What Singapore Is Known For

In this article, we will list some of the characteristics and reputations which Singapore has become most known for internationally.

1.  Multiculturalism

Currently 30% of the Singaporean population is made up of foreigners. The overwhelming majority of them come from China, followed by Malaysia and then India.  Moreover the nation has had strong international (i.e. Chinese, British and Malay) influence throughout its entire modern history. So accordingly it is known for possessing a multicultural, one can say even global, environment. And along those same lines it should be noted that the Lion City actually has four official languages – Malay, Tamil, English and Mandarin. And along those same lines, there are various cultural experiences to be enjoyed in the country. For instance, there is a popular section known as Chinatown where one can immerse him or herself in Chinese culture.

2.  Heat

The average temperature of Singapore during the daytime is 31ºC (87ºF), and during the night it is 23ºC (73ºF). For the most part this is regardless of what time of year it is.  Singapore doesn’t really have distinguishable seasons, regardless of rainfall being more frequent during certain months. Moreover the nation is getting hotter at a faster rate than any other country on Earth.

3.  Greenery / Nature Preservation

But one of the ways in which they have gone about mitigating rapid urbanization is by planting a lot of trees. Visitors are able to notice that a conscientious effort has been made not only to line the city and even the inside of buildings with greenery but also to actually maintain it at a high level.

Indeed despite its largely-urban landscape, Singapore is heavily committed to nature.  For instance, the Singapore Zoo is recognized as a not only being an exceptional facility in and of itself but also possessing a world-class staff in terms of the treatment of animals. It is one of best examples of what we can define as the Lion City’s architectural ideology, which is to blend technology with nature to create the best human experience possible.

4.  Impressive Architecture / Tourist Attractions

With that being said, here are a few of the unique venues people know they’ll get a chance to enjoy in Singapore.

The Marina Bay Sands are those three skyscrapers, connected on top by what looks like a giant ship or surfboard, that you’ve undoubtedly seen on pictures of Singapore. Those three building are primarily a hotel complex. At the base you will of course find a casino, which outside of hospitality is the primary business the Sands is known for. And overall the massive facility is a small city onto itself, boasting of a mall (The Shoppes at Marina Bay), a theatre (Sands Theatre), and that giant purple flower-looking structure, which is actually the ultra-modern ArtSceience Museum – amongst other attractions. And there’s also that floating Apple store which is connected to the facility that has been making headlines due to its architecture. 

Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands

Also the aforementioned surfboard-looking structure is actually what is called the Sands SkyPark. And right up there on top of the 55-storey hotel are a number of additional attractors, such as they refer to as an Infinity Pool.  Said pool enables visitors to enjoy a swim while simultaneously having a breathtaking view of Singapore’s Downtown Core, i.e. the part of the city adjacent to the Marina Bays Sands.  The Downtown Core is the other part of Singapore you’ve likely seen on postcards, where the skyscrapers are concentrated.

Another major tourist attraction is the Gardens by the Bay. It is a nature park which is heavily imbued with Singapore’s high-technological standard. The Gardens by the Bay provide a one-of-a-king, light-filled experience which no botanical garden anywhere can match. And this is highlighted by what are referred to as the Supertrees. It’s really something you have to see in order to believe.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

As of 2019 the Singapore Flyer is the third-largest Ferris wheel in the world. But even beyond that it is a trip in and of itself, complete with furnished capsules where patrons can enjoy a waiter-served dinner while traversing the wheel. And travelers know that’s not an experience which can be commonly replicated. So it is considered to be one of the nation’s main draws.

Singapore Flyer

The Marina Bay Sands, Downtown Core, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Flyer are all located in a part of Singapore known as the Marina Bay. But even outside of it there are other locales known to world travelers. For instance, Sentosa Island is the place where President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un first met back in 2018. There are numerous hotels located on the island and a plethora of attractions, of Singaporean standards, including Universal Studios Singapore located there. In fact Universal Studios is the one part of the Lion City where you’re most likely to randomly run into a foreign celebrity.

