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Any advice on Singapore appreciated

Travel Forums Asia Any advice on Singapore appreciated

1. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 13y

I'm visiting Singapore at the middle of March as the last leg of a RTW trip and would appreciate any advice anyone has about places to visit, things to do, general tips, etc.

2. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member 431 posts) 13y

just a note... Chewing gum and soy sauce are illegal in Singapore now... Not that many people carry Soy sauce with them when they travel the world, but I was surprised to get in trouble, though very minor, with the local authorities over a pack of bubble gum I had while working over there. Unfortunately, I know very little of Singapore other than that. Whenever I am over there and have any free time I head up to Malaysia, which imho is a much nicer and less expensive place to visit.

3. Posted by redknight5 (Full Member 80 posts) 13y

Hi! I too am visiting Singapore as the last destination of my RTW trip in June 04, and would also appreciate peoples opinions about the best things to see whilst there, especially as I can't spend long there.
thanks

4. Posted by angeljiru (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

hi fellow travellers,

I'm 100% singaporean, just come across this thread & I love it!

Please drop me a email if you need any advice, i will be more than happy to offer my help.

angeljiru@yahoo.com.sg

Cheers, Karen

5. Posted by saykiong (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

Hi Imonaghan, are you sure about Soy Sauce?! Hope you are not taking the mickey... I'm Singaporean and my family goes up to Malaysia very often, sometimes for grocery shopping. Not a single time were we stopped for bringing in soya sauce!

I can understand about chewing gum, its against the law to bring it in but its actually legal to chew it in singapore.
I really wonder what happened to you. Have Singaporeans really been that nasty to you? What exactly happened?
I love Malaysia and I have family members that are Malaysians but I really can't understand your experience in Singapore, especially when you are working in Singapore; just how long were you in Singapore?

Anyways, this thread is about Singapore and what to do there.
Emmett70/ redknight5,
there are quite a few things you can do in Singapore. It is a small island but there's quite a few things that I feel is interesting in general.

1. Culture
Singapore was a crown colony of Britain, just like Malacca and Penang. In the colonial days, ethnic quarters were created for various ethnic groups. Some of these ethnic quarters eventually become the heritage areas of present day singapore.

Little India is the most widely promoted of the heritage areas. There are foods, spices, handicrafts and texiles to browse and a number of temples, mosques and quaint little shops to see. Its worth seeing.

Chinatown has become abit commericalised but around the Chinatown complex and MRT areas, the streets are lined with old architecture and little shops selling things like religious material to dried foods.

My favourite of the lot is the Joo Chiat and Katong district. Basically in the colonial days, this was the beachside resort town for the europeans. In the north side of the area is the Malay and Muslim area. These days, the district is well know for the Peranakan culture. Peranakan is the term used to describe the descendents of the early chinese settlers who moved to South East Asia. They integrated with the local culture and develop a new hybrid of language, customs, foods and architecture. Peranakan people can be found in many parts of south east asia. Read more about the Peranakan Association of Singapore.
http://www.peranakan.org.sg

2. Arts
The Esplanade theatre was opened in the last one year or so. This is a theatre complex which singapore is trying to brand as the premier performance location in the region. Because this is right by the Boat Quay area, you can expect open dinning and good sea views. During certain times of the week you can also see free performances and exhibitions in the open areas.
http://www.esplanade.com/

The Arts Museum in the city is pretty decent but I actually prefer the National University of Singapore Museum. Although its more difficult to get to, but I feel that the collection is more substantial. The Ng Eng Teng gallery is my favourite. He is a scultor who produces some wonderful impressionalist style statues. Words fail me to describe the trans-morphication of some of his works. Its worth seeing.
http://www.nus.edu.sg/museums/net/index.html

3. Nature
Singapore is only 50km by 25km, and as expected, nature may not be something to boast about compare to the heavyweights of South America or Borneo jungles. But the selection in Singapore is no less interesting.
One of my favourite places to go on weekends is the island Pulau Ubin, its in the north east of singapore and you need to go by ferry. Pulau Ubin is like Singapore in the 50s, small houses, farmland and mangrove swaps. In the east side of this island is Chek Jawa and this is a marvel considering the progress of the rest of singapore.
http://www.wildsingapore.com
Have a look at the website about Chek Jawa, go during low tide and walk around on the sand banks. Its worth the time.
http://www.nparks.gov.sg/nparks_cms/display_park.asp?parkid=6

Everybody will encourage you to go to the Zoo and the Night Safari and they are good, you should go but, another place that you might find interesting is the Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve. Here you can see the protected white Malayan crane which may have wingspan of around 1.5meters. There are tall towers that you can do birdwatching in and the natural mangroves areas are left intact.
http://www.sbwr.org.sg/public/index.php

Anyways, there are a number of interesting things to see in Singapore and generally most attractions are within 1 hour of anywhere in singapore.

