How to settle down as an Expat in Singapore – Part 1 – Before you arrive in Singapore

My mission here is to guide you on a few things that an expat should know / prepare before arriving in Singapore (although most of the things would be useful for all expats, some of it might be only beneficial to the Indian community).

Migrating overseas is not so easy, especially if it’s for the first time, but that’s not true when the destination is Singapore. It’s been one year and quite a smooth process of settling down in Singapore. Actually you just need about a month to set up your house and get everything going here in Singapore.

Things to check:

I’m assuming you are coming here to work. So, before you leave your native place, check with your spouse/ your company (hiring / transferring you to Singapore) whether you are entitled to a relocation compensation/ goods shipment (furniture etc.) to Singapore. If yes, then you would want to check which items you need to bring here. Prepare a list of items that are crucial. Most people sell / leave their furniture at their native home and take the compensation in cash from the company.

Let me tell you that in Singapore you will find all housing options – fully furnished, semi furnished, non-furnished. When I say furnished the house will have all essential stuff – bed, wardrobes, dining table, TV, Sofas, etc. with a few exceptions here and there. But you can also request the house owner to put furniture/ electronics that might be missing. For example you might request for a Microwave oven if the house doesn’t have one. So, it’s completely up to you what type of house you opt for. But you have to decide in advance before you arrive in Singapore whether to ship your furniture here or not.

What to pack?

If you are not getting relocation compensation from your company, then you should bring minimum stuff here. If you are coming from India, apart from Singapore Airlines and Air India and Druk Air that allows 30 Kg of check-in luggage, rest of the low cost airlines will only allow you 20 Kg. So keep your luggage to minimum – only essentials.

  • I would suggest you bring only your clothes. Bring ample number of shorts and tees and summer clothes, as this place is hot throughout the year with temperatures ranging between 24- 34 degrees Celsius. Bring comfortable footwear as well.
  • Get an umbrella. It rains a lot in Singapore, and there are two monsoons, one from June to September and one from December to early March. Although it’s quite cheap to buy an umbrella here, starting from about SGD 3 onward in convenience stores (like Fair Price, Giant), you could still bring one to keep it handy.
  • Only for Indians: From my own experience, 2 kitchen items that you should definitely bring here are – pressure cooker and one kadhai (deep frying pan). Although Mustafa Shopping Mall (the mecca for Indians shoppers here) you will find such essential kitchenware, they are pretty expensive. For instance, I checked at the Ikea store (which is a budget store), the price for one medium sized kadhai (non-stick pan) was SGD 40+ which is about INR 1900. You would definitely want to bring it from India if space permits.

As I mentioned earlier, house-hunting is pretty simple in Singapore. There are mainly 2 types of houses you can choose from: HDB flats (government built) and condos (private apartments). I will come to the topic of house hunting in greater detail in my next blog. Meanwhile you can browse the website –


About nilakshi

Welcome to Been there, done that! Traveling keeps me alive and here on my blog are a few snippets of my travel experiences, observations and some useful travel tips that I hope travelers can find handy. I also love to write about my food experiences from my holidays and anything and everything that catches my eye.
This entry was posted in Singapore Diary, Travel, Viewpoint and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to settle down as an Expat in Singapore – Part 1 – Before you arrive in Singapore

  1. Pingback: How to settle down as an expat in Singapore Part III | Been there, done that

  2. Megha says:

    Good post Nilakshi May be you could help us in the doubts that we have.
    So me and my husband are working in India and have come down to Singapore as a country where we want to settle down (we were in South Africa for many years).

    How easy is it to get a job in Singapore if we try from here. May be you could give us some tips like good portals which might help us, even paid services if need be


    • nilakshi says:

      Hi Megha, Thanks for dropping by. This blog post is based on my personal experiences. However, I am not an authorized person to talk about jobs in Singapore or advise people relocate and secure jobs here. You need to get in touch with the relevant authorities. Many thanks.


  3. gaurishanbhagwagle says:

    Nilakshi ji, it is very kind of you to take out time and give us information about how to prepare ourselves to setle down in Singapore. Getting guidance from the right people like you gives me more confidence and reduces my stress levels abou relocation to a new country. THANK YOU AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ! One reques- please menion about the challenges or problems tha you faced in Singapore and how you solved those problems or overcame those challenges so tha we can avoid these problems after shifing there. If we cannot avid these challenges or problems, then we will at least know how to tackle them nicely through your guidance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s