Singapore Local Customs

  • Changi Airport
    Changi Airport
    by balhannah
  • Changi Airport
    Changi Airport
    by balhannah
  • Changi Airport
    Changi Airport
    by balhannah

Singapore Local Customs

  • Singlish

    Singapore Local Customs

    Singlish, quite literally, means Singapore English-- a unique blend of the languages and dialects of the diverse ethnic groups residing here. Most Singaporeans are actually capable of speaking proper English, but do not do so on a daily basis out of habbit. We do try to leave out the singlish punctuations when speaking to tourists, also known as...

    more
  • HDB Housing

    Singapore Local Customs

    Most of the HDB estates have shops at ground floor level selling day to day items that you may need for around the home. They sell a large varietyof things like foods and drinks, alcoholic beverages, kitchen and bathroom needs plus personal toiletry items.

    more
  • Souvenirs

    Singapore Local Customs

    Since Singapore is a Souvenir Shopper Paradise, Iget to choose on a variety of Shot glasses here since the shot glasses are another of my favorite collector fetishes when going to a place and since I did not buy a souvenir item the last time I was here in 1999, I must buy several never mind the price (I'm not a cheapskate hehehe). You can buy shot...

    more
  • Ramadhan

    Singapore Local Customs

    Geylang is a must to visit if you are in Singapore during Ramadhan. The whole stretch of road will be converted into a sea of humans, lights and FOOD galore, almost throughout the whole month!!! This is where the locals, especially the Malays, go to get almost everything that they need for their Aidilfitri (Eid) preparations. You see, the custom...

    more
  • Chinese Influence

    Singapore Local Customs

    The Chinese funeral ceremony and the procession of the dead depends upon the financial resources of the family. The burial of the dead is a very serious matter to the Chinese, they believe that improper funeral arrangements will cause bad fortune. Special clothing must be worn by the family members of the deceased. The children and daughters-in-law...

    more
  • Chinese New Year

    Singapore Local Customs

    The lunar new year, a.k.a. Chinese year is one of the biggest holidays in Singapore. The holiday starts with the lunar new year's eve. Offices usually close at 12 or 2pm. Singaporean buddhists -go home and meet up with family for their reunion dinners. The lunar new year is quite festive. Chinatown is super crowded. It usually is very busy a few...

    more
  • Henna Tattoos - Mehndi

    Singapore Local Customs

    Hennat Tatoo or Mehendi is an ancient ritual and a form of art dated back 5,000 years ago. It is considered good luck in India, Middle East and North Africa. No Indian wedding is ever complete without Henna Tatoo. The crush henna leaves combined with teas and herbs are made into a cooling paste used to creat contemporary designs and exotic...

    more
  • Christmas Season

    Singapore Local Customs

    Late November to December is a great time to visit Singapore. They do a very impressive light display. I was really suprised how much money, time and decorations they put into making Orchard Road look Christmasy. At the tanglin mall they have a display that spits out fake snow. Well it's really soap. But when it's flying in the air, it looks...

    more
  • Weather

    Singapore Local Customs

    Singapore is very near the Equator, surrounded by water and HUMID all year round. Plan accordingly. Wear cool comfortable clothes and stop into air conditioned hotels or shops from time to time to keep cool. Or you will look like this guy!

    more
  • National Day

    Singapore Local Customs

    Singapore celebrated its first National Day in 1966 one year after independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. The National Day Parade 2008 (NDP 2008) was held at the Marina Bay Floating Stadium and it was the second time that the event was held in the Marina Bay area. The National Day Parade has over the years since indepence become the biggest...

    more
  • Durian

    Singapore Local Customs

    Often and much you will listen of how is a Durian Fruit. Much people like it. In Singapore is in the Bugis market area a Durian seller, where you can see how to manage to open this tropical fruit- good place to test it! It is said in restaurants is not usual to offer this tropical durian. See the photo!

    more
  • Indian Influence

    Singapore Local Customs

    the Naan bread is a northern Indian food flat bread cooked in a tandoori oven that became popular in Singapore and Malaysia due to the influx of Indian Immigrants and is now available everywhere and one of my all time favorite breads ever. The typical naan bread recipe involves mixing white flour with salt, a yeast culture, and enough yogurt to...

    more
  • Remove shoes

    Singapore Local Customs

    If you have the chance to visit local residence, one thing you must remember is to take off all footware before entering. Regardless of which race or religion, it is a practise of taking out footware.

    more
  • Deepavali

    Singapore Local Customs

    Deepavali also known as Festival of Lights is celebrated by the Hindus on 1 Nov 2005. It is a celebration of good triumph over evil. Temples in Little India and the streets are decorated with lights, tinsel and garlands. Head down to Little India to take in the atmosphere. Have henna drawn on your hands or have a taste of the goodies and tibits.

    more
  • Auntie and uncle

    I heard people saying auntie or uncle to address someone older than you but not related to you. It's like this is their way of being polite to a stranger.So the following will be the usual phrases a traveler..Uncle ( cab driver) take me to Marina bayAuntie(noodle vendor) how much ?

