27 Colourful and Interesting Facts about Singapore
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27 Colourful and Interesting Facts about Singapore 

You can learn about Singapore by visiting some of its best museums. But we believe that another great way to know a place is to read interesting trivial bits about it.

In the following list of interesting facts about Singapore, let’s look at things that could intrigue you. We also threw in some traveller tips and related trivia as a bonus guide!

Contents show

1. Singapore is called the Fine City

Many people—locals and tourists alike—often describe SG as a fine city. In fact, there’s a blog called “Singapore The Fine City” that lists all the dos and don’ts that people are expected to follow in the country.  

Why is Singapore called the Fine City?

Singapore is called “the Fine City” because of the numerous fines that come with a sizable list of offences and demeanours.

But the word fine in “Fine City” may also mean “excellent,” as Singapore is “a fine city to visit and invest in.”

2. Singapore won the World’s Best Airport award 8 times in a row

Singapore’s major civilian airport has the distinction of being named the best airport in the entire world for eight consecutive years. 

This record-breaking feat is accompanied by Singapore Changi Airport being considered by Skytrax as one of the world’s cleanest airports as well.

When did Singapore win the world’s best airport?

When did Singapore win the world’s best airport

Singapore Changi Airport has been named the World’s Best Airport eight times in a row. This was from 2013 to 2020, though it also won the award in 2000, 2006, and 2010.

And in our opinion, first-time visitors to the country can already see why Singapore is also considered a garden city as soon as they step off the plane at Changi Airport.

For starters, it has an indoor garden that will make anyone feel like they’re in a tropical paradise straightaway. While other airports merely provide little pockets of green spaces, this indoor retail complex will make shoppers feel like being in a magical forest. 

There’s also a nightly light and sound show at Jewel for people to enjoy free of charge!

Traveller trivia/tip: Check out Jewel’s luxurious shops and restaurants, enjoy the free Wi-Fi, and marvel at the gorgeous and lush Canopy Park.

3. Chewing gum, littering, and other “petty” crimes are punishable by law in Singapore

What might seem like petty or small crimes to other countries are taken quite seriously and are fined in Singapore. These include smoking, being a litterbug, and (heaven forbid!) carrying or chewing gum while in the country.

What happens if you chew gum in Singapore?

The penalties and fines for chewing gum or even bringing it into the country are nothing but petty. 

First-time offenders will be fined US$500 to US$1,000, while repeat offenders would be charged up to US$2,000 and slapped with a Corrective Work Order.

This Corrective Work Order is often designed to embarrass the offender in public. They are expected to wear a brightly coloured jacket while cleaning in public, often with media coverage to document the event.

There’s quite a colourful history behind why chewing gum is banned in Singapore. But as it’s punishable by law to even be found carrying gum, your main takeaway should be to avoid it altogether while you’re in the country.

What happens if you chew gum in Singapore

The same strictness applies to littering, jaywalking, and other seemingly petty misdemeanours—including forgetting to flush public toilets

All of these acts are considered offences and come with some pretty stiff fines and embarrassing punishments.

Singapore’s vision of being a clean country with no corruption or crime means that minor offences like these are taken seriously. So to avoid breaking any law, it’s a good idea to brush up on its rules before you come over.

4. In Singapore, it’s illegal to be naked in your own home

Don’t want to be jailed for up to three months or pay S$2,000 just because you forgot to put on your robe after showering at home? Then you’ll need to avoid being seen naked by anyone even in the privacy of your hotel room or house!

Considered by many (even by locals) to be one of the weirdest laws in Singapore, this particular prohibition is regarded as a form of voyeurism. And voyeurism falls under pornography, which is illegal in the country. 

So make sure to draw your curtains whenever you need to undress lest you be accused of indecency by your neighbours (or passersby).

Traveller trivia/tip: This specific law falls under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act 1906 and comes with a S$2,000 fine.

5. Singapore is a real foodie destination

Singapore is a real foodie destination

Singapore has some pretty unique gustatory offerings by way of Peranakan food. This particular cuisine represents the country’s multicultural background with its Malaysian, Chinese, and Indonesian influences.

That’s why it’s the perfect place to get the best chilli crabs and chicken-baked rice. Anywhere else will pale in comparison as far as authenticity goes.

And it’s not just high tea and fine dining fare you can get here. So there’s no need to worry if your food budget is tight because there are plenty of affordable yet tasty meals you can eat in the right places (and not just fast food ones either!). 

Traveller trivia/tip: Fresh out of dinner ideas in Singapore? A quick trip to any hawker centre can give you lots of budget and palate-friendly food choices!

