Despite the fact that Singapore is a tiny nation, there are many distinct places to live in based on your preferred lifestyle. We’ve lived in two quite different places, and here is an honest assessment of our experiences in both.
As an expat, where is the best place to reside in Singapore?
Central Business District (CBD): a popular choice for foreigners in Singapore.
This is where we now reside, and it is perfect for our situation (30+ couple with no children). We reside in a 72-story condominium near Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Unless you can stretch to a store house on Everton Road like the ones below (in which case you probably don’t need to read this guide), this is the usual type of housing accessible in this region.
We pay a premium to reside in the CBD, but this is somewhat compensated by the fact that we can walk to almost everything, including my partner’s job. We offer a pool, jacuzzis, a fully equipped gym, tennis courts, BBQ pits, and other social spaces, all of which are included in our fee.
The greatest part is the 72nd-floor observation deck, which has jacuzzis and is where I had a ‘La la land – city of stars’ experience! When you think about where you’ll live as an expat in Singapore, this is the sort of building that comes to mind.
It’s more greener here than you’d anticipate in the city center, and I’d highly suggest it to singles and couples. Our apartment offers some great kid-friendly amenities, but I believe there are better family-friendly places to consider, such as Holland Village, East Coast and Sentosa.
Construction noise is something we didn’t think about when we moved here. Before signing up for any condominiums in the CBD, I would urge you to conduct your research and visit several times at various hours. Every day of the week, we have loud demolition sounds directly next to our apartment, which may be a problem, especially since I work from home.
Overall, I am ecstatic with our present flat, and I believe we are really experiencing the convenience of Singapore city living here: this is without a doubt where I would return to live in Singapore.
One thing I’d think about before spending a lot of money on a nice apartment in the CBD is whether you’ll utilize all of the amenities. If you read my 10 facts about being an expat in Singapore, you’ll know that regardless of how much time you think you’ll spend at the pool every evening and weekend, the reality is that these facilities are often ignored!
Geylang is not your average expat neighborhood in Singapore.
We had an apartment on Sims Avenue, on the fringes of Geylang, when we first arrived in Singapore. This is totally different from the CBD and offered us a glimpse of a distinct side of Singapore. The’red light’ area of Geylang is the first item to note. While I am certain that this is correct, we found no indication of it near us.
I had images of prostitutes strolling about in broad daylight, but I saw nothing of the kind and felt quite secure in this neighborhood. It is perhaps the most affordable area in Singapore to reside in, making it perfect for those on a limited budget. We were close to the Aljunied MRT station, which meant we could go to the city center in 5-6 stops, making it ideal for work. In general, I would suggest that staying anywhere along the green MRT line would put you in a good position to travel about the city.
If you want to sample local cuisine, Geylang’s food is a bonus, but since hawker workers don’t usually speak English, it may be difficult to know what to eat. We enjoyed being near to the East Coast, where there is a beach and a pleasant park to stroll around. We spent many beautiful Saturdays eating at East Coast Lagoon Cuisine Village – read more here about all the food I suggest you sample if you’re new to expat life in Singapore.
Living in Geylang also offers the benefit of being closer to the airport than the CBD, which may make a big difference if you travel often. A freehold condo set to launch at Geylang lorong 13 for those who prefer a new condo. More info can be found here. https://www.gems-ville.com/
Despite living near to the city center, I found it difficult to meet up with friends since most people prefer to meet in the CBD after work. I was also frustrated by the lack of good cafés and bars around for a quick breakfast or drink.
Overall, living in this region was a fantastic experience, although it is not an easy place to settle in compared to others. It certainly wouldn’t be high on every list of places to live in Singapore as an expat, but I wouldn’t rule it out if you’re on a limited budget, and I know expats who like living here.
Other places to consider as an expat in Singapore
Now that we’ve been here for a time, we’ve attempted to look into different regions of Singapore where expats may reside and discussed where we would live if we could remain longer. School selections and job location will have a big impact on where you reside if you’re coming here with kids, so I suggest talking to other expats in similar situations.
There are several excellent Facebook groups for meeting people, or you can look up #SGlife or #SingaporeExpats on Instagram to discover individuals who have already moved there.
I would suggest checking out the following locations for individuals moving here alone or as a couple:
- CBD – pricey, but extremely central and excellent condo amenities; fewer large units for the money than other locations.
- Tiong Bahru – a peaceful neighborhood near to the downtown with trendy cafés and walk-up flats.
- Farrer Park – near Little India, with several reasonably priced condominiums
- Holland Village – home to many British expats, it has the feel of a London neighborhood.
- Lavender / Bugis – this is a beautiful neighborhood with less accommodation choices; however, if you can get near Haji Lane, it’s perfect for weekend cocktails and brunches while still being close to the city’s center.
- East Coast Is worth it if you work in the eastern part of Singapore; it’s more calm, has a family atmosphere, and is less expensive.
- Chinatown – central, culturally significant; be aware of street noise (view properties on an evening)
- Robertson Quay – big apartment towers near the CBD and nightlife.
I hope this has been helpful to those of you considering where to live as an expat in Singapore; I wish I could stay longer and see more of this wonderful city!