    more
  • Singlish

    You will encounter lots of Signage or phrases that sometimes you can't understand easily.Take away - To go or take outEat here - Dine inYou will encounter this when you are buying your food from a food chain. I read an advertisement saying " Take away noodles won't soften"No money - sometimes means no load or credit left from a prepaid...

    more
  • Lantern Festival

    Lantern Festival (also called as mooncake festival or mid-autumn festival) is a chinese traditional festival. On the night of the festival, decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts, historical figures, and any one of a number of different themes are carried by children or adorn temples. At Singapore Chinese Garden, there is an special event to...

    more
  • Peanut tapping at Raffles

    Yes I agree with Lynne.Try and be in the longbar when they have peanut tapping--it is so much fun drinking singspore slings--shelling fresh peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor--when people walk on them it sounds fantastic.The crushed shells are then used as mulch on the beautiful gardens at Raffles.Also check out the marble staircases in...

    more
  • Haircut in 10 minutes

    The dynamic atmosphere of Singapore makes time even more valuable each day. You can find barber shops doing haircut in 10 minutes for 10 SGD. There are many outlets all around Singapore. QB House and EC House are two main haircut saloons having many branches.

    more
  • Local cuisine

    Since visiting Singapore I have fallen in love with Nonya food. This is a term used to describe the delightful fusion of Chinese, Malay and other Southeast Asian flavours and cooking styles. My personal favourite is Mee Siam (spicy tangy noodles), but other outstanding dishes are Laksa Lemak (rice noodles in coconut gravy), Nonya Mee (nonya...

    more
  • Tissue paper scare crow...

    Yes, in eating places, especially around CBD, tissue paper put on tables or chairs can act as a scare crow or should I say scare people from taking the place.It's a common thing in Singapore as most offices have similar lunch time (around 12-2pm) and there is simply not enough seats in hawker centres to cover for everyone during those 2 hours.Some...

    more
  • Getting by in Singapore

    Today's Economist, dated 3 june 2008, had an article on the etiquette of singaporeans and the cultural peculiarities of this Asian island.you can read it at:http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2008/05/continuing_our_weekly_series_o.cfm?Fsrc=glvrnwlThe comments following the articles are also entertaining..

    more
  • Feng Shui is very important

    Singapore's population is approximately 75% ethnic Chinese, and therefore many traditional Chinese customs and philsophies are observed in Singapore. Feng Shui is the concept of being in harmony with one's environment, and it is applied on both micro (e.g. decorating one's home) and macro (e.g. city planning) scales. Examples of Feng Shui can be...

    more
  • Lion Dance during Chinese New Year

    During the Chinese Lunar New Year (January/February), you can see traditional lion dance performances taking place throughout Singapore. Many different dance troupes can be seen (or more usually heard) driving around the city in the backs of lorries, banging loudly on drums and cymbals. Local businesses hire a team to stop in front of their shop...

    more
  • Watch your back during lunch...

    Especially in CBD hawker centres, there might be someone behind with a bowl of ban mian or laksa waiting for you to move your ass out from the table.In relation to the above post about tissue paper scare crow, this is yet another CBD lunch hour custom.Yep, people will wait beside or behind you, stare at you (especially when your plate is somewhere...

    more
  • Thaipusam - a Hindu festival

    While I was in Singapore it was the annual Thaipusam festival. An odd festival where the local hindu people walk around the city with the men carrying odd cerimonial shrines.

    more
  • A fine country...

    That can means 2 things:1. Singapore, reputed to be the cleanest country in the world2. The amazing number of rules and regulation telling you what you should and shouldn't do and how much they will be fined if they break the rules.There's fine for littering, jaywalking, spitting, smoking in public places and also S$500 fine for not flushing public...

    more
  • To queue or not to queue...

    People here likes free stuff (local term for it is 'kiasu'), and luckily there are lots of freebies here, we have free newspaper, free tissue, free food, free drink, etc.And like everywhere in Singapore, people queue (well except when boarding trains and sometime buses...) for freebies too.But the funny part is, sometimes when you ask the people...

    more
  • Which side of the escalator...

    Life's moving fast here in Singapore, even when on escalator.It's a custom here that if you want to relax, take your own sweet time and let the escalator bring you to your destination, you might want to stand on the left side of the escalator.And for those who want to rush somewhere or trying to catch the MRT can walk on the right side of the...

    more
  • Cats without tails

    What comes to your mind if you see a cat without a tail? You would probably think that the cat has been tortured by a child and the tail has been cut. That was exactly what I thought until I figured out that there were lots of cats in Singapore in this condition. It was hard to imagine that any human could torture these pretty animals and cut their...

    more
  • Singaporeans love Seasonal Festivals

    Now for a country with no seasons at all, Singapore celebrate season festivals with a vengence. Undeterred by the fact that it only rains or shine over here , Singaporeans will buy pussy willows during the Spring festival, buy real, yes, real Christmas trees that wilt in our tropical heat in no time at all during the Yuletide season and lanterns...

    more
  • Hawkers

    Singaporeans mostly prefer eating their food from hawkers which can be described as food stalls gathered in one location. When you go to a hawker, you can choose from a wide variety of food. The prices are very cheap in hawkers. With 5 to 10 SGD, you can have a feast. The food stalls may not look so clean, but they are regularly checked and rated....

    more
  • Walking slow

    Singaporeans tend to walk slow. Sometimes you feel frustrated by a person blocking your way and moving like a snail. However, this is the general rule here. Even sometimes, you will find some locals standing in front of escalators. Gently push and move forward :)

    more
  • How Singaporeans Maximize value for...

