Singapore is one of the smallest countries globally, which remains a tourist hotspot for many. Tourism is a large industry of the island nation, as a large chunk of its GDP relies on it. But apart from being a fun place to visit, Singapore can also be a good option if you’re looking to relocate to a new country.
While many might describe it as a playground for the rich, that can sometimes be an offensively reductive statement. Even though you can find some of the poshest houses, restaurants, and attractions in the entire world, it offers various cultural and historic avenues as well.
Furthermore, the island nation’s population is very diverse, with different ethnicities populating the many tall buildings and skylines. And as a major economic hub in Asia, it offers a multitude of job opportunities to people in different economic pockets of the world. And with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the modern world, the country is a great place to go if you’re looking for better career aspirations.
However, moving to Singapore is not easy, and you should first consider a multitude of factors before you start moving. And in this guide, you will find out everything you need to know about first moving to Singapore. Whether you intend to buy a house or rent, or if you want to be joining the country’s bustling cryptocurrency scene, you can find out everything in this comprehensive guide. And the best way to start telling you about Singapore is with a few interesting facts about the country.
With a rich cultural background, Singapore has many quirky fun facts that make it such a lively place to stay in. Some of these include:
- The Sanskrit name for Singapore, Singapura, translates to Lion City. Sang Nila Utama, the Sumatran prince, gave the name to the city when he saw a fast beast in a hunt, and his advisors called it a lion. However, lions were not indigenous to Singapore at the time so the ruler might have seen a tiger.
- The richly diverse country has a multitude of holidays, so there is always something to celebrate.
- The country has various small neighborhoods to explore off the beaten path.
- The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is over 150 years old.
- Singapore features a lot of lush greenery throughout its streets, with almost 700 km2 constantly under natural shade.
- It was the first country to host a FORMULA 1 race at night, which made the city shine even brighter at night.
- The country’s multiculturalism has inspired a new form of English called Singlish, which contains small words and phrases from other languages. Some examples include people using lah and Leh, as well as people using the word Chope, which means to reserve a seat.
- The city contains a multitude of artificial waterfalls, with a recent installation even coming into the Forest Garden.
- It is also home to the first night zoo in the world, with over 1000 animals in their natural habitats.
- Singapore is 64 small islands combined to make a big country, with small offshore islands all around the city.
The relatively small island nation is one of the most densely packed cities globally, which comes with its fair share of pros and cons. By looking at these pros and cons, you can get a better look into if the city is worth moving into.
Let’s start with what makes the city so special in the first place and the factors that also make it an immigration hot spot.
Great Tropical Weather
While other cities and countries have diverse weather conditions, Singapore is more or less the same throughout the year. The constant tropical summer season in Singapore can be a relief to most people, especially those that don’t want to deal with the difficulties of extremely cold weather.
Housing is diverse throughout the country, with a selection of public houses and private condominiums that offer a posh standard of living. Some even come with private swimming pools, gyms, and gardens, allowing the house to stand out instantly.
Crime rates in the city a fairly low, thanks to the many economic opportunities throughout the country. Therefore, you can walk around the city even at night and not have to worry about a possible mugging. Break-ins and other types of petty crime are also on an all-time low, making the city very safe.
Great Public Transportation
One of the most important things about the city is its great public transportation. It is fast and efficient but also helps with traffic within the city. So even though there will be some congestion during peak hours, it is still minimal compared to other big cities, since most people prefer public transport.
The city very much feels like a machine, with expert management and planning allowing it to work like a clock. Citizens can even rely on various public services, like transportation, thanks to the city’s excellent planning.
The city is also very clean, with dustbins nearby and cleaners nearby who keep the city clean. Furthermore, citizens frown on littering, further allowing the city to look pristine.
While certainly a great place to live, relocating to Singapore does have a few cons to it as well. Here are some of the cons to living in Singapore.
Expensive Private Medical Treatment
Singapore offers its residents universal healthcare, where each citizen will have to pay above the claim amount and the deductibles. But people looking for other private treatment options will have an uphill battle, as they are often prohibitively expensive.
Cars are Expensive to Own
While public transportation is certainly one of the best things about living in Singapore, having a personal car can become inconvenient. Individuals will have to pay yearly taxes on cars, along with an ERP, making it a hassle not many want to deal with.
