13 things to pack when visiting Singapore

A holiday in Singapore can be tricky to pack for. It’s a city break, a beach holiday, and a nature trip all wrapped into one hot humid bundle. For those travelling here, I’ve got some tips on what to bring: 

  1. Sunscreen – We’re only one degree north of the equator in Singapore, meaning we are closer to the sun. Enjoy it, but try to avoid the lobster look. To stop your skin from sizzling, bring sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.
  2. Face towel – The temperature here is always somewhere between 23ºC and 33ºC, all year, day or night. Match this to an average humidity of 84% and you know you’re going to sweat! Your eyebrows will be working overtime to keep sweat out of your eyes, so give them a helping hand by bringing a small towel along.
  3. Umbrella – It rains on average 178 days of the year in Singapore, and when it rains it pours! Being only 136 km from the equator, even a heavy downpour doesn’t bring the temperature down much, so brolly up, but stick to shorts and a t-shirt.

    A little rain doesn’t ruin the fun at the Botanic Gardens
  4. Lightweight clothes – You will NOT need a jumper, or, anything heavier than a shirt, trust me. I know for us Brits it is extremely unnerving not to chuck a couple of cardy’s in the luggage ‘just in case’, but you will not need them. The only place it gets on the chillier side is in the shopping malls – they love their high setting air-con here! You’ll find yourself dipping into one just to escape the heat sometimes.
  5. One or two nice outfits – You can easily eat for $3-5 per meal in the Hawker Centres, which are really casual (and delicious). But Singapore also has some world class restaurants and bars too which are not to be missed, so you’ll want to bring a couple of smart outfits ready for a classy bar or two.
  6. Comfortable shoes – With so much to explore in such a small area, you’ll find yourself doing a lot of walking. Think light and comfortable.

    Comfortable shoes are needed to explore Singapore’s fantastic parks and nature reserves
  7. Tote bag – As an avid recycler, I’m saddened by the number of plastic bags handed out in Singapore. According to Zero Waste SG, Singapore uses about 2.5 billion plastic bags per year, and only 15% of people bring their own re-usable bags. If you’re visiting, be kind to the Little Red Dot and bring your own canvas bag.
  8. Water bottle – Again, to avoid adding too much to the plastic waste, bring a bottle along that you can keep topped up with the cool sweet stuff – water. When you run out, I recommend getting a fresh lime juice from any drinks stand, it’s super refreshing and usually only about $1-$2.

    Wet market at the Tekka Centre, Little India
    The exotic wet market at the Tekka Centre, Little India
  9. Adaptor – Brits you’re in luck as they use our standard Type G 3-pin socket so all your electronics will work here. Others will need to bring an adaptor.
  10. Download Citymapper (citymapper.com) – This really is, as described, the ultimate transport app. It will help you find the best route to your destination, by public transport, foot or bike. My favourite feature is the ‘your stop is next’ notification for bus journeys.
  11. Pack of tissues – The local way at the Hawker Centres is to pick a seat before getting your food. Just pop a pack of tissues at your place to let others know you have reserved it. This way, when the Hawker is busy, you won’t spend ages searching for a seat as your yummy food cools in your hands. Plus, ALL the food here is messy, so tissues will be handy after some enthusiastic noodle slurping!

    The delicious, but splashy, Laksa from 328 Katong Laksa
  12. A sense of adventure – There is so much more to see on this island than just the main tourist sites. If you’re prepared to go off the beaten track, you’ll be rewarded with delicious and cheap food, amazing heritage and an extremely varied culture.
  13. Language – English (Singlish) is the primary language in Singapore, but the majority of Singaporeans are multilingual, speaking Malay, Chinese and/or Tamil.  Try and learn some basics (hello, thank you) in Mandarin and Malay.

Have I forgotten anything? Add your own tips below as a comment.

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