When a Malaysian says they are going to Singapore for a holiday, the first thing anyone would ask is, “For what? What are you gonna do there?”.
Then, they go on and rant about how there isn’t anything interesting on the island and that everything there is super expensive. All thanks to the terrible exchange rate between the Singapore Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit.
However, just because people complain about these things, it does not mean we shouldn’t explore the country anyways!
Like any country, there are definitely many things you need to know before heading there, just so you can make the most out of your trip. Check out some of these pro tips so you can better plan your holiday in Singapore!
1. The ‘EZ Link’ card is the Singaporean Touch N’ Go
Just like how Malaysians use Touch N’ Go for public transportation, Singaporeans have their version of this card too, which is the EZ Link card.
You can purchase the card at any 7-Eleven store or at most MRT stations and Translink Ticket Offices.
2. The disposable train ticket is reusable for a MONTH
If you don’t want to get the EZ Link card because you don’t plan on visiting Singapore that frequently in the future, there’s another option for their train tickets. They are actually reusable for 30 days but with a limit of 6 uses!
It is still pretty good as all you need to do is top up the card like you would with the EZ Link card. You can easily purchase these standard tickets at the ticket machines located at any train station.
3. Buses won’t return change to you, so you need to pay the exact amount
If you aren’t using the EZ Link card while traveling on bus, then you have to pay by cash. Unfortunately, the buses don’t return any balance to you, so you have to pay the exact amount. If you pay more then gg lor…
Also, no bus stations, stops or even buses themselves provide a chart of the cost of your fare. So, you have to use this Fare Calculator to know how much to pay.
Well, at least their buses are super efficient and on time!
4. You can get short-term prepaid sim cards at any convenience store
In Malaysia, we can get prepaid cards like Hotlink and so forth for short- to long-term usage. It’s not any different in Singapore when it comes to their own telcos, too.
Okay, so that is not such a big deal, but some of these companies even offer amazing deals like free 100GB for 3 days! You can easily get these prepaid cards at any convenience store, so you don’t have to search far and wide for them.
Also, the top-up system there is a little bit different. Instead of giving scratch cards, we must key in our Singapore phone number directly into the system, which will allow your sim cards to be credited.
5. Leaving bags unattended in public places will cause you to be charged in court
Singapore takes public peace and safety very seriously, and bomb scares aren’t something they will simply overlook. A Chinese man left his baggage unattended at a station and the station was closed down for several hours.
Police swept into the station to see if it could have possibly been a bomb. The man was later charged in court for causing public annoyance.
Pretty drama, sia!
6. The ‘chope’ system
Singaporeans use ordinary everyday items to reserve tables at hawker centres, which they call ‘chope‘, meaning to book a spot. So, if you see certain items on a table or even the chairs, then don’t take up the seat because someone else has ‘reserved’ it.
The usual suspects include tissue paper packets and umbrellas. However, some people have even gone as far as placing their jacket, glasses, lanyard, and name card.
Just look for another seat, else, you might end up like the poor old uncle who was bullied by a couple for ‘stealing’ their seat.
7. Most of the malls along Orchard Road are connected
If you ever go to any of the shopping malls in Orchard road, don’t be too surprised if you’re suddenly in a completely different mall.
This is because every mall is connected by an underground passageway. Sometimes one may not realise that they’ve stepped into another building because they all look quite similar too.
8. Singaporeans mostly speak English, Mandarin and Hokkien
First of all, yes, Singapore’s national language is indeed Bahasa Melayu. However, a majority of them actually don’t know the language at all!
All Singaporeans are able to communicate in English and seeing as a larger group of their citizens are of Chinese descent, most of them are able to speak Mandarin as well.
In fact, Singapore’s proficiency in Mandarin is actually the highest among all ASEAN countries.
Hokkien, on the other hand, is one of the Chinese’s many dialects. Since a large portion of Singaporeans are Hokkien, most of the Chinese (and even non-Chinese) community can also converse in this dialect.
As a matter of fact, Singlish, a mix of Singaporean slang with English, incorporates a lot of Hokkien words.
So, if you go up to a non-Malay Singaporean and start speaking in Bahasa Melayu to them, they might not have a single clue of what you are saying.
Now that you know some of these things, it’s best to remember them while you’re over there. You do not want to piss any Singaporeans off and you definitely don’t want to feel wronged when the bus driver doesn’t give you change. Happy travels!
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