Singapore has very high taxes on items like cigarettes and alcohol, which can be an issue for people who rely on them. But if you happen to abstain, this can rarely ever seem like a big problem.
Size is a general issue in the country, as the island nation offers small apartments in significant hubs. The dense population also means that the price of housing is pretty high.
High Cost of Living
Speaking of higher rent, expect a large sum of your money to go to rent and other types of subsidies. So even though income tax is some of the lowest in Asia, it does not offset the cost of rent or mortgage payments.
Singapore is easily on the smaller end of cities to live in, making it a generally more expensive place for residents. So before you move there, looking at the cost of living can be a good measure to see if you want to move there.
Housing is fairly expensive in Singapore, as one could expect given its limited space. And depending on where you want to live, accommodation can also be expensive in particular areas. For example, a one-bed apartment in the city center can be in the ballpark of 2,820 SGD. Outside the city center, prices can shrink down to 1,968 SGD. However, rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center can be as high as 5,800 SGD inside the city and 3,000 SGD outside the city.
Granted, buying or renting without proper guidance can always leave you paying more for less. So if you’re looking for guidance when trying to get a new house, Relo AI can help. Our experts can help you find the perfect home when relocating, allowing you to adjust as soon as you reach.
Foods and Eateries
Food is relatively cheap in the city, whether you plan to eat out or cook at home, getting the most bang for your buck wherever you go. If you plan to cook at home, monthly food costs can be around 200 SGD, including vegetables and meats. So if you’re looking to stay on a budget, this is the way to go.
Eating out can be a little more expensive in Singapore, as a mid-range restaurant offers a three-course meal for two people for an average of 80 SGD. There are also cheaper alternatives, with meals costing 13 SGD and a regular coffee costing 5.50 SGD on average.
Singapore offers residents universal health coverage, allowing them to get the treatment they need while paying premiums. Each citizen will receive a dedicated coverage amount that will depend on their premiums. If the cost of treatment exceeds their coverage amount, they will be responsible for the extra costs.
Furthermore, daily general checkups can be very affordable, with the average checkup costs 20 to 30 SGD, including medicine. And tests such as X-Rays and blood work can cost between SGD 50 to SGD 80.
Utilities in Singapore are also quite affordable, with heating, cooling, electricity, and garbage coming in at 176 SGD per month. Monthly internet costs can be as high as 45 SGD for good quality, high-speed 60Mbps.
Singapore is not just a bustling metropolis, but it also happens to be one of the greenest countries in the world. They have various government-subsidized environment programs focusing on public transport. Here are a few of the significant ways that people can get around the city:
The bus is one of two major, government-subsidized ways to move around the city. It is cheap and can practically take you everywhere around the city, as long as you know which ones to take. Multiple bus routes lead to different city corners, and learning them can be challenging at first.
But when you do learn them, you might even find them more convenient than trains and other forms of transportation. Bus stops are abundant, and each one comes with a layout of the different bus routes.
Of course, if you’re looking to go somewhere in a rush, then a taxi can be your best bet. The city’s taxis can offer a very comfortable ride and are pretty reasonably priced. Meters can start between 5 SGD and 3 SGD depending on peak hours, with an extra charge of 0.22 SGD every kilometer you travel.
Of course, these rides can get a little expensive when taking one out during rush hour, as you can easily find yourself stuck in traffic for minutes at a time. The drivers also usually speak English, so be sure to talk to them if you have any questions about the city.
You can also rent a car or buy one if you’re looking to get around the city at your convenience. Rentals are easy to find, and locally made cars are not too expensive to buy. However, there are secondary and tertiary expenses when owning a vehicle like annual taxes, parking tickets, and not to mention ERP charges.
Furthermore, driving is further disincentivized by the fact that people drive on the left and that gridlocks can be very troublesome to handle. So unless you have to, there are plenty of better options for getting around the city than driving a car.
Taking the subway is easily the best way of getting around Singapore, as it offers the best advantages of all other types of transport in the city. It is speedy, cheap, and easy to understand. The train connects to all of the best locations in the city, and the stations are never too far away.
The most expensive fare you can pay on the subway is just 2.50 SGD, which makes it the cheapest way to get around the city. However, taking the subway also means that you will be walking a lot, so be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in.
