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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 17, 2020
Headline for Weird Singapore Cultures and Customs – for first-time tourists
Joanna James Joanna James
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Weird Singapore Cultures and Customs – for first-time tourists

When you travel to a country that has a wholly different culture to where you come from, it might be daunting to hear that there is a myriad of rules and etiquettes that you must follow. Read on for essential guidance on how to navigate the unchartered waters of the Singaporean culture!


Keep to the left on escalators.

There are several unspoken rules in the Singaporean community. It isn't a rule, rather an unspoken expectation to keep to your left when you are on an escalator. This lets those who are in a hurry to rush past you without any hindrances. Going against this unspoken norm will obviously be frowned upon.


Tipping is not expected.

Many restaurants impose a certain percentage of service charge on top of your overall bill. Therefore, tipping isn't something that is expected from you, and it isn't considered rude if you don't offer to tip the waiter. However, you can go ahead and tip if you feel that the staff has provided a service so excellent that you can't leave without appreciating them with a generous tip. But be warned- you will find the particular waiter running after you with that extra money you left behind. Thus refraining from tipping altogether would be the best idea when you're in Singapore.


Know when a table is reserved

At Singapore food centres, you will find some of these laid on the free seating available: a packet of tissue, a staff ID, an umbrella, or a name card. This practice belongs to their chope culture, where individual belongings are placed to reserve the seats when one goes off to order food. Several cases have been reported where "chope-ing" of seats has inadvertently led to quarrels. So, next time you're in the country, make sure to avoid these areas and wait patiently for a table that is not reserved.


Never cut queues

Singapore is a highly disciplined nation, probably due to its strict laws enforced since many decades ago. One of their strictly practiced ethic is to stand in a queue when waiting for a particular purpose. Each Singaporean is made to learn and follow this unspoken etiquette from their school days. Therefore, when you wait to be checked in to a hotel next time, possibly into a property such as Destination Singapore Beach Road, make sure you remain in the queue and respect the community expectations.


Connecting to someone's Wi-Fi is illegal.

When you're in Singapore, make sure that your phone or other electronic devices don't automatically get connected to nearby Wi-Fi connections. Here, connecting to someone's Wi-Fi is super illegal and can have severe repercussions on you. If caught, you will be liable for a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment for a term that does not exceed three years. If convicted after the initial charge, the consequences double up. Therefore, while you're enjoying a relaxing time at one of the best value hotels in Singapore, make sure that you connect your devices to the correct router.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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