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Climate and WeatherBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Singapore - Climate and Weather
Because Singapore is only one degree north of the equator, the length of the day is even throughout the year. It also means Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate which is uniformly hot and humid all year round. Although there may be some variations in rainfall and sunshine levels, with the Southeast monsoon from June to September and the Northeast Monsoon from December to March, there are no true seasons whereby the landscape is seen to change or you need a different wardrobe. April is the warmest month of the year, with an average temperature of 27℃ (81℉), and January is the coolest at an average of 26℃ (79℉).
Relative humidity in Singapore does not vary month by month, but it does vary enormously throughout the course of each day. Humidity is often 90% in the morning before sunrise, and lowers to about 60% by mid afternoon. On the days it does not rain the humidity does not vary so much and is a more constant 60% throughout the day.
The high humidity makes Singapore prone to wet weather. It rains for an average of 178 days each year and there are thunderstorms during the day or night about 40% of the year. The flat and sandy area of the Eastern part of the island is in a rain shadow and is therefore drier than other areas, but the area still experiences significant rainfall. In an average year, Singapore will have 2342.20mm of rain, of which 269mm is in the wettest month of December. Sometimes outlying areas are hit by flash floods, and occasionally a typhoon may occur between July and mid-November; both of these events are rare.
The amount of sunshine in Singapore is influenced by the level of cloud cover. There will be approximately 4 or 5 hours of sunshine each day during the wettest months of November and December, but as much as 8 or 9 hours of sunshine per day during the drier months of February and March.
Singapore is a cosmopolitan city so classic mainstream clothes, generally quite casual, are preferred. Residents in Singapore prefer people to be calm, quiet and have polite manners; loud and unruly behaviour is strongly discouraged. Similarly, people who wear avant garde designer clothes are liable to attract unflattering looks and social media comments; photographs of people wearing unusual clothes which cause amusement are often posted to websites such as Stomp. Clothes which are revealing are very much frowned upon and should be avoided; about 15% of Singapore’s resident population are Muslim and the population as a whole feel uncomfortable interacting with someone who is inappropriately dressed.
The heat, humidity and rainfall in Singapore will dictate the practical elements of your wardrobe. Your bags must be waterproof to protect the contents, and large enough to accommodate a portable umbrella. Always remember to carry a bottle of water to avoid the unpleasant effects of heatstroke, and a high factor sunscreen to avoid the worst effects of the strong sunlight. You could carry a cool, lightweight, quick drying raincoat should you prefer one, but not many people do.
Cotton, silk, linen and poly-cotton materials are more pleasant to wear in Singapore’s high humidity. Avoid polyester and wool completely as it will be too hot to wear and damaged by the moisture. Although you will be very hot outside, the air-conditioning inside offices, shops and restaurants may make a light cardigan or very light jacket welcome.
In Singapore there is no expectation that you must wear a jacket to business meetings, and no one wears heavy suits in the constant heat. Ladies do not wear tights or stockings, even for work, business meetings or elegant restaurant meals. Evening wear is generally smarter and less casual than during the day, but the temperature will normally be a balmy 25℃ (77 ℉).
If you are visiting a religious site in Singapore, please dress conservatively. No tank tops, short skirts or pairs of shorts; better to wear cotton capri shorts and a lightweight short sleeved blouse which covers the upper arms. Men are advised to wear lightweight trousers and a short sleeved shirt.
Shopping in Singapore is plentiful. If you are missing any appropriate items to wear, head to the Orchard Street shopping complexes and you will find an array of quality clothes shops, many with affordable prices.
Being a city-state with excellent transport links but expensive for car ownership, it is advisable to wear a comfortable pair of shoes for walking. Shoes also have to be capable of surviving heavy rainfall and water on the pavements. Singapore has invested heavily in covered walkways, and the rain is unlikely to last long enough to cover open pavements in more than a few puddles; but suede or white shoes will suffer. Wedge shoes or covered sandals for ladies are a stylish and practical solution.
Air quality in Singapore is usually good, but each year the slash and burn fires in Indonesia during late August to early October cause a haze to appear across the state, which is polluting and unpleasant. On some occasions it leads to school closures and disruption of air and sea traffic; there have also been concerns about visibility for the Formula One Grand Prix which is held in Singapore each September. Indonesian authorities are trying to stamp out the fast and cheap practice of land clearance for agriculture by the ‘slash and burn’ fires, arresting individuals and fining plantations in an attempt to prevent this heavy air pollution which affects Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore each year.
Water in Singapore is safe to drink, including tap water. Currently the majority of fresh water is imported from Malaysia, but Singapore is busy implementing water projects such as water reservoirs, desalination and recycling of waste water. The government hopes these projects will ultimately enable Singapore to become self-sufficient for its water needs.
In Singapore, the best time to swim in the sea is in April, when the seawater is a comfortable 30℃ (86℉). On the beach it is acceptable and normal to wear a bikini with a sarong and flip flops. Being so close to the equator, the sun can be very harsh; a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and high factor sunscreen are essential, and remember to drink plenty of water.
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