6. Singapore is 1 of the only 3 city-states in the entire world

Are you still wondering if Singapore is a city or a country or if Singapore has cities or states? Let’s get to the bottom of all that.

Is Singapore a city or a state?

Singapore is both a city and a state! Along with Vatican City and Monaco, Singapore is considered a city-state.

Is Singapore a city or a state

There are only three known city-states in the world, including Singapore.

It’s also considered an island nation despite its modern metropolitan look and feel. After all, Singapore is still a strategically located island in a sea that’s known to be a maritime thoroughfare for merchant shippers.

Because of its small total land area, Singapore doesn’t have provinces, cities, or states. Instead, it’s made up of community development councils in five different regions, which plan and initiate improvements headed by a mayor and council. 

Traveller trivia/tip: Check out some gorgeous sunset spots in Singapore in any of its five regions or take a ride on the Singapore Flyer if you want different views of the golden hour.

7. Singapore has the tallest indoor waterfall

The multi-awarded Singapore Changi Airport also has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall—the HSBC Rain Vortex!

How tall is the waterfall in Jewel in Singapore?

How tall is the waterfall in Jewel in Singapore

The HSBC Rain Vortex is 40 metres tall and cascades from Jewel Changi’s domed roof and down seven floors in an oculus framework.

The Rain Vortex’s controls are in an inconspicuous pump room found on level B3 of Jewel. It’s there where regular checks and pre-programming happen to ensure that the entire waterfall functions smoothly and beautifully for everyone to appreciate.

Traveller trivia/tip: Marvel at the free light and sound show in the Rain Vortex area, and check out the daily schedules on the Jewel Changi page.

8. Singapore is one of the 20 smallest countries in the world

Though not as minuscule as Monaco or Vatican City—which are both smaller than a square mile—Singapore is still quite a tiny nation. Compared to the United States, Singapore is around 15,000 times smaller!

What place is Singapore on the list of smallest countries in the world?

Singapore is the 20th smallest country in the world and the second smallest country in Asia (Maldives is the smallest).

E-scooters and electric bikes have become popular modes of transport in Singapore, and with good reason. That’s because Singapore is so small that anyone can visit nearly all of it in a single day!

With the main island only a little above 40 kilometres long and 23 kilometres wide, Singapore nevertheless offers plenty of sights, sounds, and attractions to marvel at. 

And everything is so well laid out that getting from point A to point B here won’t be a problem.

Traveller trivia/tip: Singapore is over 940 times smaller than the state of Texas and over 10,760 times smaller than Australia!

9. Singapore held the first-ever F1 night race 

Singapore held the first-ever F1 night race

Though Singapore is one of the most expensive places to get cars, driving enthusiasts still flock to it for a very special reason: the F1 races.

The Formula One races have been held every year in different venues. But in 2008, Singapore added a special historical event to F1 by hosting the first-ever F1 night race by way of the Singapore Grand Prix. 

Despite fears of being too narrow for the event, the Marina Bay Sands street circuit became the perfect setting for the first-ever nocturnal Formula One race. 

And its success is largely due to the efficiency and attention to detail of Singaporean infrastructure. 

Traveller trivia/tip: Singapore successfully concluded its 2022 race weekend on October 2 at the Marina Bay Sands Street Circuit.

10. Singaporean pedestrians are the fastest in the world

Singaporean pedestrians are the fastest in the world

Singaporeans are known to be the speediest pedestrians in the entire world. The average speed a typical person walks in Singapore is around 6.15 kilometres per hour. 

Why are Singaporeans the fastest walkers?

Singaporeans tend to walk faster than others because they consider tardiness to be rude. 

Psychology professor Richard Wiseman and his team observed that Singaporeans now walk 30% faster than they did in 1994! Male Singaporeans are also around 25% quicker on their feet than their female counterparts.

How’s that for a daily workout minus a personal trainer?

Traveller trivia/tip: You can walk as fast as you want in Singapore, but avoid jaywalking if you don’t want to pay up to S$1,000 or be jailed for up to three months on your first offence.

11. The most enormous Yakult bottles can be found in Singapore

Need to up your probiotic intake? Singapore’s got your back (and gut health) with an upsized treat!

Which country has the biggest Yakult bottle?

Singapore is one of the countries that carry the biggest Yakult bottles in the world, along with China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Though not exactly known for being a destination for healthy foods, Singapore still has apothecaries and places to get Chinese medicine and other Asian health products. One of these products is a popular Japanese probiotic drink called Yakult.

