Travelling to Singapore in 2022
As Singapore extends its quarantine-free travel scheme with more countries, one thing is clear: tourism is back. Soon, flocks of tourists might be traipsing up and down Orchard road again – a sight we’ve missed.
However, travelling to Singapore is not as easy as just packing a bag and hopping on a flight anymore. These days, a trip to the Little Red Dot requires solid skills to navigate through a maze of vaccination requirements, entry approval and Covid-19 tests. But if you have friends and family who are planning to visit, don’t let this deter them from coming.
In fact, share with your visitors these 10 tips for travelling to Singapore via Vaccinated Travel Lane to help them fully prep for the journey ahead.
Note: All information is accurate as of 16th March 2022.
– Pre-departure –
1. Confirm your flight departs from a VTL-eligible country
Gone are the days when you could easily book any flight into Singapore. These days, not only are you required to depart from a VTL-approved country – like Australia, UK and USA – you’ll also need to be on a designated VTL flight.
Prior to booking your flight, use a search tool to find out which airlines at your location provide VTL flights to Singapore. Then, confirm flight details and schedules with an agent over the phone before purchasing your tickets.
Keep in mind that not all flights leaving a VTL-eligible country will grant you quarantine-free arrival. If you hop on a non-VTL flight, you might be denied entry into Singapore or even sent back to your departing country.
2. Complete a pre-departure test within two days before your flight
Once you’ve secured a seat on the flight, you’ll need to get a pre-departure test – either a PCR or an ART – done by an accredited centre within two days of departing for Singapore.
A pre-departure test is not required for children who were born in or after 2020 and folks who have recently recovered from Covid in the past three months. If you belong to the latter category but are unsure whether you’re qualified for a waiver, key your information in this self-check tool.
On top of that, you’ll also have to complete an unsupervised ART test within 24 hours of your arrival at the hotel. Although there’s quite a bit of testing involved, the good news is if everything comes back negative, you’re free to go on a scenic cruise down the Singapore River or a 10KM trek through MacRitchie.
3. Download the TraceTogether app
As a tourist, you’re obligated to download a check-in app called TraceTogether and scan it at the entrance of everything – from shopping malls to restaurants – in order to enter. If you’re from countries like Malaysia or Australia, where similar contact tracing methods are used, then you’ll have no trouble getting used to the app.
In a nutshell, this process helps the authorities to keep track of places you’ve visited and whether you’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19. Keep in mind that there’s always a staff who’ll hover at the entrance to make sure you check in properly.
These nifty devices for when your grandparents and parents come to visit.
Image credit: @saulbarnabas
If you’re not tech-savvy or don’t use a smartphone, there are contact tracing tokens available for rent at $13 at either the Singapore Visitor Centre at Orchard Gateway or community centres.
4. Register your vaccination status
Once you’ve downloaded the TraceTogether app, your next task is to ensure it reflects your fully vaccinated status – a requirement you need to fulfil in order to enter places, go shopping, dine in at restaurants and visit attractions.
Simply present your vaccination certificate to an officer at the airport immigration clearance upon arrival. Keep in mind that your document needs to be in English or translated into English and notarised at your embassy. It should also contain the date of your vaccination, as well as the type of WHO-approved vaccine you received – whether it’s Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
– During your stay –
5. Wear your mask when you’re in public
In Singapore, wearing a mask is not a choice but a duty. Unless you’re eating, drinking or exercising, you’ll need to keep your mask on at all times when you’re in public. This rule applies to both adults and children six years old and above.
That said, given our tropical climate, it’s crucial to choose a mask with high breathability and filtration efficiency to ensure you won’t be gasping for air. If you forgot to stock up on masks prior to your trip, swing by any convenience store, pharmacy or supermarket on the island to pick a box up – like Guardian, FairPrice and even 7/11.
As uncomfortable as it can get sometimes, we do take our masks-wearing pretty seriously to protect our health. Plus, you’ll be fined between $300 – $1,000 if you’re caught not wearing one.
6. You can only gather in groups of five
From museums and arcades to restaurants, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Singapore. However, you’ll only be able to do these activities in groups of five.
