Expat Life in Singapore from an Expat to Another

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Singapore is the Antioch of Asia, the Safest and most Expensive Country


Singapore offers expatriates an excellent lifestyle, but it’s not cheap. While the cost of living is high, interestingly, expats often report having more disposable income than they had back home. However, there are some downsides to living abroad, including the fact that the laws are stringent. But you can go out late at night to the park for a jog or walk with peace of mind.

There are currently approximately 1.45 million non-permanent resident citizens living in Singapore. Singapore is considered one of the most accessible cities in South East Asia for foreign nationals. It provides them an excellent chance to get acquainted with different cultures in relative safety and comfort.

Singapore is an excellent place for raising a family, and the availability there of good schools, affordable childcare, and strong security makes it easy for families to bring up their kids there.

Singapore offers its residents an extremely high standard of living, and the streets are safe anytime or night. In addition, there is no lack of expat groups and social clubs across the country, so whatever your national origin, you can always be certain to meet people from all over the globe.

Accommodation in Singapore


The housing sector in Singapore is split between the public and private sectors. Private housing is generally owned by individuals or companies who can afford to pay high prices for properties. Public housing is provided by HDB, a government organisation that owns the land and manages low-cost flats for Singapore Citizens and PR. Private housing includes apartments, townhouses, semi-detached houses, and terrace homes.
Many high-earning expats rent an apartment, condo, or bungalow in the suburbs because rents in the city center are considerably higher than in the suburbs. In addition, most landlords know that expats frequently move, so they tend to favor leases that guarantee a steady stream of monthly payments.

Apartments and condominiums usually come with basic services such as laundry, kitchens, dining rooms, swimming pools, gyms, etc. However, some properties may offer additional amenities such as a barbecue pit, tennis courts, and 24-hour guards. So, if you’re looking for an apartment or condo in Singapore, think about whether you need to bring everything with you from home.

With so many small apartments, big old houses with high ceilings, balconies, and gardens are highly coveted by expatriates. As a result, limited choices of houses are left in leafy neighborhoods such as Dempsey Road, Portswood Road, Adam Park, and Rochester Park.

Local culture in Singapore


Singapore has a diverse population, meaning many different cultures and languages exist. However, it’s easy to get by here because English is used everywhere.

Flip-flops, short pants, and T-Shirt are the official uniform of Singaporeans. It’s best to wear lightweight clothing during the day.
In Singapore, something expat may have to get accustomed to is kiasu (Hokkien) behavior. This is Hokkien for “fear of loss” and is often associated with anxiety and selfishness. Kiasusim manifests in many ways, including standing in long lines for prizes or giveaways or taking too much food off a buffet table. Kiasusim is also associated with ambitious and successful people.

However, this type of behavior can come across as aggressive and opportunistic, especially if it is perceived as being done solely for personal gain. Nevertheless, Singaporeans believe achieving success in a competitive environment is important.

Climate in Singapore

Singapore lies almost on an equatorial line and enjoys tropical weather with no sharply defined seasonal changes. It has an all-year-round high temperature as well as a high level of humidity and heavy rainfalls. Temperatures usually range between 28 degrees Celsius – 30 degrees Celsius during the day and drop to 26 degrees Celsius – 27 degrees at night. Humidity rises with precipitation, often reaching 85-90% percent. Its hottest month is June and July, while the rainy season occurs in November and December.

Job opportunities for expatriates in Singapore

Singapore has a lot of potential for expatriates from countries with high education levels and low employment rates. However, for expatriates coming to Singapore without support, finding a good-paying, full-time position can be challenging. Therefore, it is generally recommended to have a solid plan in place before arriving in Singapore.

Networking is essential when looking for jobs. Many people find their first jobs by knowing someone already working there.
Many jobs available for expatriates in Singapore are in the banking and financial services industry. Some positions are also open in the shipping, IT, and electronics industries. However, despite the recent global economic issues, there is an upward trajectory.

Foreign spouses wishing to live and study in Singapore must obtain their valid Employment Pass (EP) before they may be granted permission to enter the country. Please visit the Ministry of Manpower’s website for further details regarding EP eligibility.

Education in Singapore

Singapore has one of the most prestigious education systems in the world, known for its discipline, academic excellence, and high standards.

