About Singapore

Cost of Living

The standard of living in Singapore is among the highest in Asia. Compared to the countries of the western continents, the cost of living here is relatively low, and basic items such as food and clothing are very reasonably priced.

When planning your budget, students should attend to these items:

  • accommodation
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • Transport
  • Clothes
  • Telecommunications
  • Books and Stationery
  • Medical / hospitalization insurance
  • Personal expenses

An international student in Singapore spends an average of S $ 750 to S $ 2,000 per month in living expenses. This amount of course varies according to your individual lifestyle and your course of study.

Money matters


The local currency is Singapore dollars and cents. In addition to the Singapore dollar, the US and Australian dollars, the yen and the pound sterling are also widely accepted in major shopping centers and restaurants.

A 7% tax on goods and services (GST) is applied to all purchases. Tipping is not practiced in Singapore, since most hotels and restaurants already charge a 10% service charge on bills.

The main credit cards are generally accepted by the establishments, including American Express, Diners Card, JCB, MasterCard and Visa.

Another widely used payment method is NETS, which allows you to make payments with your ATM card.


Most banks handle traveler’s checks and exchange foreign currencies. Passports are required when collecting traveler’s checks. You can charge a nominal commission. In addition to banks and hotels, you can exchange money at points of sale that show the sign “Money Changer with license”.

Most banking hours are usually from Monday to Friday from 09.30 a.m. at 03.00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9.30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 01.00 p.m. Some banks offer night banking services and have extended hours on Saturdays. Some banks on Orchard Road even open on Sundays. It is best to consult with individual banks about their hours of operation.

A student may need to open a savings account or checking account while in Singapore. They will have to bring a minimum initial deposit (usually $ 100) if they are under 21 years of age, as well as their passport and student pass / admission letter to their educational institution. When opening an account, they will be given an ATM card that will give them a greater convenience of being able to withdraw money from any ATM operated by their bank. The ATM card also entitles you to make payments through NETS (Singapore’s cashless payment system).

They can receive additional funds using bank drafts made in Singapore dollars and taken from a bank in Singapore. These can be credited to your account and withdrawn in one or two days. Checks written at banks without branches in Singapore can take up to three weeks to settle.


Public transport

Singapore has one of the most extensive and efficient public transport systems in the world. Traveling through the city and the suburbs is usually a quick and affordable adventure.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) operates an extensive network of trains that provide services to stations throughout the island. Trains operate from 05.30 a.m. until after midnight at 12.30 a.m. A trip on the MRT from Singapore’s Changi Airport to the city takes less than half an hour. A copy of A Quick Guide to MRT Travel can be obtained in the control rooms of the station at all MRT stations.

Public buses leave every day from 05:30 to midnight. Extended night services cost a bit more.

To travel in the MRT, one needs to buy a one-way fare card. Public buses accept cash. The recommended mode of payment for both the MRT and public buses is the use of the EZ-Link card, which is an accumulated value card that offers discounted rates for multiple trips. The EZ-link card can be purchased and recharged at most MRT stations and bus exchanges. Each adult card is sold with a minimum value of S $ 10 plus a deposit of S $ 5. The Transit Links Guide provides detailed information on MRT and bus services and is available at $ 1.50 from most stations of MRT, bus exchanges and the main bookstores.

Full-time students in public institutions enjoy concession trips in MRT and public buses. Ask them to contact our student service center for more details after arriving at EASB, Singapore.

Taxis ply the island all day. You can queue for a taxi at any designated taxi stand, make a reservation through the direct line of a taxi company or dial one. Taxis carry a maximum of four passengers and seat belts are required by law for all passengers.

All taxis are measured with surcharges that apply: peak hours after midnight, surcharges from the city area for taxis hired within the Central Business District (CBD) area, departing from Singapore Changi Airport, Seletar Airport or Expo de Singapur, on public eves and holidays, as well as for trips that go through an electronic portico of road pricing (ERP). Credit card payments have a 10% surcharge on the rate.

General Information

Airport tax

A SGD21 passenger service charge must be included in the air ticket (including tickets issued outside of Singapore). If this has not been done, you may be asked to pay the SGD21 during check-in. In some cases, the airline may absorb the service charge. Passengers who are in transit for less than 24 hours can leave the airport without having to pay the service charge when leaving Singapore.

Drinking water

It is perfectly safe to drink water directly from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, supermarkets and local stores always have a large stock.


