7 popular areas for expats to call home in Singapore

While Singapore may not be very big, choosing a suitable area or suburb to call home can still be a daunting task. Furthermore, an ideal neighborhood for some may not be for others.

The decision on where to live will likely depend on your lifestyle priorities, amenities in the area, family size, location of workplace, budget as well as space required.

Hence, we rounded up 7 different areas in Singapore, each with their own unique appeal and attractions to help you in making your decision on where to stay when relocating here!

1. Orchard

View from Orchard Gateway. Picture: iProperty

The main reason for living in the Orchard area is likely due to the availability of an extensive number of amenities. Based on shopping malls alone, there are more than five shopping malls along Orchard Road as compared to other neighborhoods that only have one. Despite the high level of activity in the area, surrounding neighborhoods are relatively quiet and green.

While rents there are higher, there are several trade-offs:

  • 5 to 10 minutes’ drive from the Central Business District (CBD)
  • Access to public transport (Orchard MRT station or Somerset MRT station)
  • Entry to the Central Expressway (CTE)
  • The plethora of shopping malls, restaurants, entertainment options and health and beauty services
  • Close proximity to the American Club and Tanglin Club
  • 7 minutes’ drive to Singapore’s popular nightlife destination, Clarke Quay

2. Tanglin

Home to several embassies, the prestigious neighborhood of Tanglin is one of the more popular areas as it offers a variety of quality housing options such as luxurious condominiums, chic apartments and good class bungalows (GCBs). Additionally, River Valley Road also offers charming conservation houses.

Botanic Gardens. Picture: gov.sg

Due to its proximity to Orchard, the neighborhood also exudes a cosmopolitan feel – from renowned restaurants and branded boutiques to reputable hospitals and clinics. Not only is it accessible to transport links such as the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) and the CTE, it is also within walking distance from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Botanic Gardens.

Tanglin is also favorably located from dining enclaves such as Dempsey Hill. However, similar to Orchard, rents here are likely to be higher than that of other areas.

3. Holland Village

Holland Village. Picture: URA

Cited as one of the “original” areas for expats to live in, Holland Village still remains a popular option for most. Unlike the hustle and bustle of living in Orchard, the area emanates bohemian vibes, with an array of boutiques selling unconventional items.

Moreover, Holland Village Shopping Centre is known to be a treasure trove of amazing knick-knacks, jewelry, and fashion. This area is also known for its extensive dining options and vibrant nightlife.

Apart from condominiums, apartments and landed housing, Holland Village also has Housing Development Board (HDB) flats for expats who wish to live more locally. Holland Village is within walking distance from the one-north business park where Fusionopolis, Biopolis, and Mediopolis are located. It also has a MRT station within its vicinity and is a 10 minutes’ drive from the AYE.

4. Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru. Picture: iProperty

Distinguished by its artistically decorated houses and new high-rise residential buildings, Tiong Bahru has gained its popularity with families. Located about a 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre, Tiong Bahru is the perfect escape from skyscrapers of the CBD and is serene.

As a heritage housing estate rich with retro charm, the renovated post-war apartments boast elegant vintage details such as sheltered porches and intricate window grates. In the past 10 years, Tiong Bahru has seen the revival of young artsy shops and hipster cafes that lead to some calling it “Singapore’s Brooklyn”. It is the ideal location for a lazy Sunday retreat.

Apart from the cafes, Tiong Bahru Market is also located within the vicinity; offering a variety of food options as well as wet markets to pick up fresh groceries. Accessibility is not an issue with Tiong Bahru MRT station and several bus routes.

5. Sentosa

The Marina Collection, Sentosa Cove

Known as Singapore’s island resort, Sentosa has some of the most exclusive homes in Singapore – few of which are even on the sea. If breezy, quiet and green spaces are essential, Sentosa is definitely the place to be. However, tranquility does come with a hefty price. Rentals in this area may undoubtedly be on the high side and Sentosa is not the most accessible. The nearest mall is VivoCity; a distance away but one of Singapore’s largest malls.

Nevertheless, there are several exclusive lifestyle and recreational activities residents of Sentosa Cove can engage in such as golf, spas and water sports. If you are offered a generous relocation package or more room in your budget for rent, Sentosa is an exquisite option.

6. Woodlands

Despite being at the far North of the island, Woodlands is another popular area for expats because of the familiar suburban feel. This area is home to a large community of American expats due to its close proximity to the Singapore American School. Furthermore, Woodlands offers larger houses at reasonable prices.

With Causeway Point within the vicinity, one does not need to travel far for groceries, restaurants, retail shops, and entertainment options. Additionally, if you want to take the weekend off to relax, Johor Bahru, Malaysia is just at the other end of the causeway.

Lastly, based on the latest renewal plans, Woodlands will have six-star attractions including a business hub, cycling networks, and a Discovery Playground for residents to enjoy the town garden and learn more about the history of this area.

RelatedWoodlands: Heart of the North

7. East Coast

The East Coast region stretches from Kallang Basin up to Changi Airport. It has long been popular with expats due to its spacious and affordable condominiums. Though it is around a 25 minutes’ drive from the CBD via the East Coast Parkway (ECP) or Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), it has a substantial number of amenities to make up for it. There are several malls, bars, restaurants, schools, entertainment and recreational options present in the East Coast region that you may never need to leave this area!

If you wish to enjoy the invigorating sea breeze and sandy, palm-fringed beaches but do not have a generous relocation package to live in Sentosa Cove, East Coast is the perfect enclave for you.

Now that we have provided you with information on the different areas in Singapore you can relocate to, it would be helpful to make a checklist before you decide on which area to reside in. This list should comprise of the relevant factors (such as budget, the location of the workplace and surrounding amenities) to consider when making a decision. Fret not, there is a place for everyone and any budget on this tiny red dot!

Article by Andrew Adriaan. This post was originally published on Redbrick Mortgage Advisory.