Best Places to Live in Singapore for Expats: A Guide to the Top 10 Neighborhoods

Singapore is a popular destination for expats from all over the world. The city-state offers a high standard of living, a thriving economy, and a diverse culture. As an Australian expat, you will need to consider your budget, lifestyle, and needs when choosing a place to live in Singapore. 

The best area for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. However, all of the neighborhoods we’ll talk about offer a great quality of life and are great places to call home for expats.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the best areas to live in Singapore for expats. 

Orchard Road

Orchard Road is a vibrant and upscale neighborhood in Singapore known for its luxurious shopping malls, high-end hotels, and entertainment options. It is a popular choice for expats who enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life.

Pros

  • Excellent shopping and dining options with a wide range of international brands and cuisines.
  • Well-connected to other parts of the city, with an MRT station located along the street.
  • Close proximity to several prestigious schools and educational institutions.
  • Vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene.

Cons

  • Higher cost of living compared to other neighborhoods.
  • Heavy traffic congestion, especially during peak hours.
  • Limited green spaces and recreational areas.
  • Can be crowded and noisy, particularly on weekends.

Holland Village

Holland Village is a trendy and cosmopolitan neighborhood that offers a unique blend of modern amenities and a laid-back atmosphere. It is popular among expats looking for a vibrant expat community and a more relaxed environment.

Pros

  • Wide variety of dining options, ranging from local hawker fare to international cuisine.
  • Quaint shops, art galleries, and boutiques offering unique products.
  • Proximity to educational institutions like the National University of Singapore.
  • Easy access to recreational areas like Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Cons

  • Limited public transportation options, with the nearest MRT station a short distance away.
  • Higher rental costs compared to some other neighborhoods.
  • Limited nightlife options compared to more central areas.
  • Can be crowded during weekends and public holidays.

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Tanjong Pagar

Tanjong Pagar is a vibrant neighborhood located in the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore. It offers a mix of residential, commercial, and entertainment options, making it an attractive choice for expats working in the city.

Pros

  • Convenient location with easy access to major offices, restaurants, and shopping centers.
  • Excellent public transportation connectivity, including an MRT station and multiple bus routes.
  • A wide range of dining options, from local food stalls to upscale restaurants.
  • Proximity to Chinatown, offering a rich cultural experience.

Cons

  • Limited green spaces and recreational facilities.
  • Higher rental costs due to its central location.
  • Can be noisy and crowded, especially during peak hours.
  • Limited availability of larger housing options.

East Coast

The East Coast is a residential neighborhood known for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful coastline, and recreational activities. It is an ideal choice for expats who enjoy outdoor activities and a more suburban lifestyle.

Pros

  • Proximity to East Coast Park, a popular recreational area with cycling paths, barbecue pits, and water sports facilities.
  • Abundance of local eateries offering delicious seafood and other Asian cuisines.
  • Family-friendly environment with good schools and childcare centers.
  • Relatively lower rental costs compared to more central areas.

Cons

  • Farther away from the city center, requiring longer commute times for work and entertainment.
  • Limited shopping options compared to more central areas.
  • Limited public transportation options, with buses being the main mode of transport.
  • Can be quieter and may have fewer expat communities.

Dempsey Hill

Dempsey Hill is a charming and picturesque neighborhood that offers a unique blend of history, nature, and contemporary lifestyle. It is a popular choice for expats seeking a tranquil and green environment.

Pros

  • Lush greenery and a peaceful atmosphere, with several parks and nature reserves nearby.
  • A wide range of restaurants, bars, and art galleries in restored colonial buildings.
  • Proximity to Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Exclusivity and privacy, with many upscale residences available.

Cons

  • Limited public transportation options, with the nearest MRT station a short distance away.
  • Higher rental costs compared to some other neighborhoods.
  • Relatively limited shopping options in the immediate vicinity.
  • Less vibrant nightlife compared to more central areas.

Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah is a suburban neighborhood known for its prestigious schools, lush greenery, and upscale residential areas. It is an excellent choice for expats looking for a peaceful and family-friendly environment.

Pros

  • Proximity to renowned international schools, such as the Singapore American School and the German European School Singapore.
  • Close to nature reserves, including Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir, offering opportunities for outdoor activities.
  • Wide range of dining options, from local eateries to international cuisine.
  • Relatively lower rental costs compared to more central areas.

Cons

  • Farther away from the city center, requiring longer commute times.
  • Limited nightlife and entertainment options.
  • Limited public transportation options, with buses being the main mode of transport.
  • Limited shopping options in the immediate vicinity.

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Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is a trendy and hipster neighborhood known for its unique blend of traditional charm and modern lifestyle. It is a popular choice for expats who appreciate a vibrant and artistic community.

Pros

  • Quaint cafes, indie boutiques, and local bookstores offering a unique shopping experience.
  • Rich heritage and unique architecture, with many pre-war buildings and Art Deco structures.
  • Excellent local food options, including hawker centers and specialty cafes.
  • Good connectivity to the rest of the city via an MRT station and bus services.

Cons

  • Limited green spaces and recreational facilities compared to other neighborhoods.
  • Higher rental costs due to its popularity and limited housing options.
  • Limited availability of larger housing options.
  • Can be crowded, especially during weekends.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is a resort-style neighborhood known for its pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and recreational activities. It offers a resort-like lifestyle and is an excellent choice for expats seeking a tropical paradise.

