What To Do in Singapore When You are Here for Only Four Days or Less
Whether you attend an IP law conference or whether you have a stop-over on your way to your holiday destination, there is much to do in Singapore.
Because of the upcoming FICPI Seminar (November 2019) and the INTA 2020, I have started to put some useful information together.
Here you go.
AirBNB is not legal in Singapore.
However, the authorities in Singapore are pragmatic. As long as no one complains it is very unlikely that someone will generate trouble for you and your host.
A word to the wise is sufficient.
An introduction to AirBNB and how to book a room is here https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/how-to-save-usd-500-while-attending-your-next-ip-law-convention-airbnb/
One Month Before You Arrive
You should come to a decision about what you want to see while you are here.
Common souls have three options:
- You want shopping galore: check out the shopping malls along Orchard Road
- You want to get a quick overview of Singapore: book a DUCKTour/Hop-on/-off Bus Combo
- You want to see what nobody can easily see in Singapore: book an Experience on AirBNB
While I cannot say much about shopping on Orchard Road, I can say much about the two other alternatives.
For getting a quick overview of Singapore, nothing beats the DUCKTour packages. They come with a ride on a refurbished Vietnam War amphibious vehicle, with a ticket for several hop-on hop-off bus lines that allow you to explore and travel freely and independently around the city, and with a ride on the Singapore Flyer.
What is difficult to beat are the Singapore Experiences on AirBNB. Some of them need to be booked well ahead of your stay, that is why I recommend watching the one-month deadline. The Singapore Experiences on AirBNB are all provided by individuals who do this for fun, and not for a living. It is likely that you will end up with new lifetime friends after going through an AirBNB Experience in Singapore. I recommend the “Walking Tours” experiences to Kampong Glam, Geylang Serai, Little India, Chinatown or Katong, they take about 3 to 4 hrs. and you will see a lot. Here is a very special tour guide, just try your luck https://singaporeforless.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html?m=1
Alternatively, If you want to design your own experience of Singapore, please follow this link http://bit.ly/SingaporeTraveller
My Most Appreciated Singapore Experiences on AirBNB
Kampong Glam Tour
Pulau Ubin Tour
Geylang Serai n Katong tour
Pasir Ris Park Tour
Prepare your Smartphone at Home
Three things that you should do while you are still at home, in your own Wifi:
- download the Grab app to your smartphone and link it to your travel credit card (what is a “travel credit card”? See https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/how-i-lost-my-credit-card-in-a-3rd-world-country-and-i-still-could-sleep-well-until-the-end-of-my-holidays/ ). Grab will be your preferred taxi provider while you are in Singapore.
- open Google Maps for Singapore on your smartphone and initiate a download of that map to your smartphone. Manuals on how to do that are here. If you do that, you have a map even when you have no Internet coverage.
- Store my office phone number +65/6337-6191 and my Whatsapp phone number to +65/98334062 on your phone, together with my name and the word “Singapore”, so that you have them ready when you need them in an emergency.
Think About This When You Pack Your Suitcase at Home
- You can bring your prescription drugs together with a copy of the prescription. OTC drugs will be cheaper in Singapore as compared with your home country.
- Tobacco is NOT duty-free. Singapore customs are always on the lookout for cigarettes, and your baggage will be x-rayed for them. Officially, you cannot bring in any cigarettes, but one open pack will usually be tolerated.
- Apart from that: DO NOT bring in any drugs. AT ALL. Even the possession of small amounts of drugs can be considered as drug trafficking. If caught, you will face severe punishment, including the death penalty.
Upon Arrival in Singapore
- passport check-in Singapore is a breeze, you will be surprised.
- if you want to bring a gift to a local: buy Whisky/Vodka/Cognac immediately after passport check.
- wine at the airport duty-free stores is a bit expensive, better offers are available in Singapore.
Do That After Arrival at Changi Airport
- at Changi airport: buy a SIM card that comes with an “MRT card” (public transport). Go for the market leader Singtel: https://www.singtel.com/personal/products-services/mobile/prepaid-plans/hi-tourist
- alternatively, if you don´t want a SIM card: rent a Wifi router for 10$ per day with unlimited data. These devices are also provided at the airport
There are two more options that I do not recommend: rely on public open Wlan or go for the – admittedly many – free Wireless@SG hotspots. A comprehensive article about free Wifi in Singapore is here.
Please note that you should already have installed a Virtual Private Network (VPN) software on all your wireless devices, such as smartphones and laptops. An introduction on how to do that is found here https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/the-one-good-thing-that-gdpr-brought-to-me-a-virtual-private-network-vpn-software-for-my-smartphone-and-for-my-laptop/
10 General Travel Tips for Singapore
- tap water is safe for drinking or brushing your teeth, anywhere
- don`t give a tip. Not in a restaurant, not in the taxi, nowhere
- smoke in the yellow box, or at least 5 meters away from any building entrance door
- no, you will not like Singapore Sling
- stay away from Geylang Lorongs 7 to 22 (especially the even numbers) and from the Orchard Towers area
- decent wines can be found at Fairprice for reasonable prices, better ones can be found at Cold Storage
- don’t quarrel with anyone, and especially not with taxi drivers (taxis have indoor cameras, so behave!) and not with any woman.
