There are many things that make Singapore such a fascinating place to travel to. From its man-made solar trees to the abundance of nature in the otherwise modern city, this island captivates nearly all who visit its shores.
But did you know that the country was not always called Singapore? Or that the city-state’s symbol animal is a Merlion? And are you aware that chewing gum is illegal on the island?
Here are some more impressive facts about Singapore to help you better get to know this island city-state.
Interesting Facts About Singapore
Every country has its own quirks that make it interesting. Singapore is no different. Here are some of the most peculiar things we found out about this island.
1. The first important thing to note is that there are actually two Singapores. One is the country, and the other is a town in the USA. The facts we’re listing below are about the country.
2. This island city-state is the only of its kind in the world; the other surviving city-states are Monaco and the Vatican.
3. Not only is the Gardens by the Bay a spectacular sight to behold, but it is also home to the largest greenhouse in the world.
4. Inside the Gardens by the Bay is yet another impressive structure – the largest indoor waterfall in the world.
5. The Singapore Wheel is the world’s second-highest observation wheel. At 165m high, the wheel offers unobstructed views of the island.
6. This tiny country is home to the highest percentage of millionaires in the whole world. A large percentage of the population is wealthy, and the number of millionaires in the country continues to increase.
7. All male citizens in Singapore are required to serve a period in the military for a minimum of 2 years after they turn 18.
8. You can have a (pricey) cocktail at the world’s highest rooftop bar, 1-Altitude in Singapore.
9. The time zone used by the island has changed 6 times. They’re currently using the same time zone as Malaysia.
10. Singapore is a Commonwealth member. What does that mean? It means that Singaporeans can vote in the UK elections, serve on UK juries, and even run for public office positions.
11. That’s not the only thing that keeps changing though. The country has also gone through a number of name changes throughout the years. It was known as Temasek first, and as Syonan-to during the war, before receiving its current name.
12. Today, the island’s name comes from the Malay words “Singa” and “Pura” which mean “Lion City”. It was given to the country by a Sumatran prince who believed he saw a lion although that’s not likely since wild lions were never running around Singapore.
13. Even though there were probably never any real lions in Singapore, the city-state has embraced the animal as its sort of mascot. The island has the Lions football team, the Merlion icon, and many other references of the majestic big cat.
14. Changi Airport in Singapore has won the title of “Best Airport in Asia” for 28 consecutive years.
15. Gin lovers will be interested to know that the well-known cocktail, the Singapore Sling, was first mixed and served at the Raffles Hotel in 1915.
16. The youngest person in the world to ever pass O-level chemistry was seven-year-old Ainan Celeste Cawley, a young Singaporean boy who is clearly very gifted.
17. There’s a plot inside Bukit Timah Nature Reserve that has 400 different species of trees. That’s more species than you’ll find in the whole of North America!
18. Around 80% of the country’s residents live in government housing. These are given to citizens with a 99-year lease, but you have to enter a lottery to get one, and only once you’re married or are 30 years old.
19. Private housing is very expensive in Singapore, so government housing has helped with the country’s 93% homeownership rate.
20. Singapore imports a lot of the food that the country eats, but they also import sand and fresh water from Malaysia.
21. If you’re wanting wheels while living in Singapore, you’ll not only pay for the car, but also for the permit to have one – which is extremely expensive. The permit lasts 10 years and to renew it is even more costly.
22. The country is busy reclaiming land from the sea. About 23% of the island is currently made from reclaimed land.
23. One of the largest man-made fountains on the planet is found at Suntec City in Singapore. It’s named the Fountain of Wealth since the water flowing inward symbolizes wealth in Chinese culture.
24. The Suntec City towers were designed to symbolize good Feng Shui, which is why they are built in the shape of the palm of a hand.
25. Although the country is densely populated and packed with urban buildings, 50% of Singapore is covered in lush greenery.
