Areas and Suburbs in Singapore
Although it’s not the largest destination, choosing an area or suburb in Singapore to call home can nonetheless be a daunting task, and the best neighbourhood for one person may not be ideal for another.
An expat's decision on where to live will depend on their lifestyle priorities, family situation, the location of their workplace and personal preferences.
The city-state is divided into 28 districts which can be grouped into five main areas: Central, East, North, North-East and West.
Areas and suburbs in Singapore
The central area is situated toward the south of the island. This large area includes the main business district as well as several popular residential areas, such as Bukit Timah and Bukit Merah.
The area provides easy access to amenities like shopping, entertainment and restaurants. There are also a number of excellent international schools in the area, not to mention excellent public transport access.
Housing is predominantly found in high-rise condos and apartments, some of which are serviced or fully furnished, that tend to come with shared amenities, like pools and gyms. Pricing varies from reasonable to very upmarket, but this is generally considered to be the most expensive area in Singapore.
Pros: The city affords a cosmopolitan lifestyle and great access to almost everything.
Cons: Housing is more costly than accommodation found outside the hub. The lack of greenery and the high noise levels from traffic and on-going construction can also have an impact on general living conditions, although this is less true of the outlying suburbs.
Although the north is considered to be far from the city, in truth it's only about 12 miles (18km) away and is connected by the CTE highway. One can actually see Malaysia from the Woodlands district and there is a causeway bridge that connects the two countries. Areas such as Woodgrove, Woodlands and Sembawang are home to many American expat families due to the presence of the Singapore American School.
The area is lush with greenery and features golf courses, plant nurseries and reservoirs.
Pros: A very green area with estate-type living conditions. The area is very self-sufficient and has several shopping facilities that specifically cater to expat needs.
Cons: The area is relatively far from the city, and transport can be challenging due to traffic.
The eastern area of the island includes the districts of Bedok, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Changi.
The Changi International Airport is situated here, and its neighbourhoods claim a character that marries old and new. Both HDB flats and landed properties are available.
The area has a diverse population but many residents work in airline-related industries. There is excellent access to amenities, restaurants, schools and shops.
Pros: Not far from the city. Residents have a coastal lifestyle, with beach facilities and many parks. Condominiums are larger and less expensive than in the city, and retain a sense of community.
Cons: Having a car is a definite advantage, as access to public transport is not as good as in other areas.
The western area includes Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Jurong and Tuas. The neighbourhoods in this greater space vary widely but are generally densely populated and have excellent amenities.
Choa Chu Kang offers lots of outdoor activities with a number of parks as well as recreational and sports venues. On the other hand, Jurong claims large industrial and residential areas and a golf course.
The world famous Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park are also located in the western area – lush greenery is in no short supply, with a few farms situated in Lim Chu Kang.
Pros: Rentals are more affordable and this is a great area for families, with home-style properties and gardens.
Cons: The rentals around the docks can be noisy.
Expats looking to settle in Singapore's north-west area are often attracted to Serangoon, which is home to the Australian International School Singapore and the French School of Singapore.
Terrace homes, semi-detached houses and bungalows can all be found here, and there are also plenty of places to shop, dine out and enjoy the outdoors.
Pros: There are some good housing estates in the area, and there are lots of good places to eat out.
Cons: Rental prices can be expensive.