10 things every expat should know before moving to Singapore
Moving to a new city is an exciting but at times daunting task. If you’re moving to Singapore, most people have probably told you you’re oh so lucky! And while it’s true that Singapore is an amazing and unique place on earth, you may also be wondering: can this place really be that great?
Our answer is: “Can lah!” (Singapore vernacular for: Yes, it can!). You just need to make sure you’re well informed so you can make the best out of your time here!
To help you out with that, we’ve put together a list of 10 key things every expat should know before moving to the wonderful Lion City, and tell you why you should consider co-living!
1. Co-living is a popular housing option
As you have probably already heard, housing will be your largest monthly expense in Singapore, but you can still find cost-effective solutions! One prime example is co-living, which allows young professionals to afford flats in central locations across the city! With COVE, you can find rooms starting at as little as $1,250 and master rooms at as little as $1,600. And in addition to reduced cost, co-living is also a great way to find an instant community in your new city.
- 2. It’s really only expensive if you want it to be
“The only problem is that Singapore is very expensive!” We either hear this from others or repeatedly tell it to ourselves. The truth is that cost of living will always depend on your lifestyle. Yes, Singapore is a small island-nation and lots of goods are imported, which results on price mark-ups. But don’t let that get in the way between you and your wallet.
You can reduce living costs by sticking to Singapore’s popular hawker centres, which are local eateries spread all around the city serving delicious and quality local food. And like what we mentioned earlier, you can also save some money by choosing a co-living option for your housing.
- 3. Public transportation will be your best friend
Whether you’re used to riding the metro, cruising in highways, or hailing cabs, it’s probably a great relief to know you can rely on Singapore’s public transport services. Even if you stay in more northern areas like Novena, eastern areas like Geylang, or western areas like Redhill, you can cheaply and efficiently get to the CBD in 30 minutes or less. There are over 363 bus routes as well as 9 MRT lines with 185 stations (both in operation and under construction) to help you move around.
Grab, the local version of Uber, is a good alternative if you’re in a rush, and the ride prices are equivalent to those of other major cities. There’s GrabShare (like UberPool), so you and your co-living flatmates can share your cab fare. Traditional taxis are pretty convenient, too!
- 4. Organization, cleanliness and safety are sacred
Singapore is often praised for how well it’s run as a nation. There’s relatively no government bureaucracy, the city is so clean you may forget that trash is an actual thing, and you’re safe to walk anywhere at any time and with or without someone. In fact, Singaporeans feel safer than residents of any other place in the world, a Gallup global study found in 2018. So, if you’re the type to think “I don’t like living with strangers” you might want to rethink that. If co-living has been proven to be safe in general, it’s most likely even safer in Singapore!
- 5. It’s hot and humid
Thank goodness most Singapore condos have a pool because it really gets hot in here! If you come from a place where seasons actually exists, you may want to forget about coats, stock up on bright colors and light fabrics, and if you’ve got sensitive skin, do not forget sunblock!
- 6. It’s a key location in Asia
Arguably, one of the main reasons Singapore is so unique is that the small nation is made up of different ethnic groups, predominantly Chinese, Indian and Malay. There’s also a large number of Western expats, yielding a mix of people you don’t really get to see anywhere else in the region – a great opportunity to easily learn about new cultures. And because many people from the region relocate to Singapore for its thriving job market, you’re instantly immersed into a community of people from all these cultures.
Singapore’s key location smack dab in the middle of Southeast Asia also makes it an ideal place to travel on weekends. Think Bali, Ha Long Bay, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are just a few hours away with cheap air tickets!
- 7. Nature and urbanity are a dream come true
The nation’s playful mix of nature and urbanity is present everywhere you go. While you may find modern art and leisure scenes in the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands and the National Gallery, you may also enjoy making a beach trip to Sentosa, hiking at MacRitchie, or strolling around Gardens by the Bay. Condos also do their best to bring the natural world to their design – for example, at Highline, one of the condos where COVE operates, there’s urban farming happening on the roof.
- 8. Healthcare is top quality but expensive
Yes, we know we said it’s only expensive if you want it to be, that’s why we highly recommend you maintain a healthy diet (you’ll notice Singaporeans are so fit!). If you do fall ill, however, rest assured you’ll be in good hands, it just may cost you a few more bucks – but you get what you pay for. You may want to invest in a health insurance policy.
- 9. Networking equals success
Singapore’s ease of doing business means it has the ability to attract the best professional talent in the world. It is common for expats to arrive in Singapore under their company’s sponsorship. Make sure you take time to develop your professional network while you’re here, you never know the things you may learn and who may help you find a job in your next adventure location. Co-living is a great way to tap into Singapore networks, especially considering tenants work across a wide range of industries and come from many different regions of the world.
- 10. Nightlife, nightlife, nightlife
Do you like dancing the night away or are you more of a high-top bar body? What if you prefer live music and a more classic scene? You need not worry, Singapore has premier bars, clubs and jazz cafes to satisfy all types of preferences after the sun goes down. If you’re into house parties and more intimate reunions, co-living with COVE gets you access to events with other tenant members of our community. COVE also has properties across main nightlife areas, which is extremely convenient if you love being in the center of it all.