26. It’s estimated that two new restaurants open up in Singapore every day! That’s a lot of fresh new food to explore.
27. Singapore’s flag is full of meaning. The five white stars represent democracy, peace, progress, justice, and equality. The white is there to symbolize virtue, while the red signifies universal brotherhood. And the crescent moon? That expresses the growing nation on the rise.
28. Cavenagh Bridge was built in 1869 and is one of the oldest in Singapore. There is an old sign warning that cattle and horses may not cross it – this rule still applies.
29. Another interesting fact about Singapore is that Singaporeans define success using the five Cs: Cash, Credit Card, Car, Condominium, Country Club.
30. Drug-related crimes are punishable by death in Singapore. Because of this, the country leads the world in the number of death sentences given.
Fun Facts About Singapore
Singapore is a fascinating country/island/city-state. It’s a rich destination, with plenty of fun and quirky characteristics. Here are some of the top facts to know about this place.
31. If you manage to get your hands on a S$1000 note, you may be surprised to find the country’s anthem printed in micro-text on the back of the note.
32. While there are many languages spoken in Singapore, the most interesting one you’ll hear is Singlish. It’s a mix of many languages and can sound a little strange to foreigners, but have been a few Singlish words added into the Oxford dictionary.
33. October sees the most number of Singaporean birthdays in the year. So it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of cake going around during this time of year.
34. The Singapore Botanical Gardens is older than Singapore itself! The beautiful oasis was founded in 1859 and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
35. The largest tropical orchid garden in the world is found in the botanical gardens in Singapore.
36. One of the five official Tintin shops left in the world is found in Chinatown, Singapore. The others are in Japan and in Europe.
37. Even though Singapore ranks high in the most expensive countries in the world, every year in June, the country goes on sale for a day. The Great Singapore Sale means you can get your hands on some fabulous souvenirs at a discounted price.
38. Singapore is a hot and happening place. The lowest-recorded temperature on the island was a little over 19°C (about 66°F).
39. In 2012, those lucky enough to be on the campus of the National University of Singapore could bag themselves a free can of coke in return for giving the vending machine a hug!
40. Food hawker centers are popular in Singapore, and the one at Chinatown Complex Food Center is the largest in the country – holding more than 260 food stalls.
41. In Singapore stores, you’ll find the biggest – and most expensive – bottles of Yakult, a sweet probiotic milk drink.
42. Singapore is the largest exporter of ornamental fish in the world.
Facts About Singapore For Kids
Hey, kids, interested in learning more about Singapore? Here are some spectacular facts about the country for you to share with your friends.
43. The national icon of Singapore is the Merlion. This mythical creature has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. One of the most popular places to visit on the island is Merlion Park, where you’ll find a fabulous Merlion statue.
44. The world’s largest bat – the flying fox – is found on one of the islands just off Singapore’s mainland, Pulau Ubin.
45. You can experience what it’s like to fly like a flying fox! The country has the Megazip thrill ride which lets you soar 60m over the jungle.
46. Singapore is home to the Night Safari, which was the world’s first night zoo. You can see nocturnal animals from all around the world, in natural habitats under the stars.
47. The government strongly encourages their people to use transport other than cars, which could explain how Singaporeans became the fastest pedestrians on earth.
48. Singaporean kids are some of the smartest in the world – they especially shine in maths and science.
49. Singa the Courtesy Lion was Singapore’s mascot for 30 years. He promoted kindness and manners and was loved by the people.
Record-Breaking Singapore Events
Singaporeans are rich, smart, and apparently really good at breaking records! Here are some of the most impressive records that were set or broken in Singapore through the years.
50. In 2000, on September 30th, Singapore set the Guinness world record for the longest human domino chain. It was made up of 9,234 high school students, although in 2010 the record was broken by 10,267 human dominoes in China.
51. Singapore also once held the biggest game of ‘pass-the-parcel’ ever played. In 1998, on 28 February, 3,918 students unwrapped 2,200 layers of wrapping paper in 2.5 hours.
52. And that’s not all – they also set the record for the most people taking part in line dancing at once, when they managed to gather 11,967 twinkle-toed individuals in a dance hall.
