Venture into the captivating world of Singapore, an island city-state that effortlessly merges tradition with modernity.
From hosting the world’s first F1 Night Race and transforming Sentosa Island’s military base into an entertainment hub with man-made beaches to being a multicultural mosaic with four official languages, Singapore brims with fascinating facts.
In this guide, we’ll uncover the best Singapore facts, providing a glimpse into why this vibrant nation, known for its stunning skyline and diverse cuisine, consistently enchants visitors from around the globe.
So, let’s dive into the delightful journey of discovering the intriguing Singapore facts that make it more than just a stopover destination.
1. Historical Foundation
Singapore was founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1819 as a trading post for the British East India Company.
2. Cultural Mix
Singapore is known for its multicultural diversity, with four official languages: English, Malay, Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil. Despite being a small nation, it is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, with significant populations of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian citizens.
3. Garden City
Singapore is often called the “Garden City” due to its extensive greening policy and numerous parks and gardens. You can check out Gardens By The Bay, one of the top horticulture destinations in Asia; Park Royal Collection Pickering, a luxury hotel with a hotel-in-a-garden concept; and many more.
4. Iconic Symbol
The Merlion, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is a well-known symbol of Singapore. The city’s historical name, Singapura, which translates from Sanskrit to “lion city,” served as inspiration for the Merlion.
5. One of the World’s Busiest Port
Singapore has one of the world’s busiest ports and is a major hub for global trade. It was ranked number one. However, the port of Shanghai overtook its position in 2010.
6. Chewing Gum Ban
Importing chewing gum into Singapore is banned, with a few exceptions for therapeutic purposes like nicotine gum (for those who want to stop smoking) and oral dental gum. The ban was put into force to solve issues brought about by litter in public spaces, including the MRT, theatres, parks, and common areas of housing developments.
7. Height of Buildings
There is a restriction on the height of buildings in Singapore, which cannot exceed 280 metres. Special permission has to be obtained if it exceeds the height limit. The Guoco Tower, the tallest building in the country, is 283.7 metres tall.
8. Culinary Paradise
Singapore is renowned for its street food, with hawker centres serving a variety of local and international cuisines.
Singapore is known for its cleanliness, with strict laws against littering, jaywalking, and other public nuisances. The first offence for litterbugs is a fine of SGD 300.
10. National Service
Unless exempted, all male Singaporean citizens and permanent residents must undergo two years of National Service upon turning 18. They are required to register upon reaching 16.5 years old and will be scheduled for enlistment as soon as possible when they reach 18.
11. Night Safari
Singapore is home to the world’s first nocturnal zoo, the Night Safari. More than 1,000 creatures from 120 different species can be seen in the 35-hectare park, which was opened in 1994.
12. Economic Powerhouse
Despite its small size, Singapore is one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita. As per World Bank, Singapore’s GDP per capita is USD 72,794 (2021).
13. Education Excellence
Singapore’s education system is consistently ranked among the best in the world. Literacy (2017) is at 97.2%, while 99% achieve a Secondary Diploma and 54.2% for post-secondary diplomas.
14. Green Buildings
Singapore has the highest number of green buildings per capita in Asia. They are targeting “at least 80% of buildings (by floor area) in Singapore to be green by 2030”.
Popular Green Buildings include Jewel Changi Airport, CapitaGreen, and Park Royal Collection Pickering.
15. National Anthem
The lyrics of the Singaporean national anthem, “Majulah Singapura”, are printed on the back of the SGD 1000 note.
16. World’s Largest Rooftop Infinity Pool
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore is home to the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool. It is 150 metres long and 57 storeys up.
17. Orchid Hybrids
Singapore’s national flower is the Vanda Miss Joaquim, an orchid hybrid in Singapore. The country has created many unique hybrids, many of which can be found in the National Orchid Garden in Singapore Botanic Gardens.
18. Equatorial Location
Singapore is just one degree north of the equator, which is about 85 miles. It lies entirely between the 1st and 2nd parallels.
19. Car Ownership
Owning a car in Singapore is extremely expensive due to high taxes and a required Certificate of Entitlement, which is only good for 10 years. The ownership rate is about 11%.
20. World’s First Double Helix Bridge
The Helix Bridge in Singapore is the world’s first curved bridge with a double helix structure. It is also the longest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, connecting Marina Centre with the Bayfront area.
