The Path Less Traveled in Singapore

A great benefit to moving to Singapore is you get to be a tourist for a year. Everything is new, the Singaporean culture, food and weather to name a few. But there are also new places to explore, museums to visit and attractions to see. There is the basic top 10 must see (which actually, in the last five years, has grown to 20) but there are also some less known things to do in Singapore.

Butterfly is on a constant lookout for new things to do on the island. Having been here collectively for 25 years, and despite the ever-changing landscape and newly erected buildings, one can get the “done that already” feeling.

Statue from Haw Par Villa

Here are a few ideas to mix-up your weekends, they are excerpts from some of our visitor itineraries that we have planned for clients.

1) It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy this tour! Join a guided tour of Singapore’s paranormal activity. You will tour cemeteries, derelict buildings and shady groves all the while hearing about the ghosts that dwell around them and the eerie rituals people still practice today.

2) Looking for a backdrop for your Christmas card? Look no further than Haw Par Villa. This park was originally a garden designed and built by the famed Tiger Balm brothers. The sculpture garden was planned in order to teach people about (and abide) Chinese values and traditions. They loaded (about 1,000) colorful, sometimes gruesome, over life-sized statues that represented Chinese teachings and folklore. Sometime in the 80’s, someone got a brilliant idea and decided to make it into an amusement park. It failed… DUH?! Fast forward 2012, many of the original statues have been replaced and the garden is returning to its original OTT, kitschy splendor. It’s a definite “see it to believe it”!

3) It’s free, it’s tranquil and… well, it’s free! Not an easy thing to do in Singapore these days. This beautiful garden is a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle or for that matter, the Botanic Garden. It’s just a little off the beaten path, I say a little because if you’re not driving, it is a straight shot on the newly built Circle Line. Pack a picnic or enjoy lunch over looking the lake.

4) Shop til you drop! It’s pretty easy to do on Orchard Road with just about every International flagship store available (usually x 2). Butterfly suggests you step over to the funky side and explore the unique and hip boutiques of Haji Lane. A narrow street nestled in the heart of the Muslim quarter, runs from North Bridge Road to Beach Road and is home to independent designers, restaurants, and bars. Shop late in the afternoon and stay for cocktails and/or dinner.

5) For the intrepid adventurers… The Southern Islands off Sentosa offer an enticing overnight camping treat for the whole family. St. John Island, with its bungalows and bunkrooms, is perfect for the cautious camper. Where as the Sister Islands, with just areas to pitch a tent, offers a more authentic camping experience. Both have BBQ pits and personal facilities but neither has any catering/F&B. So pack up your cool boxes (with A LOT of ice), a few bags of charcoal and several boxes of matches (they get damp quickly) and head over for a night of campfires and sleeping under the stars.

The Skinny on Housing Property Options in Singapore

There are quite a few property options that await you when moving to Singapore. The important thing to remember is to keep an open mind and DON’T try to replace your previous home. Perhaps you could even make a big change and go for an apartment or try living in a landed Housing Singapore if you’re coming from a city. Lifestyle change can be fun and Singapore is a great place to do it!

Where you work, go to school, what conveniences you need, will you drive… oh the list of questions can go on forever, but they play a big part of what area you should choose to live in. For example, if you are in the great outdoors, we would suggest you hit the East Coast with its endless outdoor space and activities.

We’ve broken the list down for you to consider your options and of course you can call us if you are feeling overwhelmed or need more inside scoop… hint, hint.

The most common expat haunts are parts of the East Coast, Holland Village, Sixth Avenue and Orchard. But with the surge of Housing living costs, we are seeing quite a few expats moving off the grid (as it were) and they are being rewarded with some spacious properties.

The property types are endless but it really is your housing budget that will make the decision for you….

There’s the HBD route but these offer zero facilities and tend to come with few amenities, such as an oven. Then moving on to the APARTMENT, these dwellings tend to be larger as they are older Housing but again offer few facilities, maybe a pool if you’re lucky. Going up the property chain is the CONDO. This is usually a good option for most people as they offer an array of facilities like a pool, tennis court, gym, etc… some of them even come in the form of “CLUSTER” houses. These too are nice, but be prepared for some communal housing Singapore(i.e. low on privacy). Next up… the SEMI DETACHED or ROW houses, you will love these if you want to feel like you are living a little locally. The neighborhoods tend to have a good mix of Expats and Singaporeans. And at the top of the heap is the GCB (Good Class Bungalow). These offer gardens, pools, privacy, sometimes even a tennis court. They are either privately owned or if they are government owned, they are called a BLACK & WHITE (Colonial remnants from a bygone era).

Totally confused? No problem, our Lifestyle Specialists match the perfect estate agent to meet your needs, so give us a jingle!