53. Singapore became home to the first Grand Prix Racing Circuit in Asia. The first Formula One race on the island was held in September 2008, and it was also the first F1 night race.
54. In 2009, Singapore recorded the longest-ever tooth extracted. It was 1.2 inches long.
55. On August 5, 1989, 8,238 people took part in the largest game of musical chairs. The game lasted 3.5 hours.
56. In 2008, a Colgate toothpaste promotion led to the creation of the world’s largest ant farm. It was 3ft 11in heigh x 2ft 11in wide and 3in deep and housed around 300 ants.
Important Days in Singapore
There are certain days of the year that mean a lot to Singaporeans, and we’re not counting the usual ones like birthdays and anniversaries.
57. Every year, Singapore holds a giant rubber duck race. This is done to raise funds for charity and offers a bright yellow bit of fun along the Singapore River. In 2002, Singapore set a Guinness world record with 123,000 rubber ducks taking part in the race.
58. On the 7th of November each year, all Singaporeans take part in a national tree planting day. Even members of the government go out and plant trees. It’s also not uncommon for citizens to name trees as gifts for birthdays and weddings.
59. Every year, on 19 November, we celebrate World Toilet Day, all thanks to the Singaporean government. The country is also the home of the World Toilet Organization.
60. There are two national days dedicated to the children of Singapore. The first Sunday of July is Youth Day for teenagers and 1 October is Children’s Day for kids under 12.
Unusual Singaporean Laws
There’s no doubt that Singapore is a safe and clean country, and the laws are there to keep it that way. But not all laws make complete sense. Here are some of the weirdest ones.
61. By law, no buildings higher than 280 meters are allowed to be built on the island. But the Tanjong Pagar Centre was built with special permission and reaches 290 meters.
62. Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore, unless you have a doctor’s prescription for dental or nicotine gum.
63. You’re not allowed to urinate in an elevator in Singapore. So some of the elevators have a Urine Detection Device. If the elevator detects the smell of urine, the doors will close and the police are alerted.
64. The punishment for not flushing a public toilet in Singapore is S$150, although we’re not sure how many policemen are patrolling the restrooms.
65. Singaporeans aren’t used to hearing ‘offensive’ songs. That’s probably because of the law that states they can be fined for causing any ‘annoyance’ by singing or playing a musical instrument in public. By ‘annoying’ they’re really trying to keep out the more questionable song lyrics.
66. You’re probably not going to go walking around in your underwear outdoors. But a Singaporean law also states that people seen walking around nude or ‘indecently’ in their own house can be fined! We suggest closing those curtains.
67. Among the laws of the country, you’re also forbidden from accessing someone else’s wifi without permission (even if it’s not password protected) and you may not feed pigeons in public (or private) places.
68. If you’re caught breaking any laws in Singapore, you may be fined, jailed, or even caned – although judicial caning is only done to males aged 7 – 50 years old.
Singapore Historical Facts
Even though Singapore is such a new country, it still holds an intriguing history. From legends and myths to political wins, here are a few Singapore history facts.
69. Before Singapore became an independent country, it was part of Malaysia. A democratic vote in 1965 caused the separation of the island from Malaysia.
70. In 1613, Portuguese pirates burned down the city of Singapore and left it empty and uninhabited for 100 years.
71. From 1905 to 1982, Singapore’s clocks changed time zones 6 times. Some of these changes were just 10 – 20 minutes’ difference. But during WW2 the country moved 1.5 hours ahead to sync with Japan, and then it moved back to finally sync with Malaysia.
72. The Japanese Cemetery Park was built in Singapore in 1891. In it, lies Japanese people from all walks of life, and today it’s the largest cemetery in South East Asia.
73. Sentosa Island is one of Singapore’s most glam islands, home to Universal Studios and some of the top high-end hotels. But during the war, the island was a terrible prisoner-of-war camp, nowhere near as alluring as it is today.