21. Lion City without Lions
While the Sumatran Prince Sang Nila Utama, the ruler of a settlement on the island in the 14th century, was hunting, he spotted a strange creature. His advisors said it was a lion, hence the name Singapura or Lion City.
There were no reports of lions living in Singapore, though. He may have seen a tiger, as they were once common in Singapore’s wild until the 1930s.
22. Underground Master Plan
Singapore is one of the world’s countries with an underground master plan. Underground facilities, including rail lines, utilities, and warehousing and storage, are given priority.
23. Durian Love
Singaporeans love their durians – this pungent, spiky fruit is loved and hated. It’s forbidden in many hotels and on public transport.
24. Artificial Water Supply
Singapore has one of the largest reclaimed water systems in the world, known as NEWater. Used water undergoes microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet disinfection. The product is then used as non-potable (for industrial use) and indirect potable water (blended with raw water).
25. Total Land Area of Singapore
Singapore has an area of 734.3 square kilometres (283.5 square miles).
26. Southeast Asian Country
At the end of the Malayan Peninsula between Malaysia and Indonesia is Singapore. It’s a very small, heavily urbanized island city-state. It has been a member of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) since 1967.
27. Islands of Singapore
Singapore’s main territory is a diamond-shaped island, although its territory includes as many as 64 surrounding smaller islands. The farthest outlying island is Pedra Branca.
28. Highest Point
The highest point of Singapore is Bukit Timah Hill, with a height from the ground of 163 m (534 ft). This is found in Bukit Timah, one of the country’s nature parks.
Singapore has more than 400 parks and 4 nature reserves. The country also develops an island-wide Park Connector Network to link major parks, nature areas and residential estates.
30. No Natural Lakes
Singapore has no natural lakes: but reservoirs and water catchment areas have been constructed to store fresh water for Singapore’s water supply.
31. Man-Made Beaches
All three beaches on Sentosa Island are man-made, created with sand imported from Malaysia and Indonesia. Creating these beaches involved substantial landscaping and importing thousands of tons of sand. There are also natural beaches in the country.
32. First F1 Night Race
Singapore was the first ever country to host an F1 night race. The inaugural event was held in September 2008, and since then, it’s become one of the highlights of the F1 calendar. The street circuit around Marina Bay is lit by thousands of powerful floodlights and offers a unique spectacle in the world of motor racing.
33. Man-Made Waterfalls
The tallest indoor waterfall in the world, known as the Rain Vortex, is in Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport. It cascades through a domed complex, falling from a height of 40 meters. Besides that, there is also a 35-metre waterfall in Cloud Forest Dome, Gardens by the Bay.
34. Law on Not Flushing Toilets
Believe it or not, it’s a punishable offence in Singapore not to flush public toilets after use. Violators can be fined SGD 150!
Singlish is a colloquial language in Singapore that’s a unique blend of English, Malay, Tamil, and various Chinese dialects, reflecting the multicultural society of Singapore. You will probably notice locals adding ‘lah; or ‘leh’ to their sentences.
36. UNESCO Heritage Site
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens, over 160 years old, were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. It’s the first and only tropical botanic garden on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and Singapore’s only UNESCO World Heritage site.
37. Monthly Celebrations
No matter what month you visit Singapore, there are always fun things to do! There are festivals, sports, arts, and lifestyle events all year round. Read more when is the best time to visit Singapore.
38. Internet Speed
Singapore frequently has one of the highest average internet speeds in the world, making it a haven for digital nomads and tech businesses. Its median internet speed is 207.61 MBPS.
39. Fastest Walkers
According to a study by the British Council, Singaporeans were found to be the fastest walkers on the planet, further highlighting their fast-paced lifestyle. Walkers were recorded to cover 19 metres in 10.55 seconds.
40. Land Reclamation
Singapore has grown its land area through extensive land reclamation projects since its independence. The country plans to continue such projects to accommodate its growing population and economic activities. Currently, Marina Bay, Changi Airport, and Sentosa are known projects.
41. Crime Rate or Safety
Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, making it one of the safest cities. Strict laws and severe penalties serve as effective deterrents against crime.
42. City State
A City State is a city that forms an independent state with its surrounding territory. Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world, along with Monaco and Vatican City.
43. Sentosa Island’s History
This popular island resort in Singapore, visited by almost 20 million people annually, was once a British military base. Before it developed into a tourist destination, it was known as Pulau Blakang Mati, which roughly translates to ‘Island of Death from Behind’. Today, it is home to Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium, beaches, and luxury hotels.