Singapore is considered to be one of the best cities in Asia for expats. Many think of this beautiful city as the perfect place to retire and live out the rest of their life. It is a clean and efficiently run city, yet there are charming remnants left over from British colonial rule. This bustling city is one of Asia’s primary finance and trade centers. While there are many benefits to living in Singapore including sparkling clean streets and a diverse and friendly population, the city was just recently named the most expensive city in the world. Still, there are many good reasons for expats to make Singapore their new home.
There is plenty of housing available in Singapore including apartments and high-rise condominiums. There are a few single-family homes but these rarely have any type of yard. The choices in housing for expats is usually between government-owned or HDB housing and privately owned condominiums. There is a wealth of new construction and many of these new apartments and condos have great amenities such as playgrounds, pools, and gyms. There are some landed homes in the suburbs.
While there is plenty of housing, the rent can be quite expensive. Space and land are in high demand in Singapore which drives up rent costs. As you near city center, rents increase dramatically.
The city enjoys a very low crime rate. Local law enforcement works hard to enforce the government’s zero-tolerance policy on drugs. One thing that may be different for most expats is that pedestrians do not have the right of way in Singapore. This means you need to use the crosswalks wherever possible. Sidewalks are usually very narrow and you may find yourself sharing with a bike which can create a dangerous environment. There are no dedicated lanes for bikes in the city and most drivers don’t look out for cyclists.
This said public transportation options are extensive. There are buses and trains that will take riders just about anywhere. The cost for public transportation is very cheap, but driving and owning a car can be expensive.
Traveling to and from Singapore is usually a challenge for expats, but once you are there it is easy to get to the best vacation spots. Many people get away on weekend jaunts. There are several budget airlines with affordable fares making it easy to get to Vietnam, Thailand and within Malaysia.
If you’re an expat, you may not know anyone when you arrive in Singapore. The people are typically very friendly and it is easy to make friends. There are many Facebook groups and online forums where expats can meet locals and learn about the community.
One significant benefit of being an expat in Singapore is the healthcare. There are plenty of public and private hospitals and outpatient clinics as well as many clinics run by private practitioners. It is important to note, however, that unless a clinic or doctor accepts your insurance, you will be responsible for all costs. These must be paid at the time of the visit.