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Is Singapore Safe?

Singapore is one of the planet’s most-visited cities, a bustling megalopolis where gleaming glass-and-steel skyscrapers juxtapose with vast expanses of green space that cover around half of this island nation. It's a city that more than holds its own against global heavyweights like London, New York and Paris, with dozens of world-class attractions, including museums, theaters, thrill rides, life-altering cuisine and, in Sentosa, its very own mini island resort. But is Singapore safe for tourists to visit? Read on for the lowdown in our guide below.

How Safe is Singapore?

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It’s no exaggeration to say that Singapore is among the safest places to visit in Asia, if not the world. Indeed, in 2022 the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranked Singapore *the* safest and most peaceful country in Asia, and ninth overall globally, beaten only by famously peace-loving destinations like Iceland, Denmark and New Zealand.

Singapore’s low crime rate is no doubt the result (at least in part) of deterrents up to and including the death penalty, especially for gun and rug-related offenses. Caning is still used as punishment for less serious misdemeanors here. Heck, you might even find yourself on the receiving end of a hefty fine if you’re spotted jaywalking, chewing gum, littering or smoking outside of designated areas.

Such stringent measures mean there’s less need for a visible police presence, a fact that often surprises visitors from the Western world, so used to seeing armed cops roaming the streets.

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Good news, then: violent crime is considered extremely rare here in the Lion City. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your wits about you, just as you would when visiting any foreign city because, while relatively rare compared to e.g. Paris or Rome, petty crimes like pickpocketing are not completely unheard of.

Use common sense, especially around major attractions like the Gardens by the Bay, Chinatown and Orchard Road, where pickpockets can operate largely undetected among crowds of vulnerable tourists.

Keep cash and expensive gadgets out of sight and bags zipped closed, and politely decline the attention of anyone who invites you to visit their shop or massage parlor. Follow this simple advice and it’s likely the worst thing that will happen to you in Singapore is a light lobster-hued sunburn because you forgot to apply enough sunscreen before hitting Sentosa’s beaches. Speaking of which...

Staying Safe in the Singapore Sunshine

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With temperatures hovering up in the high 80s year round, it’s important you prepare accordingly to make sure you stay safe under the Singapore sun. The tropical climate here means humidity and regular downpours particularly, of course, during the two monsoon seasons from December to March and June to September.

Sunburn and heatstroke are your primary concerns, so always make sure to liberally slather on sunscreen with a high enough SPF factor for your skin type. Then reapply throughout the day, especially if swimming at the beaches on Sentosa or at one of the resort pools. Wear loose clothes in light colors, don a great big floppy sun hat and your most serious-looking UV-safe Jacki O sunglasses, and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with plenty of water and, yes, the occasional Singapore Sling.

Pro-tip: cabs can be difficult to come by during a Singapore downpour, so it's also worth carrying an umbrella during monsoon season if you want to avoid looking like you’ve just gone, fully clothed, for an unscheduled swim.

Safety on Public Transport

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The greatest danger on Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system – an efficient automated network of driverless subway trains – is feeling like a human sardine if you make the error of traveling during rush hour, when commuters pack into the carriages like their lives depend on it. Instances of pickpocketing here and around MRT stations are rare but it pays to be aware of your surroundings anyway, as you would anywhere. The same goes for the extensive bus network and supplementary transport options including the Sentosa Express monorail and cable cars.

Due to Singapore’s stern laws, you won’t find any dodgy or illegal cabs here. So you can feel safe to travel with registered drivers without risk of overcharging or more unsavory crimes, even as a woman traveling alone at night. All cabs have a visible ‘taxi’ sign on top.

Is Singapore Safe for Solo and Female Travelers?

Singapore is just as safe for solo and female travelers as it is for anyone else. As ever, avoid doing anything you wouldn’t do in your own country and you should be fine. Drink moderately in bars and don’t leave yourself vulnerable to any opportunists who might be hanging around. If traveling back to your hotel or apartment after the MRT has stopped running (around midnight), ideally take a cab home rather than walking unfamiliar streets.

Also note that, while generally safe for tourists, the Geylang red light district should be approached with caution by lone women, who may find themselves the subject of unwanted attention due to misunderstanding.

Safe Travels in Singapore

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Singapore’s very strict laws are worth familiarizing yourself with to avoid unwittingly falling foul and having to fork out for a fine... or worse. Jaywalking, chewing gum, drinking alcohol outdoors after 10:30PM: all of these (and more) are punishable by substantial fines and even prison sentences. Sadly, LGBTQ+ people in Singapore are still some way from equality, with same-sex activity – yep, even consensual same-sex activity in private – punishable by law. Drug possession and/or trafficking is seriously frowned upon, meaning a jail sentence is likely if you’re caught with even a small amount. In extreme cases, the death penalty has been handed down. Make sure to travel with prescription medicines in your name only and under no circumstances pack even the tiniest amount of narcotics for recreational use, or agree to carry bags or packages for anyone else. It might just be the most costly mistake you’ll ever make.

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