Totally clueless - please help me get my head around Sing.

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oatyandco
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Totally clueless - please help me get my head around Sing.

Post by oatyandco » Fri, 10 Aug 2007 2:54 pm

Hi there

My husband has been offered a job in Singapore and it looks like we may be moving there. I have had time to have a quick look around on the web, and read some of the posts here, but I wonder if you wouldn't mind helping me out with a quick introduction/orientation. I know these kinds of posts pop up a lot so thanks for your patience.

I am in my late twenties with a young baby, Australian, but currently living in Hong Kong as an expat.

I'm trying to get my head around the different areas in Singapore but having difficulty - east coast, west coast.... what's the story?

My husband would be working in Raffles area (I don't even get what that is, thought Raffles was a hotel? But seems to be the CBD?).

We'd really like to rent a small house with some grass for our baby to play on. THis is something that hasn't been possible in HK, so would be a wonderful change. Is that possible within a short commute (under 30mins door to door) from Raffles?

We don't know our housing allowance yet, which makes this difficult. But could you suggest some areas that may appeal given the following:

In Sydney we lived in the inner west - near cool cafes, restaurants, cinemas etc. We like theatre, arts, street life etc. Not much of that in the same sense in any district in HK, so we've been living in Kennedy Town which is at least near central/work.

I would not have a car and would like to EITHER be able to meet friends in the area OR be able to travel quickly to somewhere central. Having lived in HK, I'm not fooling myself and know most of my friends will probably be expats. It's really hard to make local friends sometimes. So an expat area would be fine.

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Post by ching » Sat, 11 Aug 2007 6:56 pm

Hi,

You could maybe try the area around Bukit Timah / Sixth Avenue. But, it all depends on how much your budget is...

Good luck househunting!
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Re: Totally clueless - please help me get my head around Sin

Post by Devil_82 » Thu, 16 Aug 2007 6:18 pm

Hi there

My husband has been offered a job in Singapore and it looks like we may be moving there. I have had time to have a quick look around on the web, and read some of the posts here, but I wonder if you wouldn't mind helping me out with a quick introduction/orientation. I know these kinds of posts pop up a lot so thanks for your patience.

I am in my late twenties with a young baby, Australian, but currently living in Hong Kong as an expat.
ANS: I don think any age will be a problem for staying in singapore...i had an ex expat colleague with the baby gal less than a year old...my goodness they are enjoying every moments here.


I'm trying to get my head around the different areas in Singapore but having difficulty - east coast, west coast.... what's the story?
ANS: Well i don noe what story we going to have on east coast or west coast...get a street directory and enjoy urs moments here..

My husband would be working in Raffles area (I don't even get what that is, thought Raffles was a hotel? But seems to be the CBD?).
ANS:haha Raffles is my idol...love him..Raffles is located in central area. CBD stands for central business district...this term will be use more often by driver as in they had to pay a fee when driving to this area...

We'd really like to rent a small house with some grass for our baby to play on. THis is something that hasn't been possible in HK, so would be a wonderful change. Is that possible within a short commute (under 30mins door to door) from Raffles?
ANS: it will be very hard/tedious for you to find a house with ur own resources...

We don't know our housing allowance yet, which makes this difficult. But could you suggest some areas that may appeal given the following:
ANS: for a normal rental fee in sg..4 room flat will be 900sgd per mth. just a guide

In Sydney we lived in the inner west - near cool cafes, restaurants, cinemas etc. We like theatre, arts, street life etc. Not much of that in the same sense in any district in HK, so we've been living in Kennedy Town which is at least near central/work.
ANS: ya singapore sure have this places....very safe for you to roam around in late nights...very cooling one..hehe

I would not have a car and would like to EITHER be able to meet friends in the area OR be able to travel quickly to somewhere central. Having lived in HK, I'm not fooling myself and know most of my friends will probably be expats. It's really hard to make local friends sometimes. So an expat area would be fine.
ANS: in sg i doubt you need a car. esp your husband working location is located at central area...if u really need to rent a car, the basic rental for a drivable car will be at the rate of sgd 50bucks for about a day.
hope my comments will help you in certain way...btw i new here, i might had make wrong comments or given the wrong help here..perhaps if there is any mistake the senior might wanna correct it? thanks

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Post by micknlea » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 12:13 am

You may find condos to suit, many more lowrise condos etc than in HK, with balconies and small gardens, terraces etc that are good for young children. Singapore is similar to HK in that you will not find much like you had in Sydney, some part of east coast and holland village come to mind of being close, but not really. Singapore is pretty small too, and a lot less hilly than HK, to get around, the MTR is pretty similar to the MRT, although here in Singapore I find that the stations are not as well located as they are in HK.

There are so many areas, you will really have to look around when you get here, suggest you get a Serviced Apartment for a while and do some serious househunting when you get here and you have found your feet little. Hopefully your husband will have an agent appointed for housing, tell them what you want exactly and take nothing else, they have a way (similar to HK) of showing you other stuff when it is not what you want, but if you stand your ground you will see better stuff.