74. In the 1970s, men with long hair were thought to be associated with the hippie lifestyle and so there was a ban on men having hair that was ‘too long’.
Singapore Culture Facts
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, with four official languages and a number of prominent religions. The combination of these has helped make the vibrant city-state what it is today.
75. Pop-music violinist Vanessa Mae Nicholson was born in Singapore and lived on the island until she was four years old, when her family moved to the UK.
76. In 1997, the first Singaporean film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival was 12 Storeys, directed by Eric Khoo.
77. The very first Singaporean film to win the Camera d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival was Ilo Ilo. The local film was directed by Anthony Chen and won the award in 2013.
78. The government in Singapore works hard to ensure that its people are well-mannered and likable folk. This is done largely through the teaching of manners and etiquette using the Singapore Kindness Movement.
79. Food is a large part of the culture in Singapore, and the hawker centers found on the island are home to some of the country’s finest cuisine. Whoever said street food can’t be fancy was clearly wrong.
80. Learning and education are a big part of the culture in Singapore, and kids go to school at a young age. The eagerness to learn and support from the parents has resulted in the country being home to some of the world’s smartest children.
81. There’s an active nightlife scene in Singapore, making the country safe after dark and allowing party animals to enjoy life to its fullest. Bars, clubs, restaurants, and even shops and street hawkers all close quite late.
82. Even though life in Singapore is fast-paced and on the move, you’ll find many long – and sometimes slow – queues all around the island. From new iPhones to escalators and even food, Singaporeans queue patiently and passively amidst the rush.
83. If you’re giving a gift to a Singaporean, it’s best not to wrap it in black or white as those colors are associated with mourning. There are also some gifts (like alcohol, sharp objects, and even clocks) that are not appropriate for some ethnic groups.
84. If you’re on the receiving end of a gift, keep in mind that it is custom to open the gift later, and not in front of the giver.
Quick Singapore Facts
Here’s some more Singapore trivia for you.
85. Population: 5.6 million+
86. National languages: Malay, although the four official languages include English, Tamil, and Chinese as well.
87. Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD)
88. National flower: Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid
89. Total land area: 682.7 square kilometers.
90. Singapore is made up of the main island as well as 62+ smaller islets dotted around the coast.
91. Singapore is the 15th smallest country in the world.
92. The Singaporean passport is one of the strongest in the world, much like Germany’s.
Am I Missing Any Fun Singapore Trivia?
There’s no doubt that Singapore is full of shocking and captivating trivia. As long as this list of exceptional facts is already, with such a diverse culture and history there’s bound to be more interesting things about the country.
Do you know any other Singapore facts and information? Let me know if I’ve missed any interesting facts, I’d love to hear them.
Planning a trip to Southeast Asia?
’ve spent A LOT of time exploring Southeast-Asia, and would love for you to browse through some of my favorite articles below! They’re filled with helpful guides, things to do, travel itineraries, and so much more! And if you ever have any questions, please do feel free to reach out to me via email or on social media!
- The 25 Best Music Festivals in Asia To Experience Before You Die
- Ultimate Singapore to Bangkok Travel Overland Backpacking Itinerary
- 2 Days in Bangkok Itinerary How to Spend 48 Hours in Bangkok
- 3 Days in Singapore | The Ultimate 3-Day Singapore Itinerary & Travel Guide
- Malaysia Travel Guide: Trip Highlights, Destinations, & Itineraries
- Three Weeks in Thailand Itinerary
- The 10 Best Music Festivals in Thailand To Experience Before You Die
- Magic Mushrooms in Thailand | To Mellow Mountain & Beyond
- The 20 Best Singapore Rooftop Pool Hotels
- Top 20 Airbnb’s in Singapore | Unique Stays, Lofts, and Apartments
- One Month in the Philippines Travel Itinerary
- The Ultimate Bali Itinerary | How to Plan the Perfect Bali Vacation
- The 18 Best Airbnb Kuala Lumpur Rentals
- Top 20 Airbnbs in Bangkok, Thailand