Yakult is typically sold in 65 to 80-millilitre polystyrene bottles in several countries. But in Singapore, you can get a big 100-millilitre bottle!

It’s also only in Singapore where other Yakult flavours can be found. So if you want to know how this healthy drink tastes with grape, apple, or orange flavourings, you know where to go.

Traveller trivia/tip: There’s a unique Yakult home delivery system via Yakult Ladies who go door-to-door distributing chilled probiotic drinks to customers.

12. Majority of Singaporeans are bilingual

Because Singapore is a multicultural melting pot, you can expect most Singaporeans to be effectively bilingual. And it’s a phenomenon you can find everywhere, not just among those who’ve gone to private schools in Singapore.

When was Singapore’s bilingual policy implemented?

When was Singapore’s bilingual policy implemented

The bilingual policy in Singapore was implemented in 1966 when students were required to study both English and a mother tongue language while at school.

This is to help emphasise a single national identity while underlining the country’s multiracial society and inclusiveness. 

The Singapore education system has set it up so that students are proficient in at least two languages. As a result, the country has become a favourite hub among foreign businesses because there are fewer language barriers to hurdle.

By 2010, the bilingual proficiency rate was already at 70.5%. But with more motivation and encouragement, Singapore wishes to see this percentage rise steadily.

Traveller trivia/tip: Want to shop on Taobao but can’t understand Chinese? Read our handy guide on how to buy from Taobao in English!

13. The Oxford Dictionary recognises 27 Singlish words

Singaporean English or Singlish might sound a bit strange to someone hearing it for the first time. However, Singlish expressions have managed to find their way into the Oxford Dictionary!

“Shiok,” “atas,” “lah,” “lepak,” and gastronomy-related words like “char shiu” and “teh tarik” now have English definitions.

It isn’t just Singlish exclamations and descriptions that made it to the dictionary either. You’ll find several entries about local organisations, characteristics, and even local institutions.

Traveller trivia/tip: If you want to communicate with locals more effectively, try using these 50 helpful phrases in Singapore to get around.

14. English is Singapore’s de facto language

English is Singapore’s de facto language

Enligh is widely spoken in Singapore since it’s considered the nation’s de facto language in education and business. Around 37% of Singaporeans speak it, and it’s one of the official languages of the country.

If you’re wondering why Singaporeans speak English in the first place, the reasons vary from historical to economical. English is also meant to be a unifying communication tool across different cultural groups.

The nation’s curriculum also has British English at its core, as it’s the medium of instruction in most schools. So don’t be surprised if even preschool-age kids suddenly start talking to you in fluent English.

Traveller trivia/tip: You can talk to service providers in English since most businesses default to English to communicate with clients.

15. Singapore has 4 official languages

Because Singapore is multicultural and dynamic, it’s hardly surprising that it has four official languages. What’s more, there are other unofficial and minority languages spoken across different groups.

Why does Singapore have 4 official languages?

Because it’s made up of different ethnicities, Singapore has recognised four official languages. This has resulted in widespread bilingualism allowing for at least a conversation-level ability to speak other languages.

The four main languages spoken in Singapore are English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin. English is the default language for education and business, but Malay is considered Singapore’s national language.

Only around 13% of Singapore’s population speak Malay, though. Around 5% speak Tamil, while 35% use Mandarin to communicate.

Traveller trivia/tip: Chinese is the second most widely utilised language in business, so you might want to go to a Chinese tutor if you want to do business in Singapore.

16. Singlish is more than just saying “lah” all the time

Singlish is more than just saying “lah” all the time

At this point in the section, we think it’s become quite obvious how organic and potent Singlish is. And it’s not about punctuating every sentence with “lah” or “leh” either.

There are effective ways to greet someone in Singapore using Singlish. 

This is especially useful for meetings in casual places like the shopping mall or a coffee shop among friends since shortened sentences make it possible for a faster exchange of stories (and gossip).

Singlish can also be used to say thank you to someone in Singapore. If the person has been a huge help, say, “Thank you sia!” to express the depth of your gratitude and appreciation.

Traveller trivia/tip: “Lah” may sound like something you can punctuate or prefix every sentence with, but there’s a wrong and right way to say it. So when in doubt, refrain from peppering every statement with lah.

17. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has more tree species than the whole of North America

Among all of Singapore’s natural parks, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has the distinction of being home to over 2,000 native plant species. Plus, it also has more tree species in just one of its 163 hectares compared to the entirety of North America!

How long is the Bukit Timah hike?