6. Posted by saykiong (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

Oh yah, before I forget. For accomodations, I strongly recommend the Betel Box Hostel.
They are on Joo Chiat Road itself and only opened in the last month or so.
Last weekend, I had some KL friends who visited me in Singapore and since Joo Chiat is not far from where I live, I pointed my friends to stay there.

http://www.betelbox.com/
Long story short, Mark and Tony are simply the best hostel operators I have met so far. They are enthusastic and extremely helpful. Tony took us on a heritage and food trail around the Joo Chiat-Katong-East Coast Beach area, we had a fantastic time. I really like what they did with the hostel, its so unlike some of the hostels I used before. Have a look at their website, you can see that they really took the effort in creating a living space that has that asian quality but in modern taste. Their communal area is more like a boutique hotel than a hostel. Anyways, full marks from me and I'll be pointing my overseas friends to go to them. One last thing, if you are short of ideas of what to do or not to do, just write to Mark or Tony, they are very helpful people.
Anyways! I spoken too much already. Hope you guys have a good time in Singapore (or Malaysia..), and if you are in the Katong area, make sure you try the Katong Laksa near the Red House Bakery building. Its very good.

7. Posted by redknight5 (Full Member 80 posts) 12y

Thanks a lot mate! You've been a great help. I'm sure Singapore will be an experience i cant wait for!

8. Posted by angeljiru (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y

Hi fellow travellers,

Good recaps by Saykiong!

Ok, here's are the Prohibited Items that traveller MUST not bring to Singapore (soy sauce is ok...unless you have some endangered species in the bottle)

The following items are NOT allowed to be brought into Singapore:
1) Liquors and cigarettes marked with the words "SINGAPORE DUTY NOT PAID" on the labels, cartons or packets
2) Cigarettes with the prefix "E" printed on the packets
3) Chewing gum
4) Chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products
5) Cigarette lighters of pistol or revolver shape
6) Controlled drugs and psychotropic substances
7) Endangered species of wildlife and their by-products
8) Firecrackers
9) Obscene articles, publications, video tapes/discs and software
Reproduction of copyright publications, video tapes, video compact discs, laser discs, records or cassettes
10) Seditious and treasonable materials

Tips for Travellers

DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO CARRY GOODS FOR OTHERS
You will be held liable if the goods are, or contain prohibited, controlled, restricted or taxable items.

THE RED AND GREEN CHANNEL SYSTEM

The Red and Green Channel System is a self-elective system. The decision as to which channel to use is, therefore, entirely up to the traveller. By electing the Green Channel, you are deemed to declare that you do not have anything to declare to the authorities. It is an offence under the law to proceed to the Green Channel with taxable goods which exceed the GST/duty-free allowance or any goods which no GST/duty-free allowance is granted.

A TRUE AND COMPLETE DECLARATION
Making an incorrect declaration is an offence under the law. The offender may be fined up to $5,000. Please therefore declare any goods which you think may fall under the category prohibited or controlled and any item in excess of your GST/duty-free concessions or any item that is not granted GST/duty-free concession. If in doubt, always refer to the Red Channel.

BAGGAGE EXAMINATION
Under the law, you are required to produce, open, unpack your baggage for Customs examination and to repack it thereafter. You may be directed to the X-ray machine for scanning of your baggage. Please declare any duitable/taxable goods or goods in excess of your GST/duty-free concession to the officer thereat before your luggage is scanned.

BRINGING IN MEDICINE FOR PERSONAL USE
If you need to bring in medicines (especially sleeping pills, depressants, stimulants, etc.) for your physical well-being while travelling, you must possess a physician’s prescription certifying so.

THREE QUARTER TANK RULE
Singapore registered cars must have at least ¾ tank of petrol when departing Singapore. Failure to do so constitutes an offence.

Controlled and Restricted Items

Certain goods are allowed entry into Singapore only when you produce the import permit or authorisation from the relevant authorities. If you do not have the import permit or authorisation, the item will be detained and referred it to the relevant authority for approval.

If you need further clarification, please visit the below url
http://www.gov.sg/customs/

Happy Travelling!

Cheers, Karen