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Living in Singapore

Updated: Mar 11

Singapore has become an exceptionally prosperous region for ambitious tax specialists to focus on their careers whilst enjoying an optimal standard of living. There are a host of fascinating experiences right on your doorstep! Aside from the attractive salaries and exquisite working conditions among many multinational corporations, the city is full of entertainment and captivating attractions for tax expats to explore. 

In this article, we discover the top things for expats to do in Singapore to make the most of a healthy work-life balance abroad in your tax job. From popular tourist spots and monuments to unique activities and cultural attractions, you’ll never be short of things to do in this incredible city. We also explore the cost of living in Singapore to give you a better idea of what it is like living in this city-state. 

 

Things to do in Singapore 

Gardens by the Bay 

One of the most popular yet truly stunning tourist attractions Singapore has to offer is the remarkable Gardens by the Bay. Situated in the heart of Singapore at the Marina Bay Waterfront, this magnificent sanctuary boasts over 101 hectares of exotic flowers, plants, and greenery. Since opening back in 2012, Gardens by the Bay has received many accolades for its mesmerising and innovative offerings. Whether you are visiting solo or with family, it’s easy to spend a full day here exploring the Supertrees, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, soaking up the magnitude of tropical greenery. 

Expats can travel to Gardens by the Bay simply via the Bayfront MRT Station in Singapore, taking Exit B and following the underground linkway. From there, visitors can either cross the Meadow Bridge or Dragonfly Bridge into Gardens by the Bay, a quick and easy attraction to access. This attraction is great for professionals that have relocated to Singapore with a new tax job that are looking for something to do outside of working hours.

 

Sentosa Beach 

Escape the lively city once in a while to enjoy the tranquil and peaceful Sentosa island beaches, located just off the southern coast of Singapore. A haven of idyllic scenery, clear blue water and sun all year round, this attraction is much loved by many expats looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Sentosa can be easily accessed by train, cable car, bus or by foot depending on where you are situated in Singapore. A popular method of transport for tourists is by train, via the MRT in the city to Harbourfront Station which will bring you out at VivoCity mall, taking just 15 minutes. 

After a relaxing day at the stunning white sand beaches, further, explore Sentosa by visiting the Tiger Sky Tower to observe the stunning landscape or get in touch with nature at the S.E.A Aquarium. Not only that, but this beautiful resort is also home to two award-winning golf courses which is a must for avid golfers. 


Merlion Park 

A stunning esplanade overlooking Singapore’s Marina Bay, Merlion Park is enjoyed by expats, tourists and locals alike. Merlion Park is home to the iconic Merlion statue, standing at 28-foot tall and purely carved with stone featuring a fish symbolizing Singapore’s prevalent fishing industry. The head of the fish is a powerful lion head, meaning ‘Lion City’. This incredible monument was built in 1972 and has since been one of the top tourist attractions in the whole of Singapore. 

Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll along the seafront or capture some phenomenal pictures of the famous Merlion statue, this attraction is situated right in the heart of Singapore’s business district. It is only a short walk from multinational companies that, as a tax professional, you will quickly become familiar with. 


Singapore at sunset
Merlion Park

Singapore Flyer 

Appreciate a truly stunning panoramic view of Singapore’s unrivalled skyline and fascinating city via the Singapore Flyer, a relaxing yet extraordinary Ferris wheel offering breathtaking views from 540ft in the air. Asia’s largest observation wheel offers stunning day and nighttime trips, whether you want to enjoy a clear landscape of Singapore or a vibrant skyline full of lights in the evening. 

The journey around the Ferris wheel usually lasts around half an hour and comes at a small price of 33 Singapore dollars for 1 adult. Situated in downtown Marina Bay, the Singapore Flyer also offers unique in-flight dining experiences for special occasions. There is also the world’s first 6D flight simulator designed to transport you to a realistic and thrilling experience of flying a Boeing 737-800 plane. 

 

Chinatown 

Explore the unique and vibrant district of Chinatown located in central Singapore within the Outram region, originally home to many Chinese settlers back in 1822. Experience a combination of historic temples and cultural museums, to tasting authentic Chinese cuisine and shopping in Chinatown’s famous retail complex. You certainly won’t be stuck for things to do and see in this bustling neighbourhood of exceptional history and architecture. 

Soak up the Chinese culture and history by visiting The Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore at over 180 years old. Boasting intricate detail in its structure and bright porcelain covering the roofs, this fascinating temple and others that surround it like the stunning Buddha Tooth Relic Temple are a must-see for expats. 

 

Visa 

If you are relocating to Singapore for tax career purposes, you will have to be aware of the work Visa types. For the most accurate and up-to-date information you can visit InterNationsGO 


Cost of Living 

Property Market 

The first thing that you will notice when relocating to Singapore is the high cost of living. The Economist’s recent survey classifies Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong as the world’s most expensive cities to live in. 

However, these costs are relative to expat competitive salaries for experienced tax and transfer pricing workers. 

Due to high demand, monthly renting costs are probably the biggest expense for expats. This can range between 500 and 2,000 SGD for a private room, to 5,000 and 7,000 SGD for a private apartment with three bedrooms in the city centre. Bear in mind, however, that these outflows can be offset by the competitive salaries available for experienced workers. 

Further information about finding a new home in Singapore can be found on InterNations 

Why not read our other blog on moving to Singapore

 

Transportation 

Transportation costs are relatively low, so tax expats find public transport and even taxis highly affordable. Owning and maintaining a car in Singapore can be challenging. Many regulations have been applied due to the limited space in the city. Expats find the initial and the recurring costs substantial, which is why they often decide to use the well-developed public transport system instead. 

Singapore has invested largely into the development of a fast and effective means of transportation for its citizens. The metro system is considered the most extensive and reliable one in the whole region with more than 140 stations available. Although the metro system in Singapore has undergone many improvements over the last few years, bus transportation remains the most preferred option for citizens. Further information about private and public transportation can be found here: 

 

Schooling and Childcare 

When relocating with your family costs for schooling and childcare will be another factor to consider. The monthly childcare in Singapore for full-time daycare can cost between 500 and 1,500 SGD. Expats often find the pre-school option cheaper and more convenient, where the monthly costs vary between 250 and 700 SGD. A third possible option for expats is hiring a foreign domestic helper, who can look after their children, but also assist with house duties, which costs around 500 SGD per month. 

The schooling costs for older children vary. For international schools, the annual fees range between 21,000 and 47,000 SGD. However, public schools cost around 500 SGD per month for a primary school level and up to 1,100 SGD per month for a pre-university level. Further information about studying in Singapore can be found on the Ministry of Education website


Other Costs 

Costs for water and electricity should also be considered, accounting for 150- 200 SGD per month. If you would like to use Internet and to purchase a monthly mobile plan, further 120 SGD might be taken from your budget. 

Visit the link below to find an up-to-date summary about the cost of living in Singapore, where you can also make price comparisons with other cities: Numbeo 

Although the living standards in Singapore are quite high, in local currency terms, expatriate salaries continue to rise, with personal tax rates being one of the lowest in the world. This ensures that Singapore remains one of the cheaper locations for companies and expats. 

 

This blog has featured a variety of things for you to do if you decide to relocate to Singapore and gain new tax-career and life experiences. We hope you now also have a better insight into how much things cost when living in Singapore. 

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