Singapore like most cities in the world has crime. It can be the wonderful place, and is generally regarded as one the safest cities in the world. However, like in most major cities, exercise caution and be wary in all areas especially very late in the night. The risk of being conned out of money and other personal property is the number one reason to avoid most of these areas.
Here are a few areas to be avoided.
1. Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square is a big retail complex that specializes in the sale of electronic products. It has 6 levels and many retail shops selling many goods from computer hardware and software to phone and gaming equipment. There have been many cases of tourists getting scammed here. As in most cases, not everyone is a scammer, but those who do give the area a bad name.
Most common scams involve the sale of phones at cheap prices. Once cash is paid, the vendor then insists more cash to be paid for a warranty or to unlock the phone. This extra cost is usually as expensive as the phone itself. Counterfeit goods have also been known to be sold here, and it’s best to simply avoid this place.
2. People Park Complex
This complex has also been reported to have had lots of complaints. This 31-floor building was the first of its kind in the Southeastern part of Asia. When tourists venture into this place, they are immediately mobbed by sales people with brochures hassling them with all kinds of offers and services. It has high foot traffic with many people going about. Vendors have been known to target tourists by scamming and selling them fake goods.
3. Lucky Plaza
With over 500 medical, retail and food establishments, the Lucky Plaza is a nice shopping center. It also has 26 escalators serve this 30-floor building plus an extra 8 passenger lifts. The basement to the 8th floor is used as commercial centers while the rest hosts residential apartments. Scammers in this area mostly target low-cost shoppers who come into the plaza in droves.
This budget shopping mall has lots of Filipino shops and Forex bureaus. Electronics are the most common products shoppers may be conned into buying here. Shops don’t have prices written on the goods they sell, thus many products are sold even up to 100% above the recommended retail price. Unless expressly written, no refunds are issued by retailers. Prices given to shoppers never include credit card charges, and vendors will never point this out. To avoid a bad experience here, come and window shop only. Remember don’t talk to any vendor unless you want to buy their goods.
4. Newton Circus Food Centre
This food center sells a wide variety of Singapore cuisine, which makes the Newton Circus center a popular attraction. Due to many vendors, there has been increased competition making them quite aggressive to get patrons to buy their food. Most, will help you find a table to dine at then expect you to buy food from their shop. The major problem with this place is the incessant disturbance while eating. A menu will always be shoved on your table for you to order something else from some other place. Worse still, you may receive items that you haven’t even ordered. Scrutinize any bill carefully since overcharging is rampant here as well. The food isn’t cheap here also, and it is almost always not of high quality.
5. Boat Quay
Boat Quay is located in the CBD along Singapore River. It has a lovely view of Singapore’s attractions and the walk down the quay is romantic. Unfortunately due to this awesome location, restaurants here are highly overpriced. Lots of hustlers also work here and harass tourists. Although the menus and offerings look appetizing, the prices are simply not worth it. Some offer free drinks to attract customers, but you will end up more than paying for with the prices of the food.
This is the red light district in Singapore. Prostitution is not illegal in the country, however you sure don’t want to be here with kids and family. It is safe to walk in Geylang during the day, but not at night. Prostitutes are also brazen and walk around soliciting from everyone passing by. This aggressiveness usually increases during the holidays.
7. Orchard Towers
This place has now become known for its prostitutes mostly from the Philippines and Thailand. Many clubs located have these prostitutes working them, thus it is not a place were many people will feel comfortable clubbing. It’s easy to be conned here and scammed out of your money. When buying drinks be sure that your bill is correct, and that no extras have been added in. Keep your drink close to you, and watch that nothing is slipped into anyone else’s, drinks being spiked with drugs can be common here.
8. Katong Shopping Centre
This was the first mall in Singapore to have air conditioning, and is located near the Odeon Theatre. It now hosts many retail shops, but is now a shadow of its former glory; pestered with petty crime. No security is a problem here, and it has small, cramped staircases. Getting authentic products here is a challenge; counterfeit goods are aplenty, and most vendors are out to con shoppers. Tourists are huge targets here, so for visitors, this area should be avoided at all costs.
This area around the Balestier Road hosts many shopping centers and also the Balesteir market, but many of them serve as gambling dens. Balestier is generally not a nice place to be, and tourists are urged to avoid it completely. Many tragic incidents have proven that this area is indeed a major danger zone.
10. Bugis Junction
Bugis Junction is notorious for pickpocketing. Tourists are advised to carry any bags they have in the front of them, and not in the back or to the side. Pickpockets are arrested on a daily basis for stealing from pedestrians. Usually the work in a team, and one distracts, while another shields, and the others act as lookouts as one steals. In any crowded areas, tourists should be careful and be alert. Be wary of anyone walking near or next to you.
Little India is also another pickpocketing-zone, its narrow pedestrian areas can get really crowded especially on Sundays.
Michelle is a native of Singapore and imparts her experience and knowledge daily about this glorious SouthEast Asia jewel.