There are lots of different things I want to cover when it comes to living as an expat in Singapore. To properly show you what living as an expat in Singapore is like, I will break down the things I feel are important into different points.
On Singapore’s food
First of all, let us talk about the insane amounts of food variety in Singapore! If you think you have got it good wherever you are now, you are wrong. Singapore’s variety of good food is akin to the economy of United States and China combined together compared to the other countries around the world – unparalleled. Even after I have lived in Singapore for 2 years now, I still feel amazed how there are so many types of new food here I have not yet tried. (Yes, the country is small and sight seeing is minimal, but for the food lovers, it is a haven.)
Some of the local favorites such as chicken rice and char kway teow can be easily found in any neighborhood hawker centres. If you want a fusion of local and foreign food, then head to any shopping centre in Singapore. They would have many restaurants and cafe which combine both local and foreign flavours and dishes.
Cost of living
Compared to every other South East Asian country, Singapore is much more expensive to live in. In fact, rental is comparable to New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and the like. The additional prohibitively expensive thing is their cars. Cars cost easily upwards of $100,000, and that is for an average car. Supercars cost millions (yes that is right, you do not get a supercar at $200,000. You only get a Mercedes or BMW.)
However, chances are, if you are an expat, you probably are not going to live in Singapore forever. Therefore, getting a car is not a must. However, a place to live in and food are necessary expenditures, so let us look at that.
Most expats come here with just their partners and perhaps one or two children. This means you can opt between a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom apartment. There are two kinds of apartments you can rent at – private condominiums as well as HDB (which is what Singapore call their public housing). Private condominiums cost around $1800 per month for outskirt places, and cost around $2300 per month in central locations. Deduct around $300 to $600 for HDB. If you want to live in absolute luxury, then opt for the landed properties in Singapore – but be warned, they cost upwards of $5000/month minimally.
Thankfully, food in Singapore can be really cheap compared to nearly every single Western country in the world. Go to any normal food court or hawker centre, and you will be able to get a meal and a drink for just $4 to $6. That is dirt cheap compared to any Western countries.
Pace of life
Singapore is definitely considered fast paced compared to many other countries around the world. However, if you compare Singapore (which really is a city-state) to big cities around the world, then it feels normal. So it depends if you are used to a rural or urban lifestyle in your current home country. If you are used to the urban life in a big city such as New York or London, then you will feel right at home in Singapore.
Singapore actually has a very vibrant nightlife – it is just more expensive than many other countries and not as well known as it being known for being an investment hub for wealthy companies and individuals to park their cash! Check my post on my top recommendations for Singapore’s nightlife activities for expats.
Singapore has several famous clubs such as Zouk. But if you are not a big fan of clubbing, and prefer drinking, then skip the loud music and head on over to the bars at Clarke Quay. With lots of expats hanging out around that area as well as bars being set up there, it is the perfect place for adults to hang out. Just note that you bring your credit card along or sufficient cash, as taxes on alcohol in Singapore cause them to be not as cheap as many other countries around the world!
Now, you may be surprised, but Singapore also has escorts. You can also easily find them by Googling for social escorts. They are more conservative than Western countries, and so full face photos are never shown before meet up. As long as you are fine with that, you will love them! Singapore girls are absolutely beautiful and drop dead gorgeous!
May I warn you here – the weather is really hot and humid. Forget what you have experienced in Dubai or California during the summer. It is a different kind of warm. In Dubai and California during the summer months, you feel like you are being burnt alive in the outside. However, once you are in the shelter, you do not perspire. This is not the case in Singapore. Just like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and similar large cities along the Earth’s equator, it is constantly humid. Therefore, you can perspire whether or not you are in a sheltered area. It is 50-50 rainy and sunny weather in Singapore, so make sure you are prepared for that as well.
Last but not least, let us talk about the expat community in Singapore. Thankfully, the expat community is excellent in Singapore. Lots of welcoming Facebook and Whatsapp group exists in Singapore for such reasons. There are always meet ups and events in Singapore for expats. Therefore, there is no need for concern here. Also, I want to share with you a forum targeted at Singapore and specially designed for expats and potential expats – https://forum.singaporeexpats.com/. You may like it! Make sure to check it out before making any final decisions to come to Singapore and live as an expat!