A Guide To The Best Neighbourhoods for Expats in Singapore
It’s a done deal: You’re officially moving to Singapore! Whether you are moving there by yourself or following a spouse, it goes without saying that you would need a place to stay. Previously, we recommended you to take a few days off to visit Singapore to recce your new home, but there is still a lot of area to cover on the tiny red dot, with different neighbourhoods to cater to different needs and wants.
So if you are new to Singapore, which areas should you consider living in for a start? There are a few factors to consider when you’re searching for a suitable place to live:
- Budget – How much have you or your sponsor company allocated for housing?
- Location – Where will you be working and where will your children be studying? How far are you willing to travel?
- Amenities – What kind of amenities do you and your dependents require?
- Space – Is space a significant factor and if so, how much space would you require?
Orchard[caption id="attachment_4004" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: shafir.info
If you love shopping (or your spouse does) and you want easy access to a vast majority of amenities such as shopping malls, transportation, restaurants, cinemas, and hospitals, living in the Orchard area (Orchard Road, Bukit Timah, Holland Village, Tanglin) is the way to go. Located within 5 to 10 minutes of the Central Business District (CBD) and within walking distance to the main shopping district of Singapore, it is little wonder that the area is very popular with expats. However, don’t let the title of Singapore’s famous landmark fool you, the activity and density doesn’t spill over to the neighbourhoods around Orchard Road, which are instead quiet and filled with green.
Central[caption id="attachment_4007" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: en.wikipedia.org
Easily one of the most expensive locations to live in for expats, Central Singapore comprises of the CBD, City Hall, Little India, and Marina Bay areas, to name a few. Most expats are usually stationed to work in the CBD, so any accommodation here is a stone’s throw away from their offices, with no compromise on space or quality. Like Orchard, there is unrivalled access to various amenities, in addition to numerous international schools nearby, which makes living here attractive for expats with families or are looking to start a family. However, if you have/are a stay-at-home wife/mother, then you might want to look at condominiums that are not situated right in the heart of the Financial District as the lack of an expat community is likely to leave you bored.
Woodlands[caption id="attachment_4002" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: woodlandspropertysg.com
One of the more popular places for expats to live in Singapore, you may want to consider Woodlands if it is not too far from your workplace and if you prefer a calmer lifestyle with access to public parks and communal gardens. Although you’d be living in the suburbs, Woodlands is anything but outdated. Both Causeway Point, one of the largest shopping malls in Singapore, and Woodlands Regional Library, the second largest library in Singapore, are located in Woodlands.
If you are looking to enroll your children in an international school, note that Woodlands is in close proximity to Singapore American School. The only downside to living here is it takes approximately 40 minutes to travel to the city, though most residents claim that they have no need to as Woodlands has all the amenities they’d need.
East Coast[caption id="attachment_4006" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: www.todayonline.com
If you prefer a more local lifestyle (think villages), to be conveniently closer to Changi International Airport and the invigorating sea breeze, then consider looking at East Coast, such as the Katong and Joo Chiat areas. Located roughly 25 minutes away from the CBD, the East Coast area is popular among expats due to its value for money—reasonably priced and spacious condominiums. One of the main attractions here is East Coast Park, where you can find many locals partaking in its various recreational facilities, ranging from bowling, cycling, canoeing, and roller-blading, and the multitude of seafood restaurants.
Sentosa[caption id="attachment_4003" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: www.worldfortravel.com
Tell anyone that you are living in Sentosa Cove and you’ll no doubt elicit an admiring look or ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. Home to some of the most exclusive residences in Singapore (some of them are even built on the water!), living in Sentosa Cove means you get to wake up to a magnificent view overlooking the southern sea every day.
There are also plenty of attractions nearby to keep you and your family entertained over the weekends, such as VivoCity, the largest shopping mall in Singapore, and the Universal Studios Singapore theme park. The only drawback to living in Sentosa Cove besides the fact that it costs an arm and a leg is that you may need a car to make your daily commute across the bridge easier, especially if you work in the CBD.
Did we miss out on any other popular expat neighborhoods and property addresses to consider, for the benefit of other fellow expats moving into the island? Do share your thoughts/reviews in the comment box below.