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Tips for Expats Driving in Singapore

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Singapore.
|-Tips for Expats Driving in Singapore

1. Understanding the Driving Rules

Driving in Singapore is on the left-hand side of the road, similar to the UK and Australia. The traffic rules are strictly enforced and penalties for violations can be severe. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the local driving laws and regulations before getting behind the wheel.

2. Car Recommendation

As Singapore is a small and densely populated city-state, a compact car is often the most practical choice. However, cars in Singapore are expensive due to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system, which is a license received from the successful winning bid in an open bid uniform price auction which grants the legal right of the holder to vehicle ownership.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in Singapore can be challenging, especially in the central business district and popular shopping areas. Most parking spaces are paid, and the cost can add up quickly. It’s advisable to use public transportation or taxis when going to these areas.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Singapore with a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) or a foreign license that is in English for up to 12 months. After that, you will need to convert to a Singapore driving license.

5. Getting a Singapore Driving License

To get a Singapore driving license, you will need to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT) and then convert your foreign license. If your foreign license is not in English, you will need to provide an official translation. It’s advisable to take a few driving lessons to familiarize yourself with Singapore’s driving rules and practices.

6. Peak Hour Traffic

Like any major city, Singapore has peak hour traffic which can be quite heavy. It’s advisable to avoid driving during these times if possible. The peak hours are usually from 7:30am to 9:30am and from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

7. Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)

Singapore uses a system called Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) to manage traffic by road pricing. ERP charges are incurred when driving through ERP gantries during peak hours. Ensure your vehicle is equipped with an In-vehicle Unit (IU) and a stored-value card to pay these charges.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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