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Here are a few facts about Singapore you will find interesting if you are planning on going.

People usually travel to Singapore for shopping or they change flights on their way to Australia, New Zealand, and other destinations further east or south. If you go shopping, keep in mind that you will find all the famous brands you crave putting in your closet and that all those goods are way cheaper than in other parts of Asia since it’s tax-free. The only thing to be cautious about is not to go over the luggage weight limit.

If Singapore is just a layover for you and you only have a short stay, let me just tell you – it would be a shame to spend it shopping because there is a lot to see in this city-state. Some places and parks are not among the most popular locations with local tour operators, but they are easy to find and you will be more than pleased that you have visited. So, get some info in advance, especially if you do not have that much time, and try to use it wisely. And I will provide as many facts about Singapore as I can.

When it comes to my journey, Singapore would have been a layover since I was on my way to Bali, but I have decided to spend almost half of my vacation in the city and not just a day or two. And I didn’t regret it, not for a minute!

Facts About Singapore

Keep your shoes on

When you begin your trip, be prepared to fly for hours (12 hours from Frankfurt, Germany to be exact), above various countries and lands until you finally reach this small place, the city-state almost on the very edge of the Equator. Also, no matter how good your English is, there is no way you are going to catch all the phrases and the local dialect just as easily. (This is one of the facts about Singapore I didn’t know before traveling.)

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FACTS ABOUT SINGAPORE: Traditional details in the city

Try to keep yourself entertained during the long flight, since it’s always a venture to endure 12 hours sitting in a plane, especially if you cannot sleep while traveling regardless of the mode of transport (like yours truly!).

And there was a warning at the beginning of the flight that surprised me a bit, although it became clear much later. Flight attendants informed us about the safety issues and exits, and said we should turn off our phones and electronic equipment. But, other than “putting your seat up” and “your luggage properly”, they said that passengers should “keep their shoes on”. It was on my way back that I realized that the moment the seat belt light went green, most of the people around me just – took their shoes off!

Booking local tours

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The fountain in front of one of the shopping malls

You will like Singapore’s airport. It’s immediately clear that you have come to a rich country, clean, where they pay attention to every detail. It is a bit confusing at the beginning, because it’s huge, but you will quickly realize that it is well organized and simple to navigate.

Depending on the airline you are traveling with, you may have a transfer to the hotel, flight included. So, I found the airline counter to confirm the transfer and while waiting for the minivan to come and pick me up, I was immediately “caught in the web”. Still not aware of the local currency or any prices in the city, I was an easy target for “various tours and things to see in Singapore“, all “not expensive and practical”, that were provided by the tour operator collaborating with the airline. (One of the facts about Singapore to be aware of but not that different than in any other country.)

Gardens by the Bay Singapore

Gardens by the Bay were not even planned when I came for the first time

The fact was that those were all pleasant tours and I booked right there at the airport all the major sightseeing I wanted to do in the first place. They came to pick me up in front of the hotel every day, taking me, along with a few more tourists, to various beautiful parts of Singapore. You usually get a free drink or a lunch that goes with it, the travel guides are all really pleasant and you do not regret that you might have overpaid for those tours at the airport. There were some stickers we were supposed to put on our clothes with the name of the tour. And well, the only thing left was just to enjoy ourselves since everything was really well organized.

Nearby Orchard Road

Exchange some money at the airport. The official currency is the Singapore dollar with nicely designed bills that always seemed like they were brand new.

Facts about Singapore

Strolling along Orchard Road

When booking a hotel, try to find accommodation near Orchard Road, because this is a district full of stores and brands (perfect if you are into shopping). There are a lot of restaurants and cafes, metro and bus stations are at every corner, and taxi is easy to find. From this part of the city, it’s easy to navigate to any other neighborhood and it will take you less than 10 minutes to get there by metro. Also, the district is always bustling, full of people, and popular with tourists – one of the facts about Singapore to keep in mind.

Facts about Singapore: Weather

One more thing. Bear in mind that the climate is pretty humid, so make sure not to go during the season of high temperatures when you will have trouble breathing. The best time to visit is at the end of the rainy season which is in March and April (I was there at the end of February). Temperatures do not go over 28 degrees Celsius.

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FACTS ABOUT SINGAPORE: Lush tropical vegetation

It may rain every day, but I found it cute and entertaining to see how locals were dressed lightly in short sleeves, skirts, and flip-flops, while they were all carrying umbrellas. It’s not what we are used to since we often relate rain to low temperatures and thick clothes. But, it was easy to blend in. If you do not bring an umbrella, you will easily find one there.

