What to Wear in SingaporeBy Natalie Saar; Updated September 26, 2017
Styling in Singapore: Pack for sightseeing and adventure
Singapore is one of Southeast Asia’s jewels, offering warm temps year-round but also lots of wet weather. In fact, it’s not unusual to experience a thunderstorm during the “driest” of months or monsoons with heavy winds during the wet months, which makes packing for this culturally-rich archipelago require a bit of strategy and pre-planning. Follow these tips for an easygoing, memorable vacation.
The good news about Singapore is that a packing list is pretty much the same no matter the time of year, since this island country doesn't have four seasons. It’s warm and humid all year, with monsoons occurring in regionally different times. This means every suitcase bound for Singapore should include a few essentials, which may require checking luggage.
If traveling during the less rainy months, make sure to bring lightweight clothes, since the humidity can take its toll on travelers wearing jeans and jackets. In addition to packing comfortable, water-resistant walking shoes, some sturdy outdoor sandals are a good idea. To explore the gorgeous islands, sandals offer more maneuverability. When packing toiletries, don’t forget to toss a package of mosquito repellent towelettes into your bag. These will be available in the city, but since mosquitoes are one of Singapore’s primary residents, it’s smart to have an immediate supply upon landing.
However, leave your chewing gum at home. It's not allowed in the country, except if used for therapeutic reasons, which travelers may have a difficult time proving. Additionally, many toiletries can be found in Singapore at reasonable prices, so you don't have to stock up on travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. However, remember to pack a small first-aid kit and any prescriptions. Pack these in a separate zip-lock bag so they’re easily accessible.
Plan for a wet and wild adventure
Located above the equator, Singapore has a typically tropical climate, meaning it’s hot and humid all year long, with sunny skies punctuated by occasional rainstorms and two monsoon seasons. Weather is known to change by the hour, so being prepared is key to a successful trip. The two monsoons are the Northeast Monsoon, from December to early March, which not only brings rain, but also 15 mph winds from December to January. The Southwest Monsoon is from June to September, with 25 to 50 mph winds occasionally blowing from morning to midday. During non-monsoon seasons, you will still encounter thunderstorms – it rains 178 days of the year, on average.
Year-round, temperatures hover around 85 degrees F, and they rarely ever fall below the extreme low of 68 degrees F. On average, humidity stays around 86 percent, with around 90 percent humidity at daybreak, and 60 percent as sunset draws near.
Keep special occasions simple
For the traveler accustomed to unpredictable, hot, wet weather, a night out on the town in Singapore is a walk in the park, maybe even literally. But, in general, it’s smart to dress nice, yet functional. Choose lightweight linen pants instead of cotton slacks; if the cotton is breathable, it's a plus. However, since this is a foreign country, it’s best not to wear jewelry or accessories that might call too much attention to you. When it comes to footwear, think strategically. A pair of comfortable flats or wedges make a good choice, but remember you may get them wet.
Leave space in the luggage
Swap scenery with the city for the day and get a taste of Singapore’s legendary retail offerings. This country is heaven for both the shopper and bargain hunter. Not only will you have opportunities to snag a few choice pieces that make a welcome addition to your closet, it’s also a good time to find some great deals. Leave empty space in baggage before heading overseas and even consider checking an extra bag if you plan to use only a carry-on.
Sweat the small stuff ahead of time
As with traveling to any foreign country, planning ahead ensures a snafu-free trip. So, make sure to have enough of the local currency, the Singapore dollar, on hand to avoid any potential credit card issues. Decide which of the culturally rich sites are on the itinerary, such as seeing the “super trees” in the Gardens by the Bay, or enjoying unique art at Gillman Barracks. Then plan how to get around. The LRT/MRT transportation system is reliable and notably clean, so study the maps to find a stop near your destination. Taxis are another option, but, remember, tipping isn’t standard in Singapore.