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7 Places Where Expats Like to Live

New To Singapore? 7 Places Where Expats Like To Live

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Singapore is one of the best economies for business in the world, which is why it is such a popular destination for expat workers.

As of June 2020, the expat population here stood at almost 29% of the 5.69 million-strong population.

Safety and ease of living here are usually the top reasons cited when expats are asked about the things they appreciate in Singapore, followed closely by easy availability of quality health care, ease in adjusting to the local culture, the wide use of English and satisfaction with their work-life balance, among others.

If you’re thinking of joining the ranks of expats here, below are seven of the residential areas that are popular to new transplants here. Like everywhere else, rents are generally most expensive around the central business district, dropping more and more the further the unit is from that point.

Places where expats like to live
Here’s a map to zoom in on Singapore towns and streets.

For single expats

Orchard

If you would like to be right in the thick of a perpetual bustling shopping, entertainment and culinary enclave, Orchard is the place for you.

The famous Orchard Road is Singapore’s main shopping belt where luxury brands and high street fashion reign. Equally extensive are the food and beverage choices from every imaginable country, from high-end restaurants to local street food. Watering holes abound too, perfect for those who want to socialise and meet new friends.

This area is always teeming with people, especially during the weekends. Those who like to live in a central area with retail therapy close by will definitely like this place. But don’t worry; the hustle and bustle don’t quite infiltrate the serenity of the many ultra-luxe residential buildings in this area, many of which rank among those with the highest selling price per square foot. This means that for such a prime and exclusive area, rents here are also significantly higher.

Expat clubs nearby include the American Club and Tanglin Club.

As with the rest of Singapore, public transport is extensive and frequent here, with three Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations ‒ Dhoby Ghaut, Somerset and Orchard on the North-South Line – stopping along the shopping belt. Taxis are everywhere and so are on-demand cars from ride-hailing apps.

ION Orchard at the junction of Orchard Road and Scotts Road.

Condos in Orchard

  • Cairnhill Nine (mid-Orchard Road) – 1-BR, 2-BR and 4-BR at 592-3,864 sq ft, rent at $4,000-$10,000 monthly
  • Suites at Orchard (east end of Orchard Road) – 1-BR, 2-BR and 3-BR at 548-2,551 sq ft, rent at $2,000-$7,000 monthly
  • St Martin Residence (west end of Orchard Road) – 1-BR, 2-BR and 3-BR at 549-2,142 sq ft, rent at $2,750-$8,000 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270. 

Marina Bay

Built entirely on reclaimed land, financial centre Marina Bay is considered “downtown” and draws many banking and finance executives and entrepreneurs to make their homes here for its proximity to the CBD.

This area is a great draw for locals and tourists too, who come for the beautiful waterfront views from the many exclusive restaurants, cafes and pubs around the Marina Bay, as well as those who want to try their luck at the iconic Marina Bay Sands casino, one of the world’s most expensive to build.

Another draw of Marina Bay is the award-winning Gardens by the Bay, a super garden of horticultural artistry, with the iconic Supertrees and cooled conservatories of myriad specimens of the plant kingdom.

For performances and visual artworks, there is The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the Artscience Museum respectively.

For foodies, there is the historic Lau Pa Sat, a must-visit if you want to experience Singapore’s hawker culture that is recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. At night, a street alongside Lau Pa Sat transforms into al fresco dining for foods such as charcoal-smoked satay and BBQ seafood.

Marina Bay is served by no less than five MRT stations, with two more upcoming. For fitness buffs, the area around the bay is great for brisk walking and jogging, as well as strolls after meals to take in the sights and sounds of the city.

The iconic Marina Bay Sands (left) is two MRT stops away from the CBD (right).

Condos in Marina Bay

  • The Sail @ Marina Bay – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR, 4-BR and 5-BR at 614-6,297 sq ft, rent at $1,900-$32,000 monthly
  • Marina Bay Residences – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR, 4-BR and 5-BR at 710-11,012 sq ft, rent at $3,900-$50,000 monthly
  • Marina One Residences – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 678-2,147 sq ft, rent at $3,400-$18,000 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270.

