29 Fun Singapore Facts To Share With Your Friends

Given its location in Southeast Asia and large world-class international airport, Singapore is a stop on many travelers’ itineraries. Before visiting, it’s best to educate yourself with a few fun Singapore facts – so you can impress Singaporeans.

The skyscrapers, nightlife, cleanliness, and beautiful architecture make Singapore ideal for anyone to enjoy. Singapore is a massive city and country with so much history and interesting Singapore facts to learn! Let’s dig into a couple!

Interesting and Fun Singapore Facts

1. The symbol of Singapore is the Merlion, a creature that is half lion and half fish

Facts About Singapore

Lion’s head, the body of a fish. It seems legit, right? While it is Singapore’s symbol and official mascot, it isn’t a ‘real’ mythical creature. It was designed by British ichthyologist Alex Fraser-Brunner in 1964 for the Singapore Tourism Boa

rd. The fish represents Singapore’s humble origins as a fishing village called Temasek, later renamed Singapura or ‘Lion City,’ thus explaining the lion’s head. Sorry mythical beast fans.

2. The World Toilet Organization was formed on 19th November 2001 in Singapore

Facts About Singapore

Going right in with one of the most leftfield facts about Singapore. Back in 2001, the toilet-passionate city-state proposed making November 19 ‘World Toilet Day.’ 122 countries backed the idea, and the World Toilet Organization (WTO, obviously) began. It’s actually really cool, aiming to solve a world sanitation crisis by providing clean, safe toilets for everybody.

3. You can still get caned in Singapore

Though caning was only a Victorian British thing to do? Well, don’t forget that Singapore was a Victorian British colony; caning was just one of the things introduced into then-Malaya and the Straits Settlements, one of which was Singapore.

You can get caned not only for vandalizing but for sexual abuse, rioting, and drug abuse, to name just a few. The punishment is applied to bare buttocks. Ouch. Women are exempt.

4. Singapore has compulsory military conscription of 1-2 years

Facts About Singapore
Most interesting facts about Singapore

That’s right. It’s a fact about Singapore that this country is pretty paranoid about its neighbors (well, it seems that way). So on March 15, 1967, National Service was made compulsory for all male 18-year-old Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

That means there’s a substantial military force at any one time standing to attention in Singapore.

5. Singapore has its very own dialect 

stopover in Singapore

Singapore is awash with different languages. The four official languages are English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Though most Singaporeans can speak at least one, naturally, a dialect that’s a blend of all of them has popped up over the years – Singlish.

It’s a pretty complicated English-based dialect that involves ending sentences with lah for emphasis. That’s just one quirk.

6. Hawker Centers are the best place to eat local Singapore food

layover in singapore

Eating at a Hawker stand is one of the best things to do on any Singapore itinerary. Singaporean cuisine is unreal. Regional Chinese dishes like lor mee and Hainanese chicken, Indian thali sets, Malay favorites like nasi goreng, and a whole bunch of other amazing tantalizing delights can be found at Singapore’s hawker centers.

The forerunner to the food court, these places have dedicated outlets for stalls, each one with a health rating and plenty of tables, chairs, and benches. Chinatown Complex Food Center is the largest: how do 260 food stalls sound?

7. Singapore held the world’s first Formula One night race

Facts About Singapore

We thought that’s because the daytime temperatures are just too hot for sitting in a car in all that get-up – and for sitting in a crowd watching those racers zoom around. But actually, it’s for the benefit of European viewers. Time difference and all. The first night race in the world was held at Marina Bay Street Circuit for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

8. Singapore was founded by the British

singapore facts

Singapore – then Singapura – did exist but was only a big deal long ago. The last king of Singapura fled in the late 14th century after being attacked.

There’s evidence to suggest the whole place was abandoned. It was nothing more than a small-time trading outpost when Sir Stamford Raffles rocked up in 1819 and established Fort Canning. The rest is history.

9. Singapore is one of only three surviving city-states in the world

Sunset in Singapore

Singapore doesn’t have a capital since it’s a city-state – a country that is literally just a city. The other two are San Marino since it’s just a city and the Vatican City (the clue’s in the name). Others, like Dubai, claim the title of the city-state, but they just don’t cut the mustard.

10. The entire national anthem is printed on the back of the S$1000 note in microprint

Facts About Singapore

This is one of our favorite facts about Singapore. Banknotes in Singapore feature a whole lot of micro text (words you can barely read). Most notes just say “Monetary Authority of Singapore” into infinity. The S$1000 bill, however, has the entire Singaporean national anthem on the back in the micro text. Super cool.

11. Singapore has a lot of little islands

Telunas Private Island, Singapore

Singapore is one small island itself, but did you know there are a bunch of other islands and islets that make up Singapore? Sixty-two others, to be exact. Some were created by land reclamation – a lot of land reclamation. Since 1965, Singapore’s land area has increased by 23% (50 square miles)!

12. Christmas Island used to be Singaporean territory

Facts About Singapore

One of the islands that used to be part of Singapore, back in the British colonial days anyway, was Christmas Island.

Far-flung, coconut crab-infested Christmas Island. In 1958, the islands were transferred to Australia. Similarly, the archipelago of Cocos Islands was transferred in 1955.

13. And one of Singapore’s islands have a dark history

Facts About Singapore

Sentosa Island is a place of high-end glitz and glamor, home to a 1.2-mile-long sheltered beach, Universal Studios Singapore, a casino and two golf courses, a crazy resort, and 14 other hotels.

But it was formerly a British military base featuring Fort Siloso. And when the Japanese captured Singapore in 1942, Fort Siloso became a pretty horrific POW camp. A little-known fact about Singapore – well, Sentosa.

