What do I need to prepare before visiting Singapore? Visa, SIM cards, power plugs, getting around, and all the related expenses. Read on for all these essential information.
The Necessary Documents for Entering Singapore
Consists of 3 important documents:
• SG Arrival Card (SGAC)
• Visa, currently only a few countries require a visa to enter Singapore.
Passport with more than 6 months remaining validity.
The safest way to calculate is to count the passport’s remaining validity from the date of departure from Singapore, NOT from the day of arrival.
SG Arrival Card (SGAC)
Complete the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) within 3 days before you arrive in Singapore.
For example, if you will be arriving on October 30th, you should fill out this document on October 28th.
The system will not allow the advance completion of your information longer than 3 days.
Required information that will be used for completing the SG Arrival Card (SGAC)
• Passport number
• Airline and flight number
• Name of the hotel that you will be residing in (if available)
• International Vaccination Certificate, whereby the Covid-19 vaccines received must be certified by WHO-EUL*
If everything is in order, you will be receiving your SG Arrival Card (SGAC) via email.
*Covid-19 Vaccines certified by WHO-EUL consist of:
Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and AstraZeneca. Other WHO-EUL-certified vaccines not mentioned, can be found here.
Singapore is an easy country to visit and there are just a handful of countries that require a visa.
You can check the list of countries that require a visa to enter Singapore on the ICA (The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority) website.
If your country is not listed, then you only need to have a valid passport to enter.
Items That Are Prohibited from Singapore
Before visiting Singapore, please ensure you don’t have any prohibited items with you.
Common items that are considered illegal in Singapore include chewing gum (except for medical purposes), tobacco (for chewing), e-cigarettes, firecrackers, and pistol-shaped lighters.
SIM Cards in Singapore
We purchased a SIM card from Klook before traveling and picked it up in Singapore.
It’s inexpensive and valid for 10 days, with a generous 100 GB of data, which is more than enough for general use.
Picking Up Your SIM Card
Klook has multiple SIM card pickup locations to choose from. All you need to do is just show up at the specified location and show the QR Code to pick up your SIM card.
For example, I picked up mine at Changi Airport Terminal 3. The pick-up point is at the UOB currency exchange counter.
We have a few suggestions to make it even easier.
As Klook requires internet access for loading the QR code and the internet at Changi Airport was quite intermittent. It took me some time before I could successfully load the QR Code.
Therefore, after purchasing the SIM on Klook, I suggest that you screen capture* the QR code so that you don’t have to rely on an internet connection.
*Screen capture methods on each phone model may vary.
Power Outlets in Singapore
Singapore mainly uses the Type-G plug types.
We stayed in two hotels in Singapore: namely The Seacare Hotel, a 4-star hotel, and the Hotel 81 Orchid, which is a budget hotel. Both accommodations have outlets that accept Type A, B, C, and O plugs.
But it’s a good idea to at least carry one converter with you.
Getting Around Singapore
Singapore has two main types of public transport options: MRT (subway) and buses.
We can use Google Maps to help us navigate both the MRT and the bus and found it considerably reliable.
However, sometimes if we have to navigate from our current location to our destination, it will take us on a detour especially when traveling by bus.
The most efficient way to use Google Maps to navigate more accurately is to start from the station or bus stop that we are supposed to take and let it lead the way to the station or bus stop that we will be getting off.
Paying for the MRT (subway) and bus fares
Payments for the MRT must be made through the use of contactless payment options only, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other supported cards.
Although we can still pay for the bus fare with cash, but the price is higher and there is no change. So, it’s much better to use a card.
And the easiest card payment option for tourists is the EZ Link.
Where can you purchase an EZ Link card?
There is an EZ Link counter at the entrance of the airport subway station. You can’t miss it as there is only one way to enter the network ^^
The card is SGD 10, which is SGD 5 for the card, and another SGD 5 worth of credit.
Topping up the EZ Link card
However, the most convenient way is to use a top-up kiosk which is available at every MRT station.
Returning an EZ Link card
Cards can be returned at the Passenger Service that is available at most MRT stations and TransitLink Ticket Offices. The most convenient location for travelers is the counter at Changi Airport.
Upon returning the card, we will be refunded the remaining credit but not the card fee.
Singapore Tourist Pass vs. EZ Link
The Singapore Tourist Pass is a special EZ Link card that allows unlimited use of the MRT and buses within 1, 2, or 3 days. It’s perfect for visitors who intend to take multiple buses or MRT rides.
I think that the normal EZ Link is more worth it, as I don’t intend to take many mass transit trips.
There are several options for the Singapore Tourist Pass. If you’re interested, you can check out the details here.
Which is better; EZ Link vs. SimplyGo EZ Link?
SimplyGo is a new payment system that replaces card top-ups with topping up an account. You can upgrade your EZ Link to a SimplyGo EZ Link account at any top-up kiosk.
For example, for the original EZ Link, we are required to top up the card. However, if the card is lost or misplaced, we will also lose the credit.
As for the EZ Link SimplyGo, we would be required to add funds to an account. If the card is lost, the topped-up money would still be available, and you also have the option of suspending the use of the lost card.
Additionally, top-ups can be made via the app at any time without having to queue up at the top-up kiosk.
However, I think SimplyGo is more suitable for visitors who intend to stay in Singapore for a longer period of time.
Because I don’t want to link my bank account to SimplyGo and having it debited by the foreign app.
I also think that after the trip is over, just simply return the EZ Link card and purchase a new card on future trips are less complicated.
Expenses while in Singapore
Listed below is a summary of the expenses while in Singapore, excluding entrance fees to various attractions and airfare.
• Accommodation in a shared room (Dormitory), approximately SGD 25 per night per person.
• Budget accommodation with ensuite bathroom, about SGD 70 per night per room (for 2 persons).
• Standard accommodation with ensuite bathroom, about SGD 135 per night per room (for 2 persons).
• Meals at food courts are about SGD 5 per dish.
• Food prices at restaurants are about SGD 15 per dish.
• Approximately SGD 2 per bottle of drinking water.
• Public transport costs about SGD 1 per trip.
As you can see, food and travel expenses in Singapore are not that expensive.
Plus, if you want to save more, you can still dine on soy milk or bakery items which are priced at about SGD 2 per piece, instead of a full dinner.
The cost that took most of the budget was the accommodation, especially in locations in the city center.
We think that it will be more economical to find a place to stay outside the city, which is located near bus stops or MRT stations, and then take mass transportation into the city.
You May Be Interested In
• Cable Car Sky Dining Singapore
• 30+ Singapore Street Food
• 19 Top Tourist Attractions in Singapore
• Hotel 81 Orchid Singapore, Affordable Accommodations in Geylang
• The Seacare Hotel Singapore, a 4-Star Accommodation Near Chinatown
BearDuck, is a game designer and illustrator, who started out on a daring journey, interested in mindfulness, self-improvement, and street food. It currently has over 160,000 followers on Facebook.