Interested in learning some Singapore facts?
The city-nation of Singapore may be small, but it punches well above its weight. And, if you’re interested in learning about the food, culture, people, history, or other facts about Singapore, you’re in the right place!
So, let’s get to it—
Here are 10 interesting Singapore facts to know:
1. This City-Country’s Also an Island
Singapore is a sovereign country, and it’s also a single city, one of three remaining city-states in the world.
But did you know it’s an island, as well?
Well, actually, Singapore is made up of 63 different islands. Most of these islands are small and accessible only by ferry boat, but there are a few medium-sized islands, including Jurong Island, Pulau Ubin, Sentosa Island, and Tekong Island. Finally, the main island where most activity takes place is known as Pulau Ujong.
2. Singapore is Getting Larger
The islands that make up the city of Venice may be going under, but Singapore is using its resources to go in the other direction. In fact, in the last 60 years or so, the country has grown by 23%!
In the 1960s, Singapore, one of the 20 smallest countries in the world, measured in at a respectable 224.5 mi² (581.5 km²). Today, Singapore is 224.5 mi² (581.5 km²). And, by 2030, Singapore plans to grow some more to become an even 300 mi² (766 km²) in size.
How does it get larger? Singapore is using land reclamation techniques, turning the water which surrounds it into new land through various methods. To make some of this new land, they wall off a section of water near the coast, drain it of water, and fill it with sand. To get this sand, Singapore has had to import it, but it’s caused some ecological damage to the original sand importers of Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam that it’s had to look farther for it.
3. It’s Super Wealthy
Singaporeans are very rich, on average. About half of the adult population is among the world’s richest 10%, and the average Singapore national has around $300,000 in the bank.
Also, 1 in 6 households in Singapore have at least $1 million in disposable wealth, making it the country with the highest percentage of millionaires. Individually, Singapore boasts more than 207,000 millionaires.
Singapore may be an expensive country to visit, but for you budget travelers, go in June. During June, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) takes place, and almost everywhere has sale prices!
4. Singaporeans Are Fast
The people of Singapore are the fastest walkers in the world, according to a 2007 study by Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. On average, a Singaporean takes just 10.55 seconds to walk a distance of 60 ft (18 m), beating other fast-moving cities such as New York, Copenhagen, and Wellington.
5. It’s Both Short and Tall
Because this country is made up of just one city, there’s not much room for soaring mountains. In fact, it’s highest peak is the one at Bukit Timah Hill, it’s tallest point being 537 ft (163.63 m) high right in the center of Singapore, geographically speaking.
However, as a modern city and a world financial center, it’s got it’s share of tall buildings. In fact, many of the tallest buildings in Singapore tower above the country’s highest natural point. There is a building height restriction in place of 919 ft (280 m), though city officials may allow more in the Marina Bay district.
6. Singapore Has 4 Official Languages
Singapore is a large city with a population of around 5.6 million people. And, since many of them (23%) are foreign-born, it doesn’t seem like a surprise that one of the more interesting Singapore facts is there are four official languages.
The official languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Chinese Mandarin, and Tamil. However, the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore states that the “national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in the Roman script.”
7. It Has a Diversity of Trees
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, named for that short hill we mentioned earlier which is nearby, is a 402-acre (163-hectare) nature reserve which contains the largest primary forest in Singapore. When researchers studied a 2.5-acre (1-hectare) plot of land in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, they found that it has more tree species than all of North America!
One interesting fact about Singapore and its nature is that the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the only tropical garden on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
8. Singapore is the Lion City (Or Tiger City?)
The name Singapore comes from the word Singapura in Malay, which comes from Siṃhapura in Sanskrit, meaning “lion city.” Like the famous merlion, you’ll find lions everywhere, from statues to paintings, to the coat of arms.
According to the national myth, a Srivijayan prince from Palembang named Sang Nila Utama named the island as such after witnessing a lion on the shore. However, scientists say it’s very improbable that lions ever lived or roamed anywhere near Singapore, and what this founder of the Kingdom of Singapura actually saw was a Malayan tiger.
9. There’s a Chewing Gum Ban
One of the strangest Singapore facts is that the country has a chewing gum ban in place since 1992! No one is allowed to sell gum or import it, with an exception for dental gum, therapeutic gum, or nicotine chewing gum.
However, don’t worry if your visit Singapore with gum! There’s no actual ban on the chewing of gum in Singapore, but it will be difficult to find and may be confiscated when you arrive at the airport.
10. Singapore Has a Lack of Press Freedom
Sadly, one of the unfortunate facts about Singapore is that the country’s press has almost no freedom. According to a ranking of press freedom in different countries by Reporters Without Borders, Singapore rates a Singa-poor 158 out of 180 countries, which is lower than even Russia, Venezuela, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo!
The government is quick to sue journalists who criticize its actions, while also applying heavy-handed pressure to ensure those journalists who offend it are fired and become unemployable. Authorities also send more and more emails to journalists demanding article retractions and takedowns with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison if disobeyed.
Well, that’s all our Singapore facts for now, but we’ll keep adding more! Got any questions, feedback, or other facts about Singapore we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
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