14. The People’s Action Party has won every election since self-government began in 1959

Singapore may be a democracy, a parliamentary republic with a “Westminster system,” but the government currently in power – the People’s Action Party (PAP) – has been voted in every single time since the very first election. Hmm… 

15. Singapore is also referred to as the Garden City 

Facts About Singapore

You may think of Singapore as a skyscraper-ridden megacity, but that’s not true. Singapore is dedicated to “greening” efforts and is recognizable for its tree-lined streets and an increasing number of rooftop gardens and green buildings overflowing with tropical plants. It’s a vision of the future!

16. Singapore is home to the best airport in the world

Travel day in Singapore

One of the most fun facts about Singapore is that Changi Airport is currently ranked as the World’s Best Airport. Not only that, but it has won this accolade for the seventh year running since 2013.

It’s honestly insane. The $500 million 2019 renovations include a trampoline, giant slide, indoor forest, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, cinema, and swimming pool. The tagline makes sense: “More than an airport.”

17. Singapore is the most religiously diverse country in the world

Facts About Singapore

You heard it here first, folks. With 5.6 million residents comes a lot of diversity. We already know that Singapore has four official languages (the subway signs are in all four) and a host of different cuisines on offer, but religions?

It’s pretty diverse for religion, too. Varieties of Buddhism and Christianity top the list, with everything from Taoism to Zoroastrianism, represented here.

18. Singapore has imported a lot of sand for land reclamation

facts about singapore

By a lot, we mean a lot. In 2010 alone, the city-state imported just under 15 million tons of sand for land reclamation projects. So much so that Southeast Asian neighbors Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam have barred sand exports to Singapore. In 2016, the country switched to polders, a Dutch method of land reclamation. Phew.

19. Singapore has only one UNESCO World Heritage Site

Facts About Singapore

Singapore is a green city, that’s for sure, but the historic Singapore Botanic Gardens attracted the attention in the end. These 150-year-old tropical gardens are the country’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

20. It’s always hot in Singapore

Singapore Layover

Always, always, always. Singapore is less than 100 miles from the Equator. It has a tropical rainforest climate. There are no seasons.

It’s always between 25 to 35°C (77 to 95 °F). Yes. It’s one of the most well-known facts about Singapore is Hot. All. The. Time. When we last visited, we found ourselves venturing into the mall for hours just to get some AC.

21. Roughly 44 percent of the Singaporean workforce is made up of non-Singaporeans

Facts About Singapore

A lot of the construction work is done by what the government calls “foreign workers,” mainly Bangladeshis.

Many office workers are from Europe, North America, Australia, and other Asian countries – “foreign talent.” It’s got a low unemployment rate. It also does not have a minimum wage. What does that mean? High-income equality.

22. Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires

Facts About Singapore

Incredibly, this isn’t China. The United States may have the most millionaires, but Singapore has the highest percentage. One out of every six households boasts at least $1 million in disposable wealth. One of those rich and wealthy Singapore facts to know.

23. It’s super expensive to own a car in Singapore

Facts About Singapore

Good thing everyone’s a millionaire, then. But seriously, Singapore is small. There are a lot of people. The private car-to-person ratio is restricted to help stop congestion and pollution. Cars in Singapore cost almost twice as much as they do in other countries.

For example, a Singaporean Certificate of Entitlement, allowing a car to be used for ten years, is the equivalent cost of a Porsche Boxster over in the US. One of those totally nutty Singapore facts!

24. A lot of Singaporeans have live-in domestic help

It’s actually (and sadly) pretty standard. There are about 224,500 foreign domestic workers in Singapore as of December 2013. They come from Indonesia and the Philippines, for the most part, and are maids, cleaners, nannies, or all three.

25. Peranakan cultures can be seen all over Singapore

Facts About Singapore

What’s Peranakan? These are Chinese settlers who came to areas of Southeast Asia to seek their fortunes. With a distinct culture that takes in the best of everything, Peranakans are known for their splendid shophouses, ornate formal dress, fantastic food, and Victorian-influenced tiles (for real).

26. Every day, two new restaurants open in Singapore

singapore layover

Food is a national pastime in Singapore. Eating it, talking about it, no one quite does foodie to the level of a Singaporean. From the hawker centers to luxury, high-end dining, and hipster cafes, there’s literally everything on offer here.

On average, two new restaurants pop up per day. This country is food mad, and I love it (and I love that this is one of my favorite Singapore facts!)

27. Gardens by the Bay boasts the largest glass greenhouse in the world

Singapore Sunset

A very cool nature park taking up about 101 hectares of reclaimed land, the waterfront Gardens by the Bay comprises three gardens – Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden. The largest by far is the 54-hectare Bay South Garden, which contains the Flower Dome, the largest glass greenhouse in the world. 

28. Singapore is home to the world’s largest vertical garden

More from the greenest city on Earth now, and it’s time for an amazing, record-breaking facts about Singapore. The 2014 Tree House condominium set an actual Guinness World Record for hosting the world’s largest vertical garden.

Its four state-of-the-art towers comprise 24,638.59 square feet of greenery, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing heat absorption with heat-reducing windows. It’s awesome.

29. Singapore is also known as the Little Red Dot

Facts About Singapore

This is one of the best fun facts about Singapore, and it’s definitely a party conversation starter! Singapore citizens affectionately refer to their city-state as the Little Red Dot. At only 277 square miles, it is pretty small. On a world map, you-are-there situation, Singapore would be just a little red dot.

However, the term took off when an ex-president of Indonesia used the term “little red dot” in a seemingly disparaging nature. Citizens and politicians alike took up the term as a source of national pride. We mean, they may be a little red dot, but dang.

Hopefully, you enjoyed these fun and interesting Singapore facts! If you have any questions or want to add facts about Singapore, leave a comment!

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About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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