What to Know Before You Go to Singapore

What to Know Before You Go to Singapore

Singapore has jokingly been named The Fine City because it's pristinely clean and you can be fined if you try to tarnish it. Here's what not to do in Singapore - and all the rules and laws to avoid breaking - no joke.

don't use unsecured wifi or download illegal content

Crime: Computer hacking. Or, just someone that needs some free wifi. Same difference because Singapore officially considers it hacking and that's illegal. Stay safe and switch your devices off the auto-discovery setting to avoid connecting to any unsecured networks. Downloading or even possessing any copies of illegal content is also trouble. Stream safely.

 

Punishment: for using someone else's wifi, fine of up to $10,000 and jailtime up to 3 years; for downloading illegal content, fine of up to $50,000 and jailtime up to 3 years

don't jaywalk or interfere with traffic

Crime: Crossing the street anywhere else other than the crosswalk, AKA jaywalking. Same goes for interfering with traffic. Don't play any games or use any objects that could potentially distract drivers or interfere with traffic safety. 

  

Punishment: for jaywalking, fine of $20 (on the spot) to $2000 and jailtime of 3-6 months; for traffic interference, fine of up to $5000

don't jaywalk in singapore
no jaywalking

don't be nude or bring nudie pics

Crime: Your naked body. Don't be nude either in public or in private with open curtains where someone could potentially look into your widow and see you. That's right, the peeping tom looking at you in your hotel or home is not the one at fault - you are!

 

If you dare to bring any nude or pornographic material into the country, it doesn't matter what it is, or if it's print or digital, if you get caught with obscene material, it's trouble. 

 

Punishment: fine of up to $2000 and jailtime of up to 3 months 

don't feed pigeons

Crime: Giving food to poor homeless birds. Don't do it in Singapore. Poo's messy.

 

Punishment: fine of up to $500

no feeding pigeons in singapore
no pigeon feeding

don't pee in elevators or forget to flush

Crime: Being super gross. If you pee in an elevator in Singapore equipped with a urine detection system, the doors will automatically close, the alarm will sound, and you will be trapped in a metal box with your own pee until the police come to take you away to jail for being so disgusting.

 

And likewise, if you don't flush the toilet after doing your business, and get caught in a random police spot check, you're in... well, you know... deep shit.

 

Punishment: fine of up to $200 and jailtime

don't dispose of or sell gum

Crime: Chewing gum. Probably best not to even think about gum, let alone own it, improperly dispose of it, get caught bringing it into the country or, even worse, selling it to someone else. This is an abomination. Gum is really hard to get off of things.

 

Punishment: fine of $500 for dropping it on the ground up to $100,000 for selling it and jailtime of up to 2 years

no gum in singapore
no chewing gum

don't spit

Crime: It's gross. If you get caught spitting anywhere outside in public, you'll be fined. 

 

Punishment: fine of up to $1000

Don't smoke

Crime: Air pollution. Smoking is banned pretty much anywhere, like indoor public places and outdoor public spaces, including walkways, bridges and bus stops. If you really need to light up, you'll have to hunt for an area where you can do it legally.

 

Plus, drop that butt and get fined for being a litterbug. Don't bring e-cigs into the country either, you'll be fined for importing them.

 

Punishment: fine of up to $1000

don't smoke in singapore
no smoking

don't sing or play music in public

Crime: Noise pollution. Don't sing songs with questionably obscene content and don't play a musical instrument anywhere in public where anyone can hear it. It's considered annoying and you're a considered a nuisance. Busking is illegal without a license.

 

Punishment: fine of up to $1000 and jailtime of up to 3 months

don't take food or drinks on transport

Crime: Mess making. Leave those drinks and snacks at home. If you bring any food or drinks onto public transportation, you're in trouble. It's a no eating or drinking zone.

 

Also, don't dare bring a durian onboard, since they are extra offensive to noses.

 

Punishment: fine of up to $1000 and a $500 fine for the darn durian

no durian on public transport in singapore
no durian

don't do PDA or be lgbt (or both)

Crime: Love. Seriously. Don't be involved in any public displays of affection, including kissing passionately, making out, or sometimes just even holding hands.

 

Definitely don't have any version of same sex relations anywhere in public because it's totally illegal. As advanced as this country is many other ways, they fall drastically behind in LGBT tolerance.

 

Punishment: fines, caning, or jailtime of up to 2 years

don't litter or vandalize property

Crime: Anti-social behavior. Littering or throwing anything on the ground anywhere in public or vandalizing any property with graffiti or anything else. Even if you think it's art. 

 

Punishment: fine of up to $1000, jailtime, community service, and caning

no graffiti in singapore
no grafitti

don't drive drunk or do drugs

Crime: Fun. If you're caught drunk driving with anything over .08% blood alcohol, you'll be heavily fined or taken straight to jail without passing go. Call a Grab cab instead.

 

Also, you can't drink in public or buy takeaway alcohol from shops from 10:30pm to 7am, so buy ahead or drink at a licensed pub or restaurant during that time.

 

If you have anything to do with any kind of drug, you are in some serious trouble. There are random drug tests for locals and tourists, and even if you did drugs before you arrived, if it's in your system, it counts. Don't risk it. Party in Amsterdam instead.

 

Punishment: for drinking at night illegally, fines of up to $2000; for drunk driving, fines of up to $5000 and jailtime of up to 6 months; and for drugs: either caning, or life imprisonment, or the death penalty!

don't overstay your visa

Crime: Staying. Singapore is super strict on illegal immigration and that includes overstaying your tourist visa, no matter what the excuse. 

 

Punishment: fines and possible caning

don't overstay your visa in singapore
no overstay

don't forget to pay gST tax

Crime: Souveniers. All travelers visiting Singapore, plus locals returning home, are required to declare purchases (valued over $150 - $600) and also pay a 7% Goods and Services tax on goods purchased out of the country.

 

Punishment: fines of up to $10,000 and jailtime for up to 3 years

Suffice it to say, you'd better watch your ass. (And while you're at it, make sure you don't let anyone else watch your ass, or touch your ass, or see your bare ass.)

 

These offenses and fines are all the absolute worst case scenarios (like death) but often the penalties are less harsh (less than death). Most of the rules are just to underline the respectable ways one should act in society so to not offend others around them. Except, of course, for the anti-gay one because that's just cruel. 

 

Ultimately, Singapore takes offenses to their envisioned way of life seriously, and that's why it's considered one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world, with tons of great food, and is mostly a beloved destination for tourists.

 

But just in case, tread lightly.