Because of Singapore’s size, most neighborhoods are located relatively close to the center of activity, particularly those largely favored by the expatriate community including Orchard / River Valley, Holland Village, and Bukit Timah. These neighborhoods also offer the widest options for restaurants, entertainment, and Western-style shopping. Some expatriates, however, opt for quieter outlying neighborhoods, particularly if they are looking for larger homes with more yard or garden space.
Some expatriates also choose to live in one of Singapore’s historic neighborhoods, including the shophouse rows in Chinatown, Robertson Quay, or Emerald Hill, or in one of the colonial bungalow clusters in Dover / Clementi, Adam Part, Seletar, or Sembawang.
More “local” neighborhoods can give foreigners a very unique insight into Singapore life, especially those who choose to live in the nearly all-Singaporean HDB flats, including those in Choa Chu Kang, Bedo k, Pasir Ris, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Yoa Chu Kang, and Jurong.
One of the most important things to remember is that Singapore is a city that changes dramatically on a daily basis. This makes it very difficult to choose somewhere to live, as what looks like a peaceful, quite area today can suddenly be transformed into a noisy building site practically overnight. It is therefore really important that, before commiting to purchase or rent a property on a long-term basis, you thoroughly research any developments that are planned for the area. One great site that can help you to identify which plots of land are ringfenced for development is the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Their master plan contains up-to-date views of how land in Singapore will be used in the future and can be a great tool when you are searching for properties, especially if you intend to buy.