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Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Singapore! Expat Living

by Editor
Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Singapore

Moving to Singapore has shocked me, and there are things I wish I knew before moving to Singapore that I am sharing with you.

This literally like 50 degrees in here right now, yeah that’s way too noisy I am literally just gonna have to sweat it out. Hello guys and welcome to SG Directory! I hope you’re all doing well what do you guys think of my new setup? Are we digging it? Comment below let me know what do you think.

Now that we have a furnished apartment, I feel like this is my spot, this is gonna be my filming spot, so before we get started with this post, I wanted to let you know my big news: My Singapore e-book guide is now available! I’m so excited! I released it this week so many of you guys have been so supportive already, so thank you so much for all your kind words.

I’ve worked so hard on it for the last few months and it’s finally available on my website so I will link it up here or down here in the comment box for you guys. So basically it’s a guide to Singapore for expats travelers as well as locals. I cover all different topics about relocating and living in Singapore as well as all my favorite spots in Singapore because people always ask me like: what are your favorite places in Singapore; what are your favorite cafes; all these questions I’ve literally covered all of it in this book.  All my recommendations from bars cafes restaurants literally everything. So I hope you love it as much as I do, so now that that’s out in the way so today we’re talking about some things that I wish I knew before I moved to Singapore.


Local’s Guide to Singapore

Things To Do in Singapore

Things NOT to Do in Singapore

Things to Know for an Expat before moving to Singapore

things I wish I knew before moving to Singapore

I’ve mentioned before but I didn’t even know where Singapore was on a map before I moved here. I’ve never even been to Asia which is crazy to think but I had no idea and no expectations at all, so these are a few little fun things that I wish people had told me before I moved to Singapore so let’s go ahead and get started.

1. Know the Public Holidays

Okay the first point is that in Singapore, we have quite a lot of public holidays, I’d say probably up to ten public holidays a year, which means that this is a great opportunity for you to book trips. Now one thing I wish I’ve known is that every time there’s a public holiday, flight prices increase so much so literally, like a flight to Bali would normally be around $200 could end up being up to $700 on that public holiday weekend which is insane. So my biggest tip is to make sure that you book your trips in advance. I would get the calendar out plan out when the public holidays are and make sure you book your hotels and flights in advance for those weekends because those prices get crazy expensive.

2. Wet Markets

Wet markets are amazing if you are looking for cheap groceries, now things like vegetables and fruit can be very expensive in supermarkets because they are imported. However, if you go to wet markets which is usually where the locals go, if you head here early morning you will be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables for cheaper prices. It’s really an experience because like I said you’re really like getting in with the locals and the auntie’s are like haggling and they know what they want to get so you’re like pushing your way through. But it’s a really great place to head for cheaper and fresher produce, which takes me on to my next point, I only just recently discovered the infamous Mustapha Center.

3. Mustapha Center

I was literally shocked at the amount of things and stuff that Mustapha have to offer.  Actually anything you can think of, anything you need.  I would aim to go early morning or probably late at night. It is open 24 hours so anything you need any time of day but it can get super busy on weekends so I’d avoid weekends if I was you. But yeah anything you could possibly think of for cheaper prices head to the Mustapha Center,  they all have everything you need.

4. Be Polite

If you’ve come to work in Singapore, this is a key thing to take note of when giving and receiving business cards, you should use two hands.  Back in the UK, just be like here’s my card,  but in Singapore you give to housing you do a slight little bow as well. I think it was very inspired by the Japanese. I think that’s what they’re doing Japan, it’s very polite just a little nod of the head and give and receive the card with two hands don’t just like snap we’ll take it with one hand. That’s just a tip it’s something I didn’t know when I moved here but it’s very very helpful to know.

5. Singapore is Expensive

Singapore is expensive.  Don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have to be if you know where to spend your money. Now you could come to Singapore and live this bougie life, expensive hotels and expensive restaurant but it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Obviously the Hawker centers you can get a full dinner for around $5, you can eat there 3 times a day if you want to and it will still be super super cheap as well as public transport.  In comparison to the Western world I will say that the prices of taxis have definitely increased over the last few years. Since I moved here I’ve noticed it a lot so buses and trains are your best friends the public transport is so cheap and efficient. It’s a much better way to save money to get if you know how to spend your money wisely in Singapore. It won’t be as expensive as you think it will be.

6. Expats Community

Being an expat in Singapore means what I think an X pattern anywhere in the world means that friends come and go especially within the expat community. I didn’t know this before I moved here, but expats are always like coming or going from different countries. Just when you’ve maybe created like a really great friendship group a few of them are going to leave again, so people are always coming and going. You just kind of have to get used to it but I think one positive from that is that you’re always meeting new people. I don’t know one might typically you could be like I really want to make new friends this month and if you put yourself out there I’m sure you’ll be able to do so. It’s amazing how many new people you can meet and how many new friends you can make. But just note that friends really do come and go this is seriously my top tip.

