Pros and Cons of Living in Singapore as an Expat in 2023
Updated: Jan 19
Here's an honest list of Pro's and Con's that you may want to consider before moving to Singapore! I have been living in Singapore for almost eight years now (oh time flies!) but when I moved here or rather was planning to move to Singapore, there was not much information available about life in the Lion City and I had to figure out a lot of things by myself. In fact, that is one of the main reasons why I started doing YouTube videos so I could help existing and potential expats here-- hence, my Instagram, this blog page and eventually my eBook- ‘The ‘S’ Guide’. In this blog post, I am covering some general but important things to know before moving to Singapore!
As I'm sure know already, Singapore is a small, prosperous city-state located in Southeast Asia. It is known for its high standard of living, strong economy, and stable political environment. If you are considering moving to Singapore, it is important to consider both the pros and cons of living in this unique and vibrant country. 1. High standard of living: Singapore consistently ranks highly in global indexes for quality of life. It has a stable political environment, low crime rates, and efficient public services. The country also has a strong economy, with low unemployment and high salaries compared to other countries in the region. In addition, Singapore has a high concentration of luxury goods and services, and expats can enjoy a high quality of life.
2. Excellent healthcare and education: Singapore has a world-class healthcare system, with state-of-the-art hospitals and a high concentration of qualified medical professionals. The country has a universal healthcare system that is accessible to all citizens and permanent residents, and private healthcare options are also available. In terms of education, Singapore's education system is highly regarded, with a strong emphasis on math and science. The country has a high literacy rate, and expats can choose from a variety of international schools for their children.
3. Cultural diversity: Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, with a diverse population of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and other ethnicities. This cultural diversity is reflected in the country's food, festivals, and cultural attractions. Expats can learn about and participate in the various cultural traditions and events in Singapore.
4. Ease of doing business: Singapore is considered one of the easiest places to do business in the world, which makes it an attractive destination for expat entrepreneurs. The country's government has a pro-business policy, and it has a transparent and efficient legal system. Additionally, Singapore has a strong intellectual property protection and an efficient bureaucracy, which helps to attract foreign investment. If you're considering opening your business in Singapore, check out Osome to set up your company with ease. Osome set up your Singapore business and cover reporting, accounting, and taxation. No papers, no hassle, no matter where you’re from. Get 8% off for any Osome services.
5. Food paradise: Singapore is a food lover's paradise, with a wide range of local and international cuisines available. The city-state is home to some of the best street food in the world, and you can find hawker centers with a variety of food options, from Chinese, Malay, Indian, to Western cuisine. The country also have many international dining options, from fine dining to casual eateries, catering to different tastes and budgets.
6. Career opportunities: Singapore is a hub for multinational corporations, and many expats come to the country for job opportunities. The country's business-friendly environment and strategic location make it an attractive destination for professionals looking to advance their careers. In addition, the high salaries and low taxes in Singapore can make it an attractive place to work.
7. Great transportation: Singapore has an efficient and affordable public transportation system, which makes it easy to get around the city-state. The country has a comprehensive and well-connected public transportation system, including buses, trains, and taxis, making it easy for expats to navigate the city.
8. Outdoor activities and attractions: Singapore is a small country, but it offers a wide range of outdoor activities and attractions for expats to enjoy. From world-renowned theme parks such as Universal Studios and Sentosa Island, to the beautiful Gardens by the Bay, and the scenic Southern Ridges walk. The country also has many beaches and parks, including East Coast Park and Marina Barrage, which are great for picnics, sports and other outdoor activities.
9. Safety: The country's low crime rate is a result of a combination of factors, including the strict laws and regulations, the strong police presence, and the high penalties for criminal offenses. Singapore has strict laws against drug trafficking, vandalism, and other crimes, and the penalties for these offenses are severe. Singapore is also known for its use of caning as a punishment, which deters potential criminals. Singapore's safety and low crime rate make it an attractive destination for expats, as it provides peace of mind and security for those living and working in the city-state. The country is considered one of the safest places in Asia, and it is a great place for expats to raise families.
1. High cost of living: Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. Rent, food, and other necessities can be costly, and Expats may find it difficult to adjust to the high cost of living. The cost of living in Singapore is particularly high for housing, with high property prices and rentals. I was recently quoted in a CNA article, where I shared my first-hand experience with regard to the recent housing rent surge, where rental properties have faced up to a 70% increase in price, hitting new record highs. According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, rents for private homes surged 8.6 per cent in the third quarter to a new high — the steepest pace of increase since 2007.
2. Limited personal space: Singapore is a small country with a high population density, which can make it difficult to find spacious living accommodations. Expats may need to adjust to living in smaller apartments or homes. In addition, the high population density can lead to congestion on the roads and public transportation.
3. Strict laws and regulations: Singapore has strict laws and regulations, including strict penalties for drug offenses and graffiti. Expats may find it challenging to adjust to the country's strict legal environment, and may need to be mindful of the laws and regulations to avoid any misunderstandings or legal issues.
4. Limited cultural activities: While Singapore is culturally diverse, it may not have the same variety of cultural activities and events as other cities. Expats may need to seek out cultural events and activities on their own, or travel to nearby countries for a wider range of cultural experiences.
5. Singapore is small: Another con of Singapore being small is that it can limit the variety of experiences and activities for expats. As a small country, Singapore has a limited number of options for entertainment and leisure, which can make it feel monotonous for expats who are used to a more diverse range of activities and experiences.
6. Grab prices: I'm sad to say that compared to previous years living in Singapore where I've bragged about the affordable cost of taxis in the city, this has sadly changed drastically over the last year and Grab prices seemed to have tripled overnight. A 10-minute drive now hits around the $25 price point, and I've seen trips go as high as $45 per ride, which is honestly shocking for Singapore, and not at all as affordable as it once was. I find myself toggling between the Grab and Gojek app to try and find the best rate, but now tend to opt for the efficient MRT and bus service to save those pennies!
Overall, living in Singapore has its pros and cons. While the country has a high standard of living, strong economy, and low crime rate, the cost of living can be high and the population density can be high. It is important to carefully consider these factors before making the decision to move to Singapore.
For advice about living in Singapore, check out my Singapore eBook Guide, The ‘S’ word!