Singapore part 2: Where to live and how to get around

Hello human!

I can’t believe my last post was in March! That means I’ve been really busy but currently there are update so It’s time for me create a new shiny blog for myself and for you.

What’s the status?

Currently my request to get an EP is in progress but I had to provide quite some documentation as mentioned in my earlier post. The main thing seems to be education. As a self taught computer guy I only have a low level diploma which I thought would hurt the process instead of helping but they really really needed it so I got it translated and legalized.

Now we got this sorted It’s time to focus on other important stuff you need to know about Singapore.

Where to live?

Singapore is small so there are a lot of apartment buildings. In general there are three types of houses: Public (HDB), Private and Landed. The majority of Singaporeans live in HDB houses (80%+). The most expats live in private condo’s and people with real money can afford a landed house.

Depending on where you a coming from you might think the houses are less spacious in Singapore, of course this depends on how much money you want to spend on buying or renting a house. In general most condo’s are quite luxurious with pools, tennis courts, gym facilities, and BBQ pits.

If you’re moving to Singapore you want to find a place near to a bus or MRT (metro) station and food. Public transport will be crowded during rush hours so It’s important you calculate how long your commute will take. A website I prefer is 99.co because you can find condo’s based on your commute and other requirements. Another popular website is PropertyGuru but I think this website offers less options to compare houses.

Personally I want to start living in a place where many locals live and not in some kind of expat enclave and this is very doable. Price for a 2 tot 3 bedroom condo varies between S$2200 (€1400) to S$4000 (€2500). You pay typically a security deposit for every year you sign the contract for. Flexible contracts are uncommon and I would recommend to start with a contract for one year and don’t forget to include the diplomatic clause.

Contracts for electricity, water, tv and internet are generally not included and the same is true for your air conditioning service contract, yes, you need it. Coming from the Netherlands you might be wondering about your home insurance and the easy answer is: you don’t need it. Not because you are already insuraned but because it’s crazy expensive, the same goes for our famour personal liability insurance, you can’t get it cheap in Singapore. Your employer will take care of you health insurance and CPF if applicable (not for EP holders, only if you really want to).

How to get around?

Singapore has a first class public transport system, very modern and reliable. If you’re used to the Dutch public transport system this will be a relieve. You can use the busses or MRT to go almost everywhere in Singapore, It’s cheap and quick. You pay using an EZ-Link card, you can top this up at the machines with card only, cash is no longer accepted at top up machines. Currently NFC implementation are being made, a good example is Singtel Dash, you can use your phone to pay for public transport and much more.

If you want to buy a car in Singapore think twice, It will be you biggest investement after buying a house, yes it’s that expensive. I won’t go in detail on this topic but it all starts with a Certificate of Entitlement and after that you still have to buy the car, insurance etc…. You can read more on the real price of owning a care here: Costs of Car Ownership (hint: It’s S$100k+).

But there’s still the option to take a Taxi after you’ve spend a night at Sentosa, but don’t try to fire up your Uber app because that’s no longer available in Singapore, Uber sold their south-asia business to Grab but Grab seems not to be very popular and local people are apparantly starting to use ComfortDelGro a lot more. You don’t need to worry about not being able to go somewhere, you will always be able to find a local Taxi to go anywhere on the Island, for example the Singapore zoo. Please make sure you bring enough cash, not all of them accept cards.

Another popular thing is bike sharing. Companies like Ofo, OBike and Mobike are gaining more and more traction in Singapore and It’s very cheap. Important to know is that you have to drive on the road and most of the time you can only park them in designated areas. There are not many bike lanes so I advise to bring a helmet and a light (at night).

Another new thing you might know from the US are those electric scooters, while it seems fun (and let’s be honest, it’s fun) they’re quite dangerous. Many accidents happen as people drive them on the pavement. If you consider buying or renting an e-scooter I would advise to lookup the current rules and regulations, as this is a new development regulations are always delayed. More information about the regulations at the moment of writing can be found here.

This is it for now! Slightly more than I expected so you have to wait for the next blog about all the food, you know it will be good! Also, at my next blog everything will be confirmed and I can get more information about my relocation schedule (hint check the countdown on the right). Till the next one!

 

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