Pros

  • Beautiful beaches, golf courses, and world-class leisure facilities.
  • Luxurious residential options, including condominiums and waterfront villas.
  • Proximity to Universal Studios Singapore and other entertainment attractions.
  • Exclusive and tranquil environment away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Cons

  • Higher rental and housing costs compared to other neighborhoods.
  • Limited shopping options, with most amenities concentrated in resorts and hotels.
  • Limited public transportation options, with private cars or taxis being the main mode of transport.
  • Relatively isolated from the rest of the city, requiring longer commute times.

River Valley

River Valley is a vibrant and centrally located neighborhood known for its mix of residential and commercial properties. It offers a balance between convenience and a lively lifestyle.

Pros

  • Proximity to Orchard Road and Clarke Quay, providing access to shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
  • Wide range of housing options, including condominiums and apartments.
  • Good connectivity with an MRT station and multiple bus routes.
  • Proximity to Fort Canning Park, offering green spaces and recreational activities.

Cons

  • Higher rental costs compared to some other neighborhoods.
  • Traffic congestion during peak hours.
  • Limited availability of larger housing options.
  • Can be crowded and noisy, particularly on weekends.

Serangoon Gardens

Serangoon Gardens is a suburban neighborhood known for its laid-back atmosphere, local charm, and a strong sense of community. It is an ideal choice for expats seeking a peaceful residential environment.

Pros

  • Family-friendly environment with good schools and childcare centers.
  • A wide range of local food options, including hawker centers and cafes.
  • Proximity to recreational areas like Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Serangoon Stadium.
  • Relatively lower rental costs compared to more central areas.

Cons

  • Farther away from the city center, requiring longer commute times.
  • Limited shopping options compared to more central areas.
  • Limited public transportation options, with buses being the main mode of transport.
  • Fewer expat communities compared to some other neighborhoods.

How to Choose the Right Area for You as an Aussie Expat Moving To Singapore

Choosing the right area in Singapore as an Aussie expat requires considering several factors to ensure a smooth transition and a comfortable living experience. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Consider proximity to your workplace.
  • Determine your budget and consider the cost of living.
  • Think about your lifestyle preferences (city vs. suburban, outdoor activities, shopping, entertainment).
  • Research family-friendly amenities like schools, childcare centers, and parks.
  • Decide if you prefer a neighborhood with a strong expat community or a more local experience.
  • Research the safety and security of the neighborhoods you’re considering.
  • Look for access to amenities and services like supermarkets, medical facilities, and public transportation.
  • Seek advice from locals or expats and join online forums or groups for insights.
  • If possible, visit Singapore to explore different neighborhoods firsthand.

Why Aussie Expats Move to Singapore

Aussie expats move to Singapore for a variety of reasons, including economic opportunities, high quality of life, taxation and financial benefits, cultural diversity and expat community, travel opportunities, education and family-friendly environment, and personal growth and experience.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of each reason:

  • Economic opportunities: Singapore is a major financial and business hub in Southeast Asia, offering a wide range of career and business opportunities.
  • High quality of life: Singapore consistently ranks among the top countries in terms of quality of life, with excellent healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
  • Taxation and financial benefits: Singapore’s tax system is known for its competitive rates and various incentives for businesses and individuals.
  • Cultural diversity and expat community: Singapore is home to a diverse expat community, providing a sense of belonging and support for newcomers.
  • Travel opportunities: Singapore’s central location in Southeast Asia opens up a wealth of travel opportunities.
  • Education and family-friendly environment: Singapore boasts excellent educational institutions, including international schools, making it an ideal choice for expat families.
  • Personal growth and experience: Moving to Singapore provides a unique opportunity for personal growth and cultural immersion.

These are just some of the reasons why Aussie expats choose to move to Singapore. The city-state offers a vibrant and diverse environment with a high standard of living, making it an attractive destination for those seeking new opportunities and experiences.

Buying Australian Property as an Aussie Expat Living in Singapore

Yes, Odin Mortgage can help you buy Australian property as an expat living in Singapore. We have a team of experienced mortgage brokers who can help you navigate the Australian property market and secure a competitive mortgage.

We understand that buying property in Australia from overseas can be a complex process, but we are here to make it as easy as possible for you. We will work with you to understand your individual needs and circumstances, and we will match you with the right mortgage product to meet your needs.

Contact us today to learn more.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

The best part of Singapore to live in depends on individual preferences. Some popular neighborhoods among expats include Orchard Road for its upscale shopping and entertainment, Holland Village for its trendy and laid-back vibe, and Tanjong Pagar for its central location and proximity to the CBD. 

Other areas like East Coast, Dempsey Hill, and Bukit Timah offer unique features and cater to different lifestyles.

Expats in Singapore come from various countries around the world. While there is a significant expat community from countries such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and China, Singapore attracts a diverse range of expats from many different nationalities. 

This multicultural environment adds to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city-state.

Yes, Singapore is often considered a desirable place to live as an expat. It offers a high standard of living, excellent infrastructure, safety, and a strong economy. 

The city-state provides a clean and efficient environment, with good healthcare and education systems. Expats also appreciate the multicultural and cosmopolitan nature of Singapore, which offers a blend of diverse cultures, cuisines, and experiences.

Expat salaries in Singapore can vary widely depending on factors such as industry, seniority, and qualifications. 

However, a good expat salary in Singapore generally includes a comfortable standard of living, the ability to save, and the opportunity to enjoy the city’s amenities. It is recommended to research salary ranges specific to your industry and job level, considering factors like cost of living, housing, education expenses, and healthcare costs in Singapore.

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