The Best Neighborhoods in Singapore for Expats

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Which Singapore Neighborhood is Right for You
Which Singapore Neighborhood is Right for You

Which Singapore Neighborhood is Right for You? A Guide for Expats

Singapore, a dynamic and multicultural city-state, is a top destination for expats worldwide. Renowned for its economic stability, high safety standards, and diverse cultural tapestry, it offers an unmatched quality of life in the heart of Southeast Asia.

The city’s appeal lies in its blend of modernity with rich cultural heritage, making it both a global business hub and a place of cultural exploration. English as a common language eases communication, and the presence of numerous international schools makes it ideal for expat families.

When choosing a neighbourhood in Singapore, expats consider factors like proximity to work, schools, and lifestyle preferences. Whether it’s the bustling city centre or the serene suburbs, Singapore’s neighbourhoods cater to a wide range of tastes and needs, ensuring everyone can find their perfect spot in this vibrant city.

Singapore’s commitment to cleanliness and public order is evident in its well-maintained streets and public spaces, contributing to a high standard of living. The city-state’s robust public transport system and world-class healthcare facilities further enhance the expat living experience.

Moreover, Singapore’s culinary scene is a reflection of its multiculturalism, offering a variety of local and international cuisines. The city is also known for its green spaces, from lush parks to nature reserves, providing a refreshing escape from urban life. For expats, Singapore is not just a place to work; it’s a place to live a full and enriching life.

Table of Contents

Central Region Neighborhoods

Central Region Neighborhoods

Orchard/Central Region

1. Description and Lifestyle: The Orchard/Central Region is the heartbeat of Singapore, synonymous with the iconic Orchard Road shopping belt. This area is a vibrant mix of luxury, entertainment, and urban living. It’s where the city’s pulse is most palpable, with streets lined with high-end shopping malls, gourmet restaurants, and lively bars. Living in this area means embracing a fast-paced, cosmopolitan lifestyle.

2. Housing Options and Costs: The residential options in Orchard are as diverse as its lifestyle offerings. From opulent condominiums to high-rise apartments, the area caters to a range of preferences. The cost of living here is on the higher side, reflecting its prime location and the luxury amenities that come with the residences. Expats looking for a blend of convenience and luxury will find Orchard an ideal choice, albeit with a premium price tag.

3. Amenities and Attractions: Beyond shopping, Orchard Road is dotted with cultural spaces, cinemas, and spas. The area is also well-connected by public transport, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. For green spaces, the nearby Singapore Botanic Gardens offer a tranquil escape from the urban buzz.


1. Neighbourhood Characteristics: Tanglin exudes a more tranquil and upscale vibe compared to the bustling Orchard. It’s a neighbourhood that combines the serenity of a suburban area with the convenience of city living. The streets are lined with lush greenery, adding to its peaceful ambience.

2. Housing Types and Price Range: Housing in Tanglin ranges from luxurious condominiums to grand bungalows and terraced houses. The area is known for its spacious and high-end residential options. The price range varies but generally leans towards the higher end, reflecting its status as a prestigious residential area.

3. Proximity to Embassies and Botanic Gardens: Tanglin is home to several embassies, making it a popular choice among diplomats. Its proximity to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site, adds to its appeal, offering residents easy access to one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces.

Holland Village

1. Community Vibe and Demographics: Holland Village, often referred to as “Holland V,” is known for its bohemian and laid-back atmosphere. It’s a favorite among younger expats and creative professionals. The area has a diverse community, contributing to its vibrant and eclectic vibe.

2. Housing and Living Costs: The housing in Holland Village is a mix of condominiums, apartments, and landed properties. While the cost of living here is more moderate compared to Orchard and Tanglin, it still offers a high quality of life with its unique charm and convenience.

3. Local Amenities and International Schools: The neighborhood is famous for its array of cafes, bars, and restaurants, offering both local and international cuisines. It’s also conveniently located near several international schools, making it a preferred choice for expat families.

Bukit Timah

1. Description of the Area and Its Natural Beauty: Bukit Timah is known for its lush greenery and quieter residential environment. It’s an area that offers a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle, ideal for those who appreciate nature and tranquillity.

2. Housing Options and Educational Institutions: The area offers a range of housing options from luxury condominiums to landed properties. Bukit Timah is also known for its proximity to some of Singapore’s top schools, both local and international, making it a sought-after location for families.

