Some practical questions about Singapore...

(17 Posts)
magicreality Wed 30-Dec-15 17:46:07

Moving to Singapore in a couple of months. Have schools / housing etc sorted now, but would really appreciate some advice on a couple of remaining practical niggles.

What guidebook would you recommend for Singapore? Leaning towards the Rough Guide. But would it be more sensible to get a guidebook which combines Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei (on the basis that we'll do plenty of trips to Malaysia)? Or better to get a dedicated Singapore guide?

Duvets! Should we pack our 4.5 tog duvets? Or buy lighter weight ones (I think I've seen 2.5 tog for sale)? Or assume we'll use top sheets at most?

I'm a keen cook (everything from Italian to Middle Eastern to Chinese, and everything in between) and baker. Should I assume I can get everything I need in Singapore, or bring specific herbs / spices etc with me?

Anything else non-obvious that we should bring with us? We've got 2 DC under 6.

Thanks in advance - have had excellent advice on here so far!

OP’s posts: |
AngryMo Wed 30-Dec-15 22:37:09

Never had a guidebook, but joining groups like expat wives on Facebook are useful if you have any questions and people generally discuss the same topics time and time again (where to get a helper, where to buy meat, where to get your hair cut, which restaurants to go to tonight, which preschools are good etc.) and magazines like Expat Living. Warning though: expat wives group does seem to belong to another planet at times, but you learn to turn a blind eye.
Never had duvets, just sheets, and that was fine for us, but know plenty of friends who like the comfort of a duvet and sleep with air con AND fans on! Seems crazy to me now, but I have to admit it took me a while to adjust to the idea of lack of cosy blankets. Once we started paying our own electricity bills we soon learned to live without though grin
You can find most western foods in expat-favoured supermarkets like Cold Storage and Jason's, but just be prepared to pay inflated prices. I was worried when I couldn't find pesto at the start, but then found actually it was everywhere (just $6 or so for what you normally pay £1 for).
I thought I'd never use my slow cooker there but actually I found it very useful and craved "winter" foods when I didn't think I would find them appealing in the heat.

magicreality Thu 31-Dec-15 09:55:57

Thanks AngryMo - that's helpful. Will look into the expat wives Facebook group - questions about helpers, haircuts and restaurants on the tip of my tongue!

Reassuring to know that I should be able to find most food items (although also very much looking forward to sampling and learning to cook the local cuisine!).

OP’s posts: |
waitingforsomething Thu 31-Dec-15 10:16:07

Marking place as also moving to Singapore in March with two young children. Duvet question is a good one!

Peppapogstillonaloop Fri 01-Jan-16 09:56:34

We had our duvets as my husband liked to sleep with them even with the air con off (he is slightly crazy in how hot he likes to be though! It is expensive to run ac though so would advise not unless company picking up the tab!
You can get everything you need out there cooking wise but as mentioned it is usually more. Sounds like you will be shopping more locally anyway so you will love the wet markets and little india for spices etc..
I would take things like kids and adult swimmers/rash vests/clothes if you can get cheaply here as all are expensive there. Also things like scooters/bikes etc...
We did have a guidebook that I found useful for the first couple of months will see if I can find it to look what it was, possibly was rough guide. You can find most stuff online though really so probably not essential
Have fun! We loved sg, fun place to be an expat

magicreality Fri 01-Jan-16 11:51:11

Thanks Peppa . Certainly looking forwards to exploring wet markets etc. DC had scooters in their Christmas haul, but will have a think about buying a bike size ahead for each. We're doing our best to cobble together summer clothes / swimwear, but found out we would be going to Singapore only after the summer sales were finished, and will be heading out way before anything summery hits the shelves! Not ideal...

waitingforsomething - here's to 2016 in Singapore! Hope your preparations are going well.

OP’s posts: |
Laptopwieldingharpy Fri 01-Jan-16 15:50:35

You must go over to mustapha centre. You will love the spice section! Fresh and in bulk at a fraction of the price in cold storage. Even the the more arcane stuff like persian lime, asafoetida or sumac and zaatar!


Laptopwieldingharpy Fri 01-Jan-16 15:54:38

and also lots of fresh fruit and veg like pomegranates , fresh mint, coriander etc that cost a bomb in western supermarket if you need the quantities required for that sort of proper cooking!

Laptopwieldingharpy Fri 01-Jan-16 16:07:06

you can order lots of quality summer stuff online from Australian websites. Their summer sale should be on after CNY so good timing!

magicreality Fri 01-Jan-16 16:19:33

Laptopwieldingharpy - fantastic tip - thank you! I cooked our New Year's Day lunch from my current favourite cookbook, "Persiana", and was specifically wondering whether it was worth packing sumac and asafoetida (!). Now I have my answer!

Great idea about the Australian summer sales - hadn't considered that.

OP’s posts: |
Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 02-Jan-16 02:34:13

Oh i looooove persiana too!
you are going to have an absolutely fab time sampling the local food. You MUST get the makansutra guide of local food stalls.

Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 02-Jan-16 02:36:14

Go to

ButtonMoonLoon Sat 02-Jan-16 02:46:01

Things I missed when I lived there were as follows:

Sachets of infant ibuprofen and paracetamol
Gravy granules

You may well be able to find all of the above there now though as it's been a few years since I moved back!

It might be worth looking on the Target/IKEA websites for duvets, but check sizes to make sure they are compatible with any linen you are shipping from home.

Books and magazines cost a fortune when I lived there, so it might be worth taking your favourites with you.

magicreality Sat 02-Jan-16 10:32:52

Laptopwieldingharpy - have just checked out the makansutra website. Will definitely get a copy of their guidebook - looks brilliant. Exploring hawker stalls likely to be my new favourite hobby!

ButtonMoonLoon - thanks for the tips. Will definitely stock up on cheap medicine cabinet essentials in the UK. But will pass on marmite!

OP’s posts: |
ohsobusyx3 Tue 26-Jan-16 21:29:15

magicreality & waitingforsomething - we too hope to be moving to Singapore around Easter! We have 3 children aged 9, 6 & 4 and a crazy spaniel!

We're just waiting for the green light from hubby firm and then i can start packing up the house and selling our winter clothes!

Many of these questions have crossed my mind too - all mums minds think alike - husbands just move from one desk to another - I think they think the fairies come and move the home and the family!!

Morgan Sat 06-Feb-16 19:15:01

Ohsobusyx3 - I see from the other thread that tpy are moving to S'pore from Jerdsy . It's looking v likely that I will be moving there from Guernsey . My kids are 14 and 10. I agree entirely about the husbands believe the moving fairy does it all ! We moved here from Dubai 5 yrs ago so back to Summer clothes .

mmmminx Sat 06-Feb-16 19:22:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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