Singapore is an absolutely beautiful country. Its tropical climate means the plants are lush and green, making the island look like a real urban jungle. The unique mix of historic old buildings and traditional culture with skyscrapers and high-powered business people make for a one of a kind holiday destination. You get all the excitement of a big city and all the wonder of visiting a country with a rich and diverse history.
If you’re planning a trip to Singapore but have absolutely no idea what to pack, I’ve put together this guide to help you. I was lucky enough to live in Singapore for a number years and visit a few times a year, so have really fine tuned my packing list. I also have some great resources on How to find your way around Singapore, Must-try food, 29 things to do in Singapore, Where to stay in Singapore and hotel reviews.
My number one tip for packing your Singapore bound suitcase, don’t over pack. There’s not much you can’t buy in Singapore if you forget something and, depending on where you go, it’s pretty cheap and very easy to buy all your essentials. Remember guys, less is more!
Watch our ‘Singapore for first-timers’ video
What to pack for a trip to Singapore
Umbrella and rain gear – Because of its location, the average temperature in Singapore is steady all year round. It ranges between 25 and 31 degrees celsius and humidity is high, usually between 70% – 80%. The warmest month is April and the coolest month is usually January, with November being the wettest month. There isn’t really a wet or dry season in Singapore, and it’s normal to experience rain every month. It usually rains in the afternoons and early evenings. Trust me when I tell you that when it rains, it bloody rains. So make sure you pack a decent umbrella and other rain gear you think you’ll need. The two main monsoon seasons in Singapore, where it rains more than usual, are December to March and June to September.
Mosquito repellant – It’s important to pack a good mosquito repellant and any other pest control products you think you may need, like these ones from Mortein. There are regular sprays done to stay on top of mosquito-born diseases, like dengue fever, but it’s still important for you to take precautions, especially if you’re visiting areas on the outer regions of the island, like the Night Safari and Zoo.
Sun-smart gear – You’ll definitely need a hat and sunscreen with high SPF to protect you from sunburn. I always recommend the Cancer Council’s sunscreen as you know it’s good quality. Remember, sunscreen is only as good as its user and it’s up to you to reapply during the day to ensure you don’t get burned. Similarly, a rash shirt or sun-shirt is a good idea too for those long days by the pool. Remember, cloudy days mean U.V rays! Don’t be deceived if there’s no sun, you can still burn.
Heavy-duty deodorant – It’s really important to pack a good quality deodorant as you will sweat more due to the heat and the last thing you need is to be feeling and smelling horrible after a big day walking around in the heat.
Swimmers ear medicine – I got a terrible ear infection from swimming and the humidity, which meant my ear didn’t dry out properly. There are products you can buy from a chemist to prevent swimmers ear and treat it quickly if it does happen.
Money – Don’t be too concerned about changing a lot of money before you arrive in Singapore. There are ANZ and other ATMs everywhere, they’re safe and easy to use. If you do need to change money, there are money changers everywhere too and again, they’re safe and easy to access.
Beware of what you bring into the country – There are strong restrictions on what you can bring into the country, especially around alcohol and cigarettes. It’s really important you thoroughly check the allowances before you enter the country or you could find yourself in trouble!
Comfortable, light clothing – Pack light, breathable clothing that isn’t restrictive. I would recommend women packing cotton shirts, skirts and dresses and anything else that is easy to move around in. It really is very hot so it’s not a good idea to try to wear synthetic clothing that clings to your body or causes you to sweat.
Watch our ‘Singapore’s Unmissable Wildlife Reserves’ video
Comfortable shoes – Pack comfortable shoes for walking around in. You may want to pack a pair of runners if you’re planning a big day of walking, I usually pack sandals and the like because my feet get too hot in runners. If you’re visiting temples in Little India you may want to wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
Nice clothing – While I always recommend you eat at Hawker Centres and food courts, you may want to treat yourself to a meal at a nice restaurant. Singaporeans take great pride in their appearance and rarely look scruffy, so it’s a good idea to pack one nice outfit to wear to a restaurant.
Make a little kit bag – I always have a little bag with some wet wipes and hand sanitiser in it. Singapore is notoriously clean, but if you visit a food court or Hawker Centre you may find yourself ordering food you need to eat with your hands, like my personal favourite Roti Prata … mmmmm so good. If you use the toilets at a Hawker Centre to wash your hands you may find them a little dirtier than expected. So, I always have wet wipes and hand sanitiser in my bag so I can freshen up before I touch my food and after I eat, because sticky food on your hands + humidity = nightmare.
Tissues – If you get out of the main tourist areas and head out to the outer lying areas of Singapore you may find the public toilets a little grubby. I’ve had a few unfortunate moments of being caught without toilet paper, so make sure you have a pocket pack of tissues in your bag, just in case. Also, you can use your hand sanitiser and tissues to sanitise a toilet seat if you need to sit down to go.
Medicines – It’s so easy to buy medicines in Singapore so, aside from your prescriptions, don’t feel like you need to pack absolutely everything. There’s usually a chemist or Watson’s nearby so if you get a tummy ache or a headache, you can easily run in and get what you need. I’ve never had any problems getting my ailment communicated to the pharmacist, they’re always great.
Cosmetics and toiletries – There’s no need to over pack with cosmetics and toiletries, it’s so easy to buy them in Singapore so if you want to save a few kgs in your bag, don’t pack all your body washes, face scrubs and shampoo and conditioner. Instead, buy them when you get there.
Warm clothing – “Say whaaaaaat? Phoebe, you’ve lost your mind,” I hear you say. Trust me, my friend, trust me. Singaporeans don’t really like the heat either, so they set their shopping centre air conditioners to ‘freeze’. You’ll feel like the end of the world has arrived and a scorching hot apocalypse is upon you, so you’ll put on a tiny pair of shorts and singlet-top only to step into a shopping centre and be freezing! I always take a jumper or scarf with me and will quite often wear jeans if I’m going to be indoors all day. ESPECIALLY if you’re going to see a movie…. if you’re going to see a movie, wear snow gear.
Electrolyte drink – It’s important you take care of yourself by drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated. If you aren’t used to being in heat and humidity like that in Singapore, then consider packing electrolyte sachets to mix with water at the end or beginning of the day, just to keep you properly hydrated. This is particularly important if you’re walking around outside in the heat all day.
Charging station – If, like me, your travel with two laptops, an iPad, two phones, a camera and a GoPro, then you’re going to need more than one power point. By one power-point converter and take a power board with multiple plug-ins on it. It makes life so much easier! Here’s a look at the type of power plug & outlet type they have in Singapore. Sometimes, just to mess with you, they also use this one.
My packing tips and travel hacks
Roll-up Travel Charger – Yes, yes, yes. I can only imagine how much time a Roll-Up Travel Charger would save me when it comes to packing and unpacking charging equipment, I must have one of these. It minimises clutter and puts all your much-needed charges in one very useful bar that plugs straight into the wall. It appeals to the neat-freak within me… a LOT.
Plastic bags – Stash some large plastic grocery bags and small sandwich bags in your luggage, they come in so very handy for storing dirty shoes and clothes as well as bars of soap, wet swimwear or leaky toothpaste tubes!
Tupperware – I use Tupperware or similar hard plastic containers to put all my toiletries in. This ensures no leaks will destroy my clean clothes and makes it really easy for me to grab my toiletries in one easy swoop, keep them together in the hotel and makes re-packing easier too. I also use a small container for all my jewellery and another one for electronics like adaptors, cords and chargers. It keeps me organised and stops me from losing things!
Dryer sheets – Put dryer sheets in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling good throughout the whole trip, easy! No more musty smelling clothes for you, my friend.
Power board – As freelancers, we travel with a lot of electronics so we can work on the road. This can mean two laptops, an iPad, two phones, a camera and a GoPro! If this sounds like you too, then you’re going to need more than one power point. Buy one power-point converter and take a power board with multiple plug-ins on it. It makes life so much easier!
Watch our ‘Singaporer Explorer Part 1’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.