23 Facts about Singapore

Posted April 14th, 2007 in Personal, Travel

Singapore map showing some of the places we visited

In a few previous travel related posts (I’m thinking Canberra and North East England), I made a short list of facts I had noticed in my travels. Having just returned from 84 hours with Meredith in downtown Singapore for our 9th wedding anniversary, here are my keen observations;

  1. Road rules are considered an inconvenience by local Taxi drivers. We overtook a speeding police car on our way to the Airport.
  2. European Coffee (we’re thinking Gloria and her Starbuck friends) costs $5-$8, yet Kopi, the Singapore version, is between 70 – 95 cents a cup.
  3. The entire country is covered by free wifi – it’s a three year trial, however all reports are positive.
  4. The Changi Budget Terminal uses the phrase ‘Experience the Difference’ – since it looks like an outback shed compared to the other ‘city in itself’ terminals, we sure noticed the difference.
  5. There is an unwritten rule that locals should try to speak as fast as possible when speaking to outsiders.
  6. Ang Mo, the local slang for western tourists, is meant to be highly offensive. We took delight in calling ourselves that.
  7. There are soapies shown on screens on their public transport buses.
  8. I saw a Fosters Beer sign – it made me wonder if other countries judge us on our bad beer.
  9. The local toast spread, Kaya, smells worse than I am sure they think of our vegemite. Regrettably, I never tried it.
  10. Singapore is easily the safest place to walk around – we felt so safe 99% of the time.
  11. The thieves markets on Sungei Rd is rumoured to be where much stolen property ends up being sold. That’s the 1% we deducted from the point above.
  12. Taxis are dirt cheap through the day and then get steep as the night gets on – there is a range of surcharges based on time of the day and where you are picked up and dropped off to.
  13. As much as the government is trying to outlaw Singlish, it’s fun and interesting to outsiders.
  14. There is a shop near the Raffles Hotel that touts itself selling ‘Real Australian Pies’. At $7, you’d want them to be. This outlet was opposite an English Chippy, who even sold deep fried Mars bars.
  15. You can tell locals and visitors apart by their reactions to the weather. We’re the ones in t shirts and shorts sweating like crazy, whilst the locals wear long sleeved shirts and pants and smile knowingly at us.
  16. We bought bottled water at a local Sheng Siong Hypermart for 15 cents a bottle. It must surely be subsidised by the beer, which is expensive anywhere in Singapore.
  17. The MRT is just like the London Tube, except clean and organised, and all travellers are polite. There’s also wheelchair access at every station.
  18. If you only go to Singapore to visit Clarke Quay and Orchard Rd, then you may as well stay home. The real Singapore is far from these commercial glossy places.
  19. The local design industry is going full steam ahead – there were great examples of typography, architecture and interior design everywhere we went.
  20. An expensive meal in Singapore is anything that hits double digits – we ate out just about every meal for under $6 each.
  21. Everyone we spoke to were polite. Most were friendly. Some were downright very helpful.
  22. The Perth metro area is 5,370 square kilometers, and has 1,477,800 people. The island of Singapore is 699.1 square kilometres and has 4.1 million people.
  23. The only thing not illegal in Singapore is selling t shirts making jokes about the amount of laws in Singapore.

It’s a magical place, where you can be in different ethnic areas within minutes, and feel like you’ve travelled an entire universe. I’d been to Singapore for a real whirlwind visit last year, so it was great to stay longer, albeit only four days, this time. Next time, it’ll be longer, and my facts will possibly be even more factual.

Image: Map of Singapore, showing some of the places we visited (and shopped or ate at!).