Singapore travel guide: what you need to do

Visas, vaccinations, phone, internet, power, money, travel insurance, handy apps and more.

Singapore planning and preparation

Where to get the best cash rates, phone rates, phone apps for maps and currency conversions, and how to get free Wi-Fi all over Singapore – download the Singapore travel guide.

Visas and passports

Australian passport holders do not need a visa to visit Singapore, provided they:

  • have a passport with at least six months' validity from your entry date
  • have a return or onward ticket
  • have the correct visa for their onward destination (if applicable)
  • have sufficient funds for their stay in Singapore.

Visa rules may change. For up-to-date information check with the Singapore High Commission:


Vaccinations aren't essential for travel to Singapore, but you may need them, depending on your health status and your travel plans. The Travel Doctor recommends you make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date, and that you consider shots for typhoid, hepatitis A and B, and Japanese encephalitis. See their Singapore health planner for more information or speak to your doctor.

If you are entering Singapore from a country with high risk of yellow fever (Australia is not a high risk country) you must provide proof that you've been vaccinated.

Some bats in Singapore carry rabies but the virus hasn't spread to dogs and cats, so unless you're planning on coming into close contact with bats, you shouldn't need a rabies shot.

Tip: Some vaccinations need to be given four to six weeks before departure, so get in early.

Phone and internet

Global roaming and coverage

Singapore has great mobile phone coverage and your Australian mobile phone should work well on the country's extensive GSM network. If you plan on using your phone a lot, especially if you'll be using data, be prepared for some big bills. Check global roaming rates with your telco :

Tip: Switch off data roaming on your phone before you leave Australia. Likewise, switch off your voicemail and ask friends and family to text you rather than calling (you'll be charged if you answer incoming calls).

Local SIM

A pre-paid Singaporean SIM card will save you money on calls and data. The country has three main telcos: Singtel, M1 and StarHub, all of which operate on the GSM network and will be compatible with your Australian handset as long as it's unlocked. You can buy SIM cards from Singaporean phone stores, post offices or convenience stores.

At Changi Airport, you'll find an M1 store in Terminal 3, or you can buy a SIM from one of the money changers. You'll need to register your SIM using your passport as ID, the easiest way to do this is at a phone store where staff can help you.

You can top up your credit online, through an ATM, or with vouchers from convenience or phone stores.

Travel SIM

If you'd prefer to be organised before you go, a pre-paid travel SIM is an easy option, though the rates probably won't be as cheap as with a local SIM. Travel SIMs are available online and from some travel agents and post offices. Check that the SIM you're buying has coverage for Singapore.

Remember: Your phone will need to be unlocked to accept a SIM from another network.

Beat global roaming bill shock – our guide to unlocking your phone and changing your global roaming settings.


You'll find free Wi-Fi almost everywhere in Singapore through the Wireless@SG program run by the government and the country's three telcos, but you'll need a Singaporean phone number to register and access it.

Almost all hotels offer free or paid Wi-Fi, and some cafes also serve as hot-spots.

Tip: Always ask permission before connecting to a network. Under Singaporean law, helping yourself to Wi-Fi is considered computer hacking.

The Singaporean government restricts access to some online content, including pornographic and media pirating sites.

Power plugs

Standard voltage: 230V

Frequency: 50Hz

Singapore's voltage and frequency is the same as Australia's, so you can use your Australian appliances without fear of frying them.

Power sockets:

Singapore's power sockets and plugs are different to Australia's, so you'll need an adapter.


Currency: Singapore dollar ($SGD)

Check for the latest exchange rates.

Important: Tell your bank about your travel plans two weeks before you leave. Card activity in a foreign country could be mistaken for fraud and you could find your account frozen.

ATMs are widespread in Singapore and you'll rarely have trouble finding one. Remember, you'll pay a transaction fee and a conversion fee every time you use your Australian card.

Tip: Citibank and ANZ operate in Singapore, so Australian customers can save on some fees by using their ATMs. You'll still pay more than you would in Australia, though, thanks to conversion fees.

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, including hotels, shops and restaurants, but a minimum spend of $20 often applies. Most taxis accept credit cards, but charge a hefty 10% fee. Remember, you'll be charged higher rates by your bank for using your Australian credit card overseas.

Money changers can be found at Changi Airport, in hotels, shopping malls and in popular tourist areas like Orchard Road and Little India. It's better to change most of your money once you're in Singapore, rather than in Australia, as Singaporean money changers don't charge commission (but will obviously make money from their choice of exchange rate). You're unlikely to get the best rates at the airport or in hotels.

Travellers' cheques aren't widely used these days, but you'll still find some places in Singapore that will cash them. You'll often get a better rate with money changers than with banks or hotels, since the money changers don't charge commission.

Travel money cards can be pre-loaded with foreign currency and cancelled at any time, giving you the security of travellers' cheques with the versatility of a debit or credit card. Read our article on travel money cards to find out if they could save you money on your trip.

Tip: Carry at least two cards and more than one cash currency (Australian and Singaporean). Split your money and cards between separate bags. That way if you lose one, you have a back-up.

For more advice on overseas spending see our travel money guide.

Sales tax of 7% is included in the price of most goods and services. Tourists can claim a GST refund on some purchases over $SGD100 when they leave the country.

Tipping is not necessary, but it is appreciated. Some restaurants add a service charge to the bill - but this is not a tip for the service staff. Even if you leave money on the table the restaurant owner may pocket it, so make sure you hand your tip directly to the staff member.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is essential, even when you're travelling to a relatively safe country like Singapore. Buy insurance at the same time as you book your trip, that way you'll be covered if you have to cancel for some reason before you go.

For more information read our buying guide and to choose the best cover, see CHOICE's travel insurance reviews and comparisons.

Check with your insurer about exclusions that may affect you, including sports and pre-existing medical conditions.

Be aware that anything that happens to you while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unlikely to be covered by insurance.


  • Keep a print-out of your travel insurance details with you at all times while on your trip.
  • Share your insurance details with family or friends before you leave.

Handy links and apps

Consider adding these links and apps to your phone, tablet or laptop before you go.

  • Travel apps such as Triposo and City Guides (Apple/Android) include maps and info about popular destinations in Singapore.
  • GrabTaxi is Singapore's most popular taxi-booking app.
  • gothere helps you plan how to get from A to B on public transport.
  • lists their favourite free iPhone apps for Singapore's events, restaurants, shopping malls and airport.
  • Currency conversion apps help you work out costs in Australian dollars.

Tip: Wherever possible, choose apps that work offline so they won't chew up your mobile data or stop working when you're not connected to the internet.

Tip: To save a map onto your mobile device for offline use, select the area on Google Maps then select 'Save offline map' from the menu and follow the directions on the screen. Your GPS positioning will still work on the saved map, even when you don't have access to the internet. Alternatively, go to 'Offline maps' in the menu and select a city.

Got a travel tip about Singapore? Or spotted something in our guide that needs updating? Add a comment below.

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