Living in Singapore
Singapore is known to be one of the safest countries with low crime rate. Most expats enjoy the vibrant city with its great mix of Western influences and Asian cultures. Being a city state, Singapore is a small country, but definitely not the cheapest place to live in. The expenses for housing and car (if you are deciding on getting one) are relatively high here. However, the city is very well-connected with affordably priced buses and MRT (metro) that runs on a frequent schedule.
Alcoholic drinks are on the pricier side as compared to many other countries but try to go for the happy hour deals to get drinks at a slightly more affordable price! You can find a wide variety of cuisines here at different price ranges. If you are down for some local eats, you definitely have to head to our hawker centers! They offer aplenty of cheap food options in the same space and many people deemed it as the foodies’ paradise. The concept dated back to the 1800s, where the early migrant population sells quick and affordable food along the pavements, town squares and parks. Today, we have permanent stalls in open-air complexes that can be found in the heart of housing estates all over Singapore. Our hawker culture was even added to UNESCO list of intangible culture heritage last year!
Being a global business hub, many businesses around the world chose to set up their offices in Singapore. Despite the drop of foreigners in Singapore due to Covid, there is still approximately 29% of the people in Singapore who are non-residents as of June 2020. If you are new to Singapore, it might be useful to join the expat groups online to help you get accustomed to the country.
One major difference between Singapore and other regions such as Europe is the climate. Many expats complain about the humidity here and it’s one thing that takes a long time before they get used to it.
Things to note before your move
Housing is one of the most important things to consider before you move here. Renting a house in Singapore is quite different from other countries. It is good to do some research and get in touch with a real estate agent here to learn about Singapore, discuss the options available, get an estimated time frame for the whole process, price ranges and what you are looking for in a house prior to your move here. Once you arrive, you will then proceed to do viewings at some of the properties shortlisted by your agent based on your criteria. That is when you get a feel of the different neighbourhoods as well. We wrote a post on “Expats Renting in Singapore”, feel free to check that out.
2. The things you plan to bring over (Pets, furniture, etc)
Singapore may not be the most pet-friendly city in the world. Pets are not allowed on public transports here and there are even certain breeds of cats and dogs that are not allowed in the country. Also, not all areas and houses welcome pets in Singapore, so it is important to check the information online and note it to your agent. You can find rental properties here that are fully furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished. If you choose to go for properties that are partially furnished or unfurnished and send your furniture over, keep in mind that the amount of space you get in Singapore may not be as big as you get elsewhere.
3. Rules and regulations in Singapore
Being one of the strictest countries in the world, there are many rules in place. For example, it is a serious offence to hold possession of any drugs, selling of chewing gums is illegal and there are certain parts of Singapore where smoking is completely banned. Disobeying the rules may cause you a hefty fine. After all, Singapore is pretty known for being a “fine city”.
4. Covid measures
Most incoming visitors are required to do a 2-week long quarantine in the quarantine facilities allocated by the government. Do note that this is mandatory in Singapore. Most people reach out to us at the beginning of this 2-week period, to know about the market here and to share with us their criteria of the property they are looking for. It gives us more than enough time to shortlist property viewings once they are out of quarantine.
There are many other things to take note of when relocating, but you may just have to go through it and learn how things work here. Have a safe flight and enjoy this beautiful garden city!