Easy Life in the Heartlands of Singapore

English Singlish is spoken

Public Transport

Train MRT (mass rail transit) bus or taxi

Real Food Fresh Fruit and Vegetables everywhere

Vacation and Public Holidays

Singpass

Singapore supermarkets

Food security

Buses

Hawker centres 

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Smart but casual, clean, ironed and box fresh is the fashion. This is the tropics, only real estate agents and bankers wear ties, and only the Japanese and Germans wear full suits. You already stand out, so your goal is to fit in and get on. For men in the central business district (CBD), it is long trousers and for women skirts, in the suburbs, both sexes are seen in shorts. Malay women and other Muslim women but not all dress more conservatively, some in hijab, occasionally the burka, and sometimes just long leggings and long sleeves, others in short shorts. Some Myanmar women wear traditional talcum powder in an iconic manner on their faces (Thanakha). Notice the multicultural side by side, back to back at the same lunch table.

Short Stay Accommodation

Luxury Hotels

Singapore shines as a jewel of Asia, a beacon for the business traveller seeking unparalleled luxury. In this city where modernity meets opulence, the accommodation scene caters to every desire of the discerning visitor. Having explored the Lion City’s lavish offerings, we find ourselves captivated by the grandeur of its most illustrious hotels. Picture suites fit for royalty, commanding breathtaking cityscapes. Envision the exclusive services that elevate your stay: dedicated butlers, infinity pools that blend with the skyline, and dining experiences that are the epitome of culinary excellence. It’s a slice of life straight out of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ or ‘Bling Empire’. For those ready to immerse themselves in Singapore’s splendour, the list below is your gateway to the pinnacle of indulgence.

Royal Plaza on Scotts Singapore, located in the heart of Orchard Road, this hotel epitomizes modern elegance. Picture yourself in a suite adorned with plush furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows, revealing panoramic views of the cityscape. Key Features: Personal butler service, an infinity pool that seems to merge with the sky, and delectable dining options.

Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, nestled amidst luxury boutiques, this hotel offers a refined escape. The suites here are a harmonious blend of comfort and sophistication, with thoughtful amenities. Key Features: A rooftop pool oasis, impeccable service, and proximity to iconic landmarks.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, housed in a historic neoclassical building, this waterfront gem exudes timeless charm. Imagine waking up to views of the Singapore River or Marina Bay. Key Features: Opulent suites, a rooftop bar, and a spa that pampers your senses.

Executive Suite Royal Plaza on Scotts Singapore
Marriott  hotel Singapore at Tang plaza hotel

Beautique Hotels

The Fullerton Bay Hotel, perched like a crown jewel on the Marina Bay basin, The Fullerton Bay Hotel is a symphony of beauty and breathtaking views. Its historic lobby, nestled within the iconic Clifford Pier, boasts dramatic arches that transport you to another era. Every room promises a vista, but the Bay View categories? Sublime. Imagine floor-to-ceiling windows framing the bay’s ever-changing moods: sparkling and resplendent by night, and a vision of serenity to greet your mornings. Oh, and let’s not forget their pillow menu – eclectic choices like buckwheat and jade-lined pillows await. Just minutes from the Merlion and Esplanade, this hotel invites you to laze by the pool and soak up the mesmerizing nightscape.

Andaz Singapore Hotel, nestled in the heart of the city on the cusp of the CBD, offering a unique blend of modern luxury and traditional local charm. all the rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase breathtaking city views. The essence of Singapore’s rich culture and heritage is woven throughout the hotel’s design, capturing the spirit of the surrounding shophouse-filled alleyways of Bugis Glam. Sseven restaurants including the locally inspired dishes at The Green Oven to the premium steaks at 665 Degrees Fahrenheit. Panoramic views of the city skyline from the roof tope bar, perfect spot for an evening cocktail.

Sofitel, where wellness meets wanderlust. Imagine a 24-hour gym, but that’s just the beginning. Club Floor guests get VIP access to the adjacent Virgin Active gym – think high-altitude workouts and Himalayan Salt Inhalation Room therapy. As the sun sets, dive into the 30-meter infinity pool, then descend to the 1864 Bar. A stone’s throw away from the Singapore City Gallery, at a mere 300 metres distance, the Sofitel Singapore City Centre stands as a beacon of elegance amidst the city’s bustling streets.

Fullerton Bay hotel Singapore CBD
Andaz Singapore Hotel
Sofitel Hotel Singapore

Budget Hotels

The Great Madras, a Little India gem where art deco flair meets 1950s chic. With whimsical porthole windows and a tranquil outdoor pool, it’s a visual delight. This Wes Anderson-esque retreat boasts pastel tones, tropical motifs, and Instagram-worthy spots at every turn. Choose from five retro-styled rooms, including The Great Suite with its own study and circular tub, for a splash of luxury.

