Singapore is one of the safest cities in Asia and prides itself on a low crime rate. The country itself has strict security measures in place, which include strong border controls, police surveillance and restrictions on access to some public venues. The streets are usually quite safe, even at night, and conference venues would have security patrolling at all times.
Still, it's always good to take necessary precautions when visiting a foreign city. Here are some things to beware of:
Most crimes, if any, are petty, such as pick-pocketing snatch thieves. These usually occur at tourist destinations, hotels and on public transport.
While one should be aware of unanticipated terrorist attacks in public places, there is a low risk of terrorist attacks in Singapore. The local Government has stepped up security measures in light of terrorist attacks in neighbouring countries, and is committed to upholding the country's reputation as a safe travel destination
You will hardly find public demonstrations in Singapore as these are illegal and would incur hefty fines, imprisonment or even deportation. A police permit is typically required for an assembly of one or more people or procession of two or more people in a public place to which members of the public are invited.
Tremors from earthquakes in the region can be felt in Singapore. That said, the city-state is unlikely to be impacted by a tsunami, typhoon or major natural disaster, as it is fortunately quite sheltered.
Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the naming of Changi Airport as a terrorism target, airport security has been stepped up. Security details with machine guns patrol the terminals at random. Departing passengers are checked at the entrance of the gate rather than after immigration clearance like some airports. X-ray machines and metal detectors are sited at every gate. Luggage is screened and movement into restricted areas controlled.
For entry into Singapore, a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from visitors who have in the past six days been in or passed through any country where yellow fever is endemic.
Within the country, outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Japanese encephalitis do happen, especially during the wet seasons of December to March and June to September. There are no vaccinations against these, but there are preventative measures you can take. Up-to-date alerts on dengue hotspots in Singapore can be checked up on the National Environment Agency Web site.
Smoke haze does occur across some parts of the island during the July to October period, which could be a health problem for those with respiratory issues.
Singapore has excellent, if costly, medical facilities, so comprehensive health insurance is advised.
Violent crime is the exception rather than the norm. Still:
- Avoid dark and isolated places, particularly if you're alone.
- Do not carry or display large sums of money. Preferably, go plastic as most places in Singapore accept credit cards.
- Leave valuables in your hotel room safe or with the hotel concierge.
- Never leave personal belongings, especially your passport, unattended.
- It helps to remove your conference pass when leaving the event venue, so you don't appear conspicuously as a visitor.
If you are involved in any incident, please report it to:
- Any police station or police post. If it does not require immediate police action, you can lodge a police report online
- At the hotel where you are staying
- Emergency telephone numbers: Police (999), Ambulance (995)