7. Skin Care Tips

You know how in the Western world we’re all obsessed with being tan? Lying out the Sun sunbathing now this was me I was an absolute Sun worshiper when I first moved to Singapore. I was always by the pool always sunbathing and then a couple years later I started to realize how much I was aging. I don’t want to sound like being dramatic but I swear to you the sun damage is real. I have literally burnt out the collagen out of my face. I just want to warn you guys if you are coming to Singapore, please, please take care of your skin. I know when we’re young we think like oh it doesn’t matter like I’m not gonna get old anytime soon. but when those mid-twenties here everything starts to change. Put SPF on your face every single day here in Singapore. I carry umbrellas wherever I go to protect me from the Sun. I don’t like lying out in the Sun because I have seen like what a towel it’s taken on my skin .I don’t be like preachy about it but you should protect your skin at all costs that’s your life lesson for the day.

8. Clothes are Not for Season

From like November to January , February summer clothes aren’t stopped in Singapore which is the most frustrating thing ever. You’ll go into the shops around Christmas time and they’ll have autumn winter clothes docked in the shops and I’m like guys is thirty degrees outside like who is buying this stuff? I understand that these brands work you know by seasons and trends and stuff. Some people are going like to Japan for Christmas you might need some winter clothes but you literally cannot get new summer clothes for a good few months until the next season comes out. You can probably buy them online but just note that for those few months you ain’t getting no new summer clothes that’s for sure.

9. No Seasons

One of the weirdest things about living in Singapore is that time just flies and because there are no seasons.  You can’t differentiate between different times in your life so you can’t be like old you remember last summer when we did this ?You remember last winter because like everything just like merges into wine. I’ve even been to places this year and I thought that they were like last year. It’s. like your head is just all over the place. It’s very very confusing so that’s just one thing to take note of. It’s a bit disorientating having no seasons because everything’s just the same. Like the climate, the weather, I lose all track of time. It’s the weirdest thing so just bear that in mind.

10. Local Slang and English

I wish I want to tell me before I moved here that my English was going to get worse. You’re probably thinking how is that?  How is that a thing? But when you’re around Singaporeans all the time,  you pick up local slang and English and words and you start to structure your sentences in a different way. Now me and Justin have noticed this. I’ve noticed this in Justin like because of how he’s trying to communicate to his colleagues and structure his sentences. I mean how do you even avoid it? I don’t know it’s just something that we’ve noticed and something I thought I’d mention.

11. Learn a New Language

I would one hundred percent recommend that you learn a new language. Try learning Malay or Mandarin just because it would be so handy and it’s something that I wish I had done before I moved here. I mean I’ve still got time to do it. Justin’s currently learning to speak Malay but honestly say that maybe learning a little bit of Mandarin would really come in handy.

12. Humidity

The last point I want to talk about is the humidity. I wish someone had told me that we wouldn’t be able to do like the everyday thing it’s just a lot harder to do things outdoors in Singapore because it is so freakin humid. So things like going for picnics or going for a walk, you have to really make sure you’re going at the right time of day. Either go really early in the morning or go like early evening do not go in the middle of the day because you will literally die. But yeah I wish I’d known that those kind of things would being a little bit harder to do. There’s not much we can do about that. We can’t change the humidity in Singapore. I’m pretty sure that it’s here to stay all right guys

How can I move to Singapore permanently?

There are plenty of expats living in Singapore, but not all of them are here with the long-term intention of staying. Deciding to move to Singapore is an exciting step. Life in a city like Singapore is fast-paced and full of culture. There’s never a dull moment. If you consider moving here, below are some important factors to consider.

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You may be eligible for permanent residence in Singapore if you are:

  • A spouse of a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident.
  • Unmarried child aged below 21 born within the context of legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by, a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.
  • An aged parent of a Singapore citizen.
  • An Employment Pass or S Pass holder
  • A student studying in Singapore.
  • A foreign investor in Singapore.

PR Scheme

Singapore’s Edusave Qualifications for PR scheme is open to those who have worked hard in Singapore for at least six months. The applicant must have a valid Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass to be eligible.

Global Investor Program

This program grants permanent residency to individuals who invest in Singapore. The applicant must be willing to invest SGD2.5 million in a new or established business or in a GIP-approved fund. Furthermore, the applicant must be an entrepreneur with a strong business track record.

Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme

Talented individuals in the arts are welcome to apply for permanent residency in Singapore. In order to be eligible, you must be a recognized artist in your own country and meet the necessary requirements.

I think I’m gonna wrap the blog up here I really hope you enjoy it do comment below and let me know if you can relate to any of these points that I mentioned.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Singapore: FAQs

Is Singapore a good place to live for immigrants?

It’s no surprise that Singapore is a good place to live for immigrants. The country ranked first in Asia and at the top eight globally in Mercer’s personal safety ranking. Expats have been flocking to Singapore in the past couple of years because they know their safety is guaranteed.

How much money do you need to move to Singapore?

It’s important to budget for a fulfilling life in Singapore. If you live in a rented home, set aside between $700 and $1,500 per month. If you’re living in a condo unit or HDB property, plan on spending between $1,500 and $3,000 monthly.

What percentage of Singapore is expat?

The Singapore expat population is 1.64 million and 29% of the population, according to Population in Brief 2020.

Read also:

Guide to Car Rental for Singaporeans, Expats, and Tourists

Famous Things in Singapore to Buy

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