Also, heavy thunders might happen. I witnessed one and it was like nothing I have heard thus far – like the sky fell into pieces right there next to me. I stood still in disbelief and almost screamed!

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Famous brands along the boulevard

But then again, people around me were just indifferent, they were chatting and walking, carrying those colorful umbrellas, like nothing happened. So, I came out of it quickly saying to myself that “everything is going to be all right“.

These are all charming glimpses, stories you will remember from your travels. So, the only important thing is to bring shoes made for lots and lots of rain. Although, you can always buy some here.

An automated parking

There is a saying here that “in Singapore, everything is fine“, and that is so true. Wordplay aside, there are so many fines here. One good example is the parking.

 

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There are well-regulated parking areas for cars and bicycles, of course. According to Singapore’s law, cars have special locating devices that recognize the zone you are parked in and notify you if you go over your limits. It also pays for the parking spot right from your bank account. It does all the work itself, so nobody asks you a thing. Keeping in mind that the whole city is under constant surveillance, it is impossible to avoid paying the fine if you don’t obey the rules. Also, it seems that there is no one to whom you might even try to explain that you have left your bicycle in front of the store “just for a minute or two”. You will be charged before even thinking about it, automatically.

Try not to cross the street outside the marked areas accordingly. Not only will you break the law and pay the fine, but also all those people around you will look at you as if you were some kind of savage who has never heard of the green traffic light. I was amazed by the discipline in Singapore, and even felt a bit pressured by it. That’s another one of the interesting facts about Singapore for you!

No urinating in public

One of the street signs caught my attention. I was walking and there was the sign, popping out of nowhere, saying that urinating in public was forbidden. I didn’t even know whether to laugh or not.

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One of the interesting signs

They say that it is common knowledge that “not all the rules are followed” in the Indian district of the city, where I have stumbled upon this sign, but still, this quarter was also nice and clean. Anyway, the fine for “non-permitted public urinating” was around 500 dollars, which was 250 euros back then (the same amount smokers would pay if caught having cigarettes in public if out of the smoking areas).

But then again, the city really seemed so well organized and spotless, that one could assume that those fines worked. Everything is always modern and new adorned with lavish green tropical vegetation, and it seems like you can get anything just by pushing a button. It all works, alone, by itself, and you are just a sole consumer or an observer!

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Interesting facts about Singapore

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Comments:

  • 12/05/2017

    A very long glimpse there.
    I’ll keep my shoes on for takeoff and landing, but once we’re cruising, off they come. No way I’m going to spend half a day sitting still with my shoes on.

    My BiL was shown around a building in Singapore. In the elevator, the guide proudly announced, “We have detectors. Anyone urinating in the corner will be detected, the elevator stops, and the police are summoned!”

    “In Australia,” my BiL said, “We don’t piss in the lifts.”

    If this is really a problem, the answer is more public toilets, not fining people who don’t have a cast-iron bladder. Pregnant women, for example.

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  • 15/05/2017

    I’m glad you had a great experience in Singapore, my home country. There is so much to see and do (in fact, I wrote my first ever blog post about it) and it is often overlooked as a transfer city. I’m glad you see the beauty that I do!

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  • 16/05/2017

    Singapore is such a neat place! I want to go back when I have more time to enjoy it. I went for a business trip once, but we were only there for a couple of days and stayed busy with work most of the time we were there.

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  • nomadicfoot

    17/05/2017

    Singapore is amazing place for sure…Its a complete destination either you are traveling with family and kids or with your partner only…you have mentioned the things which nobody does…great job.

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  • 20/05/2017

    I’ll keep my shoes on thanks πŸ™‚ It seems like there is a lot of stuff to do to keep you busy. I would pick sightseeing over shopping any day.

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  • riely

    20/05/2017

    I have read many posts on Singapore recently, but most talk about it as a layover city. Glad to read a new perspective as it seems to be a lovely city to visit. I never take my shoes off on the airplane, but I can see why people would as those flights are extremely long! Thanks for sharing

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  • 21/05/2017

    awesome guide for first timers in Singapore. definitely taking not of staying near orchard road

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  • 21/05/2017

    My ex coworker was from Singapore and she said it was a lovely place to visit. She also said they were extremely strict. She said people would get a fine for spitting on the streets. At the time I lived in England, where the city streets smelled of urine. I am sure she had a shocked when she moved from Singapore to England.

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  • 22/05/2017

    So much to do and see for such a small country! If I ever need to do a layover in Singapore I’ll make sure to try and get a few extra days to explore the city πŸ™‚

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