Basic Singaporean Etiquette for Your Next Business Trip

Business travel can be a great way to expand your brand’s image, attract new customers, increase your market share, and much more. There are many benefits for both businesses and individuals when it comes to business travel, but you must also consider etiquette and know how to be respectful. This is particularly true in areas like Singapore, which has become a major business hub in recent times but also somewhere that upholds many traditions that differ from the West. 

General Etiquette

First, it is helpful to be aware of the general etiquette in Singapore when you are out and about. In Singapore, there are very strict anti-smoking laws so you must not smoke (or vape) in public. You should also refrain from eating at train stations or on the train, never leave a messy table at a hawker center and always take your shoes off if you are entering a temple.

Corporate Culture

For your business meetings, you must always be punctual (a good idea no matter where you are) and exchange business cards at the start. Business meetings tend to be formal and slow-moving, but small talk is expected at the start to build relationships and trust. Additionally, be aware that the most senior person in the room is the most respected, so you should show deference to their position. 

You should also try to conceal any strong emotions – this is known as losing face and could ruin any kind of deal. Patience is key when it comes to business meetings in Singapore and do not become alarmed if there are long periods of silence – this is simply a sign that the people you are meeting with are thinking before they speak (something we could all learn from!). You will want to make a good first impression the same way that you make a good impression anywhere – by being warm and friendly, showing respect, and with positive body language.

Dress Code

Singapore is a diverse place, so you will notice a range of different attires. For business meetings, you will want to dress smartly to make a good impression so a white shirt, tie, and trousers for men (jacket optional) and pantsuits or blouses with sleeves for women.


Singapore is a great place for business travel because the entertainment can be fantastic. Going out for dinner is the most common form of entertainment and you can defer to the host to plan the restaurant, dishes, and drinks. It is a good idea to book into serviced apartments in Singapore so that you are well positioned and have a comfortable space to recharge in – it can be tiring taking regular meetings and going out for dinner each night!

Hopefully, this post will be useful and help you to get prepared for a business trip to Singapore so that you can make a good impression and avoid any faux pas.

Jasper is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of leading sites. He loves content partnerships with advertisement agencies.