Holland Village

The closest to what can pass as a bohemian spot in Singapore, this area was once the residential site of British personnel and their families.

Today, it is a place where creative-types mingle after office hours in the many pubs, dining options and entertainment joints available.

A known nightlife spot in Singapore, this area is also famous for its eclectic mix of shops, from “mamak” shops – small shops selling sundries and personal items manned by Indians – to lifestyle and art stores. 

Of late, the IT industry professionals who work at nearby one-north, Singapore’s Silicon Valley, have also taken to living and playing here, adding to the bustle of activity at night and on weekends.

Holland V is served by its namesake MRT station, and Orchard is just 10 minutes away by bus.

A known nightlife spot in Singapore, Holland Village is also famous for its eclectic mix of shops.

Condos in Holland Village

  • The Merasaga – 2-BR, 3-BR, 4-BR and 5-BR at 947-3,208 sq ft, rent at $4,300-$7,500 monthly
  • Leedon 2 – 2-BR and 3-BR at 710-1,249 sq ft, rent at $3,000-$3,700 monthly
  • Loft @ Holland – 1-BR and 2-BR at 323-1,140 sq ft, rent at $2,750-2,900 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270.

For the expat with family

River Valley

To the south of Orchard Road lies River Valley Road, an area that is mostly residential and likely to be more ideal for a family who wants quiet while enjoying close proximity to the buzz of nearby Orchard and access to nearby nightlife.

Rentals here are relatively less expensive than Orchard.

For the nearest shopping, dining and wining options, there’s Valley Point Shopping Centre at the western end, the Great World mall nearby, to Clarke Quay at the eastern end. The former is a quieter spot with many local food options nearby while the latter is another popular nightlife destination with its many bars and live music options.

The Singapore River, the main waterway of Singapore, is just south of River Valley Road. Along its banks is Robertson Quay, which is the location of a number of riverside condominiums and has a stretch of restaurants and pubs, making it a great place to chill with family and friends.

Many runners and jogger traverse this area when completing a big round to the Marina Bay area, adding to the general energy of the place.

Two MRT stations ‒ the Fort Canning station at the eastern end and the upcoming Great World station towards the west side ‒ and many buses serve this area, as well as taxis and private hire cars.

Robertson Quay is the location of a number of riverside condominiums and has a stretch of restaurants and pubs, making it a great place to chill with family and friends.

Condos in River Valley

  • Valley Park (west end of River Valley Road) – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 710-3,907 sq ft, rent at $2,800-$13,000 monthly
  • One Devonshire (mid River Valley Road) – 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 904-4,876 sq ft, rent at $5,000-$16,800 monthly
  • Belle Vue Residences (east end of River Valley Road) – 3-BR, 4-BR and 5-BR at 1,798-5,005 sq ft, rent at $7,000-$16,000 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270.


Tiong Bahru

“Tiong Bahru” literally means new cemetery in a mix of Hokkien Chinese (tiong means to die or the end) and Malay (bahru or new). Nowadays, it is considered a hip area, with gentrified businesses such as artisanal cafes and speciality shops patronised mainly by the young crowd.

Architecture-wise, the eponymous housing estate at the eastern end of Tiong Bahru Road comprises pre- and post-war buildings, all four storeys high. Their Art Deco facade exudes old world charm that blends well with the estate’s mix of old and new buildings.

Many expat families love this place for its proximity to the Tiong Bahru Market, considered one of the best hawker centres in town, and Chinatown (20 minutes’ walk away or 5 minutes by bus) while also enjoying proximity to the CBD.

Two MRT stations currently serve this area, Redhill and Tiong Bahru stations, while a third is upcoming, Havelock station.

Tiong Bahru’s pre-war buildings have Art Deco facades which exude old world charm that blends well with the estate’s mix of old and new buildings.

