5 things you didn’t know about Singapore: Introducing The Occasional Traveller 26

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Things you didn't know about Singapore

I’m not like most travel bloggers out there, who travel or blog full-time and have the luxury of a flexible schedule. Like most other folk out there, I have a full-time job, which gives me the money to travel, but severely limits how much I can do so with a fixed number of leave days. It’s easy to get sucked into work and forget about taking these holidays, which is exactly what happened to me 3 years ago, when I found at the end of one year that I had too many leave days to carry over to the following year.

Thus The Occasional Traveller was born, as a reminder to myself and to other working folk like myself to travel more, and to prove that one can indulge in a love for travel even with a time-consuming full-time job. I’ve found that one of the best ways to sate this perpetual wanderlust is to take many short trips close by – which for me is around the Asian region as I have lived in Singapore all my life.

So I’ll be talking a lot about the Asian countries that I’ve visited here on GoSeeWrite, giving simple travel tips for visiting these places and telling you interesting stories about them, which will hopefully inspire you to put them on your bucket list whether you’re based in Asia or not. It’s a highly diverse and relatively inexpensive region to visit, and I hope to spend more time exploring this region and maximize my travels in the meantime.

For starters, here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about my home town of Singapore:

Like a teenager, we’re still growing every day

Singapore’s renowned for being the ‘little red dot’ on the world map, but did you know that our land area has increased 25% over the last 40+ years? With our population exploding from 1.6 million to the current 5.3 million in that time, we need all the space we can get and have since reclaimed around 200 sq m of sea; what was once a diamond shaped country is now… a rather bloated looking diamond. If you visit Marina Bay, East Coast or Tuas, know that not too long ago this once was water!

Things you didn't know about Singapore

All this used to be open sea, now it’s become a major tourist attraction, image source Daniel Peckham

You can chew gum here, really

Our infamous chewing gum ban has been relaxed some. You can bring in your personal stash on a holiday without worrying about the authorities confiscating it at customs, though you’re still not allowed to sell it here and you’re not going to see it sold in stores. They do sell nicotine gum for the reformed smokers, so chew on that if you’re really desperate, or head up to neighbouring Malaysia for your gum fix.

Things you didn't know about Singapore

You’ll never find something like this in Singapore! Image source Ewen Roberts

You’re not going to find Singapore Noodles in Singapore

If you happen to be a big fan of what is known as ‘Singapore Noodles’, a dish of fried vermicelli noodle with curry powder – is not actually something you can find widely here – the closest approximation is 星洲米粉 or Sin Chew Bee Hoon. We do have a whole variety of noodles and a plethora of other great food at relatively inexpensive prices in our hawker centers, so you won’t be missing your Singapore Noodles much.

Things you didn't know about Singapore

Singapore has many different types of noodles, including vermicelli or ‘Bee Hoon’, but not quite done ‘Singapore Noodle’ style – image source Alpha

Singapore is not just an island, but an archipelago… sorta

Singapore is actually made up on 63 islands in total! Most tourists spend their time on the main island, but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to get out of the city, a hop to a nearby island (or Pulau in Malay) by ferry is a great way to get a quick of nature. Some popular islands: Pulau Ubin in the north east is popular for outdoor enthusiasts and a rich wetland called Chek Jawa. Down south, Pulau Hantu (that’s Ghost Island), Sisters Island and St John’s Island and for those looking for something a little more disneyfied, you can drive, walk or take a cable car to Sentosa which is an island resort with a casino and Universal Studios.

Things you didn't know about Singapore

 Can you believe this spot can be found in one of Singapore’s offshore islands called Pulau Ubin? Known as Chek Jawa, it’s one of Singapore’s few remaining wetlands. Image source William Cho

Our national language is Malay

Most visitors to Singapore are generally surprised that Singaporeans speak quite fluent English, not particularly common for most Asian countries, but that’s because most of the younger generation grew up in an English education system. The country recognizes four official languages (English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil), but our official National language is actually Malay due to historical reasons. It’s used in our National Anthem, Majulah Singapura, and military commands mostly these days, and more commonly used by the Malays and some older folk.

Things you didn't know about Singapore

Our National Anthem is in Malay, ‘Majulah Singapura’ translates to Onward, Singapore, image source Josephine Poh

Did you know all this about Singapore already, or is this new to you? If any of you are visiting soon do drop me a note, I’ll be quite happy to give you some tips or take you out for a spin!

