Life Styles

Singapore is an intriguing blend of Western modernity and Asian culture. For first-timers, it’s an excellent way to get introduced to living in Asia. Within a total area of roughly 700 square kilometers, you’ll find gleaming skyscrapers, Chinese shophouses, Malay mosques, Hindu temples, and endless chains of airconditioned shopping malls. Singapore is safe, clean, and green – proud of its reputation as a Garden City.

Singapore moved up one rank to become the 13th most expensive city in the world, for expatriates. Within Asia, Singapore is ranked 5th, after Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Osaka. If you’re coming over on an internship or plan to work in Singapore, do some research on the cost of living here and what kind of lifestyle you can expect with your budget.

Rent is likely to be your biggest expense, along with schooling (if you have kids in international schools) and a car if you choose to buy one. Singapore has an excellent public transport system, which makes it easy to get around without a car.

Rent is likely to be your biggest expense, along with schooling (if you have kids in international schools) and a car if you choose to buy one. Singapore has an excellent public transport system, which makes it easy to get around without a car.

To learn more about living in Singapore and preparing for your move, check the Moving to Singapore section for tips on employment pass paperwork, bringing in pets, and other things you should know before you arrive.

Wondering about the language? Most people speak English, and government signs are posted in Singapore’s four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay (Bahasa) and Tamil. At hawker food stalls, or once your colleagues at work are comfortable with you, you’ll soon be exposed to a constant stream of Singapore’s unique brand of English: Singlish. For a fun take on Singlish, check out one expat’s perspective on Singlish and browse through The Coxford Singlish Dictionary.

Still curious about the country? Read on for some fun facts and figures, and our recommended list of books about Singapore.

Facts and Figures

According to Wikipedia, Singapore has a population of roughly 4.7 million. Of this number, about 3.7 million are Singaporeans and permanent residents. 75% of the local population is Chinese. The other two large ethnic groups are Malay and Indian. As a result, Singapore has four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. In addition to citizens and permanent residents, 1 million people are in Singapore on long- or short-term passes; they are often referred to as ‘foreign talent’ in the press.

The country’s total land area is 704 square kilometers… growing slightly every year due to Singapore’s steady land reclamation efforts. Singapore is 137 miles north of the equator, with all the hot and humid weather that implies. Temperatures range from 22 to 34 degrees Celsius, although the humidity can make it feel much hotter than that. Singapore is said to have two seasons – monsoon season and the rest of the year.

The highest natural point in Singapore is Bukit Timah hill, at a grand altitude of 167 meters. Not much mountain climbing here!

Singapore is among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, and has a standard of living to match. As you can imagine, it’s a shopper’s heaven. Singapore’s largest mall, JEM , has over a million square feet of retail space. Amazing.


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