So you’re here, you’ve got all your paperwork processed, and you’ve found a place to live. Time to get on with the practicalities of daily life in Singapore!

Electronics and Appliances

Thinking of shipping over your appliances? Or looking to acquire some brand-new gadgets in Singapore?

Singapore uses 230 Volts, 50 Hertz, and a British-style plug with three flat pins or prongs. This is also known as the Type G plug. Adapters for other shapes of plugs are easily available – however, to change voltage or support a 60 Hertz appliance, you’ll need a voltage transformer.

Take a look at the World Electric Power Guide for basic tips to figure out what you need depending on what kind of settings your appliances use back home. Don’t forget to check if your appliances can accommodate a wide range – some power supplies can handle 110 to 230 V and both 50 and 60 Hz. Thanks to Ilin for suggesting this section!

Our Shopping Tips section has tips on where to buy electronics and appliances in Singapore.

Food

So many food options, so little time!

Check out the Food page for Singapore food bloggers’ recommendations on eating out, phone numbers for those desperate I-need-home-delivery days, and a handy list of supermarkets (they deliver!) and delis.

If you’re looking for cuisines from other countries, or miss familiar dishes from home, check out the International Food page for a list of French, Japanese, and Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore – and many more.

Getting around

The most common forms of transport are bus, train (MRT), and taxi. Cars are notoriously expensive in Singapore. Between paying for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) when you buy the car, and paying again for Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges as you drive, the costs can add up pretty quickly.

Check out the Getting Around page for more information on public transport options in Singapore: buses, MRT trains, and taxis. Plus – how to book a taxi by phone if you’re in a hurry.

Government services

Singapore topped Accenture’s 2007 ranking for Government Leadership in Customer Service. Many common services are available online, and Government web sites provide plenty of information on those that aren’t.

Taxes

  • Singapore income tax returns are filed by April 15 each year. You can e-file (more convenient) or submit a paper return. Employers don’t do monthly witholding in Singapore; you’ll generally pay your taxes in arrears, after you file.
  • You’ll typically receive your Notice of Assessment between May and August, at which point you’ll have one month to pay. You can pay in a lump sum via check or Internet banking, or you can opt to pay over several months via GIRO (installments automatically deducted from your bank account).
  • The IRAS web site has a helpful summary of tax information for foreigners. This explains the criteria for tax-resident status and the various tax rates. Residents are taxed on a graduated scale ranging from 0% to 22%, while those who don’t qualify for tax-resident status are taxed at a flat 15% or the resident rate, whichever is higher.
  • The web site also has a list of countries that have tax treaties with Singapore, helpful if you want to avoid being double-taxed.
  • If you are a Permanent Resident, you can reduce your current-year taxable income by putting some cash into your Central Provident Fund (CPF) account and your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) account. CPF contribution is compulsory, but increases at a graduated scale over the first few years. If you don’t need the cash, it’s best to max out your CPF contribution to defer your tax liabilities. SRS is voluntary and you can’t access the money until you’ve retired, but the tax advantages are quite attractive if you are planning to stay in Singapore for the long-term. Read up on CPF and SRS online, or consult your financial adviser.

 

Meeting People

Old friends and new friends make a great support structure when you’ve just moved to a new country. What are some good ways to meet people in Singapore?

Try out our list of fun things to do in Singapore and meet people at classes or sports activities.

Ask around to see whether your school has an alumni group in Singapore, or post your questions to one of the many online expat forums.

ExpatSingapore allows guest posts and anonymous postings, so the forums over there are always lively, but it takes some work to find the quality posts. SingaporeExpats tends to have less traffic, but higher quality posts. It’s a good place to get answers to specific questions.

Another option is to join a club or post on country-specific forums to meet people from your home country.

International Clubs, Associations and Forums

Or read what other expat bloggers are up to, and post a comment to say hello.

Wi-fi Internet access

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) sponsors the Wireless@SG programme which provides free wireless access from a number of shopping malls and other public places. You can register for free wifi with three different providers; registering with one will provide you with access to services by all three, but if you like you can also register with all three providers.

See the IDA info page for the beginners’ guide, list of coverage areas, FAQ, and registration links.

What’s next?

Now that you’ve got your day-to-day basics settled, check out our Singapore Expats page to see how other Singapore residents are spending their time here. Are you writing a blog about your life in Singapore? Let us know and we can help share your stories.

Didn’t find what you were looking for?
We’re constantly adding content to this website, so check back often for updates. If you’ve got a tip you’d like to share, email us at feedback@livinginsingapore.org and we’ll add it to the list!