5.  High Technology

Singapore is strictly governed from the top down. The country gained independence – against its own will – in 1965. And in the aftermath it found itself in the unenviable position of having to act as an independent nation with a limited amount of space and resources. So its leaders of put their minds together to come out with the best solutions they deemed possible. And in terms of infrastructure, said solutions invariably rely on state-of-the-art technology. Or succinctly put, Singapore is invariably ranked amongst the 10 most-advanced cities in the world. And this is something which most people who are familiar with the Lion City are aware of on some level.

6.  Chewing Gum Ban

Being told that an entire country has a ban on chewing gum may not even sound real at first. But for the most part it is in fact true in the Lion City. Visitors are not advised to bring chewing gum into the country unless it was medically-prescribed. In other words, you can in fact purchase chewing gum in Singapore. But you have to do so via a doctor (i.e. a dentist) or registered pharmacist. This infamous ban is of course to prevent people, particularly vandals, from sticking gum just anywhere. And it serves as the perfect example of the next two items on this list.

6.  Being Super-Clean

Singapore is so clean that is has even been dubbed by some as “the cleanest country” on Earth. This is largely because the government has been heavily vested in keeping the country tidy for decades. And as you can see from the previous list item, they are also pretty strict in terms of realizing this goal. In fact it has been noted that even though Singaporeans themselves are well aware of the laws of the land, the authorities still “issue tens of thousands of fines a year for littering”.

There are also a number of rivers running through the Lion City. In days past, some of these water bodies had the types of issues you would expect from a river running through a heavily-populated urban area. Well throughout the years Singapore put an end to that. And now the nation’s rivers are largely pristine in appearance.

So needless to say, the government in particular really doesn’t want people littering. And it seems that Singaporeans are appreciative that they are a filth and litter-free environment, a luxury which most of the world’s urban dwellers likely can’t brag of. In fact many visitors to Singapore are actually shocked by just how clean it is.

7.  Being Super-Strict

But as alluded to earlier, a considerable amount of discipline is exerted by the authorities to make such exceptional cleanliness a reality. And accordingly another distinction Singapore holds is as being one of the strictest countries in the modern world. For instance, you would not want to be caught there with any type of illicit drug whatsoever.  Take for example the fact that while laws against cannabis are being laxed internationally, just possessing it can get you 10 years in prison in the Lion City. And actually trafficking weed can earn you the death penalty.

Also as we have pointed out in this blog before, Singaporean law enforcement have little qualms with resorting to corporal punishment, i.e. caning, in the name of punishing various types of offenders. Most of the crimes for which a convict can be caned are pretty serious ones. But at the same time there are also a couple offences on the list that may raise eyebrows, such as selling fireworks, entering the country without a pass or employing over five illegal immigrants. Overall, the general understanding of the way the system is set up is that caning is part and parcel of receiving a prison sentence. And conclusively, even though this whole scenario may sound funny to some people, it is no laughing matter. So generally speaking, people in Singapore know that they can’t behave the same as in some other places.

8.  Low Crime Rate

With that being established, then it should be no surprise that Singapore is also known as a relatively crime-free nation. In fact according to a study conducted by Business Insider in 2018, only one other country (Finland) ranked higher than Singapore in that regard. Or stated differently, violent crime is relatively-nonexistent in the Lion City. And it has been noted that this is most likely due to the fact that law enforcement simply does not play around with those types of infractions. In fact most of the crimes for which one can be caned are actually related to violence. So Singaporeans are strongly discouraged from possessing illegal firearms. Or stated differently, being caught with an unlicensed gun can result in a death sentence. And the same is true for actually taking another person’s life.  So as a general rule of thumb, we can say no drugs, no guns allowed in the Lion City.

9.  Shopping Opportunities

As it stands now, Singapore is the 20th smallest country. It is an island nation, and like other countries which fall into this category is not very big. For instance, Singapore, in its entirety, is only 12 times bigger than Manhattan, the center of New York City.