Singapore is not a very big country, so nothing is too far away. And if you want to go to some of the smaller neighborhoods that don’t connect to the bus or subway routes, you will have to walk through them. These neighborhoods add a lot of character to the city and are worth visiting to take in its unique cultural side.
On a Bike
Getting around the city on a bike is easily one of the best ways to get around since the large pavements make for enough room for cyclers to get around. The city also features dedicated bike racks and a range of connected cycling paths. And if you have a foldable bike, you can also bring it onboard buses and subways.
Singapore is a unique country, but if you were to pick one thing that specifically sets it apart, it would be the weather. Singapore features consistently sunny and tropical weather, with the hottest months being June, with the coldest ones being January. However, it still never drops below 25°C, which means that you won’t be needing your winter clothes as much.
Therefore, without any distinct seasons throughout the country, other things that you will have to look out for include precipitation, humidity, and clouds.
Singapore doesn’t necessarily have very cloudy weather, thanks to its proximity to the equator. Therefore, the clearer months will usually start around January and end in April. After these few months, the city has fairly cloudy weather, with the cloudiest month being November.
The tropical environment of Singapore is further complemented by rainfall in the country. Months with the most rainfall start from the end of March and continue until January. The month with the most rain in November. Precipitation can reach 0.04 inches with 18 days of rain on average. And with just three dry months throughout the year, you will have to prepare for the rain accordingly. Be sure to pack an umbrella or a raincoat when going out.
As you can expect in a tropical city, it can get very humid in Singapore, especially during the hotter months. And since humid months change, the slowest, humid days can feel very difficult to get through at times. So if there was a particular sweaty morning, then it will also be a fairly sweaty night as well, except for a few conditions. Therefore, you will be using the air conditioner or a ceiling fan more often.
Besides being a fairly wet country, Singapore also happens to be very windy, with changes in speed depending on a few factors. Excessive winds can start from the first week of December till the second week of March. Winds during these months can reach an hourly speed of 10.3 miles.
Fortunately, winds tend to calm down for the rest of the year, with wind speeds peaking during April at 5.4 miles per hour. Wind direction can also change depending on a variety of factors, which can include the other months.
The job market in Singapore is both robust and diverse, offering people various career paths and experiences to find jobs in the country. And with such a bustling economy, the current unemployment rate in the country is 3.2 in November 2021, which is a 0.2 decline from the 2020s 3.4.
The downward unemployment trend is a sight for sore eyes for many people struggling after the 2020 recession. And many factors have contributed to the declining unemployment rate. Companies will also be working closely with the government to upskill their new hires.
As for the job market itself, jobs in the services industry are seeing growth, with the third quarter of 2021 expanding by 7.5%. Manufacturing services and information, computer, and telecommunication services were the biggest ones to rise throughout the year. 10% of service firms are also expected to hire more employees than in the second quarter.
Furthermore, increased digitalization due to the pandemic has increased demand for Infocom tech throughout various industries. The ICT sector is very likely to expand, thanks to the efforts of the minister of communications and information, Josephine Theo. They have predicted that 20,000 more jobs will become available for workers in the Infocom industry.
Finally, insurance and finance will also be seeing significant growth, all thanks to how big of a part it is playing in the GDP. Finance makes up approximately 16% of the country’s GDP, so growth in that market specifically shows that the country is recovering. So if you happen to be working in one of these sectors, you can find a well-paying job in the country.
And apart from traditional IT, Singapore has another new industry that is changing the job landscape. That industry happens to be of cryptocurrency, which had seen an especially large rise following the incident when china banned cryptocurrencies from their country entirely.
China was once the biggest crypto hub globally, offering miners space and cheap electricity to run their operations. It is the main reason why cryptocurrencies were able to grow so exponentially and is why many companies responsible for mining cryptocurrencies set up shop in China. So following the shockingly abrupt ban on cryptocurrencies throughout china, many companies that specialized in mining had to find a brand new location to mine cryptocurrency properly.
Some companies moved to texas to the US, which did not have as cheap electricity but did have a lot of space to build new types of infrastructure. And with a talented pool of developers to choose from, texas has been proving to be quite the success story. Other than the US, some have even moved to countries like Uzbekistan, which had recently legalized cryptocurrencies. The country offered infrastructure for expansion, as well as electricity that was just as cheap as that in China.