Public schools

Public schools are a good choice if you’re looking for an affordable school in Singapore. Many successful students graduated from public schools in Singapore.

International schools

Singapore offers a wide range of excellent international schools that teach the American, British or Aussie curricula or the IB. However, fees for these schools are quite expensive, so get an education allowance included in your job contract.

Keep up with friends in Singapore


Singapore is well connected, with Singtel, Starhub, and M1 being the main service provider. Mobile phone coverage is good, though not ubiquitous. Broadband speeds are extremly high, depending on the plans you subscriped to. WiFi is widely available.

You can buy mobile phones easily, and coverage is usually good. However, if you’re not committed to a contract, consider buying a prepaid SIM card.
The Singapore government regulates and controls all broadcasted television and print publications in Singapore. However, you can listen to English-language broadcasts on local FM radios and watch English-language movies at cinemas. You can also purchase English-language books, magazines, and newspapers from all major bookstores.

Healthcare in Singapore

Public and private health facilities offer efficient and professional services. Foreigners often opt for private clinics for primary care and public hospital emergency rooms for emergencies.
Most expats choose private health insurance because the cost is only slightly higher than public hospital charges, and the services are assumed to be better. However, some expats prefer public hospitals because their charges are lower than private ones.

You don’t need medical insurance to use private hospitals and clinics, and general healthcare costs aren’t too expensive. However, if you want to be covered for something unexpected, you might consider taking out an insurance policy.

Getting around in Singapore


Public transport in Singapore can be very unreliable. The MRT system is extremely user-friendly, clean and trains always arrive on time. Therefore, you should consider purchasing an EZ-link card if you intend to stay in the city for longer.

There are thousands of public buses operating throughout Singapore, and most of these buses start running early morning and end their services at midnight. Most bus routes cover residential areas, but some only serve commercial districts. Buses stop at designated bus stops, where passengers can see the name of the bus line and its destination.

Cabs (TAXI) are usually comfortable and convenient. They often have a sign indicating whether they’re occupied or not.
Singapore is also very safe for pedestrians, with paved walkways on most streets. Even busy roads are easy to cross by foot using overhead pedestrian crossings and underpasses. Bicycles are allowed on some main roads, but they’re not always separated from traffic.

Cost of living in Singapore

Singapore has a relatively high level of economic development, but its living costs are quite expensive. However, salaries for experienced workers are good and keep up with the rising prices. Tax rates are also low, and expatriate programs often include benefits such as transportation, education expenses, and housing allowances. Expats spend the most on accommodation and schooling, followed by groceries and transport.

If expatriates want to live in a city where they feel comfortable, they must pay for it. Property prices are very high here.
Alcohol is also taxed heavily, so expatriate visitors who enjoy visiting bars and nightclubs will be surprised by how expensive it is to maintain a social life here.

Expatriate drivers will also be shocked by how expensive cars are to buy and run. Overall, food and grocery items are relatively cheap, but if you’re willing to eat in the local hawker stall and shopping mall food court, you can save a lot of money.

How can a foreigner open a bank account in Singapore?

Opening a bank account is easy in Singapore. Most large banks offer services to foreign residents who live in the city state. You have to go into a branch in person to apply for an account, but once you do, you should find it relatively straightforward to set one up. If you’re planning to move to Singapore soon, we’ve got tips on where to open a Singapore dollar savings account.

In order to open an account with a financial institution, you must submit certain documentation. These include:

  1. A valid passport or national identification card
    2. Proof of residency, including telephone bills or utility bills
    3. An employment pass, student pass, dependent pass or dependant pass depending on the situation
    4. A reference or introduction letter
    5. Bank statements showing sufficient funds
    6. A copy of your current credit report
    7. Any additional information requested by the bank

What are the best neighborhoods for expats in Singapore to live in?


Singapore’s expatriate communities tend to reside in neighborhoods such as Holland Village and Tiong Bahru, known for their artsy sides.
If you’re looking for a quiet neighborhood where you can live cheaply, consider living near Tanjong Pagar, located just outside the central city. However, if you’re looking for bustling nightlife, you may be better off choosing one of Singapore’s most expensive neighborhoods, Sentosa.