Local traditions and culture in Singapore

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

Most Viewed Local Customs in Singapore

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    Don't litter !!!

    by easterntrekker Written Jun 19, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    First-time offenders face a fine of up to S$1,000. For repeat offenders--it's a fine of up to S$2,000 and a Corrective Work Order (CWO). The CWO requires litterbugs to spend a few hours cleaning a public place, for example, picking up litter in a park. The litterbugs are made to wear bright jackets, and sometimes, the local media are invited to cover the public spectacle.
    Hummm. Better not to litter!!

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Backpacking
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Skylink's Profile Photo

    eat with a fork and spoon

    by Skylink Written Jun 19, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Consider eating with a fork in one hand and spoon in the other. Use the spoon to cut food. Use the fork to push food on to the spoon to eat. I think this way of eating originated in Malaysia but many Singaporean Chinese eat this way now.

    If you are eating noodles, chopsticks are more commonly used.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Skylink's Profile Photo

    Friendly people are common in Singapore

    by Skylink Updated Jun 19, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    That's why I call Singapore the happiest place on earth. Disneyland may be happier, but it's make believe. The friendly people of Singapore, who are not only friendly, but willing to help, is what people should remember Singapore for, not jokes about gum, caning, etc.

    Was this review helpful?

  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Have you eaten yet?

    by aukahkay Written Feb 16, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you stay long enough in Singapore and mingle with the local ethnic Chinese, you may be surprised if one day, you are asked by your friend or your colleague if you had taken your meal. Among the ethnic Chinese in Singapore, it is common to ask a colleague or friend whom you bumped into casually in the streets or in the corridor `Have you eaten yet?' regardless of the time of the day. In Mandarin, you say `Ni chi bao le ma?' which literally means `Have you eaten till you are full?' This custom of enquiring about the satiety status of another person is an age-old custom with origins in China. In rural China, food was scarce in the winter months and during prolonged drought or other natural calamities. The families of farming communities had to endure long periods of food shortage and sometimes hunger. It was therefore common to enquire whether your neighbour had taken a meal for the day.

    With greater affluence, urbanisation and movement of populations from rural to urban areas, starvation and hunger became less common. However, this custom remains till today and is also prevalent in countries with a Chinese majority like China and Taiwan.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • School Holidays

    Was this review helpful?

  • dcrubio's Profile Photo

    Peanuts, not for free!

    by dcrubio Written Aug 3, 2005

    My husband and I realized... that whenever we go out to eat at restaurants, peanuts, fried crackers, even wet towels will AUTOMATICALLY be served at your table... Naturally, you are hungry awaiting your order... you start munching on the "appetizers", and clean your hands with the towel... on with your meal... you ask for the "check"... upon checking the bill, you WILL see these items added... just to let you know... if you are not willing to pay for them, by all means, send them back! (just make sure at the end of the meal that your bill is correct) ;-)

    Was this review helpful?

  • JuraidahJ's Profile Photo

    Local Phrases / Lingo

    by JuraidahJ Written Jun 23, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Before arriving to Singapore, its good if you know some of our local phrases.

    You can also greet in our Malay or Chinese language to fellow Singaporeans.

    At the website, you can also find all the necessary telephone numbers in case of emergency.

    Was this review helpful?

  • JuraidahJ's Profile Photo

    Small Token

    by JuraidahJ Written Jun 16, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We practise bringing a small gift token when visiting someone at the comfort of their home.

    You don't have to buy anything expensive but a small gift/token will be appreciated a long way.

    It can be in form of food, household or anything that you think will be approperiate.

    However, please note that if you're visiting Muslim Family - no pork, wine or liquor. Hindus / Buddist - No beef. You may want to check all these before buying.

    Was this review helpful?

  • imstress's Profile Photo

    Our Pledge

    by imstress Written May 10, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Have u heard of the Singapore Pledge?
    Student will have to recite the pledge daily at the assembly.

    We even have a song with for our national pledge. Grab hold of a Singaporean and get them to sing for u.

    "We the citizens of Singapore
    Pledge ourselves as one united people,
    Regardless of race, language or religion,
    To build a democratic society
    Based on justice and equality
    So as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
    progress for our nation."


