Asia, Life abroad, Singapore, Travel

10 things I learned in my first month in Singapore

I had a pretty exciting and busy first month in Singapore. I learned a lot, like really a lot! So if you are thinking about moving to Singapore or you just got here, this list will be your cheat sheet to navigate smoothly through the beginnings.

I learned in my first month in Singapore…

  1. …that I shouldn’t ever leave the house without a cardigan or umbrella. This time of the year it will probably pour buckets without much of a warning at some point during the day. And the cardigan, well Singapore is the capital of ACs, it’s freezing cold inside any commercial place.
  2. … that it really is a paradise for travelling South East Asia. I’ve heard the rumours and so did you probably, turns out they are all true! In my first few weeks here I’ve been to Langkawi and Bali, and I am about to pop over to Taiwan for a few days. You get last minute flights and really good hotels for a fraction of a weekend getaway price in Europe or the US. People here spend a weekend away on average every six weeks, so get your carry-on ready!
  3. … that it matters where you live. While Singapore is pretty small and you get around quickly, it is super convenient to live central and close to public transport. The bus network in Singapore is really great by the way!
  4. …that I shouldn’t even try to control my hair, it’s pointless. If you are not blessed with divine sleek and shiny hair but with a more sturdy mane you’ve lost. Sorry to break the news! I thought I’ll win the fight against humidity but right now I am face down defeated on the ground while my hair is living the wild life.
  5. … that taxis are generally cheap but are a rip-off during rush hour and rain. In those times prices easily double and so does the waiting time – Patience is a virtue…

  6. …that I have to seriously limit amounts of western food if I don’t want to break the bank. Bye bye cheese, ham and even lettuce, you shall be replaced with chye sim, kai lan and co.
  7. …that alcohol breaks the bank too, but no one really cares and still goes for casual drinks all the time. The outrageous alcohol prices are just part of everyone’s budget. It makes you feel pretty fancy having a pint of lager for a whooping S$15 and you end up appreciating it much more.
  8. …that the best place to buy alcohol is the duty free shop at Changi Airport. While a bottle of, let’s say, Hendrick’s Gin can cost a astonishing S$120 in a normal supermarket, you can get it at Changi for half the price. Be aware though, that in order to indulge on those bargains you need to have been out of the country for at least 48hours and if you are travelling from Malaysia you are simply not eligible to duty free anyways, sorry!
  9. …that you have to jump and backflip through many hoops to open a bank account. As efficient and wonderful Singapore is for so many things, the banking system is not one of them.
  10. … that Singaporeans love a good discount. Special offers, deals, membership cards and cash back are huge here. A great source I discovered and already cashed out on in my first month here is Shopback: Simply cash out money effortlessly every time you buy something online! If you sign-up for free via this link, we’ll both get a little bonus.

Do you live in Singapore or are you an Expat elsewhere? Let me know in the comments about your experiences and what you’ve learned living abroad.

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What I learned in my first month in Singapore - a cheat sheet for tourists, expats and visitors to Singapore

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