Singapore may be small but it is mighty. Neighbourhoods are never far from each other and you may find that your commute is only 45 minutes at most. Thanks to excellent transportation links, you can be assured that all the amenities you need are only a short train ride away. So how do you know where to choose your home? Here are some of the best neighbourhoods to house hunt in the city.
More of a housing estate than a neighbourhood, Tiong Behru has plenty of charm. It’s cookie cutter image, with houses built in a horseshoe shape means that you are never far from your neighbours. Whilst this may not be for everyone, the sense of community here is something that cannot be underestimated. It’s quiet and located far enough from the city centre to be placid. Most apartments are walk-ups, but they have been well-preserved and often have quaint vintage features. The area also has plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques which give it a hipster vibe. Most appealing of all is the market where you can buy fresh produce and enjoy being in one of the only wet markets left in Singapore.
This neighbourhood boasts a high quantity of expats, thanks to its proximity to Orchard and downtown Singapore. The Botanical Gardens and MacRitchie reservoir are also nearby. For those who prefer to be close to Western restaurants, Holland Village is the place to be, as there are plenty of bars and cafes serving Western foods. There is also an enormous hawker center, Dempsey Hill and the Holland Village shopping center within walking distance. Best of all, Holland Village is in the catchment area for a number of excellent schools and housing options. From condos, bungalows and houses with gardens, there should be something for your budget and tastes.
This zone retains some of the Malay charm that makes Singapore so distinctive and it has quickly developed into a hub for dining and drinking. Whilst it may be difficult to find an apartment in this area particularly in one of the more traditional buildings, there are plenty of higher-end options such as serviced condos which have pools and gyms. Of course, these come with a price tag but if you find that your work places you in Tanjong Pagar often, it might be worth the expense.
Sentosa Island is one of the most expensive but also one of the most beautiful places to live in Singapore. For those who have a generous relocation package or a bigger budget for rent, the houses by the waterfront are picturesque, luxurious and extremely comfortable. Houses with land are available as well as condominiums with all the necessary amenities. There is a developed sense of community here, particularly with the golf clubs and sports facilities that dot the landscape. However, the prices to live here mean that Sentosa can feel quite exclusive and at times, elitist. It is also quite far from the centre of Singapore, which may mean that shopping and eating out in the city become quite a chore but thankfully, transport links to the ‘mainland’ are great.
For those who want to live in a slice of Singapore that is decidedly more authentic, Geylang is a great option. It has a distinctive Chinese feel, with hawker centers and street markets rather than shopping malls and skyscrapers. One downside is that Geylang has often been called Singapore’s red light district. However, the area is much safer than it’s reputation would allow and it has plenty of green spaces too. Luckily, it is only 15 minutes from the centre of the city and is one of the cheaper neighbourhoods to live in.
For those with families, the East Coast may be just what you are looking for. It is quiet, with plenty of access to nature so for those who want some breathing space, the East Coast is where you should be looking. The ocean view is priceless, and there are plenty of opportunities to walk along the beach and breathe in the smell of the sea. The paths are wide, with plenty of people regularly jogging, cycling or rollerblading along and commutes to school or work are notoriously peaceful. Due to its distance from the city, this neighbourhood is also more budget friendly, with far more value for money.