Yet despite its size, as of 2016, there were 100 shopping malls located in the Lion City.  This has led some people, locals and foreigners alike, to conclude that the island may in fact have too many of them. But that being said, these same people also know that there is no lack of shopping experiences, albeit expensive ones if one has international tastes.

Shopping in Singapore

10.  High Cost of Living

Relatedly Singapore is also a wealthy nation. For instance, it ranks amongst the top 20 in terms of highest median income. But on the flipside, it also boasts of a high cost of living, which people who are familiar with the Lion City are all too familiar with. In fact it ranks amongst the top 10 in terms of countries where living is the most expensive. And if you want to delve deeper into this particular topic, we already put together an article which concluded that a good monthly salary in Singapore would pay at least US$5,000.

11.  Singapore Changi Airport

In 2020, Singapore’s Changi Airport was awarded as the “world’s best airport”. This is not only due to its ultra-modern design and infrastructure. But also, as is a recurring theme in Singapore, the Lion City goes out of its way to make a good impression on visitors. And indeed the creators of Changi have really pimped the place out with a swimming pool, cinema, gardens and more. In fact the airport even possesses its own beautifully-green shopping mall called the Jewel Changi Airport. So amazingly enough, one of Singapore’s premiere attractions is its own international airport.

Changi Airport
Singapore’s famous Changi Airport

12.  Singapore Airlines

Relatedly Singapore Airlines was rated the second-best airline at the 2020 World Airline Awards. And throughout the last couple of decades at least it has been held in similar regards by other reputable institutions that rank such companies.

One of the primary reasons many people love Singapore Air in particularly is because they employ what are referred to as Singapore Girls. These are the flight attendants who work for the company, and on numerous occasions they’ve been formally recognized themselves as being part of the world’s premiere cabin crew.

13.  Fast Food

If fast food is your thing, then you won’t have a problem with Singapore. In fact the country is actually known for its food hawkers, which are basically another name for fast-food joints, concentrated in certain parts of the country. Of course there is fine cuisine to be enjoyed in the Lion City also. But in terms of the country’s popularity, everybody knows that fast food, of international varieties, are there in all their magnificent abundance. And said variety is largely attributable to the nation’s aforementioned multiculturalism.

14.  Local Cuisine

But that being said, Singapore also has many of its own dishes of international repute.  We have already highlighted the most-popular ones in an earlier post. But in terms of a couple of quick shoutouts, we would like to mention the likes of chili crab, Hainanese chicken rice and a dessert known as cendol, which even caught the particular attention of CNN.

15.  The Merlion

The Merlion is the actual name for that half-lion/half-fish statue you’ll often see spurting water in pics of Singapore. This figure is quite-ubiquitous in the nation’s tourism industry.  In fact it was actually created by the Singapore Tourism Board and serves as the country’s national symbol.

The Merlion

16.  Lack of Corruption

Currently Singapore is recognized as being near the very-top of the list when it comes to countries with the least corruption. Logically speaking, this would be at least partially the result of its strict laws. But either way, the Lion City is not the type of place where businessmen feel they will be cheated.

17.  A Bustling Economy

In modern times Singapore has established itself as one of the premiere economies in the world. In fact it is one of the Four Asian Tigers, basically meaning it is amongst the richest cities in that part of the world. So people both in and outside of Lion City know that there are opportunities there. And this is especially in regards to the tech sector. In fact Singapore is what many people refer to as ‘Asia’s Silicon Valley’.

18.  Doing It Big

When Singaporeans do things, they do it big. The government in particular demands that project undertaken in the country meet the highest standards available anywhere. And that is the main reason why the nation is considered to be a consensus leader in terms of modernity.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, we can split what Singapore is known for into three general categories. The island is known as being a technological paradise. For not only is the society itself highly-reliant on the latest tech, but that reality permeates into the arts and maintenance of the city also. Accordingly the Lion City is also recognized as being an expensive place to reside. And on a completely-different note, the nation is known as being run by a relatively-strict legal system.

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