    Singapore Flag - red on top with 5 white star and a crescent with white on the bottom.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • vec's Profile Photo

    Fine for everything - almost

    by vec Written Apr 24, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Singapore is known as a country where you can get a fine for almost anything, like not flushing the toilet, being in possession of a chewing gum or not crossing the street on the right place. And it's signs everywhere reminding you about what to not do.

    If eating something in the subway, you might have to pay 500 SGD which is quite much(about 290 USD). But I was though suprised to see that it's just not allowed to bring the Singaporean favourite fruit Durian, it's at least no fine for bringing this smelly but tasty fruit.

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • Skylink's Profile Photo

    Little known organization that I know little about

    by Skylink Written Mar 3, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is a government sponsored organization called the SDU, which I think stands for Social Development Unit and not Single, Desparate, and Ugly. There is a similar organization in Singapore called the SDS, I think.

    I think it's a dating service, but I am not certain. There is no government sponsored organization like it that I am aware of in North America.

    Is it a local Singaporean custom not to mention the SDU and keep it a secret among locals? I wonder if the SDU is a good idea or a waste of public money (sometimes called "pork barrelled project" in the United States).

    Was this review helpful?

  • imstress's Profile Photo

    Thaipusam in Singapore

    by imstress Written Jan 24, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Thaipusam is a dramatic festival. It celebrates the day that the Goddess Parvathi gave her son Murugan the invincible vel (lance) to vanquish the evil asuras (demons) Soorpadman, Singamugam and Tarakasuran as well as their army of soldiers.

    Men pierced their bodies with spikes and metal hooks supporting heavy structures called kavadis decorated with peacock feathers and offerings.

    In a trance, they processed the four kilometres from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple in Tank Road. Women and children carried pots of symbolic milk.

    Related to:
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

  • yuet29's Profile Photo

    Different races..

    by yuet29 Written Nov 13, 2004

    There are different races in Singapore, chinese as majority, follow by malay and indian.

    According to the constitutional law in Singapore, followed British law, all people are guarantee for three fundamental right:
    1. equity
    2. freedom to choose own religion
    3. freedom of speech (you need to have special application for this, and a special location for you to speak, which the location is just beside a police kiosk)

    Thus, you can see temples, mosques and churches here..

    Was this review helpful?

  • yuet29's Profile Photo

    Signs..

    by yuet29 Written Nov 13, 2004

    Singapore is obedient, very systematic, and of course productive.. You can see signs everyway reminding you what to take note, what to do and what cannot be done etc..

    use the underpass, use handrail, watch out for your head, keep left, ect ect..

    Was this review helpful?

  • universalgypsy's Profile Photo

    Cleanliness

    by universalgypsy Written Oct 17, 2004

    As most might have heard, chewing gum is not welcomed into this country. As I am not a gum chewer this was not an issue. However, in little India there are even "no spitting" signs!! This did not stop my shoes from getting pelted with this forbidden bodily excrete. I did though, get a huge kick out of the sign! Have a laugh yourself....

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Umea6's Profile Photo

    As clean as it gets

    by Umea6 Written Jun 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    To say Singapore is clean is a minor statement. It is almost sterile :) When reading all the fines for different offences, please take them seriously, not just because of the fines, but to help keep the city clean.
    I have never in any of the cities I have visited so fas, seen so many cleaners maintaing the streets, litters, undergrounds ... so clean as in Singapore. They deserve a 5 out of 5 stars.

    Was this review helpful?

Singapore Hotels

See all 297 Hotels in Singapore

Latest Singapore Hotel Reviews

Penta Hotel
31 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 25, 2014
Madras Hotel Eminence
56 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 2, 2014
Inn At Temple Street
133 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 10, 2014
Hotel 81 Chinatown Singapore
74 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 14, 2014
Grand Park City Hall
817 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 13, 2014
The InnCrowd Hostel
105 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 16, 2014
Hotel 81-Bugis
75 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 15, 2014
Holiday Inn Atrium Singapore
1049 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 16, 2014
New Majestic Hotel
357 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 12, 2014
Hotel 1929
305 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 6, 2014
The Hive Backpackers Hostel
123 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 21, 2014
Ideal Backpackers Hostel
38 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 28, 2014
Fragrance Backpackers Hostel
2 Reviews & Opinions
Hotel Re!
387 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 16, 2014

Instant Answers: Singapore

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

84 travelers online now

Comments

Singapore Local Customs

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Singapore locals.
Map of Singapore