Skip to Main Content
SMU Libraries

Understanding Singapore: Home

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on Singapore.

At A Glance


The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries ( ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.

This video gives a brief introduction and the top things to do while you are in Singapore.


Learn more about Singapore's history through this educational video.



These videos introduce places and food you should explore when in Singapore.

Need To Know

This section helps prepare an individual before visiting Singapore, such as learning the cultural etiquette, basic conversational phrases, and even some useful local contact numbers.

Cultural Dos and Don’ts

Singapore has its own customs, traditions, and rules for manners. Observe the following etiquette for a great experience:

  • Do dress for the weather. Singapore's tropical climate and warm temperatures range from 24 (rarely) to 35 degrees at most. Slap on  sunscreen, put on a hat and a pair of sunglasses, and you're ready to go. An umbrella comes in handy too, just in case it rains.
  • Don't litter. Avoid tossing your rubbish anywhere and everywhere. There are bins in every nook and cranny of the city for you to throw them in. Littering can get you in trouble and you may be fined from $300 up to $1,000.
  • Do stand on the correct side. Standing on the left side of the escalator and walking up the steps on the right side. Strolling on walking paths and not the ones with the yellow bicycle signs.
  • Do mind your manners. Say 'please', 'thank you', 'sorry' and 'excuse me'. When it comes to volume, try not to shout when talking, and for crying out loud, don't spit in public.
  • Don't even think about tipping. Ask for the bill and you'll find a fine print that says 'GST' (goods and services tax), as well as 'service charge' which is basically synonymous with tipping.
  • Don't jaywalk on roads. Stick to the traffic lights and only walk when the green man lights up. Crossing the road during a red light is not only risky, but it may cause you a fine from $20 to $1,000.

Basic Conversational Language

Some phrases in English that are handy to know when visiting Singapore.

  • Hello
  • Goodbye
  • How are you doing?
  • Thank you
  • Where is…?
  • Please to meet you
  • How much is this?

Phone Apps

    Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game. Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. The more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
    The only way to become fluent in a new language is to speak it. Tandem is geared toward conversations with native speakers. The idea is that you can help one another learn new languages via text, audio, and video chat. The app vets you and then helps you to find a partner who shares your interests. They teach you and you teach them.


Singapore Dollars (SGD)

More details on the exchange rate.

Dialing Code


Useful Numbers

  • Police Department: 999
  • Fire Department or Ambulance Service: 995
  • Ambulance Service (non-emergency): 1777
  • 24-hr Emergency Road Service: 9182 8211
  • Tourist Hotline
    • Toll-free in Singapore: 1800 736 2000
    • From Overseas: +65 6736 2000
  • More emergency numbers

Local Media Source

This section links to the various local news media in Singapore.

RSS News Feed

Loading ...

What To Look Out

This section informs the common scams and crimes to look out for when visiting Singapore.


  • Common Tourist Scams
    Learn how to protect yourself from these common scams and crimes when visiting Singapore.

Crime & Security

  • Overall Crime and Safety Report
    Find out more information on the common crime threats, areas of concerns, transportation-road safety, and even terrorism threat.


This section lists some recommended readings about Singapore.


Useful Links

This section provides useful links to the Singapore social media.

Social Media

Passion Made Possible


Acceptable Use Policy

Electronic resources (e.g., databases, datasets, e-journals, e-books and streaming audio/video) provided by the SMU Libraries are governed by license agreements that restrict use to current students, faculty and staff of SMU and the Singapore Copyright Act.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy