Visiting a country to which you have never been is associated with considerable uncertainties, whether you are going to stay for long or short period of time. However, there is still a big difference existing between paying a long-term visit to a country and visiting a country for a short time duration. For instance, you are more likely to have a single destination or city in a country you are visiting on short-term basis, as opposed to visiting the same country for a relatively long term stay whereby you need to arrange for transportation from one city to another, long-term accommodation, Extension of Visa provisions among other important issues. While planning a visit to Singapore for instance, you need to take time and resources organizing for your long-term Visa, housing options, local transportation, nightlife and local etiquette and mannerisms you need to be aware of before setting off your journey. The following comprehensive guideline offers some important tips on what you need to consider while planning your journey to Singapore.
Long Term Visa to Singapore
Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) schemes are available for all foreigners wishing to spend longer time duration in Singapore. Once you are a holder of The LTVP in Singapore you are granted a duration of up to 5 years to stay in Singapore. However, you will not be allowed to work in Singapore during the 5 year period, unless you have a valid work permit, Singapore work visa or S pass allowing you to work in Singapore. Application for LTVP varies on each type of application. Some take as little as seven working days while others may take up to six weeks before they are ready.
Alternatively, if you have a spouse who is a permanent resident in Singapore, or who is a Singapore Citizen, you qualify for Long Term Visit Pass-Plus (LTVP+) scheme if you are eligible. LTVP+ scheme provides foreign spouses of Singapore Citizens opportunity for a longer period of residency i.e. 3 years of stay upon approval and 5 years upon renewal. You will further benefit under this scheme by being eligible for employment benefit and healthcare.
Housing Options for Long term Stay in Singapore
In Singapore, most hotels have high prices, which may not be the best option for long-term visitors. It is advisable to go for a discounted rental house in Singapore with relatively low rates compared to the discounted rate. Many guesthouses and hotels offer discounts for visitors planning a long term stay, especially if contacted directly.
Some of the best housing options for long term stay in Singapore include:
Betel Box Hostel – Offers a 10% discount after a seven nights stay. This means you will only have to pay S$18 for both breakfast and a dorm bed.
Backpackers’ Inn Chinatown – It is based in Chinatown and its weekly rates are S$150 and S$450 per month and per week respectively. Included also are guest computers, washing machines and a kitchenette. Other options include Pinoy Hostel (S$126 per week or S$350 per month), Sun Vista City Lodge (S$500-S$1800 per month), Kembangan Lodge (S$ 2,000 per month) among others.
Singapore is the best country in Asia in terms of local transportation, especially when you are planning a long-term stay in the country. The easiest way to get around is by use of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system which is the quickest, comfortable and the most efficient way of getting around in Singapore.
The efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system is the easiest, quickest and most comfortable way to get around Singapore. The system operates from 5.30am to midnight, with trains at peak times running every two to three minutes, and off-peak every five to seven minutes. In the inner city, MRT runs underground and emerges over ground towards suburban housing estates. It consists of 5 color-coded lines i.e. Red (North –South), Green (East-West), Purple (North-East), Blue (Downtown) and Yellow (Circle Line). The network map can be found at www.smrt.com.sg. Single trip tickets are sold at S$1.40 to S$ 2.50, including a refundable deposit of 10c.
Another convenient alternative to MRT is EZ-link card or Singapore Tourist Pass which offers unlimited bus and train travel at S$10 plus a refundable of S$10 per day.
Alternatively, you can use car, taxi or motorcycle transport. Singaporean motorists drive on the left road. Wearing seat belts is compulsory for all motorists.
You can flag down a taxi at your convenience, although they are only supposed to stop at designated places.
Every night, Singapore city-state gets transformed from an efficient and busy business hub into a network of nightclubs, restaurants and clubs, immediately dusk sets in. Busy Singaporean civil workers and executives get down to the mood of the night, loosening their ties as executives. You will be joining men and women, in relaxation from varied adventures of the day. If you are looking for real night-pulse in the Lion City, you must go pubbing and clubbing in the city.
Local Etiquette to be aware of before visiting Singapore
Singapore, just like any other country, has its own mannerisms and etiquettes which you need to be aware of before while planning to visit the country.
Here are some of the etiquettes worth observing in Singapore:
• Greetings- always use handshakes for the first time and use a person’s title or first name for introduction.
• Never use nicknames and personal names unless you have been invited to use them.
• Great respect is expected towards elders.
• Singaporeans do not look at elders directly in eyes as a sign of respect.
• Phrases like ‘Have you eaten?’ are used to start a conversation. Other preferred topics like scenery, music, tourist attractions, food are good for conversations. Other topics like politics, religion, money, personal relationship, sex and racism should be avoided.
• Language used is mostly Mandarin Chinese and English
Staying in Singapore is an adventure on its own. To be able to enjoy life in Singapore, there are some few things you need to understand before choosing to move permanently. Generally, major facts to bear in mind revolve around things that are important on daily basis such as language, climate and the cost of living among others. For instance, Singapore official language is Mandarin Chinese. However, English is also widely used especially used in Business. In terms of climate, Singapore lies closer to the equator, thus experiences tropical climate with almost similar seasons throughout the year. Temperature ranges from 22 degrees C to 34 degrees C. Increase in rainfall causes increase in humidity. June and July are the hottest months. The living standard in Singapore is very high, due to its high economy.
Other important facts to bear in mind include:
• You should pay tax as license fee before you can own a television.
• There are specific breeds of dogs allowed in the country.
• Left hand cars are prohibited in Singapore.
The above discussed facts among others will enable you have a nice and comfortable stay in Singapore, especially if you are planning a permanent or long-term stay.