchasing.

5. ALWAYS have cash handy and don’t rely on your credit cards. I learned this the hard way when my card failed me when it should have worked perfectly.

6. Be sure to get your GST refund. This is available for every single-receipt purchase of  100SGD and can be claimed at the airport when you go back. Tell the clerk ringing up the purchase that you’re a tourist and would like the appropriate form.

On transportation:

6. DON’T take cabs everywhere if you don’t want to go broke, cabs are expensive in Singapore. In addition, you add a certain percentage on top of the meter total at certain times of the day during rush hours and an additional 50% after 12 midnight. Take the MRT or the bus. The Singapore transit system is exceptionally well planned and should give you no trouble at all.

7. DO get an EZlink card or have a local friend lend you one. You just need to load it and you can use it for the MRT and the buses. It’s incredibly convenient and means not having to get MRT tickets for every ride, or scramble for change everytime you take the bus.

AND ABOVE ALL:

8. Follow all laws and if in doubt, refrain! Chances are, you won’t be able to afford the fine :p

There! Next posts will contain photos and details of must-visit places.

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