The electric current in Singapore is 240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second. Singapore uses the three-pin plug in a square shape. You may need an adapter or transformer for foreign appliances, which are available at most hardware stores.

Drugs abuse

Drug abuse is seen seriously in Singapore. Illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is strictly prohibited.


Travelers from all over the world are understandably more concerned with security and personal protection issues than ever before. The Singapore Tourism Board wishes to assure all our visitors that the situation in Singapore remains calm and stable, and that it continues to function as usual.

The Government of Singapore has been and will continue to monitor to ensure that Singapore remains safe. It has increased security measures in key facilities and other sensitive places. The Government has also stated that the original extremism of religion or race has no place in Singapore and will not hesitate to take action against any extremist or terrorist group or individual.

The swift and definitive actions of the Department of Homeland Security of Singapore on the arrests of the 15 terrorists in January 2002 bear witness to this.


Smoking is not allowed in public service vehicles, museums, libraries, elevators, theaters, cinemas, air-conditioned restaurants, hairdressers, supermarkets, department stores and government offices. Criminals can be fined up to SGD 1,000. While it is an offense to smoke in places to eat with air conditioning, smoking is permitted in pubs with air conditioning, nightclubs, karaoke bars and nightclubs.


Spitting in public places is an offence.


Tipping is not encouraged as most hotels and restaurants in Singapore already levy a 10% service charge on customers’ bills. Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore and is prohibited at the airport.


Singapore is one of the most connected cities in the world with a wide network of widely available mobile and Internet services.

There are three service operators, namely SingTel, MobileOne and StarHub, which offer a wide range of communication services at competitive prices, which include:

Telephone services

Mobile communications services, including mobile and search services
mobile operators in Singapore operate networks such as GSM900, GSM1800, W-CDMA (in development).

Internet access services

International telephone services, including IDD services, calling cards, fax services.
To make international calls, the access codes are 001, 013 or 019 for SingTel, 002 or 021 for MobileOne and 008 or 018 for StarHub.

Public telephones are found in most of the shopping centers and public places, and they work with credit cards or stored value telephone cards. Local calls from public telephones cost 10 cents for each block of three minutes. In addition to local calls, all credit card telephones offer international direct dialing and external dialing services for calls from Malaysia. International calling cards are also available at all post offices, 7-Eleven stores (24 hours) and other retail stores.

What to wear

Singapore is the tropical island par excellence, with a warm and humid climate throughout the year. Save the Woollies to return home: the light and the rule of summer clothes! Informal dress is accepted for most situations, but some establishments such as restaurants and clubs may require a more formal dress code. It is advisable to check the dress code beforehand.

Some educational institutions have a minimum regulation of clothing, such as shorts and slippers in conference rooms. Students in elementary and secondary schools, as well as first cycle colleges, must wear uniforms that must be purchased before the start of classes.

Many indoor places have air conditioning to provide relief from the heat, so if you are going to be indoors for an extended period and the temperature is somewhat cold, you can bring a sweater or jacket.

Useful Telephone Numbers

A student should always keep a list of useful telephone numbers handy. Here are some crucial ones:

999 (toll-free)

Emergencies/Ambulance/Fire Brigade
995 (toll-free)

Ministry of Education Hotline
(65) 6872 2220 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE (65) 6872 2220 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
(operating hours 08.00 am – 06.00 pm, Monday to Friday and 08.00 am – 01.00 pm, Saturday)

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Hotline
(65) 6391 6100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE (65) 6391 6100 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
(24-hour automated hotline for information on their services and procedures. Customer service officers are available from 08.00 am – 05.00 pm, Monday to Friday and 08.00 am – 01.00 pm, Saturday)

STB Touristline
Tel: 1800 736 2000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 1800 736 2000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (toll-free in Singapore only)
(operating hours 08.30 am – 09.30 pm, Monday to Friday ; 08.30 am – 10.00 pm, Saturday ; and 11.00 am – 10.00 pm, Sunday)

CitySearch (operator-assisted Yellow Pages)
Tel: (65) 1900 777 7777 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE (65) 1900 777 7777 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

International Calls
Tel: 104

Time of day
Tel: 1711

Trunk Calls to Malaysia
Dial 109 for operator assistance or 02 for direct dial.

Toll-free lines
Dial 1800 followed by the toll-free line number (in Singapore only).

Tel: (65) 6542 7788 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE (65) 6542 7788 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)
1800-221-4444 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 1800-221-4444 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
(24hours Emergency Counseling)