However, many companies decided to move to Singapore since it was the closest country to China. The crypto market had been flourishing in the country for quite some time, which gave some mining companies hope.
And with the new mining companies coming into the country, they have opened a new job market of sorts. Of course, apart from a need for developers, they will also need a host of other skilled employees, further adding jobs to the marketplace. Some of the most popular crypto-related jobs include:
One of the bigger job markets to be affected through cryptocurrencies has been UI/UX designers. They are essential in the crypto space as they help create new software that both the company and its customers could use. Not only will you need a degree in programming, but you will also need experience in designing well-thought-out user interfaces. They should be simple, easy to understand, and fast, ensuring minimum delay when trying to get work done.
Crypto is not the easiest thing to understand, especially with regards to the system that it works on, blockchain. But if you have experience working in client-facing roles, you can be an especially good candidate. Helping clients understand cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and NFTs can go a long way in building better relationships with them. Of course, as a relationship management expert, you will be working with high-profile clients, ensuring them that everything is fine.
If you’re someone looking to move into Singapore for an opportunity to study and advance your career, Singapore is also home to some of the most impressive educational institutes in the world. some impressive facts and figures include:
- Institutes of higher education from different countries offer industry-specific courses in their branches here
- You can find various government-funded educational institutes, all of which offer various degree programs.
- Singapore has five polytechnic institutes in the country which offer specific skills for a job.
Some of the best universities in the country include:
Singapore University of Technology and Design
The university came about in 2009 that was a public institute that focused on higher education. The university is located in the city’s central hub and offers many degrees that many major companies have recognized. They offer these degrees in various fields of study, such as arts and humanities, medicine, social sciences, and science and technology. Overall, the university is one of the best in the country.
Singapore Management University
The Singapore management university is a fairly medium-sized public university that offers a bachelor’s degree in various courses. It ranks number 731 on the world’s university rankings, and both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in courses for arts and humanities, social sciences, and science and technology.
As a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of things and places to see when you visit Singapore. So if you want to take in the sights and all of the best things about Singapore, here are some of the best attractions you need to visit.
Jewel Changi airport
The Jewel Changi Airport is the definition of artistic architecture, which is easily one of the most stylized buildings in the city. The 10-story structure features over 300 shops and a garden in each terminal. The terminals also seamlessly connect, with terminal one having a cactus garden, terminal two having a sunflower garden, and terminal three having a butterfly garden.
Apart from the different gardens you can explore, the airport is also home to the HSBC Rain Vortex. The 40-foot-high man-made waterfall is entirely indoors and has 2,000 trees surrounding it, making the airport feel like a rainforest.
National Gallery Singapore
The national gallery in Singapore happens to be one of the largest collections of modern art in all of Southeast Asia. All of the art installments are from Asian and local artists, with some pieces dating back to the 19th century. It spans more than 64,000 square meters and consists of two buildings containing over 9000 articles of incredible work.
Apart from the multitude of permanent painting installations throughout the building, there are also temporary exhibits that come and go. You can check their website to learn more about the many installations.
Fort SIloso is a military museum and the only preserved fort in the country. Located at Sentosa Island, one of the best ways of reaching that specific fort is the Fort Siloso Skywalk trail. It is an 11-foot high hiking trail that you can access through a dedicated glass elevator, offering sweeping views of the nearby islands.
Once you reach the fort, you can take a guided tour of the area. The tour guide will give you a description of the weapons or the scenes that you see, as well as a short history lesson surrounding them.
Maritime Experiential Museum
Singapore has many incredible museums that focus on interesting aspects of the country’s heritage. One of its most interesting ones happens to be the Maritime Experiential Museum, which goes through the history of the different fishes in the country. The museum has ships anchored at the entrance and features multiple fun and interactive exhibits.
The museum also features various replicas of ships that once sailed, such as the Jewel of Muscat. It is a replica of the same vessel that sank when going to China from Africa. Your guides can also teach people navigation skills.