- you can only swim in the famous Marina Bay Sands sky pool if you stay in that hotel
- no, you don´t need much cash in Singapore. A travel credit card is good enough.
- admit it, you don´t genuinely want to chew chewing gum. You only want it because it is banned in Singapore.
Here is further information on how to stay out of trouble in Singapore https://www.tripsavvy.com/how-to-stay-out-of-trouble-in-singapore-1458521
Please note that is not recommended to remain silent for someone that is arrested by the police. One should bring up your defenses as soon as possible in order to be credible. You can call my office at +65/6337-6191 or send me a Whatsapp to +65/98334062 in case that your travel company should have behaved unwisely. We will link you up with an experienced local criminal defense lawyer. Store these two phone numbers on your phone, together with my name and the word “Singapore”, so that you have them ready when you need them in an emergency.
What to Wear for Official Events
- either jacket or tie (emphasis is on either-or)
- shirt with long sleeves
- long pants
- leather shoes
I usually go with a jacket over the arm, and without a tie. The jacket then serves as a male version of a handbag.
Yes, you can bring your shorts and slippers, but they are only good for after work and leisure.
When You Leave Singapore
Be early at the airport, at least 4 hours before boarding!
Not only because you may need to return your rented Wlan router.
We have a new must-see attraction at the Singapore Changi Airport, the Jewel https://www.jewelchangiairport.com/
You can check-in your luggage at the Jewel if you have at least 3.5 hours until boarding. Then you spend your time there. Have lunch or dinner at the airport before you fly off, for example in the Burger & Lobster restaurant on level 5 of the Jewel!
And after that, you can slowly walk over to your boarding gate. 45 Minutes before boarding is a good time to do so if you can walk fast. You only need 15 minutes from the Jewel to the customs, 20 minutes through the customs and security check until your gate. The gate closes 15 minutes before departure. They still let you in 5 minutes before departure.
Local Delights are Pepper/Chili Crab, and you find it at Jumbo Seafood restaurants, and also at Tung Lok Seafood at Orchard Central.
Dim sum is a must! Dim Sum is only eaten for breakfast or lunch. You can get it at Crystal Jade restaurants or at Tung Lok Seafood at Orchard Central. Jumbo Seafood has also dim sum. 126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi is an insider tip.
Try Laksa and Hainanese chicken rice. You can find these dishes everywhere.
Also, the East Coast Laguna food court is at a very nice location, right next to the beach.
Swimming in Singapore
Singapore does have beaches but there is no beach culture as there is in other countries, such as Australia, Brasil, Italy, etc. etc.
Most swimming is done in artificial pools, at hotels or leisure clubs.
The seawater in Singapore is clean, though. There are strict refuse controls on the many freight ships and tankers that you see when you are at the beach.
Just bring your swimsuit and try it out yourself. The beaches come with free freshwater showers and toilets.
Having a Reception in Singapore
There are myriads of small and good restaurants in Singapore.
They all accommodate between 30 and 60 guests. This is the ideal way to have a reception for a medium-size IP firm.
Costs for food start from SGD 30 per person, upwards.
Alcoholic drinks are expensive. One beer in a restaurant is about SGD 15. Maybe a bit less. A glass of wine costs the same. If you come to Singapore with a team, ask everyone to buy one bottle of Whisky/Cognac/Gin/Vodka after passing through immigration. That will help to reduce costs for drinks for your reception.
For Foodies. Recommended Restaurants in Singapore
I have made a survey among my friends and here is the outcome.
All this comes as of November 2019. Check out TripAdvisor before you decide where to eat!
Jack’s Place (local steak house chain with decent quality food & wines)
TungLok Seafood – Orchard Central
126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi – Geylang or Boon Keng
Don Lechon (Filipino food)
Chikuyotei餐厅 – InterContinental Singapore (Michelin star Japanese)
GO! K BBQ Amoy Street (Korean BBQ)
Zén (one of the most luxe)
Nouri (sui generis. You won’t find another restaurant like it anywhere in the world)
Cloudstreet (something unique and special)
Candlenut (perfect for visitors. Peranakan food in a great location)
Odette (one of the most luxe)
Shinji by Kanesaka for sushi
A stall named Aliff at Serangoon Garden Food Centre. Best nasi lemak in town
J22 at Amoy Street for curry puffs
Curate is good. Chef is German, and he does wonderful “modern German” tasting menus
Rendezvous, Nasi Padang, 6 Eu Tong Sen St, 02-72 to 75/77/92
Bismillah best Halal Briani Restaurant (just behind Tekka mall)
Imperial Treasure – very good Chinese, not expensive
Les Amis – Orchard Shaw Center
Coconut Club – Nasi Lemak