Changing Money
Regular banking hours are Monday to Friday: 10am to 3pm, and Saturday: 9.30am to 1pm. Some bank branches, however, particularly those in the city (Suntec City: Standard Chartered Bank and HarbourFront: OCBC Bank) are open till 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Passports are required when cashing travellers’ cheques. You will also find money changers at the conference venue, major shopping centres and hotels along Orchard Road. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are generally open 24/7 and accept most of the main credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Drinking Water
Tap water in Singapore is perfectly clean and safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is available at any local supermarket or convenience store.

Drug Abuse
Singapore views drug abuse very seriously. The importation of drugs carries the death penalty. The use of drugs in Singapore is a criminal offence.  

Duty-free Allowance
Duty-free allowances include 1 litre each of spirits, wine, and beer (applies to visitors over 18); all personal effects; and less than SGD50 in foodstuffs such as chocolates, biscuits, and cakes.  

The voltage primarily used in Singapore is 220-240 volts AC, 50 hertz. The plug sockets tend to accept 3 pronged pins; failing which, adapters are cheap and easy to find. Most hotels also provide transformers and adapters on request.  

Most major hotels, cafes and fast-food outlets offer wireless internet. Connectivity, however, may come at a price. Look for red Wireless Surf Zone signs, where you can purchase prepaid cards for approximately SGD30 for 100 minutes of usage. In selected commercial areas, free wireless internet access may be available.  

There are four official languages in Singapore: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. The language of business and study, English, is widely spoken and written.

Mobile / Cell Phones

There are two mobile phone networks – GSM 900 and GSM 1800 – and three mobile telephone service providers – SingTel, M1 and Starhub. For SingTel Mobile, the access code is 001, for M1, the access code is 002 and for Starhub, the access code is 008. 

Pharmaceuticals are available from numerous outlets, including supermarkets, departmental stores, hotels and shopping centres. Registered pharmacists work from 9am to 6pm.  

Singapore is a very safe country with low crime rates. “Low crime”, however, does not mean “no crime”, so please take the regular precautions with your belongings.

Useful phone numbers:
  • Police: 999 (toll-free)
  • Emergencies / Ambulance / Fire Brigade: 995 (toll-free)
Smoking is not permitted in enclosed spaces such as vehicles, museums, libraries, lifts (elevators), theatres, cinemas, air-conditioned restaurants, supermarkets, departmental stores and government offices.

With effect from 1 July 2007, smoking is also no longer permitted in air-conditioned pubs, discos, karaoke bars, night-spots and most non-air-conditioned eating places. Smoking is also an offence on public buses, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), taxis and lifts. A maximum fine of SGD1,000 can be imposed on first time offenders.

There is a 7% sales tax - the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Tax refunds may be obtained at Global Refund Singapore counters at Changi International Airport for purchases above SGD300 made at a store or retail chain participating in the Tax-free Shopping Scheme. Ask for a Tax Free Shopping Cheque to be completed, and present the goods and cheques at the airport departure terminal for customs inspection and refunds.  

Tipping is not customary in Singapore. It is, in fact, prohibited at the airport. Most expensive hotels and restaurants already impose a 10% service charge, and a gratuity is not expected in excess of this.  

Singapore is consistently hot and humid. Generally, temperatures reach around 31°C (88°F) during the day and 24°C (75°F) at night. Those who do not particularly enjoy the tropical climate might be pleased to know that most shops, hotels, office buildings, and restaurants are air-conditioned.  

What to Wear
Loose and light summer clothing is highly recommended, and unless otherwise specified, casual attire is acceptable for most situations. Business attire is recommended during all conference sessions.

Getting Around

Public Transportation
Singapore has a comprehensive bus network with frequent services and a convenient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system. Both are cheap and simple to use. For road directions in Singapore, please visit  

Taxis are plentiful, air-conditioned, hassle-free, and reasonably cheap. The basic fare starts at about SGD2.80, rising SGD0.20 for every 210 metres after the 1st kilometre. To book a taxi in advance, please dial +65 6552 1111 or +65 6552 2222.

Taxi fares from the airport to the city centre are in the range of SGD25 to SGD30. Taxi fares for hotels in the city to Resorts World Sentosa, the convention venue, are in the range of SGD17. Peak hours attract a surcharge of 35% on top of the taxi fare charged.

Getting to and from the Airport

Ground Transport Centre (GTC)
GTC is available at the Arrival Halls of both Terminals 1 & 2 to help arrange transportation services into the city. Fares indicated below are to the city centre.

Transportation options include:
Airport Shuttle Service
A 6-seater MaxiCab, you need to make a booking at the counters in the Arrival Hall and pay the fare in cash at the counter.

Travel Fare: SGD7 per adult

Public Buses
Bus terminals are located at the basement of Terminals 1 and 2. Information on bus services is available near the bus stands.

Travel Fare: Below SGD2

You can catch a taxi to any destination from the taxi stands at the Arrival Hall. This service is available 24 hours daily, and advance bookings can be made with taxi companies with a booking charge.

Travel Fare:
- Approximately SGD16 – SGD24
- Midnight surcharge: 50% of metered fare (midnight – 6am)

Trains (MRT)
The MRT station is located in Terminal 2 and is also accessible via the Skytrain from Terminal 1. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the city.

Travel Fare / Destination: Below SGD2


South Asian Diaspora Convention 2011 l Copyright © 2011 SADC All Rights Reserved