Houses can be cheaper than condos but do not have the facilities and can vary hugely in price depending on the area, nothing takes too long to get to Raffles, unless of course you go to Woodlands! :lol: It will all make a lot more sense when you get here.
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Post by oatyandco » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 8:22 am

thanks, that's really helpful :)

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Re: Totally clueless - please help me get my head around Sin

Post by rnb » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 10:47 am

Devil_82 wrote:Hi there

ANS: for a normal rental fee in sg..4 room flat will be 900sgd per mth. just a guide
impossible. it's not uncommon to see 4-room HDB's are asking for S$2k nowadays.

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Re: Totally clueless - please help me get my head around Sin

Post by zjules » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 1:45 pm

rnb wrote:
Devil_82 wrote:Hi there

ANS: for a normal rental fee in sg..4 room flat will be 900sgd per mth. just a guide
impossible. it's not uncommon to see 4-room HDB's are asking for S$2k nowadays.
hmm, i thought that was a typo and it was meant to be 9000sgd :D

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Post by zjules » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 1:53 pm

Sorry, i will add to that. The poster says she has a 'small house with some grass' in mind. Just to be realistic, as far as i know, this doesnt exist near raffles (i may be wrong here, please correct me if so) and any small house with grass near the city will easily cost you $9000. Its not uncommon to pay $3000 for a 1 bedroom condo in this area. If you want a house, then you will need to go to east or west coast, but everything will depend on your budget. I would suggest finding the budget and then thinking again, as this will select where and what you live in. Check some of the rates for houses on this site

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 2:20 pm

I think Devil_82 is a bit out of touch or doesn't watch or read the news. It's basically impossible to find a 4 room flat for less than 1200/mo with most being 1400 to 1500/mo minimum with minimal furnishings.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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4 room for 900?

Post by prkravi » Fri, 17 Aug 2007 3:43 pm

4 Room for 900? where is that? and which year?
And from what the inquiry was about, there was a mention of a lawn as well. So i guess you are looking for independent houses? A fair indication would be anything from 4 - 6K SGD trust me!

A good condo with children's playarea (With a bit of korean grass sprinkled here and there) would be between 2.5K - 4K

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Re: Totally clueless - please help me get my head around Sin

Post by skyyger » Sun, 19 Aug 2007 10:17 pm

oatyandco wrote:Hi there

My husband has been offered a job in Singapore and it looks like we may be moving there. I have had time to have a quick look around on the web, and read some of the posts here, but I wonder if you wouldn't mind helping me out with a quick introduction/orientation. I know these kinds of posts pop up a lot so thanks for your patience.

I am in my late twenties with a young baby, Australian, but currently living in Hong Kong as an expat.

I'm trying to get my head around the different areas in Singapore but having difficulty - east coast, west coast.... what's the story?

My husband would be working in Raffles area (I don't even get what that is, thought Raffles was a hotel? But seems to be the CBD?).

We'd really like to rent a small house with some grass for our baby to play on. THis is something that hasn't been possible in HK, so would be a wonderful change. Is that possible within a short commute (under 30mins door to door) from Raffles?

We don't know our housing allowance yet, which makes this difficult. But could you suggest some areas that may appeal given the following:

In Sydney we lived in the inner west - near cool cafes, restaurants, cinemas etc. We like theatre, arts, street life etc. Not much of that in the same sense in any district in HK, so we've been living in Kennedy Town which is at least near central/work.

I would not have a car and would like to EITHER be able to meet friends in the area OR be able to travel quickly to somewhere central. Having lived in HK, I'm not fooling myself and know most of my friends will probably be expats. It's really hard to make local friends sometimes. So an expat area would be fine.
Raffles is the name of a famous hotel, as well as the founder of Singapore. Your husband may be working at a place called Raffles Place (CBD). And this is the south of Singapore.

Rental is Singapore now is going up cos supply is less than demand and you may wanna consider buying instead of renting. Houses def more expensive than apartments...there's lotsa greenery here and parks and I am sure an apartment will more than suffice your needs. If you need to know any other info, I will be pleased to advise you....email me....coccobacillus@yahoo.com.sg

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Post by Addadude » Mon, 20 Aug 2007 11:33 am

Dear oatyandco

I have a feeling that you are suffering from serious information overload. naturally the internet is a HUGE source of information and forums like this one are a true blessing to newcomers to Singapore. However, very often the information that you find here or elsewhere in internet land is confusing to say the least; you rarely find info set out in any kind of useful order and people use terms and acronyms blithely, without regard to the lack of reference points that a Singapore newbie has.

I'm almost afraid to answer your queries because I might end up causing even more confusion. My main piece of advice would be to go and find youself a Singapore guidebook. Virtually any of them will do (as long as they are up to date). Yep, it's a bit old fashioned compared to going online, but at least the information about Singapore will be presented in a useful order and it will assume no knowledeg on your part about Singapore. Additionally, a guide book will be well edited so you can be fairly sure that the information within is accurate.

