Costs in Singapore compared to Shanghai

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TweedleDum
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Costs in Singapore compared to Shanghai

Post by TweedleDum » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 8:58 am

Obviously I'm new to this forum, but will be moving to Singapore later this year. I've spent some time looking around and think I've had most of my questions answered by the helpful people on this website (which, by the way, is much more on topic and exhibits much less agression than the expat forums in Shanghai).

What I'm left wondering is if there's anyone here who has lived in a first tier Chinese city and can give me an idea about the comparative costs of staples (groceries, buses, subways; not M&S and import groceries). Having been to Singapore for visits, the food in places like street markets and night markets didn't strike me as particularly expensive, would you agree with that?

Also, there's a lot of different information on here about housing. While I understand that all situations are different, etc. What we're looking at is: we are a couple with a cat (which apparently means no HDB flats?) with a housing allowance of about $3000. We'd like to live near work, which I think makes it district 5, 10, 21, 22 or 23. I plan to ride my bicycle but my wife would like to walk or take a short bus. We're both quite anti-long commute after several years of buses and trains in Shanghai, but I wonder how long a commute can actually be in Singapore if there's cheaper rents in nicer places to be had slightly farther afield?

Sorry for such a long post, and thanks for any help you can give.

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maneo
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Post by maneo » Thu, 29 Mar 2012 1:59 am

Moved here from Shanghai a little over 4 years ago.
Prices seemed to be ~3X on average back then, but I understand that this gap has closed up somewhat.

Suermarkets vary in prices.
Most affordable would be Sheng Siong - you can practice your Mandarin there. Other end of spectrum would be Cold Storage and Jasons, where lots of expats shop.

Eating out at food courts can be quite reasonable, especially if the place you rent has a small kitchen. Much more variety and usually in clusters.

Lots of buses, but they're getting crowded.

MRT travel on the E-W (Green) line is about 2.5 mins between stations.
For the other lines, it's ~3 mins between stops.

Taxis will be more expensive with all the surcharges (peak hours, CBD, airport, etc.), but even this is much more affordable than owning a car.
COE is now ~$56K for the smaller cars.

There are no system of bicycle lanes (yet).
Drivers rarely give space, so bicycling can be quite dangerous in certain areas.

Hope this helps.

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Post by TweedleDum » Fri, 30 Mar 2012 9:08 pm

That's really helpful and I appreciate your insight. Shanghai's gotten a lot more expensive even in the time we've been here so I'm hoping the cost crunch in Singapore isnt too huge.

Bicycling in Singapore can't possibly be more hazardous than it is here can it?!

Thanks again for your thoughts.

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Post by zzm9980 » Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:51 pm

TweedleDum wrote: Bicycling in Singapore can't possibly be more hazardous than it is here can it?!
It's comparable to a major US city (SF, Chicago in my experiences) on a road without bike lanes.

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Post by maneo » Fri, 27 Apr 2012 1:47 am

TweedleDum wrote:Bicycling in Singapore can't possibly be more hazardous than it is here can it?!
It's not a large sample size, but everyone that I know that biked (notice the past tense) regularly has been hit. Some worse than others.

Heard most of the bike lanes in SH have been removed in the past few years.
Is that true?

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Post by durian123 » Fri, 27 Apr 2012 3:00 pm

For the bit about cats: you are correct, they're not allowed in HDBs (for now - there are some pilot projects under way so maybe one day).

I live quite far from work and my commute by bus or MRT is 30-45mins. I don't think anybody commutes more than that.

Concur with what others have said on prices. Hawker centres are good and cheap, but Western food is stupidly overpriced both in restaurants and in shops. Fruit is abundant, affordable and delicious at wet markets.

Public transport is pay per distance, although I'm not sure how that really works (I pay 70cts for 2-3 stops, but 1.25cts for a 20min journey to work). A Shanghainese friend reckons now Shanghai is ~85% of Singapore for food and transport.

Regarding price of housing, the districts you mention have some pretty large variability, so it's going to be hard to judge before you arrive and actually check out bus/MRT routes. I found the West coast pretty cheap for example (Pasir Panjang area), but it didn't work out for the commute.

