Top 10 Myths about Singapore
For the uninitiated or first time visitors to Singapore
- Best time of the year to Visit is….
Any month! Singapore is a few kilometres off the Equator i.e. Tropical climate. If you did your geography lessons well in 8th grade you’d know in such case it rains a bit everyday and also shines a lot everyday. The news channels here don’t have a weatherman/woman! Need i say more? Leave your winter wear and even your jeans at home.
- Singapore is so small / so big !!
C’mon! In comparison to what? People think Singapore is small when they happen to bump into familiar faces at shopping malls! Or typical tourist places! If you go off the beaten track, there is lots to explore here. Then again, I can drive from west to east on the island’s expressway within 1.30 hours tops (given traffic conditions)!
- No Traffic!
You have obviously not stepped out at peak hours. Also being a tourist you are likely to avoid the morning rush hour. Just like any other city, Singapore has its fair share of traffic issues everyday. The radio reports atleast 1 or 2 accidents on the major highways daily. The thing to appreciate is the well connected roads and well maintained roads – then again traffic still exists.
- Lost in Singapore!
Try getting lost, you will fail. Seriously, not possible. You can’t get lost here. You are never too far away from a bus stop or a train station. If you can read English, Tamil, Bahasa or Chinese, you can read the signboards! If you can understand the signs, you can get back home fine. You have to either be super lazy or from another planet to claim of ever being “lost in Singapore”.
- No Crime
Singapore has a crime rate – not as bad as any other place near here, but it surely does. Be careful with your bags and purses and wallets in shopping malls and public places. Also there are shady characters here, stay alert. The Police are very cooperative, though, so rest assured you will be taken care of.
- Duty Free Shopping is the Best
DFS is not as good as it used to be. DFS prices at the airport are virtually the same as in malls in the city. In fact, you have more options and better prices in city malls and small shops. Best avoided if you have a choice of shopping in city.
- Great Food
Not really. Variety, yes. Quality, no. Reasonable price, maybe. Reasonable quantity, certainly not. Whether its the fine dining places or the food courts, world cuisine does not really taste like anything in that part of the world!! Its more like…Localized! Definitely digestible, however the taste buds deserve better.
- Clean and Hygienic food joints
The dining area maybe the best looking with designer tables and chairs and airconditioning. However, check for clean plates and well washed cutlery (in food courts). In fine dine, it’ll do good to wipe the cutlery with anti-bacterial tissues. The authorities here give an A, B or lower rating for hygiene standards to eating joints. These ratings must be prominently displayed at the eateries, so look for them to decide.
- Tips and Service
Tips are not mandatory. You may leave a tip if you prefer, however remember that you are already paying the service charge included in your bill.
- “The Taxi Driver fleeced me”
90% of the times you are wrong to say that. The cab drivers here work under strict conditions and seldom overcharge or cheat you. If they don’t know the address, they can refuse to go or check the route on the GPS. If you are a regular or look like one they may even ask you what route you prefer. Give them a break, they make an honest living.
- Singapore is Expensive!
This is not a myth, it is a fact! Rising inflation, property prices, travel expenses, ERP (road tax), taxi peak hour rates – need I mention more?