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 – www.propertyguru.com.sg