Heritage Collection on Chinatown is your affordable haven in the heart of intriguing, historic Chinatown. Nestled on 227 South Bridge Road, it’s a stone’s throw from iconic attractions like Masjid Chulia, Sri Mariamman Temple, and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Plus, you’re surrounded by dining options: from Amoy Street and Maxwell Food Centres to the vibrant restaurants and cocktail bars of Club Street and Ann Siang Road.

Hotel Gin Bugis Singapore, in an arts and culture district, exudes a delightful blend of industrial, vintage, and bohemian chic. Each room is thoughtfully curated, adorned with quirky details and modern amenities. What’s even cooler? Guests receive dining credits to enjoy either the trendy and affordable winery, Ginett, or the American burger bar, 25 Degrees.

Long Stay Rental Accommodation

Condos and Apartments

Renting accommodation in Singapore is a common choice for foreigners, especially given the restrictions on property ownership. Let’s explore the options available for private rental accommodation:

  • Private condos and apartments:
    • More amenities and are popular among expatriates.
    • You can rent an entire condo/apartment or individual rooms.
    • Rental periods are typically more flexible than HDB flats.
    • Prices vary based on location, size, and facilities.
  • Landed Properties:
    • Landed properties include terraced houses, semi-detached houses, and bungalows.
    • These are standalone homes with private outdoor spaces.
    • Landed properties are more expensive but offer more privacy and space.
    • Rental terms are usually negotiable.
Fruit Stall Bedok North Singapore 1008x756
Thai Lady water melon  Bedok North Singapore 1008x756

Social Housing Schemes

Shunned by expats, they represent better value, are better located, nearest to amenities to some Singapore social housing schemes are a marvel especially if you want to live like a local. You will notice that Singapore is one big social housing scheme, known and loved locally as the “Heartlands” developed to end colonial-era poor housing and as part of a post-independence nation-building initiative to give citizens access to capital. Occupants do not rent the homes they buy, based on government housing loans over 15 to 25 years much like a mortgage but without the austerity of the commercial banking sector.

In 2022 more than three quarters of Singapore families live in Housing Development Board (HDB) apartments, the most common being four-room flats (aka 3 bedrooms). When you consider the resell market value on these properties is not yet at half a million Singapore dollars you can see how multi-generational wealth and saving is developed for working families and greater bond to their nation.

When families face financial difficulties, marital splits or a mother or wife is widowed she might move in with her children and rent out her apartment. At SGD 3,000 a month rent this is a good income for the widow and three-quarters the rent you might pay for a smaller less desirable private property.

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Smart but casual, clean, ironed and box fresh is the fashion. This is the tropics, only real estate agents and bankers wear ties, and only the Japanese and Germans wear full suits. You already stand out, so your goal is to fit in and get on. For men in the central business district (CBD), it is long trousers and for women skirts, in the suburbs, both sexes are seen in shorts. Malay women and other Muslim women but not all dress more conservatively, some in hijab, occasionally the burka, and sometimes just long leggings and long sleeves, others in short shorts. Some Myanmar women wear traditional talcum powder in an iconic manner on their faces (Thanakha). Notice the multicultural side by side, back to back at the same lunch table.

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Smart but casual, clean, ironed and box fresh is the fashion. This is the tropics, only real estate agents and bankers wear ties, and only the Japanese and Germans wear full suits. You already stand out, so your goal is to fit in and get on. For men in the central business district (CBD), it is long trousers and for women skirts, in the suburbs, both sexes are seen in shorts. Malay women and other Muslim women but not all dress more conservatively, some in hijab, occasionally the burka, and sometimes just long leggings and long sleeves, others in short shorts. Some Myanmar women wear traditional “Thanakha” of talcum powder in an iconic manner on their faces. Notice the multicultural side by side, back to back at the same lunch table.

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Move to Singapore from the USA in 2024:

We help teams build the business of their dreams

No Visa Required:

USA Citizens coming to Singapore and can stay for up to 90 days. If you have a job lined up with a Singapore company, they will have applied for your work pass with the Ministry of Manpower (MoM). Your employer will confirm your contract and collect from MoM your work pass, and any dependency passes that are applicable. You may incorporate a business entity, apply for a work visa and dependency passes, or long-term visitor passes for family. It can be straight forward when making the move to Singapore from the USA.

No COVID or Vaccination status:

There are no longer COVID-19 or vaccination status measures for travellers arriving in Singapore. Check for any health alerts that might arise from time to time.

