Singapore is both a city and a country, in other words, a city-state. Although the city center is situated on the southern portion of the island, over time, urbanization and development have blurred the differences between city and country.
Now, neighborhoods and districts bleed into one another fairly easily. Going to visit a friend on the other side of the country might only take you about 45 minutes.
With a solid public transportation system connecting the whole country all together, it is hard to go wrong when choosing a neighborhood to call home. Still, each area has its own distinct personality and character.
Thus, choosing a place to live is not as easy as selecting at random.
In this guide, we’ve suggested some of the top areas in Singapore to live in.
1 – Tanjong Pagar
Tanjong Pagar, straddling the Central Business District, is a historic district that maintains Singapore’s Malay heritage. The classically beautiful storefronts of the conserved shophouses impart a picturesque charm.
Nowadays, it has become a fashionable district, filled with thriving businesses, cafés, bars and restaurants. The heart of the area, based around Keong Saik and Neil Roads, have now become a hub for Singapore’ growing food and cocktail culture.
The neighborhood, due to its proximity to the Central Business District, is home to bankers and ad agency suits. Tanjong Pagar offers a short commute to the city center and is filled with plenty of watering holes for socializing after work, enjoying a quiet weekend brunch with family, or even a romantic night out with loved ones.
Although housing within the historic shophouses is somewhat rare and can be hit or miss when it comes to quality and privacy, there are a variety living options available. The neighborhood is home to HDB housing and also condo options with gym and pool facilities, thus offering affordable living for those looking to live more locally, and amenities-rich facilities for those who are willing to pay a premium.
Take a look at https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-management-news/2017/11/164479/tanjong-pagar-a-district-to-live-in for more detailed information on prices and rental yield.
2 – Tiong Bahru
If a heritage housing estate rich with retro charm sounds enticing to you, then Tiong Bahru may just interest you. Its streets are designed in an interlocking horse shoe shape with an enclosed community center, imparting a quiet feel to the area.
Located about 15 minutes outside of the city center, Tiong Bahru is a nice escape from the skyscrapers of downtown Singapore.
Most apartments you find here are likely to be a walkup. The selection of postwar apartments boasts elegant vintage details, such as covered porches and intricate window grates. As long as you can handle the stairs, of course.
Tiong Bahru has seen a revival of young artsy shops and hip cafes and restaurants in the past 10 years. So much so that with its electic variety of eateries, cafes and local shops, some have started calling Singapore’s Brooklyn.
This neighborhood is perfect for a lazy Sunday stroll in the tropical sun with a cup of good coffee in hand. There’s even a wet market, one of the handful that remains in the city, to pick up some fresh produce for a good home cooked meal.
3 – Geylang
A decidedly more local area, Geylang is perhaps even more authentically Chinese than Chinatown itself. Located about 15 minutes towards the east outside of the city, Geylang is more down to earth.
Although it has traditionally been identified as Singapore’s red light district, many still appreciate the gritty charm that comes along with the neighborhood.
While this still holds true today, the area is safe and has a robust community feel. In Geylang, you will find hawker centers and street stalls far more commonly than a fancy cocktail bar. You will find a mix of HDBs and condos in Geylang.
However, the condos will tend to be smaller, with fewer units and less sprawling grounds. This is the tradeoff between budget and location. There is a nice balance between being close to the city center and being more budget friendly.
4 – Holland Village
One of the more popular areas due to its central location, Holland village is located in close proximity to the downtown and Orchard areas. There is also easy access to plenty of open spaces such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the MacRitchie Reservoir.
Though Holland Village is home to many families, it still maintains an eclectic feel with a variety of bars, local shops and quirky restaurants. It is also home to one of the biggest and best hawker centers in Singapore, while many a hidden gem can be found at the Holland Village Shopping Center.
There is a wide range of living options to be found in Holland village, including high quality HDBs, condominums, bungalows, and normal landed houses. Here, you are bound to find the style of living that best suits you.
5 – East Coast
The east coast is quieter and has more access to nature. The location is the main tradeoff for the peace and tranquility. Traditionally known as a preferred home base for families, many housing complexes can be found here.
Most of these complexes are located a short walk away from the East Coast Park, where you can admire the heaps of greenery and also have a great view of the ocean.
This area is generally calmer, due to its distance from the city center. Biking and rollerblading along the paths is a common sight here, due to the calmer streets. Thus, a bike commute to work is far more possible, giving benefits to both the environment and your health.
The distance from the city means that rents in the east coast are more reasonable. You’re more bound to come across a good bargain here than in the city center, where the same price tag can get you larger space and ample amenities.
The variety of housing options available also mean that even if you prefer privacy and a bit of backyard, you are bound to find some good landed houses.