If you’re travelling with more than four people, time to split up your squad for meals, taxis and even rides at the amusement park. Keep in mind that infants will also count as part of the group. For those with kids in tow, it helps to work out your seating arrangement prior to making a reservation at the restaurant.
7. Alcoholic drinks aren’t allowed after 10.30PM
Singapore’s known for having strict regulations. Throw in a pandemic and the laws are now tighter than ever. For instance, you won’t be able to order alcoholic drinks after 10.30PM.
The reason behind this peculiar rule is so people can go home early to minimise the spread of Covid-19. Since bars can’t sell liquor till late and clubs aren’t allowed to open, the nightlife scene in Singapore has been quiet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other buzzing evening hotspots – like Holy Moly mini golf and Night Safari.
Although you won’t be able to bar hop at 2AM or let your hair loose on the dance floor, on the flip side, you’ll be waking up each day without a raging hangover.
8. Book a centrally-located hotel to reduce commute
It’s no secret that Singapore’s small in size and well connected via public transport. However, if you’d like to save some money and also explore the city on foot, think about booking a hotel in the central area.
Not only can you reduce your commute time, but you’ll also be able to avoid rubbing shoulders with a crowd and risking your exposure to the big C on buses and trains – especially during rush hours. Some of the most popular neighbourhoods that give you easy access to restaurants, attractions and convenient stores include Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Marina Bay.
9. What to do if you test positive for Covid-19
The last thing you want to feel on your holiday is ill. But travelling during the pandemic comes with the risk of getting sick, so it helps to be prepared for the event you test positive for Covid.
Take an ART test to confirm if you’re not feeling well.
Image credit: @thechloekay
For the first 72 hours, you’ll need to self isolate in a separate room. At the end of the three-day mark, if your test is negative, you can resume your activities. But if the test comes back positive, you’ll need to continue to quarantine until you’re fully recovered and have a negative test result.
However, if you experience severe symptoms like shortness of breath and a high fever, call 995 or book a private car to the nearest hospital.
– Leaving Singapore –
10. Fulfil entry requirements for your next destination
Unlike the slightly stringent procedures to enter Singapore, the process of leaving is painless. All you need to do is fulfil your next destination’s entry requirements.
Heading to Switzerland? Check out its entry requirements prior to booking your flights.
Whether you’re heading back home or onto the next holiday destination, do proper research on vaccination requisites, flight details and any must-have documents like an entry approval letter. Most countries like South Korea and Australia also require you to download an app and complete a pre-departure test within 48 – 72 hours of leaving Singapore.
Once you’ve settled what you need, pack your bags and embark on your next adventure.
Travel tips every Singapore visitor needs to know
If you’ve been missing Singapore’s rich culture, tasty street food and vibrant entertainment scene, now’s the time to hop on a flight and come visit. Just make sure you’ve done all the pre-departure testings, have your entry documents ready and install the check-in app for a smooth-sailing trip.
Don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance. As travelling is back on the table, you might encounter a surge in prices or even worse – your preferred place is fully booked. In Singapore, the options for hotels are endless. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some inspos, have a look at Park Regis.
Located at the iconic Clarke Quay, Park Regis is a stone’s throw away from a myriad of bustling bars and restaurants – like FOC, Amo and Haidilao. The hotel is also a short five-minute walk from Robertson Quay – a family-oriented ‘hood with lots of cosy brunch options such as Common Man Coffee Roasters and Carrotsticks & Cravings.
Whether you’re travelling with your friends or family, you’ll be able to find a suitable room option at Park Regis. If you’re a fan of rooms with a city view, grab a Merchant Room. For easy pool access, book a Quay Room instead. But if you’re arriving in a larger group, opt for a Regis Room. The hotel also comes with a quiet pool and a modern gym for all of your workout needs.
When you stay at Park Regis, you’ll also receive a care package that contains a mask, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes. There’s also a Risis gift shop on site should you want to bring some unique souvenirs home – like a Merlion cardholder or a set of Dragon chopsticks.
Travelling to Singapore during the pandemic takes a few extra steps but it’s not impossible. With careful preparation and our useful tips, you’ll be able to have a safe and fun holiday in the tropics this summer.
This post was brought to you by Park Regis Singapore.
Photography by Clement Sim.