3. Outdoor Activities and Lifestyle: For outdoor enthusiasts, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve provides a perfect backdrop for hiking and biking. The area promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, with numerous parks and recreational facilities.

Each of these neighbourhoods in the Central Region of Singapore offers its unique charm and lifestyle, catering to the diverse preferences of the expat community. Whether you’re seeking the excitement of city life or the tranquillity of a suburban retreat, you’ll find a place to call home in Singapore’s Central Region.

South Region Neighborhoods

Tiong Bahru

1. Historical Significance and Modern Appeal: Tiong Bahru, one of Singapore’s oldest residential areas, beautifully blends historical charm with a trendy, modern lifestyle. Known for its art deco-style apartment blocks and pre-war heritage shophouses, the neighbourhood exudes a unique character that’s both nostalgic and contemporary.

2. Housing Types and Affordability: The area offers a mix of old and new housing, including its signature low-rise art deco apartments and newer condo developments. While Tiong Bahru has seen a rise in popularity and prices over the years, it still remains relatively affordable compared to more central locations, offering a range of options for different budgets.

3. Local Culture and Amenities: Tiong Bahru is a haven for foodies and culture enthusiasts. The neighbourhood is dotted with hip cafes, local eateries, and boutique shops. The Tiong Bahru Market is a focal point for local life, offering fresh produce and hawker food. The area also boasts a thriving arts scene, with galleries and bookstores adding to its cultural fabric.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island

1. Luxurious Lifestyle and Housing: Sentosa Island is synonymous with luxury and exclusivity. Known for its high-end residential enclaves, the island offers a resort-like living experience. Housing options range from opulent sea-facing villas to plush condominiums, catering to those who seek a lavish lifestyle.

2. Attractions and Leisure Activities: Sentosa is a playground for the affluent, featuring world-class attractions like Universal Studios, golf courses, and luxury resorts. The island is also home to some of Singapore’s most beautiful beaches, offering a plethora of water sports and leisure activities.

3. Accessibility and Community: Despite its resort-like ambience, Sentosa is well-connected to the mainland. The Sentosa Express monorail, buses, and a causeway link it to the rest of Singapore, making it easily accessible. The community of Sentosa is tight-knit, with residents enjoying a tranquil and private living environment away from the city’s hustle.

In the South Region of Singapore, Tiong Bahru offers a blend of heritage and modernity, appealing to those who appreciate culture and history, while Sentosa Island caters to those seeking an exclusive and luxurious lifestyle. Both neighbourhoods, with their distinct characteristics, provide unique living experiences in the southern part of Singapore.

North Region Neighborhoods


1. Family-Friendly Environment: Woodlands, located in the northern part of Singapore, is renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere. This neighbourhood is a haven for families looking for a balanced lifestyle, combining urban conveniences with a touch of nature. The area is characterized by its lush greenery, spacious parks, and community-centric vibe, making it an ideal place for family living.

2. Housing Options and Affordability: In Woodlands, housing options are diverse and generally more affordable compared to the central regions of Singapore. The area offers a range of residential choices, from HDB flats to private condominiums and landed properties, catering to various preferences and budgets. The affordability of housing in Woodlands makes it an attractive option for families and individuals seeking quality living without the hefty price tag of central locations.

3. Proximity to International Schools and Amenities: One of the key attractions of Woodlands is its proximity to several reputable international schools, making it a preferred choice for expat families. Schools such as Singapore American School provide quality international education, adding to the area’s appeal. Additionally, Woodlands is equipped with all the necessary amenities including shopping malls like Causeway Point, healthcare facilities, and recreational areas. The neighbourhood also boasts excellent connectivity with the rest of Singapore, thanks to its efficient public transport network.

Woodlands, with its blend of affordability, family-friendly environment, and proximity to international schools, stands out as a top choice for families in Singapore’s North Region. It offers a peaceful and comfortable living experience, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet remains well-connected and equipped with all the modern conveniences.

Other Popular Areas for Expats

Tanjong Pagar

1. Proximity to CBD and Lifestyle: Tanjong Pagar, nestled in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD), is a prime location for expats who desire a vibrant urban lifestyle. The area is a perfect blend of business and leisure, offering the convenience of living close to work while being surrounded by a plethora of lifestyle amenities.

2. Housing Diversity and Costs: The neighbourhood boasts a diverse range of housing options, from modern high-rise condominiums to charming heritage shophouses. While the proximity to the CBD means that housing costs can be on the higher side, the variety of options available ensures that there’s something to suit different preferences and budgets.

