Right from the moment you land at Changi Airport, you know you’re in a unique and enchanting city. Well, the city is more unique than you thought. Let’s see now – there’s no pollution in Singapore. All the cooking fumes go underground instead of into the sky. Also, Singaporeans use only premium petrol, so no fumes. Blown your mind yet? No? Singapore is all at once, a State, a City, a Port and a Sovereign Nation. Yes. You’ll not find any beggars, traffic cops, vendors and posters in Singapore. Whaaat? Oh, and you’ll find no garbage either, since the city is equipped with under walkway drainage. If all these Singapore facts haven’t made you fall in love with the city yet, then check these out!
1. It’s Not One Island, But 63!
There are 63 offshore islands surrounding the main island, many of which are fabulous tourist spots. Take Sentosa, the largest offshore island; it is known for its incredible beaches. Pulau Ubin, St John’s Island and Sisters’ Islands are lovely to visit as well. With 63 islands, each with lots of beaches and needless to say, plenty of sun, that’s 63 extra reasons to visit this splendid tourist, asap!
2. The City’s Waterfalls Are All Manmade!
Yes, they are all manmade. Singapore’s waterfalls are set so beautifully amidst lush trees and woods, you could be forgiven for thinking they are natural. Singapore does not have access to fresh water. The first man-made waterfall (30 meters tall) was constructed at Jurong Bird Park. Singapore’s tallest indoor waterfall to date is 35 meters tall, and is the centerpiece of the magnificent Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay. But Singapore’s not done yet – the Changi Airport is due to see a 40 meter high Water Vortex waterfall, surrounded by a lush indoor garden.
3. World’s First Night Zoo
The Singapore Night Safari is world-famous for its open concept – no cages! Experience Singapore’s Night Safari; check out 2,500 nocturnal animals belonging to over 130 species, all out in the open. Get an overview of the zoo’s main attractions via a 40-minute tram ride. There are four interlinked walking trails to explore as well; who knows, you might come face to face with some harmless free creature or the other!
4. The First F1 Night Race Took Place In Singapore!
F1 races had always been daytime events, and with good reason. Singapore broke the mold in 2008, and pioneered the first F1 night race. Singapore’s Grand Prix Night Season features not just racing, but a whole bunch of entertainment including concerts, exhibitions, fashion shows and the lot. The Grand Prix takes place on the twisty Marina Bay street circuit, which is lit brighter than the sun with floodlights. People come to enjoy the race and also the spectacular night views of Singapore, beautifully illuminated by the floodlights!
5. It Wasn’t A Lion At All – It Was A Tiger!
The word ‘Singapore’ actually stands for Singapura in Sanskrit, meaning City of the Lion. Apparently, a Sumatran prince was out hunting one fine sunny day in the early 14th century. He happened to spot a strange wild creature running fast and was impressed by it. The prince’s advisors, smart fellows, told him it was a lion. They didn’t know then that lions are not native to Singapore. So we think that what the prince saw was a tiger, since tigers roamed wild in the city till the 1930s. So that’s how the city got its name, and that’s the background for the city’s iconic emblem, the Merlion, a mythical creature with fish’s tail and a lion’s head.
6. Singapore Is A City Within A Garden
Did you know that nearly half of Singapore’s land mass is filled with greenery? Other than the number of parks and gardens, Singapore has taken to housing greenery in a unique manner. Take the hotel-in-a-garden concept executed at PARKROYAL on Pickering Street – it’s a lovely cascading vertical garden four storeys tall. There are more tree species in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve than you’ll find anywhere else in the world. Even high-rise buildings have rooftop gardens! With 4 nature reserves, 17 reservoirs and over 1.3 million trees, Singapore is veritably a garden first and city next.
7. It’s A City Of Celebrity Orchids!
Singapore has over 200 VIP orchids. Are we kidding? No. The National Orchid Garden houses many thousands of hothouse orchid species. Each one is a Very Important Plant (VIP), in the true sense of the word. Did you know that more than 200 hybrid orchids are named after celebrities and visiting dignitaries? There’s an orchid named Jackie Chan, one named Zhou Xun and there’s one for Bae Yong Jun as well. Getting serious, there’s one named after Nelson Mandela and after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well.
8. The Singapore You Don’t Know Is More Than The One You Know
Just forgot about main tourist areas and explore off-the-beaten track neighborhoods for hidden treasures. Usually tourists don’t bother with these areas. The colorful off-beaten track Tiong Bahru houses rows of hip eateries, and many Art Deco and Peranakan-style shops and houses. Joo Chiat-Katong has some interesting architecture and several traditional food-stalls. Everton Park is a must-visit for its wonderful coffee joints, cafes and other foodie hotspots.
Singapore is absolutely mind-blowing for many reasons, but did you know that this ambitious city keeps adding to its land mass? Yes – the city was 581.5 km long during the 1960’s. It now stands at 710km, and will likely grow bigger, given further land-reclaiming projects. The city has grown in size by 22% in just a few decades through diligent land filling. Singapore has plans to add another 100 kms to its land mass before 2030. For the traveler, this means more of Singapore, more delights and more treasures to discover!