Bukit Timah is 2.6 kilometres long with an elevation gain of 134 miles. Hikers usually take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes to climb it and around 20 to 30 minutes getting back down. 

It’s quite an interactive experience to visit Bukit Timah too. There’s a visitor centre where guests can learn about the different plants and wildlife found in the reserve via touchscreen displays and nature workshops.

If you do end up adding Bukit Timah to your itinerary, make sure you head out when it’s no longer the rainy season so the paths aren’t too slippery. And don’t forget to bring some handy mosquito repellent with you.

Traveller trivia/tip: Try one of Bukit Timah’s easy-to-moderate hiking trails and get a much-needed nature bath while you’re at it.

18. Most of Singapore’s 64 offshore islands are uninhabited

Singapore is made up of different islands you can visit any time. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Sentosa (thanks to the presence of Universal Studios).

But there are offshore islands available for those who simply want to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle. So to get some sun, sand, and a bit of sea, try visiting Lazarus Island, Pulau Ubin, or St. John’s Island

Most of Singapore’s 64 offshore islands are uninhabited

Other smaller islands are uninhabited and might not be ideal for overnight stays. But renting a yacht to reach them would be practical if you want to see more beaches during your vacation.

And if SCUBA diving and underwater exploration are your passions, Sister’s Island should earn a spot in your itinerary for its lush aquatic life and rich biodiversity. 

Traveller trivia/tip: Sentosa is not just an island but also a family-friendly neighbourhood where numerous amusement parks and schools are located. 

19. November 7 is National Tree-Planting Day

November 7 is National Tree-Planting Day

Singapore isn’t known as a garden city for nothing. To emphasise this, there’s a holiday dedicated to tree planting in the country.

It’s a holiday that’s been around for over half a century to continue to shape the country into becoming a cleaner and greener place. 

To minimise watering needs, November became the most practical month for National Tree Planting Day since it ushers in the rainy season.

And even the most urbanised (or gardenless) HDB flats have managed to make pocket gardens with what little space they have. 

Inside a typical one, you’re bound to see dozens of houseplants while outdoor spaces are often dedicated to easy-maintenance pollinator gardens.

Traveller trivia/tip: The OneMillionTrees Movement in Singapore aims to restore nature to the city, and it has planted nearly 443,000 trees to date.

20. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

If you love being surrounded by nature and history, you can hit two birds with one stone by visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It’s not just a century older than modern-day Singapore but is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Is there an entry fee to Singapore Botanic Gardens?

There’s no charge to get inside the Singapore Botanic Gardens, though accessing the Orchid Garden will cost around S$5.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens got awarded in 2015 for featuring botanical VIPs—that’s Very Important Plants to you! 

Also, if you’re fond of orchids, you can find over 200 types of them here. 

Is there an entry fee to Singapore Botanic Gardens

To add a whimsical layer to the entire experience, the orchids are named after the celebrities and dignitaries who’ve visited the National Orchid Garden (so it should be fun trying to see which characteristics they share with which blooms). 

Traveller trivia/tip: Kids can have fun at Singapore Botanic Gardens by way of the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, which has a playground, orchard, farm, and other kid-friendly features.

21. Singapore has one of the best zoos in the world 

The Singapore Zoo has been considered one of the world’s most popular zoos. A visit to it will make you see why.

How much is the ticket for Singapore Zoo?

How much is the ticket for Singapore Zoo

(Image from the Singapore Zoo FB page)

To enter the Singapore Zoo, tickets for non-residents cost S$48 per adult and S$33 per child. Local residents pay S$43 per adult, S$29.70 per kid, and S$20 per senior citizen.

The zoo has an open-concept layout that does away with tight and cramped enclosures and cages. And animals with similar native habitats are clustered with themes that are both entertaining and educational.

Get to marvel at all manner of creatures, from birds to big cats!

Traveller trivia/tip: Bring your own bottle of water or a reusable container because Singapore Zoo doesn’t sell bottled water. It’s just one example of its eco-tourism and environment-friendly practices.

22. Singapore has a low crime rate

Plenty of statistics prove that Singapore has a low crime rate:

  • In 2020, the crime rate statistic was at 0.17, a 17.32% decline from 2019.
  • In 2021, the number of crimes committed was 847 for every 100,000 individuals
  • In 2021, Singapore also recorded the longest period of serious crime-free days since 2015.
  • According to the Mid-Year Crime statistics of the Singapore Police Force, a rise in scam cases in the past years has driven the police to form an Anti-Scam Command. 

Thus far, it has successfully frozen more than 7,800 bank accounts connected to scammers.

