Wondering where to live in Singapore? We give you the rundown on the city's hip neighbourhoods.
Singapore is a melting pot of diverse cultures, which means you can always expect something different in every neighbourhood. Whether you’re looking for a new place or planning to start a new life in our cosmopolitan city, this neighbourhood guide has a good mix of trendy hotspots and charming heartlands. Read on to find out where to live in Singapore as we bring you the island’s coolest ‘hoods.
Best neighbourhoods to live in Singapore
Thomson is a food and nature lover’s paradise. The stretch of shophouses along Upper Thomson houses several hip cafes, local hawker fare and supper spots, making this the perfect heartland neighbourhood for affordable good food, weekend brunches and late-night get-togethers. It’s located near MacRitchie Reservoir, so you’ll have easy access to lush nature trails and kayaking spots for when you need to escape the concrete jungle. We also love that transport is a cinch – just hop on a train at the recently-opened Upper Thomson MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line!
Tanglin is high on our list of neighbourhoods to live in Singapore. You’ll enjoy easy access to our beautiful Botanic Gardens (it’s on the Unesco World Heritage Site list), Orchard Road and its bustling shops, and top-notch restaurants and cafes at the nearby Dempsey Hill. There’s plenty of housing available here, from low-rise condos to extravagant properties (gardens included). If that’s not enough, you’ll also be close to the four-storey Tanglin Mall that houses a gourmet supermarket for all your cooking needs.
If you want to be in the thick of things, Orchard is where it’s at. The shopping stretch is home to a multitude of malls, cinemas, restaurants and bars at your disposal. Plus, you’re mere minutes from the CBD, thanks to three MRT stations in the area: Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut. While it might look like all concrete and no greenery, nearby places like Singapore Botanic Gardens and Emerald Hill offer the perfect respite from all that retail buzz.
If good education tops the list of requirements for your kids, consider shifting to a home in Serangoon. You’ll have easy access to top international institutes like the Australian International School and International French School. Worried about housing? Don’t fret: there are several spacious private estates and condominiums to choose from (and we particularly adore the laidback village vibes in this part of Singapore). For good local food, head down to Chomp Chomp Food Centre at Serangoon Gardens, and you can even swing by MyVillage shopping mall to pick up groceries on your way home.
5. Upper Bukit Timah
Singapore is a lot of things, but having an abundance of space isn’t one of them. With that being said, Upper Bukit Timah is one of the few neighbourhoods home to landed properties. We’re talking about semi-detached houses and multi-storey bungalows that offer a private pool, balcony, spacious backyard and if you’re lucky, rooftop views of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Not only that, but thanks to the Downtown Line, commuting to work is a breeze.
6. Robertson Quay
One of the quieter quays, residents here have easy access to party central aka Clarke Quay. You’re also close to the bustling CBD, though you still get to enjoy the serenity of Robertson Quay. It’s the best of both worlds, if you ask us. While people come for the posh condos, they end up staying for the vibrant dining scene. From restaurants to cafes to bars, the buzzing local culinary scene is right at your fingertips.
7. Holland Village
Holland Village has to be one of the best neighbourhoods to live in Singapore ‘cos it has all the works. From cute cafes and buzzing watering holes to local and international eats and even beauty parlours, you don’t have to leave the vicinity for a relaxed weekend. The district offers a range of residential options, including HDB flats, condominium apartments and terraced houses at the quiet Chip Bee Gardens.
8. Tiong Bahru
Time truly stands still in this heritage enclave. Living in this neighbourhood means you’ll have some of the island’s best cafes, restaurants and shops right in your own backyard. That’s not all! Visit Tiong Bahru Market on a weekend morning and you’ll get a slice of local culture – let’s just say kaya toast and kopi are involved. Surrounded by towering condominium buildings and low-rise Art Deco flats, this ‘hood has the perfect blend of old and new.
Novena is easily overlooked with Orchard Road being just 10 minutes away. But this is a neat neighbourhood to settle down in if you want to be a stone’s throw away from places like Little India, Balestier and Newton Food Centre, which houses a bevy of stellar local eats under one roof (it also starred in Crazy Rich Asians!). Plus, Novena MRT station on the North-South Line gives you direct access to the Civic District, the CBD, and true-blue heartland ‘hoods of Singapore like Ang Mo Kio and Yishun.
10. East Coast
The way of life is totally different at East Coast. Everything here is calmer and slower, so don’t expect gargantuan malls. Instead, you’ll be welcomed with storied shophouses at Joo Chiat, a slew of cafes at Siglap and an array of bars and eateries along East Coast Road. The only downside is that there are no MRT stations nearby at the moment (hey, it’s all part of the slow life movement). But, the numerous bus services and close access to ECP and PIE highways make up for it. Not convinced? You’ll be just a few minutes away from the pristine shores of East Coast Park.
Frequently visited by tourists and locals alike, this heritage enclave needs no introduction. From a trio of food courts (Hong Lim Food Centre, Chinatown Complex Food Centre and People’s Park Food Centre) to a dizzying array of Asian eateries, you’ll never go hungry. For international flavours and great cocktails, you can easily make your way to trendy neighbouring areas like Ann Siang Hill, Club Street, Amoy Street, Duxton Hill and Keong Saik Road by foot.
So you’re all about the island life? Sentosa beckons! Sentosa Cove, the residential area, boasts mansions and condominium complexes with panoramic views of the South China Sea. Plus, the island is peppered with top-notch hotels, restaurants, beach clubs and pristine beaches – the fun truly never stops. For your daily essentials, there’s the waterfront shopping mall at Quayside Isle. But it’s worth mentioning that all this comes at a steep rental price, just so you know.
Here’s hoping our guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in Singapore will show you that house hunting is more of a fun adventure than a daunting experience!