Cycling: on top of what others have said, it rains pretty often, very suddenly, and very brutally. You do not want to be caught in a downpour on your bike while going down an 8-lane road where drivers are not used to cyclists.

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Post by nakatago » Fri, 27 Apr 2012 3:22 pm

maneo wrote:
TweedleDum wrote:Bicycling in Singapore can't possibly be more hazardous than it is here can it?!
It's not a large sample size, but everyone that I know that biked (notice the past tense) regularly has been hit. Some worse than others.

Heard most of the bike lanes in SH have been removed in the past few years.
Is that true?
There were bike lanes?!

My friends and I cycle at night for exercise: we don't want to be sticky with sweat during the daytime for work (also the rain) and there are more vehicles on the road.

I used to cycle during the day on the Park Connectors (look it up) but the heat gets to me and seriously limits the distance I can cover without feeling like I'm literally baked.

Also, there's barely any bicycle parking.
"A quokka is what would happen if there was an anime about kangaroos."

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 27 Apr 2012 4:12 pm

durian123 wrote:For the bit about cats: you are correct, they're not allowed in HDBs (for now - there are some pilot projects under way so maybe one day).

I live quite far from work and my commute by bus or MRT is 30-45mins. I don't think anybody commutes more than that.

I do! :cry: I work in Enterprise Hub (Toh Guan Road East) and live in Serangoon North! Feeder buses on both ends and the Circle & E-W line every day. 55 minutes to 1.25 hours (E-W & NE lines with feeder buses at both ends!) By car it's 35 minutes at 6:30 am (an hour at 7am) up to 2.5 hours at 6pm! :o I usually only drive on Saturday mornings as I work a half a day.

Cycling: on top of what others have said, it rains pretty often, very suddenly, and very brutally. You do not want to be caught in a downpour on your bike while going down an 8-lane road where drivers are not used to cyclists.
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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Post by technoviking » Sat, 28 Apr 2012 12:25 am

i can imagine the lack of bike lanes is one reason why so few people bike to work.

but the other major reason is the absurd heat and humidity that will surely soak your work shirt thoroughly by the time you hit the office.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 28 Apr 2012 12:47 am

I really don't know of any cyclist who would wear his work clothes while cycling. Most wear cycling togs and shower & change at the office......
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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Post by zzm9980 » Sat, 28 Apr 2012 11:59 am

durian123 wrote:For the bit about cats: you are correct, they're not allowed in HDBs (for now - there are some pilot projects under way so maybe one day).
Funny, I keep getting mail for my landlord, reminding her it is time to take her cat in for a checkup. (I rent an HDB). Maybe I should save these and use it as "leverage" when it comes time to move out and collect security deposit! (I've met the previous tenant already, and she warned me LL is very kiasu and irrational)

I live quite far from work and my commute by bus or MRT is 30-45mins. I don't think anybody commutes more than that.
Marine Parade to Yio Chu Kang Rd & Lentor. Anywhere from 55-70 minutes by public trans. The only way to not xfer at least once in the middle of no where is to walk the last 1.5km. Instead, I took the transit stipend and bought a car. 15 minutes now each way as long as I don't care about ERP. (Which I don't, I'll gladly pay S$3 to avoid Singapore drivers!)

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Post by TweedleDum » Sat, 05 May 2012 9:38 am

Wow! I go away for a few weeks giving this question up for dead and come back to see plenty of responses. Thanks all for your advice, particularly about getting around on my bike and apartments/commutes.

There are a few bicycle lanes in Shanghai, although "bicycle lane" is a generous term to apply to them since they are also open to any other sort of transport whose pilot feels like they are in need of the space. I've been in several accidents (none too serious) while on my bicycle here for the past 2 years.

If it's too rainy in Singapore for a bicycle (that actually sounds pretty bad, even if I've got on a cycling coat?) how about for smaller motorcylces/vespa or electric scooters?

How common is it for landlords to be, what is that "kaisu", with a deposit? Singapore seems from afar like a land of laws and fair treatment; especially compared to where I am now...

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