Deciding where in Singapore to live needs careful consideration, especially when you’ll most likely be locked into your house or apartment for two years. Here, we’ve put together a checklist of the island’s main areas that will help you focus your search and ultimately allow you to make a more informed decision.
5 Points To Consider From The Start
Where is the place of work for the main breadwinner in the family, and what will the commute be like? If you’re lucky enough to have a car, it’s more likely that it will be used by the parent responsible for overseeing the children’s schooling and extra-curricular activities – so don’t forget to look at public transport connections to the office, too. If you’re both working, it’s even more important to think about your commutes.
Once you’ve picked a range of locations with a commute that you’re satisfied with, have a think about what you’d like to surround yourself with. Is it important for you to be near a coffee shop or grocery store, for example, or a restaurant or pub? Do you want to look at greenery or the sea?
If you have children, look at the schools in those particular areas. Although there are school buses, if you’re too far away – at the first pick-up point for the bus, for example – you could have a very early start to your day. Some bus pick-ups start at 6.30am.
Do you want to be able to walk from your door and onto grass, or is a balcony enough?
What facilities do you want? Would you prefer a pool, gym and tennis court in the complex where you live, or would you be happy joining a club for access to these?
Orchard: The Orchard area offers easy access to the retail hustle and bustle of Orchard Road’s shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, and health and beauty services. Despite the activity and density, many of the surrounding neighbourhoods are quiet and leafy. Naturally, rents here are higher, but they’re offset by the prime location and access to public transport, the CTE (Central Island Expressway) and CBD (Central Business District). The American Club and Tanglin Club are in the neighbourhood.
River Valley: River Valley is a popular area between Orchard Road to the north and the Singapore River to the south, with a large concentration of modern high-rise condominiums and some conservation houses. It offers good bus links and easy access to the CBD.
Robertson Quay / Mohammed Sultan Road: These areas are popular with singles and young couples who want to be close to the CBD and enjoy the nightlife, restaurants and bars along the river. Robertson Quay boasts swanky new condominiums with water views; it’s serviced by buses, though boat taxis are just as handy for getting to the CBD.
Novena / Newton: Home to some houses and many high-rise condos, Novena and Newton both have MRT stations and are very convenient, yet very urban. Balestier is nearby and still has great access to the CBD but not the same “street cred” – that means you get more bang for your buck with property prices. Newton is famous for its hawker centre; it has some excellent barbecued seafood stalls, but do be aware of the price of everything before you order!
Tips from the panel
“I live in the Raffles Place area in the CBD. I love living here as I can walk to most places or jump on the MRT for a quick ride. My commute to work is a five-minute walk underground, so I rarely have to carry an umbrella. There are food choices all around, including Lau Pa Sat, one of Singapore’s most famous hawker centres. I have gorgeous views of Marina Bay daily, including a light show every night.” – Jeanette
“We live in the Tanglin area, near River Valley Road. We wanted proximity to public transportation, my husband’s office at the CBD, and walking distance to shops and restaurants. We love it all! I never thought I’d want to live in the ‘city’ but Singapore is such a unique place, and I love the mix of city and green space in Tanglin.” – Faith
For such a small island, there’s a ton of choice…each with it’s own distinctive feel and lifestyle. Are you more of a central or city outskirts person? Up for East Coast life? If you’re in the ‘west is best’ camp…including south and southwest – keep reading! (For a more comprehensive take on Singapore neighborhoods, head this way!)
This article first appeared in EL City Guide 2015/2016.