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Essential packing checklist for a trip to Singapore

Singapore is a modern city-state and island country with a tropical climate and a multicultural population. It has no true distinct seasons, but locals jokingly say that it has three seasons: hot when you are outside, wet when it rains, and cold when inside air-conditioned spaces.

If you are visiting Singapore for the first time and have no idea what to pack, here’s a simple guide of the essentials to bring for an enjoyable trip.

clothes

Clothes for warm weather

As Singapore has a tropical climate, you can safely leave your bulky winter wear at home. It’s usually hot and humid with temperature above 30ᵒC, so bring light, loose and ‘breathable’ clothing. Synthetic fabric that can dry quickly such as polyester tee shirt will serve you well. For ladies, pack skirts and dresses that are easy to move around in. A comfortable pair of jeans can work great, both for the outdoors or when you need to dress up for most restaurants around town.

footwear

Comfortable footwear

Singapore’s pretty small as countries go, so you can easily get around just by walking and hopping on public transportation. Unless you are planning a visit to upscale restaurants, a pair of slippers or sandals works at most of the places you are likely to visit – especially the beaches and parks. But for the most versatility, wear a pair of loafers or sneakers. You’ll be right at home at the bars, at the parks and in the shopping malls.

essential-packing

Sun protection

For those whose skin bake easily when outdoors, or if you are planning a day at the beach, bring shades, hats and sunblock. In Singapore, daylight lasts around 12 hours a day and it gets pretty hot in the late morning till mid-afternoon. If you plan to be out in direct sunlight for anything longer than 10 minutes, be safe – wear sun protection. Long sleeves are a good idea too. Or do like the locals – stay under shade most of the time.

rain

Pack for rain and cold

Rain in Singapore is a year-round occurrence; there is rainfall on almost half the days in a year. A foldable umbrella or a rain jacket in your day pack can help you move between rain shelters and move your itinerary along. And if you are planning visits to malls and many indoor locales, the jacket or a separate cardigan can double up as a heat layer. It will help keep you from freezing in the air-conditioned buildings, which can sometimes be too cold for comfort.

travel-adapter

Travel adapter

Singapore uses 220-240 Volts 50 Hz AC, and the most common power outlets are the three square prongs-type. Bring a power adapter for your phones, laptops and electronics so you can keep the juice up while travelling.

money

Money

While most bank cards are accepted at the major tourist spots, if you plan to visit the local hawkers and eateries, you’ll need to have Singapore dollars. If you don’t want to change it at home, there are money changers at Changi Airport. ATMs are available at many places too, though exchange rates are usually not as good as what you get with money changers. Singapore’s pretty safe so there’s no harm having more cash on hand, for that delicious local dish you really want to try.

sunscreen

Deodorant and wet wipes

You can get these easily at the supermarkets, Guardians, and Watsons all around Singapore. But for convenience, you may like to pack deodorant for when you’ll be hot and sweaty (all the time) and wet wipes for a quick clean before you tuck into your amazing haul of food (all the time).

drugs

Prohibited items

There are some items you should never bring into Singapore. Things such as chewing gum, firecrackers and drugs will get you into trouble at customs clearance, so check that you didn’t accidentally pack them along. Tobacco and alcohol are also taxable, so declare them accordingly. Check the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority website for the list of restricted and prohibited items.

app

Download Apps for Singapore

Some useful apps to help you get around:

  • Google Maps – you really just need the 6-digit postal code to locate the place you need to go.
  • Uber or Grab – both vehicle-share platforms can get you where you need to go. Grab is more popular in Southeast Asia these days but Uber is more global. Use the one that’s more familiar for you.
  • MyTransport Singapore – the official train and bus app by the Singapore government. Bus timings can help you plan your exit, from one dining locale to the next.
chicken-rice

Brush up on the best places for food

Food is considered one of Singapore’s national obsessions; some people will queue hours just for a bowl of the latest craze. As such, you will see food outlets and restaurants all over the country. Some places are even open 24 hours. While this is not exactly a pack-on item, you are well advised to research all the delicacies you’ll want to try and create a checklist so you can hunt them down in order. For some ideas, start here.

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