I arrived here in Singers nearly 14 years ago with only a tiny Berlitz book to guide me. (I also had a copy of Cultureshock Singapore which was virtually useless.) The Berlitz book was all I actually needed and before I stepped off the plane in Changi Airport, I already had my bearings about the place and an understanding of mysterious acronyms like ECP, PIE, CBD and MRT.

Having said all that, I'll try to answer some of your questions.

East Coast/West Coast: as the terms imply, they are areas in and around the East and West coasts of Singapore. Generally the East Coast is more a favourite with expats because of its low-rise, small town, suburban feel. Closer to town, around the Tanjong Katong area, there will be more high rise apartments. Further East, around the Siglap, Upper East Coast Road areas, you'll find lower rise housing. In general, living in the East Coast puts you near the beach/sea. The West Coast area has a smaller expat enclave around Pasir Panjang. In general, the West is more of an industrial/local area and, although there are quite a few cosy spots, I suspect that you and your family would prefer the East Coast.

Raffles: Because Singapore was founded by Sir Stanford Raffles, Raffles is a very commonly used name here; you'll find a hotel, school, art college, various businesses etc all named after him. From the sounds of it, your husband will be working in Raffles Place which is Singapore's main financial district. (If you were to google photos of Singapore, the Raffles Place skyline would probably be the most common image and its soaring skyscrapers feature prominantly on most Singapore guide books.) Raffles Place has its own MRT Station (called logically enough Raffles Place) and thus is within 30 mins of most parts of Singapore that have an MRT line.

Areas to live in: other then the afore mentioned East Coast area, it sounds like Holland Village would meet your requirements in terms of trendy restaurants, bars and shops. It's a true expat enclave and rentals are priced accordingly. The main Holland Village area is undergoing major construction work for the new Circle Line MRT station so traffic and noise is pretty bad.

House with garden: of course its possible to get a house with a garden - if you have the housing budget. For what would be considered 'a proper expat-standard house', you are probably looking at a monthly rental of Singapore $8,000 and above. If you set your sights a bit lower, the Opera Estate in Singap (East Coast) may have houses that are smaller but more affordable. However there won't be that many expats staying there.

Another alternative would be smaller, low-rise condominiums with big balconies or patio areas. Smaller condos usually make it easier to get to know your neighbors and make friends. Unfortunately many of these older condos are going for enbloc these days so, even if you move in, you may have to move out within a year. Please refer to other threads that discuss this enbloc-mania that is gripping Singapore - I don't have the energy to discuss it here!

No car: No problem! Singapore is VERY easy to get around in. I haven't had a car since I moved here (I think I've forgotten how to drive!) and I don't really miss it. the bus service is very reliable and taxis are fairly cheap but sometimes hard to get when you really need 'em. (Don't get me started on them!) If you are living near an MRT station it is even easier.

Hope all the above helps. But please get one or two Singapore guide books to make everything a bit clearer!

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Post by viajera » Mon, 20 Aug 2007 1:09 pm

i agree with the above post. one of the first books we bought upon finding out we're moving to singapore is the "handbook for expatriates, working and living in singapore" by goh kheng chuan. there's a 2007 revised edition, so it's pretty updated, except for the rental prices.

it doesn't seem to be available in amazon, though. my husband bought it here in singapore when he came for an interview.

jetstar flies between sg and hk. even if the company doesn't pay for it, you might want to pop over for a weekend or a few days to have a feel of the place.

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Post by imalone » Tue, 28 Aug 2007 5:05 pm

Hi I'm a kiwi living here.

This is a great place for kids, very child and family friendly and domestic helpers are affordable either full or part time.

The area you live in will be allowance dependant. The closer you live to the CBD the more expensive and often the smaller your house. Remember Singapore is a very small Island so even living further out can be no issue, especially if you either have a car or can budget for taxi useage for family outings. Taxis are inexpensive and public transport is very cheap and well covered (although not fun with a baby and a deadline).

You can certainly rent houses and again the area dictates the price. things to be aware of with houses is that you have a garden to manage and it is tropical so it will need to be regularly tended. Houses don't often have pools for swimming. houses have more security issues (it is a safe country but it is not crime free, and most friends I know who have had burglaries have been in houses). Also you get a few more creepy crawlies if that is an issue.

Condos will almost always have a pool, playground, gardens and various spots for R and R with a baby. The pools are not fenced here so beware.

It is very easy to find what you want within a week or two of coming here. I suggest you make a few lists of what you want and try to relax, then make use of the company sponsored accomodation (they better offer it!) and hopefully a recommended housing agent.

The agent you choose should take you to see a range of stuff, and they will often be able to pick you up.

Don't despair! The rents are rising so make sure the allowance is reasonable.

Good luck with the move, it's a great country to be in.

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