Stay in Singapore: How to Make Yourself at Home
Singapore is a clean, organized city – which is also an island and a country. Located to the south of Malaysia, it’s a financial hub, which is reflected in its image. There are some fantastic reasons to visit Singapore and even to spend some time working there. Many people choose to visit for just a little while, but you might be considering a longer trip. If you choose an extended stay in Singapore, you can really get to know the place. Once you’ve finished exploring all of the usual sights, you can start living a bit more like a local. If you’re planning a long trip, use this guide to settle into Singapore.
Check Your Visa Need and Options
Before you book anything, you’ll need to explore your visa options for Singapore. For a stay of up to 90 days, you don’t usually need to have a visa. So you can stay for about three months, even on business, without requiring a visa. This is a fairly long-term stay, but if you want to stay even longer, you might need to start looking at visa options. For any stay, you should have a passport that’s valid for at least the next six months. Visa requirements also depend on your nationality, and visitors from some countries might even be required to have a yellow fever vaccination.
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Create a Budget
Whenever you’re traveling, having a clear budget is important. If you’re planning on an extended stay, it’s even more important that you have a good idea of how much you have to spend and how you’re going to spend it. Singapore certainly isn’t the cheapest place to spend your time, but you’ll get great value for what you spend. However, you can still keep your costs on the lower end of the scale if you make the right choices. You can choose to stay in a hostel instead of a hotel or find an extended-stay accommodation. You can make your own food and find cheaper places to eat.
During an extended stay, you’re not going to be visiting attractions all the time, so that will save you money too. You could spend around 80 Singaporean dollars (about £45) on a two-course restaurant meal with wine or around S$6 on a meal from a food court.
Read Up on Local Laws, Culture, and Lifestyle
Before you land in Singapore, it’s helpful to have a good idea of what life is like there. Singapore has been given accolades such as being the most tech-ready city and the world’s smartest city. Nearly 40% of residents in Singapore aren’t citizens, and 90% of homes are owner-occupied, despite high levels of income inequality. One of the important things to know about Singapore is that the laws can be a little strict. Some laws, such as the ban on smoking in public places, are not that unusual. However, you might be surprised by things such as the ban on sale and import of chewing gum. Littering, spitting and jaywalking are all punishable offenses too.
Of course, it’s not all about the things that you’re not allowed to do. Singapore has a rich and diverse culture. The majority of people in Singapore have a Chinese background, with many Malay and Indian people too. Official languages include English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. Although it’s a very modern country, there’s plenty of fascinating history. You’ll discover great food and lots of things to do, as well as many interesting people to talk to.
Make Healthcare Arrangements
You’ll need to make sure that you’re able to get medical attention while in Singapore. If you’re ill or injured, you need to get the necessary treatment. Travel insurance will help to protect you, but you might want to consider other possibilities for longer stays. While permanent residents in Singapore enjoy universal healthcare, visitors need to pay. If you’re employed, your employer might provide you with health insurance. There are also programs available through organizations such as NTUC (National Trades Union Congress). This will help to protect you and cover high costs during your time in Singapore, whether you stay for a few months or for a few years.
Consider Work Options
You might just want to go to Singapore for fun and leisure. However, you could also consider working there for a while too. You don’t need a visa for business visits up to 90 days, so you might be visiting on business matters. If you’re thinking about working in Singapore, there are jobs in many different industries. For something short-term, you might want to consider a summer job in hospitality or tourism. The Singapore Work Holiday Programme is suitable for some people aged 18 to 25, giving young people from eight countries up to six months to work in Singapore. Eligible people include students or recent graduates from the US, UK, and six other countries.
Find Somewhere to Stay
You’ll need somewhere to stay during your extended trip. There are several ways you might choose to find the perfect place for you. Some people with larger budgets might be happy to stay in a hotel. However, there are more affordable ways to stay for longer in Singapore. You might want to find an extended-stay hotel, which can be more affordable than a standard hotel, but looking for a room for rent has a higher chance of being within your budget. If you’re staying for a few months or even longer, it doesn’t make sense to be in short-stay accommodation. Find a proper home, and you can also save money on food and other expenses.
Take a look at some different neighborhoods to work out where you want to stay. Different areas have different atmospheres – and prices. You’ll find more upmarket choices in the Marina Bay area, while Paya Lebar is in development, with many new shops and other conveniences popping up. Sengkang is another area undergoing rapid development, with four neighborhoods to choose from.
Find People to Spend Time With
It can get lonely if you decide to stay somewhere long-term, but you’re traveling on your own. Even if you are with traveling companions, you might find that you don’t want to spend all your time with them. So if you need some company, you need to find out where to meet people. If you’re working, you might meet some people on the job. You can also meet other travelers, especially by doing activities and joining tours. If you’re not sure where to start, you can look for groups of expats or social groups that meet up for various reasons. Try looking online for things that you enjoy doing or even using an app We3 that helps you to find friends.
Get Some Useful Commodities
Having a few useful things to make life in Singapore easier will help you to have a more enjoyable stay. For example, you might find that it’s easier for you to have a local SIM card for your phone instead of relying on your card from home. It could also be easier to have a local bank account, especially if you’re planning on staying for a number of months. Consider what will help to make things easier for you.
Live Like a Local
If you’re staying in Singapore for longer than the usual tourist, you’ll soon get bored of playing the tourist. Going to museums or seeing the sights is interesting, but so is seeing how the locals live. Renting a place to stay is a good start because it means you’re not stuck in a hotel, surrounded by other tourists. If you want to try exploring an area with more of a local feel, try somewhere like Tiong Bahru. Shop for your groceries at the market there and enjoy coffee and every meal of the day in various establishments in the area. In fact, spending the day eating is a great way to experience the real Singapore. Another way to live like a local is to travel by train, which is efficient and easy to use. You can also get stuck in with the locals by picking up words and phrases, which are a real mix of the different languages and ethnicities found there.
Visit Nearby Nations
Singapore is in a great place to visit neighboring countries. Although Singapore is an island, there are still other countries that are easy to get to. Start with Malaysia, which is just above Singapore. Other countries surrounding Singapore include Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, and Australia. While the countries nearest to Singapore might not necessarily be super close, it’s still much easier to reach them than if you were in another part of the world. They’re still much closer than Europe or North America! For example, a flight from Singapore to Perth, Australia is around 5 hours. Flying from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur takes about an hour.
Plan your long-term stay in Singapore meticulously if you want to have an enjoyable time. There’s lots to see and do that will help you feel at home.