Our Top 5 Little Singapore Facts, Especially for You! :)
By: Expat Kiwis - Singapore and BeyondChallenging, fun, exciting, stressful and nerve racking. Some of these words might describe how it feels to pack up your life and relocate to a different country. We certainly fit into the “Excited” category when we made the move to Singapore.
Over the last few years, Singapore has become a place we call Home and we’ve hopefully collected a few little snippets of info/tips that we can share. Hopefully it’ll be useful for all the new Singapore Expats; and for those “veterans”, maybe kick start a discussion on what some of your tips and advice would be.
These are meant to be fun little facts that we’ve come up with, so we hope you enjoy them.
So; without further delay (and in no particular order), our Top 5 list of little Singapore facts :)
1) Accommodation - City and Suburb living
Okay, so Singapore is a small Island so probably the entire country can be considered the City. The City areas to us are places like City Hall, Marina Bay, Raffles Place, Tanjong Katong, Harbourfront etc. Suburbs are further out like Buona Vista, East Coast and Bukit Timah. When we first arrived we lived in the Marina Bay area. It was nice, gave us a base to explore and also allowed us to settle. After 12 months, we moved out to the East Coast and BOOM! It was a more rewarding experience. In the suburbs you have a richer Expat experience mingling with the Locals at the Hawker Centres, walking out to your local Kopi (Coffee) Shop and really taking in the vibrancy that Singapore has to offer. We’ve never looked back since and now find it very hard to imagine living back in the City. Our friends have found this too and really enjoy going to their neighbourhood haunts such as Whampoa or Holland Village. Living in the suburbs is a rewarding experience and is worth considering when you’re hunting for a place to rent.
2) Apartment hunting – Show them the money
Hunting for a place to live can take a lot of time. There are many things to consider such as is it close to Bus routes and the MRT, amenities and perhaps even schools. A lot of effort goes into looking at place after place. If you find a place that you really like and it suits you; place an offer straight away and write out a security deposit cheque on the spot. Your Real Estate Agent can then use it to entice the landlord to sign you up. This also shows you’re serious. We hate to rush decisions but have missed out on places in the past because we decided to think about it overnight. If the place is desirable, it will get snapped up. If you’re comfortable, make quick decisions and take your Cheque book with you when viewing properties. Only do it if it feels right though and you’re very sure of your choice.
3) Making Friends – Taking it online
Singapore is a very connected Island and we discovered that there is an online world where Expats can chat and then meet up in real life. This might sound strange; and we were nervous and reluctant in the beginning, but we tried out the discussion forum on some of the online Expat forums. We ended up meeting some great people over drinks. We’ve even stayed friends ever since :) It probably isn’t for everyone but we found the forums to be safe as long as you use common sense and approached it in a mature manner.
Another great way of making friends has been Twitter on social media. We’ve found some great friends by using Twitter; meeting up for drinks and the occasional “Tweet Up” (a meet up/gathering of Tweeter users, has really expanded the social circle. Don’t forget to use those Hashtags; especially #Singapore :) Twitter really is a great tool and the more you use it the better the results. With Singapore being so connected online it has really contributed to meeting new people in a new country.
4) Getting Tech Savvy – Smart devices and Apps
Singapore is also a technology hub so the up take on Smart Phones is pretty high; iPhone, Samsung etc being familiar sights. If you have one of these devices, chances are you’re an App user. We’re iPhone users ourselves so thought we would share some of the Singapore related Apps that we use. All of them are available as Apple and Android Apps.
Here we go; the Apps:
a) “HungryGoWhere” – Great little App that lets you search cuisine type by filters such as cost, location and some user reviews. I use it a lot to get contact numbers for the establishments too for bookings.
b) “ComfortDeGro Taxi Booking App” – Useful for booking a Taxi for immediate travel or advance booking. It also has an inbuilt map that tracks the location of your booked Taxi to see how far away it is. It’s also worth trying the Apps by the other Taxi companies as well like SMRT.
c) “gothere.sg” – An App that allows you to input your location and destination. It’ll then tell you the indicative cost according to Bus, MRT, Taxi or Uber. It also gives an indicative travel time. The inbuilt Map feature is also very useful.
d) “[email protected]” – As Bus users this App is great. Input and bookmark your favourite bus stops and the App will give the estimated arrival time of your next bus. Perfect for timing when to walk out to the Bus stop rather than guessing, heading out and end up waiting for 30 minutes!
e) “UOB Mobile” – Just using this as an example of a Bank App. The main Banks do have Apps so simply download the one(s) that you require. Great for banking on the move or even to look up those dining deals J:)
Apps are really useful in Singapore and the ones above are some of the ones we frequently use. Don’t forget the “Twitter” App too to make some friends via social media :) Sooner or later you might even consider downloading and using “WhatsApp” as well to set up a friends group for messaging!
We're sure you've got some fave Apps.
5) Food – Expat taste buds
It quickly becomes clear that Singaporeans love their food and for Expats it is a great chance to try foods that we’ve never tasted before. It is a real treat so don’t stick with the usual; experiment a bit, go out of your comfort zone.
On first impressions, Hawker Centres might seem strange and dirty. This is far from it; Hawker Centres should be the first stops to try out a range of foods, all in one place. Famous dishes like Chicken Rice, Chilli Crab, Char Kway Teow, Carrot Cake, Fried Oysters and Rojak aren’t to be missed. There are so many more and I’m drooling whilst typing this! It never hurts to give everything a go. If you don’t like it then don’t eat it next time; just give it a go.
By the way; anyone tried Durian? :P
And there you have it; a quick list of little Singapore facts by "Expat Kiwis – Singapore and Beyond". They really are the tip of the Iceberg but we’ve tried to kick start your thoughts on living arrangements, scoring a rental before someone else beats you to it, the wonderful world of making friends, releasing your geeky side with Apps and tantalising your taste buds with new experiences.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the quick fire facts and invite you to leave us a comment. Share your comments with us and please tell us if you’ve enjoyed this little post J
Thanks for reading!
Expat Kiwis – Singapore & Beyond (Visit us at - www.pamexpatlife.blogspot.sg)
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Contest Comments » There are 6 comments
Very well written and informative. Agree with you points especially re making friends and the food - we love durian!
Expat Kiwis is a blog I come back to again and again as I navigate my way through living in Singapore. Great work!
I'm a great fan of this blog and this is another great post from the expat kiwis!
You guys rock it! Your posts are always great and I love following your blog as well as following you on Twitter and FB. You always give such great information on Singapore, especially on eating establishments to try. As for item No. 2 of your post, I would add BEWARE of construction when choosing a place to live, although it is hard to avoid these days! And as for No. 5 - yes I have tried Durian - NEVER AGAIN!!
Love it :) very useful tips for newcomers to Singapore or even "old timers" such as myself! Keep it up and good luck :)
A great, informative blog packed full of useful hints and advice on what to do and where to go in Singapore. Always fun and entertaining. A must read for anyone moving or living in Singapore!