Singapore has a low crime rate

Why is Singapore’s crime rate so low?

Singapore’s impressively low crime rate is a result of the following measures:

  • full enforcement and ensuring that any law broken by locals and visitors alike will result in being found out (and penalised or punished),
  • a deeply-ingrained discipline instilled among Singaporeans since childhood, with a system that supports being a law-abiding citizen,
  • the presence of many CCTV and security cameras in public areas,
  • and neighbourhood watches that encourage citizens to report any wrongdoing to the authorities.
Why is Singapore’s crime rate so low

23. Caning is still an accepted form of punishment in Singapore

Whether it’s for military, prison, judicial, educational, domestic, or reformatory purposes, caning in Singapore is still an accepted form of punishment. And it applies to both violent and non-violent offences and crimes, including the following:

  • Trespassing
  • Murder
  • Piracy
  • Possession or use of explosive devices
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Extortion
  • Unlawful possession of arms
  • Robbery or being part of a gang of thieves
  • Illegal immigration
  • Defacing of public property
  • Drug dealing or carrying
  • Unauthorised manufacturing of drugs
  • Sale or distribution of fireworks.

The rattan cane used for the punishment must not be wider than half an inch in diameter or go beyond 1.2 metres long. 

The maximum number of caning inflictions is 10 for juveniles and 24 for adults (though the total per case is up to the judge’s discretion and the severity of the crime).

And if you’re wondering if it hurts, yes, it does.

According to an account from Amnesty International, an individual who received caning as punishment described it as “Every stroke was a stroke of hell, which I will never forget as long as I live.”

Traveller trivia/tip: All females, as well as males over 50 years old, are exempt from caning as corporal punishment in Singapore.

24. There’s mandatory retirement planning among Singaporeans

There’s mandatory retirement planning among Singaporeans

Does Singapore have a mandatory retirement age?

In most countries, retirement planning is mostly a privilege. But in Singapore, it’s mandatory at age 63.

This might make growing old sound unromantic and rigid, but the Singapore government does it for a good reason. 

All salaried Singaporean employees are required to contribute to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) so they can use their retirement sums by the age of 65.

So while most retirees and senior citizens in other countries already have plans of going into nursing homes and assisted living centres, Singaporean retirees can enjoy their golden years in comfort.  

Traveller trivia/tip: Want to secure your future home even before you reach retirement age? Read our helpful guide on HDB BTOs to secure your forever home starting today.

25. Singapore is the least corrupt Asian city

Singapore is currently the least corrupt nation in Asia. It’s also the fifth least corrupt globally. 

How does Singapore avoid corruption?

Singapore avoids corruption primarily with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), which aims to act on corruption and encourage witnesses to report it.

There’s even an official “e-Complaint” page that will take just five minutes to report any bribes or corrupt acts to the authorities.

Why is Singapore such a strict country, you ask? We think the results will speak for themselves.

A lot of Singapore’s rules seem prohibitive but with good reason. Nipping corruption in the bud is at the forefront of the country’s legal, political, and economical goals.

By getting rid of corruption, Singapore becomes an attractive target for foreign investments and paves the way for happy and healthy current and future citizens.

Traveller trivia/tip: Corruption even in the construction industry exists, so be wary and know the telltale signs that a contractor is a cheater.

26. Singapore ranks high in the family life index

The 2019 Expat Insider Family Life Index showed Singapore as the highest ranking among Asian nations for having a satisfactory family life. It’s also in the top 10 rankings worldwide.

Singapore ranks high in the family life index

Owing to both low crime rates and a high level of educational quality, Singapore has become an attractive place for local and expat families to thrive and reach their full potential. 

Parents can rest assured that their kids will receive the kind of education that will pave the way for successful careers in the future.

The bottom line is that Singapore is a good place to raise a family with the kind of systems and infrastructure it has set up.

Traveller trivia/tip: Expose your entire family to different cultures in Singapore just by exploring different neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street.

27. Singapore has an excellent healthcare system

Singapore is quite known for having efficient public and private healthcare system. In 2018, the country was considered by Bloomberg Healthcare Efficiency Index as the second best in the entire world.

Is healthcare free in Singapore?

While the Singapore public healthcare system ranks among the world’s best, it isn’t free. There are user fees for healthcare services, which also serve as a benchmark for private health insurance companies.

There are many health insurance policies to choose from to get everything from routine health screening to surgery. And the proof is in the pudding: Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 82.7%!

Traveller trivia/tip: Not sure what to do in Singapore if you get sick or into an accident? Read our guide on the best health insurance for foreigners to get an idea.