About Me

Jaclynn Seah is The Occasional Traveller, a deskbound wanderluster with a full-time job who hopes to remind other working professionals like herself to get out and travel more. You can find her over at theoccasionaltraveller.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sharing is caring!

About Jaclynn Seah

Jaclynn Seah is The Occasional Traveller, a deskbound wanderluster with a full-time job and loves to travel... when she can get the time off. She hopes to remind other working professionals like herself to get out and travel more and not be bogged down by the ennui of daily routines. Hailing from Singapore, you'll hear all the good (and not-so-great) things about her home country, as well as stories from her visits to neighbouring Asian countries where she often goes to get a quick travel fix. Avid scuba diver, chocolate ice cream lover and fond of the occasional salsa dance, her motto in life is to try anything and everything at least once! You can find her travel journals and wanderlust inspirations over at theoccasionaltraveller.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.

26 thoughts on “5 things you didn’t know about Singapore: Introducing The Occasional Traveller

  • ken murika

    The offshore islands, Pulau Ubin reminds me of Lamu archipelago in East Africa. The Marina bay is a place I would like to visit one day.

    • Jaclynn Seah Post author

      Marina Bay honestly used to be just a patch of open green field with a seafood restaurant and kite flying next to the sea when I was a kid, the transformation in a decade or so is pretty remarkable. That said, quite a lot to do in that area now – I’d check out the Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Barrage, or just sit by the waterfront and enjoy the city view

      Pulau Ubin is one of Singapore’s last rustic areas with a village like atmosphere! Visit soon because with the rate Singapore transforms, you’ll never know when it’ll disappear…

  • Jo

    I loved my short stop in Singapore and you’re right – I never did know that about Singapore noodles. Right, off to do some research on what that’s all about 🙂

    • Jaclynn Seah Post author

      Yup, I hope you’re not a fan of Singapore noodles 😛

      (to be fair, a really Singaporean food called Hainanese Chicken Rice doesn’t actually exist in Hainan either)

      I will introduce you to our other noodley wonders if you’re ever in town!

  • Beth

    My time in Singapore was cut short (to only a day) due to getting injured. But I really want to return soon!

  • Jaclynn Seah Post author

    Yikes I hope you do come back uninjured and healthy! Also, prep your stomach for a lot of eating and be prepared to sweat it out because it gets HOT here…

  • Sebastian

    I love to travel to asia. I love the food, the weather, the culture and the women are also cute but I have to admit that I have never been to Singapore.

    I currently live with three girls from Malaysia and after I have submitted this comment I am going to ask them if the first language in Singapore really is Malay. Hard to believe but this is definitely an interesting fact.

    • Jac

      To clarify, many Singaporeans would probably consider English as their first language since that’s the language of education and business in school.

      Mother tongue (based on your race, Mandarin Chinese, Malay or Tamil) is taught in schools as either the first or second language, and many Singaporeans still use these languages as their main form of communication.

      Malay is a bit of a throwback to our heritage, and our geographical location…

  • Michael

    We visited Singapore before our nomadic life and had a ball.

    We loved the city. Easily the cleanest city we have been to. Also the zoo there is amazing.

    We hope to be back towards the middle of next year and enjoy it on a more personal level than just dropping in for a quick holiday.

  • Noor - Desert to Jungle


    I’ve been to Singapore many times and it’s one of my very favourite cities in the world. I could definitely live there (if it wasn’t so expensive for accommodation). It has a particularly special place in my heart because exactly one year ago today I ran my first marathon there so one of the most amazing days of my life was in the city.

    I’m hoping to take the train from my home in Chiang Mai to Singapore sometime in the next few months. I can’t wait to hit Little India for lots of food and buying bangles!

    • Jac

      Sounds like an exciting trip! I’m glad you loved your time in Singapore and hope you have a smashing time again here 🙂

  • caravan services

    Nice details, I have not yet been. But on the upside, posts like yours are providing the appropriate motivation. Thanks for writing!

  • Melissa

    I’ve wanted to visit Singapore for a long time. Hopefully soon! Thanks for the mini-lesson. I can certainly relate to having to work full time and trying to fit in as much travel as possible.

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