    It’s common sight to see Singaporean teenagers spending hours in outlets like Starbucks on a single drink, leaving just a bit in the glass all afternoon. This is well accepted in Singapore – and I was doing about the same on Saturday nights when I was a teenager with little money.Usually when one growes up, this behaviour changes a little bit. But...

    more
  • Open / close doors in Elevators

    I have not seen any culture besides the Singaporean where people so tenaciously operate open/close doors buttons in elevators. Suppose you get into a crowded Singaporean lift making multiple stops and you are standing at the control panel. The lift makes its first stop, people disembark and you wait until the lift starts moving again for its second...

    more
  • Singapore regularly covered with...

    One of the most mind boggling discoveries at my first arrival in Singapore was the pest control that is conducted on such a large scale. When you see it going on you may think a whole 10 storey building is on fire, but no - it is just pest control...Every month of even more frequent, much of Singapore is sprayed with a thick layer of poisonous...

    more
  • Singapore: World's fastest pedestrians

    Singaporeans are timed with the fastest average walking pace amongst 32 major cities around the world. Take a seat on a terrace at Orchard Road and have a look!Another first for Singapore: Fastest walkers in the world...Singapore left 34 other cities .... in its wake as the "fastest-moving city". Landing the title of the world's fastest walkers,...

    more
  • Obsessive clearing of tables

    I noticed that in many Singaporean restaurants, waiters are rushing to clear the table.Suppose you're bringing the last piece of salmon steak to your mouth and while you're still enjoying the food, a waiter rushes to your table to take the plate away. They do that even if there's somenone else on your table that is still eating.In the beginning I...

    more
  • Aunties & Uncles

    If you're ordering food at any of the food stalls, or if you're taking the public bus or taxis, we call those who are serving us Aunty or Uncle. This is a way of respect for these workers who might be a generation older than us. Generally, the term Aunty and Uncle are used in a more informal setting. We generally do not use these term of endearment...

    more
  • Durian

    My Singaporean friends took great delight in tempting me with the Singaporean delicacy - DURIAN.Durian, is a very very very smelly fruit that apparently tastes nice. I couldn't bring myself to try the stuff (which can comes fresh, dried or even as an ice-cream flavour). Will you?

    more
  • THE FLAG

    The national flag of Singapore was first unveiled on 3 December 1959 – before Independence. The State Crest and the National Anthem were also introduced at the installation of the new Head of State, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara. When Singapore was granted full Independence from Britain in 1965, these symbols were already in place.The flag consists of...

    more
  • Tipping

    Restaurants - generally, tipping is not expected since a service charge is normally added to the total of the bill. (10-16% last I was there) You can check your bill and add more if you feel necessary. Taxis - no tip is necessary. Singapore is the only country where i've encountered taxi drivers who've actually rounded down my total fare. I believe...

    more
  • Ships and harbour

    One of the main reasons why Singapore is so successful today is because of its harbour, which is one of the busiest and most efficient in the world. This is also thanks to Singapore being in a very important maritime cross-road between the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. The main harbour areas are mainly located in the south of the island, and...

    more
  • Thaipusam Tamil Hindu festival

    Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community. Thai refers to the Tamil month of Thai in January and February. Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival honors Subrahmanya (known also as Murugan) the Son of Siva and Parvati who defeated a demon with a spear. The devotees walk...

    more
  • Unique Architecture

    The Pintupagar which are the wooden louvered window shutters are from the Malay influence which were used for privacy but also to let the breezes through. The British Colonial era contributed the neo-classical Georgian window along with the art deco designs. The Chinese bring in the more traditional designs and mythological characters such as...

    more

Singapore Hotels

See all 302 Hotels in Singapore

Top Singapore Hotels

Jurong Town Hotels
See nearby hotels
Boon Lay Hotels
See nearby hotels
Punggol Hotels
11 Reviews - 59 Photos
Bukit Batok Town Park Hotels
6 Reviews - 33 Photos
Woodlands New Town Hotels
5 Reviews - 7 Photos
Kampong Pasir Ris Hotels
See nearby hotels
Jalan Kayu Hotels
See nearby hotels
Serangoon Hotels
52 Reviews - 114 Photos
Changi Beach Park Hotels
25 Reviews - 89 Photos
Kent Ridge Park Hotels
28 Reviews - 151 Photos
Ulu Bedok Village Hotels
See nearby hotels
Pulau Ubin Hotels
231 Reviews - 575 Photos
Pulau Tekong Hotels
6 Reviews - 11 Photos
Seletar Hotels
15 Reviews - 53 Photos
Tanglin Halt Hotels
15 Reviews - 66 Photos

Instant Answers: Singapore

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

89 travelers online now

Comments

Singapore Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Singapore local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Singapore sightseeing.
Map of Singapore