1. Get ready for some serious, serious heat
Being so close to the equator it’s no surprise that Singapore is fixed with consistently high temperatures all year round. For those of us who experience miserably chilly winters in much of the Western world, a day-to-day average of around 30°C may seem like a bit of a luxury, but this mixed with high levels of humidity may take a little getting used to. In fact, the lowest temperature on record was recorded in 1934 at a comfortable 18°C, just one degree lower than the average summer temperature in the UK.
It’s not all sunshine though, as Singapore’s annual climate is characterised by it’s not one, but two rainy seasons. So much so that you can expect to have around 178 rainy days per year. So, leave your winter coat back home, but definitely don’t forget to pack your umbrella.
2. You’ll be in safe hands with one of the world’s best healthcare systems
If you fall sick while you’re away then rest assured you’ll be taken care of to a very high standard. The Singaporean healthcare system has been ranked an impressive second in the world. This is thanks to an extremely successful model implemented by the Singaporean government that is both a combination of government subsidies and individual contributions to healthcare. This means the system is of relatively low-cost to the government; Singapore spent just 4.6% of its GDP on healthcare in 2016.
Public healthcare is available only for citizens, however, so expats are required to take out insurance in order to experience the country’s high-quality care. Read our healthcare guide to find out more about the different types of healthcare available for expats in Singapore.
3. Housing doesn’t come cheap
As with any densely populated city, finding housing for the nearly 6 million Singaporeans resulted in one of the world’s worst housing shortages. This has been turned around massively, and now nearly 90% of citizens own their own homes. Much of this is thanks to heavy government subsidies. Social housing, or ‘HDB housing’, provides accommodation for over 80% of the population.
Almost all housing is located in high-rises, as Singapore’s small-island location doesn’t exactly allow much room for expansion. Consequently, Singapore has a highly competitive open market, resulting in one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. Furthermore, in general the actual size of housing, both public and private, has been on the decline.
Downsizing to a much smaller apartment in a high-rise building will mean being selective about what you bring with you when you move. Taking only essential belongings and furniture with you is definitely recommended, and if you need help transporting everything once you have chosen then try a professional moving company like AGS Movers, who ship internationally from destinations all over the globe.
If you can’t bring yourself to leave everything behind and find yourself taking too much from home, then they can also store your belongings in their warehouse in Singapore, so you won't have to get rid of anything when you move into your new place.
4. Shop like the locals
It’s not just the housing that can be expensive. Buying groceries in supermarkets can also put a dent in your wallet. This is why locals tend to shop in markets, known as ‘wet markets’, across the city for their fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and spices amongst other things, as the prices are much more affordable.
The name ‘wet market’ comes from how the vendors clean the floor, by splashing it with pails of water. They’re found all over the city and open early in the morning but more often than not will only be open until noon.
5. Get clued up on national laws
You may have already heard the rumours that chewing gum is banned in Singapore, and although yes, you are not allowed to sell gum, it’s not actually illegal to chew it. If you bring some with you when you move then just make sure you throw it away properly as you could be stuck with a hefty fine if not. And it’s not just gum you want to make sure you dispose of carefully, if you’re caught littering in general you could be stung with a $1,000 fine in addition to community service.
There is a long list of surprising things that could land you with a fine in Singapore, so make sure you are clued up before you’re stuck paying for something that you might not even think twice about in your home country.