Singapore: Western-Style Oasis in the Middle of Asia

So you want to relocate to Asia Part 3: Singapore

It has been awhile since I have been to Singapore, last time was 2004.  The profile below is gathered from around the web, my own recollections, and what I have heard from friends and family. Enjoy!

Singapore is often called the ‘Asia for Beginners’ (Westerners). Reasons are it is orderly, law-abiding, English-speaking, clean, and efficient, similar to the West. Upon entering for a first-time Asia explorer, the culture shock may not hit as hard…only mildly.  I also heard from various sources that Singapore is a great city for families but not so great for singles.

Best Selling Point: Western-Style Oasis in the Middle of Asia

  • English is one of four official languages – Singlish
  • Clean, orderly, rule-abiding city-state
  • Close to various Asian vacation spots (Thailand, Bali, etc.)

Worst Selling Point: Year-around super hot and humid climate and a bit stale

  • Similar to HK, but worse because it is year-around! eek, I don’t want to feel unpleasant year-around.
  • If you want ‘authentic’ Asia, a little un-orderly, messy, with traffic and some not so great personalities; you are not going to get it here. 🙂

Here is the rest:

  • Weather: Tropical, hot and humid all year.  Here is a more comprehensive chart of Singapore weather year around from the Singapore National Environment Agency.
  • Finances: DBSOCBC, and HSBC are some of the more popular banks in town. Shop around for the best exchange and interest rates.
  • Currency: Singapore Dollar
  • Culture: Multi-cultural with a Chinese majority and Indian, Malay, Thai, Phillipines, amongst other minorities.
  • Recreation: There is Sentosa Theme Park and Wildlife Preserves if you have a family.
  • Real Estate: For more information on renting or buying check out iProperty and PropertyGuru.
  • Dining: You can find all types of food in Singapore. Authentic or not, that is an open question. Before you go, use Openrice for restaurant reviews and reservations.
  • Shopping: CNNGO has a great piece on Singapore shopping here.  Time Out Singapore also has a great shopping guide.
  • Transportation: Singapore has the Mass Rapid Transit (Rail) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) which are convenient. Taxis are also abundant along with a ferry system which connects the various islands.
  • VISAs: Singapore Immigrations and Checkpoint Authority offers a comprehensive guide on Visas.
  • Nightlife: Important to the expatriate population. Orchard Road and Mohammed Sultan Road are popular spots.
  • Common Complaints: If you don’t like tropical and humid weather all year, you are out of luck in Singapore. Boring and bland, lack flavor and not too much excitement for an ‘Asian’ city-state. Extremely high population density. High cost of living.

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