Dependents

You may want to bring your dependents, such as your wife and children, with you. To do so, you will need to apply for the appropriate passes for them, depending on your eligibility and their relationship to you. The most common type of pass for dependents of work pass holders is the Dependant’s Pass (DP) or Long Term Visitors Pass (LTVP). You can apply for a DP for your legally married spouse and your unmarried children under 21 years old, including those legally adopted. To be eligible for a DP, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • The sponsoring applicant holding the employment pass must earn a minimum SGD 6,000 per month remuneration as salaried wage from being hired by a well established and Singapore registered company, serving as your sponsor. Bear in mid that the average monthly earning in SGD 4,000 but that visiting professional foreigners with post graduate qualifications will earn from SG$ 8,000 to SGD 20,000 and up. The minimum monthly SGD 6,000 is calculated from the annual salary of the sponsoring applicant and not the combined family income which is the case in some government interactions.
  • Dependents are not expected to be economically active. If DP holders which to work they must apply for Employment Pass ( EP ), S Pass or Work Permit. E-Pass and the S-Pass are two separate work passes meant for professionals with high-level qualifications and technicians with mid-level skills. On the other hand, the Work Permits are unskilled workers with a lower-level of skills-set, working in laboring industries.

Long Term Visitors Pass

Defendant Pass are for the family members of none Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents, To be eligible for an LTVP, you need to meet the same requirements as a DP, except for the minimum salary requirement and that the sponsor is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident. You will also need to provide additional documents to prove your relationship with your dependents, such as a declaration form or a court order. The application fee for each LTVP is $105 and the issuance fee is $225. The validity of the LTVP will vary depending on your work pass validity and other factors. You can renew the LTVP as long as you hold a valid work pass.

Singapore hotels:

Singapore hotels can be as pricey as Manhattan, London and Paris. If you don’t want to downgrade, look into long-stay value options of serviced apartments and private rental homes. (See pages “hotels and accommodation”).

Business culture and etiquette:

Singapore’s business culture at large is about people getting along, the country is too small for strife, so while Singaporeans tolerate the entitled westerner “to POSH to push to stubborn to shove, bullies”, Singaporeans have seen it all before, and it won’t get you anywhere. Play it smart, and play it cool. Get along with people, and you will get along in business. Bribes are not OK in Singapore. Do not offer a percentage of business for doing business. It is illegal, it will offend, it is unethical and against USA, EU and SGX regulations.

The Dress code:

Smart but casual, clean, ironed and box fresh is the fashion. This is the tropics, only real estate agents and bankers wear ties, and only the Japanese and Germans wear full suits. You already stand out, so your goal is to fit in and get on. For men in the central business district (CBD), it is long trousers and for women skirts, in the suburbs, both sexes are seen in shorts. Malay women and other Muslim women but not all dress more conservatively, some in hijab, occasionally the burka, and sometimes just long leggings and long sleeves, others in short shorts. Some Myanmar women wear traditional talcum powder in an iconic manner on their faces (Thanakha). Notice the multicultural side by side, back to back at the same lunch table.

Incorporating a business:

Singapore is great for business, Singapore is an easy entry, easy exit market and whilst regulated for your protection it is slim-lined for ease of execution. You are not required to be a local but you will need a local officer. Whilst you are not required to use a law firm and individuals can complete the company registration online. Singapore is built for business and many accounting, audit and law firms specialise in company registration at competitive rates as a way of offering you your future business needs as you grow.

USA & SG tax law:

Singapore earnings are generally subject to US federal income tax unless they qualify for certain exclusions or credits. This is because the US taxes its citizens and residents on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live or work. However, there are some ways that you can reduce or eliminate your US tax liability on your Singapore earnings, such as:

  • “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE)”, is a provision that allows you to exclude up to $108,700 (for 2021) of your foreign earned income from your US taxable income if you meet either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test.
  • “Foreign Housing Exclusion or Deduction”: This is a provision that allows you to exclude or deduct a certain amount of your foreign housing expenses from your US taxable income if you qualify for the FEIE. The foreign housing expenses include rent, utilities, repairs, insurance, etc. The amount of exclusion or deduction depends on your location, income, and expenses.
  • “Foreign Tax Credit (FTC)”: This is a provision that allows you to claim a credit for the income taxes that you paid or accrued to a foreign country/region if you are subject to both US and foreign tax on the same income.
  • “US-Singapore Income Tax Treaty”: This is an agreement between the US and Singapore that aims to prevent double taxation and promote cooperation on tax matters. The treaty provides rules and benefits for different types of income, such as business profits, dividends, interest, royalties, capital gains, etc. The treaty also provides relief from double taxation through the exchange of information and mutual agreement procedures.

It is also worth noting that Singapore does not tax money entering Singapore. Singapore does not tax foreign income, be aware of the grey area of income generated via local services on foreign income, that should be declared for Singapore taxes. Singapore local income taxes are simple, low, with generous thresholds and easily calculated annually at https://www.iras.gov.sg/

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