Fort Canning Park
Fort canning park is an ample open space with the signature fort canning resting there. It is one of the most historically relevant structures in the country, as its initial purpose was to protect the country against attackers. However, by the time the Second World War started, it became a bunker. And by 1942, Singapore had surrendered the fort to the Japanese forces.
You can go inside the fort and look around the many art installations in the building, along with a theater. You can catch various live performances at the theater or step outside and look at some of the exhibits that date back to the 14th century.
Singapore is home to many small islands, 64 to be exact. These small islands make up the collective landmass of Singapore, which reaches 275 square kilometers. And one of the islands in Singapore that maintain its heritage is the Pulau Ubin, where the population doesn’t go past 100 people. These people continued to live life before Singapore became a country, acting as real-life monuments to a lifelong past.
Tourists can even enjoy untouched rainforests and unique wildlife species that remain safe from the country’s rampant industrialization.
Asian Civilization Museum
Empress Palace Building, also known as the Asian Civilization Museum, is another colonial-era building made in honor of Queen Victoria. The installation finished construction by 1865, and the government made an effort to preserve its neoclassical design. The museum itself respects the many cultures that make Singapore the country it is today.
It focuses on trade and spirituality, which heavily influenced Asian cultures.
Other than these exciting places to visit, there are also many fun and exciting things to do when you’re in Singapore. Some of these activities include:
Take a Trip on a Night Safari
Daytime safaris are a lot of fun, as you get a chance to see animals in their natural habitat. But what if you could get an opportunity to see animals going about at night? The night safari in Singapore quickly offers that, as people will be able to interact with different animals in a nighttime environment.
You can find lions, leopards, and porcupines on the leopard trail, along with various other animals. The fishing cat trails have endangered and common animals in their natural habitat. You can witness all of this through dedicated private tours, educational sessions, and private tours.
Explore Universal Studios Singapore
The massive, 49-acre theme park is certainly worth experiencing when going about the incredibly beautiful area. The park has various areas, all of which have a unique theme surrounding a certain movie or television show. It also features various “destinations,” such as Madagascar, Hollywood, New York, and even a recreation of ancient Egypt.
But if you want to experience a real thrill ride, you can also hop on to the “return of the Mummy” roller coaster. It offers plenty of thrills, scares, and plenty of adrenaline-pumping fun.
Relax on a beach on Sentosa Island
Since there are multiple islands in Singapore, there are plenty of beaches to check out. But if you want to step away from the crowds and relax in some sand, then Sentosa Island Beach can be your destination. The beach is usually empty, with nothing but the sounds of small waves and rustling trees.
This quiet beach can also be an excellent place for you to try out skimboarding or kayaking without many people seeing you. Other attractions throughout the island include the underwater aquarium, where you can swim with the dolphins.
Look Out at the City from the Singapore Flyer
With over half of all the land in Singapore being covered by greenery, it can be an incredible sight to witness from above. And one of the best ways to get a top view of the city is through the Singapore Flyer. This massive Ferris Wheel takes you high enough to get a good look at the city, as well as far beyond that.
Various packages can allow you to get some delicious food while looking at the Salt Islands of Indonesia. And whatever you do, don’t look down!
Experience the World’s Best Rainforest Zoo
The Singapore zoo is not like your average zoo. It is a rainforest zoo that is the best in the world. Just a glance at the facility, and you will know that you’re in for a treat as you visit various animals in their natural habitat, surrounded by lush vegetation.
Easily the best part about the zoo is the orangutans are sitting on top of trees. Visitors can give them fruits and watch as they swing around the area and go about their platforms. The zoo is so big that you need to set aside at least three hours to get a good look at the entire zoo.
Take a Stroll down the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens of Singapore are one of the oldest and most well-preserved attractions in the city that is also UNESCO World Heritage Site. These botanical gardens offer a look into Singapore’s rich vegetation and plant life, with multiple species of unique plants.
You can take a long walking trail with various flowers lining its edges. The trail itself will lead you to the species of mature trees in the city that they have been preserving for many years. You can even visit the national orchid garden, which is just another one of the many fun attractions in the city.
Take Breathtaking Pictures at Merlion Park
Merlion Park is home to some of the most scenic trails in the city and features one of the city’s few merlion statues. The Merlion statue is an artistic masterpiece and looks good in pictures, a big tourist attraction.