Condos in Tiong Bahru

  • Meraprime – 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 840-1,313 sqft, rent at $3,900-$6,300 monthly
  • Central Green Condominium– 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 764-2,117 sq ft, rent at $2,900-$5,000 monthly
  • Highline Residences – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 506-2,260 sq ft, rent at $1,900-$8,000 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270.

Sentosa

Exclusive oceanfront residences here comprise landed houses and condos at the eastern end of the island and would attract families who like easy access to the beach and an island resort lifestyle.

Sentosa Cove, a premier waterfront residential enclave, is the only place in Singapore where foreigners are allowed to buy a leasehold bungalow subject to approval by the government. Elsewhere in Singapore, landed property is only available to citizens and select permanent residents.

Given its exclusivity, rentals in Sentosa are high.

This area is the location of Singapore’s second casino, Resorts World Singapore, as well as the Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Sentosa Cable Car Network, among other family fun destinations.

Many international hotel brands are also represented here, including the Capella Hotel, where US President Donald Trump met North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in the historic Singapore Summit in 2018.

There are three popular beaches here – Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong – where the waves are gentle, thanks to breakwaters along the coastline. Given such, these beaches attract crowds, especially during the weekend.

There is also the Sentosa Golf Club here which has two golf courses – Serapong and Tanjong – and was awarded the world’s best eco-friendly golf facility in 2020 by World Golf Awards. The Serapong course is a championship one, having hosted the Singapore Open from 2005 to 2019.

Aside from cable car, Sentosa is connected to the city by road, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. 

Sentosa is the location of Singapore’s second casino, Resorts World Singapore (right).

Condos in Sentosa

  • The Azure – 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 840-1,313 sq ft, rent at $7,300-$12,800 monthly
  • The Berth by the Cove – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR and 4-BR at 764-2,117 sq ft, rent at $5,200-$32,000 monthly
  • The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove – 2-BR, 3-BR, 4-BR and 5-BR at 840-1,313 sq ft, rent at $5,900-$28,000 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270.

Katong/ Marine Parade/ East Coast

Katong, with its heritage buildings and colourful shophouses, was the traditional enclave of the Peranakans – region-born people of Chinese and Malay descent from the 15th century – and is also considered an exclusive enclave of old money. Before land was reclaimed and the shoreline pushed out, many Peranakans built villas right by the sea, and some still stand today, though they are inland now.

The biggest draw of this area is East Coast Parkway (ECP), a long strip of parkland and the beach at Singapore’s south-eastern coast. ECP is a big favourite of families for its cycling, inline skating, swimming, play, picnic, and other water sport amenities.

This mostly residential area is generally laid-back, with pockets of old-world charm displayed in its quaint, Peranakan eateries and shops.

Katong’s most famous food is the Katong Laksa, a savoury and spicy rice vermicelli soup with cockles, prawns and fishcake, which got the thumb’s up from the late chef Anthony Bourdain. Otherwise, expats and locals living here break bread with friends and family in any of the many small restaurants and unassuming, open-air pubs that are popular in this part of Singapore.

Be warned, many people say that once you’ve lived in this area (the East), it’s hard to move away.

There are two future MRT stations planned here – Marine Parade and Marine Terrace. This line will run along Marine Parade Road, which is also home to Parkway Parade, an established suburban mall. 

Katong is a mostly residential area that is laid-back, with pockets of old-world charm displayed in its quaint, Peranakan eateries and shops.

Condos in Katong/ Marine Parade/ East Coast

  • The Sea View – 1-BR, 3-BR, 4-BR and 5-BR at 560-2,928 sq ft, rent at $2,500-$9,500 monthly
  • Villa Martia – 1-BR, 2-BR and 3-BR 603-1,615 sq ft, rent at $1,600 to $5,500 monthly
  • Bayshore Park – 1-BR, 2-BR, 3-BR, 4-BR, 5-BR and 6-BR, at 637-3,857 sq ft, rent at $1,050-$6,800 monthly

Interested in these condos or looking for something similar? Contact or message us at +65 9727 5270.

Research by Adam Yap Keh Chew

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