3. Culinary Scene and Amenities: Tanjong Pagar is a food lover’s paradise, known for its diverse culinary scene that ranges from trendy cafes and bars to traditional local eateries. The area is also home to various amenities like shopping centres, fitness clubs, and green spaces, making it a well-rounded neighbourhood for both singles and families.

River Valley

1. Scenic Beauty and Lifestyle: River Valley, situated close to the Singapore River, offers a serene and picturesque living environment. It’s a preferred choice for those who appreciate a blend of scenic beauty and the convenience of city living. The area exudes a tranquil yet cosmopolitan vibe, perfect for expats who seek a quieter yet connected lifestyle.

2. Housing Options and Costs: The housing landscape in River Valley is varied, featuring condominiums, apartments, and landed properties. While the cost of living here is relatively high, the quality of life and the scenic surroundings justify the price. The area caters to a range of lifestyles and is particularly popular among families and professionals.

3. Proximity to CBD and Amenities: River Valley’s proximity to the CBD makes it an ideal location for professionals. The neighbourhood is also well-equipped with amenities like shopping malls, international schools, and recreational facilities, providing a comfortable and convenient lifestyle.


1. Transformation and Cultural Diversity: Geylang, once known for its colorful nightlife, has undergone significant transformation and is now celebrated for its cultural diversity and vibrant community. The area is a melting pot of cultures, offering an authentic and diverse living experience.

2. Affordable Housing and Local Food Scene: Geylang offers some of the most affordable housing options in Singapore, with a variety of residential choices from traditional shophouses to modern apartments. The area is also famous for its local food scene, boasting a wide array of eateries that serve some of the best local delicacies in the city.

3. Proximity to CBD and Future Developments: Despite its affordability, Geylang is conveniently located near the CBD and is well-connected by public transport. The area is also poised for future developments, making it an increasingly attractive option for expats looking for value and potential growth.

These neighbourhoods, each with their unique charm and advantages, are popular among expats for various reasons. Whether it’s the bustling city life in Tanjong Pagar, the serene riverside living in River Valley, or the cultural vibrancy of Geylang, these areas offer diverse lifestyles to suit the preferences of the expat community in Singapore.


As we’ve explored the diverse neighbourhoods of Singapore, it’s clear that this vibrant city-state has something special to offer every expat. From the bustling streets of Orchard and Tanjong Pagar to the serene landscapes of Bukit Timah and River Valley, each area presents its unique blend of lifestyle, culture, and convenience. Whether you’re a single professional seeking the excitement of city life or a family looking for a community-oriented environment, Singapore’s neighbourhoods cater to a wide spectrum of needs and preferences.

Finding the right home in a new country can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. As a real estate professional, I understand the importance of finding a place that not only meets your practical needs but also feels right. With my expertise and knowledge of Singapore’s property market, I am here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition to your new home.

If you’re ready to start your journey to finding the perfect home in Singapore, or if you have any questions about living in this dynamic city, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today, and let’s turn your dream of living in Singapore into a reality. Welcome to your new home, and welcome to Singapore!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Neighborhoods like Bukit Timah, Woodlands, and Tanglin are popular among expat families due to their proximity to international schools, family-friendly amenities, and spacious housing options.

Living in central areas like Orchard and Tanjong Pagar can be expensive due to their prime location and luxury amenities. However, there are a variety of housing options available to suit different budgets.

Singapore boasts an efficient and extensive public transport system, including MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), buses, and taxis, making it easy to commute around the city.

Yes, Singapore is home to a wide range of reputable international schools offering various curricula, making it an ideal destination for expat families.

Singapore has a world-class healthcare system with state-of-the-art medical facilities and highly qualified healthcare professionals.

Singapore is known for its low crime rate and strict laws, making it one of the safest cities in the world for expats and locals alike.

Yes, English is widely spoken in Singapore, and there are numerous expat communities and networks that newcomers can join.

The cost of living in Singapore varies depending on lifestyle choices and the area you choose to live in. Central areas tend to be more expensive, while suburban areas offer more affordable options.

Neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru and Geylang offer a more local experience with their unique blend of cultural heritage, local food scenes, and traditional markets.

Consulting with a real estate professional who understands your preferences and needs can greatly help in finding the right neighbourhood. They can provide insights into different areas and assist in finding a home that suits your lifestyle and budget.

Feel free to reach out to our real estate advisors for more personalized answers and assistance in finding your ideal home in Singapore.

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