Located one degree north of the Equator, Singapore has a tropical climate all year round with no distinct seasons. Although the rainy months are between October and January, it rains any time of the year and thunderstorms are quite common. Do as the locals do and keep a light umbrella handy when walking outdoors.
Air pollution in Singapore can reach unhealthy levels due to the haze caused by Indonesian forest fires – normally between June and October. The National Environment Agency’s website contains updates on the haze, but if you’ve already booked your trip you might want to plan an indoor itinerary to avoid it. Temperatures generally range around 29-33 degrees Celcius during the day, and 22-24 degrees Celcius at night.
Given these temperatures, you’ll understand why most locals dress casually and comfortably. Light, loose clothing will serve you well for most places in Singapore, although you might want to bring a light sweater or shawl as malls, movie theatres and public transport are air-conditioned and can get quite chilly.
Though most places in Singapore have relaxed dress codes, some restaurants and clubs will only admit male patrons wearing covered shoes and long trousers, and a handful of upscale venues operate a "no effort, no entry" dress policy. Standard corporate attire is expected for business meetings. At places of worship, it’s best to dress conservatively, and you may have to remove your shoes before entering.
Public transport is easy, cheap, safe and reliable in Singapore; you can purchase an RFID EZ-Link or Nets Flash Pay card, a stored-value card to which you can add credit. These cards are valid for public buses and for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains. Staying connected is also easy in Singapore, with visitors being able to register for a free Wireless@SG account and get public Wi-Fi access.
Singapore is generally a safe country and tap water is drinkable. Dengue is endemic to the country, so slather on the mosquito repellent especially if you are planning to do any hiking or walking in the more forested areas of the island. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water or check out some of the delicious local drinks to beat the heat.
If you do encounter any trouble when you’re in Singapore, local authorities are helpful and efficient. The police emergency number is 999 and the emergency ambulance is reached at 995. If you encounter non-emergency situations, call the police hotline at 1800-225 0000. Alternatively, if you see a Neighbourhood Police Post in the area, you can duck in there and a police officer on duty will assist you.
Healthcare in Singapore, both private and public, is of an excellent standard and Singapore is an ideal place to get inoculations for further regional travel. Bear in mind, though, that it can be very expensive to get treatment for an accident or medical emergency as a tourist. This is the case whether you are visiting Singapore or anywhere else in the world, so always make sure you have comprehensive travel health insurance before embarking on a trip abroad.