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Moving to Singapore

(26 Posts)
Tango80 Tue 15-Nov-16 21:33:38

Hi All,
I have been lurking on Mumsnet for a while now and finally making my first post!
My husband, myself and our 2 boys (2 and 6 year old) are moving to Singapore from London at Christmas.
I have a few questions regarding our move, would really appreciate it if those mumsnetters in Singapore could help!

Firstly I will be a SAHM, will it be easy to meet other mums? Where is the best places to meet them? Can anyone recommend family clubs, I found Tanderra club which looks interesting?

My eldest is going to Dulwich College. I want to drop him off and pick him up initially whilst he settles. We are looking at condos in Bukit Timah, can anyone recommend condos which are family friendly and have an expat community?

We are not planning to get any live in help. Will it be easier to get babysitters? We have family in London so never required a babysitting service but we don't know anyone out in Singapore but would like a few evenings out without the children!

Any other tips would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance!

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 16-Nov-16 07:10:03

It is relatively easy to meet others through school, playgroups and condo life. Bukit Timah is popular with expats (we live there and love it) but it is a biggish area. Upper Bukit Timah is more local, closer to the Botanic Gardens is full of expats. There are great condos and cluster houses (like townhouses that share facilities) but it will depend on your budget and whether you'll have a car. Duchess Crest is at the lower price point (4-7k per month) and very popular with families but a long walk from public transport. Cheaper further up into Upper Bukit Timah but more local shopping, hawker centres and local coffee shops rather than trendy shops and cafes.

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 16-Nov-16 07:19:04

Not so easy to get babysitters, but there are a couple of agencies you could try. I've used babysitters.sg but no guarantee you get the same person each time. The cost is about SGD20 (but I have three children so it might be a little lower).

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 16-Nov-16 07:19:16

SGD 20 per hour.

Tango80 Wed 16-Nov-16 09:11:02

Thank you Saltedcaramel, it's comforting to know it's relatively easy to meet people, that is a big worry as we get closer to the move date.

We were looking at condos near King Albert Park MRT as I think it is less than 30 mins bus ride to Dulwich and 30 mins away from CBD. We are open to condos along he downtown line so will definitely look at Duchess Crest when we are out there as that is around our budget.

Any other helpful tips would be greatly appreciated! The reality of the move is starting to get a bit overwhelming.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 16-Nov-16 09:45:30

It is very easy to meet people. A condo is a great idea so that you have a primary support system on your doorstep.you'll have kids in and out of your house in no time, most people have an open door policy.
Parent organisations at most schools really work hard to create opportunities to socialise, especially in lower primary. So that is another avenue to explore fully.
Dont know the tanderra club but yes club memberships are great for kids and adults alike, although not a necessity.
we always had a helper as we both worked in Sg and 6 years ago babysitters were scarce.
See how it goes when you get there. You might find it's the norm and change your mind.
When your children are slightly older, you might need a car and/or helper to manage splitting yourself into multiple locations for after school activities!

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 16-Nov-16 09:46:17

Propertyguru.com.sg is great to search for property by size, budget, area

kelso1 Mon 21-Nov-16 22:42:46

Hi Tango80
We are also relocating to Singapore in December. Our son is going to Malborough college Malaysia, so we are restricting our home search to areas near the pick up points. I like you , although hope to work part time , am anxious about making a social network and joining a choir and possibly a yoga class to meet other folks in a similar situation. Hope the packing all goes well and you are also looking forward to yoir new adventure. Best wishes.

Kuriusoranj Mon 21-Nov-16 22:59:28

As everyone has said, very easy to meet people if you put yourself out there. Generally we're all in the same boat and most of us like to repay the support we got when we got here.

We live the opposite end of the island so can't help with condos, but do get an agent - it will make life easier. Be aware that the system is HEAVILY in the favour of landlords, so do everything you can to protect yourself - lots of dated photos when you move in, be extra diligent with inventory etc. Your agent will help.

Also - a short walk at home is something quite different in this humidity- so adjust your thinking! If you can, an MRT within 7-8 mins walk would be a good choice.

Re the helper issue - we all decide for ourselves but don't be afraid to change your mind. I was dead set against it but now I would not be without her. Since we weren't going to do it, my condo isn't terribly comfy for her, which is a big regret. I would have chosen with another resident in mind! In my observation, babysitters can be tricky to find. If you are going to work at all, unless your children are old enough to take care of themselves, a helper is almost inevitable. Any other childcare is almost non-existent.

kelso1 , just be aware that part time work is extremely rare for ex-pats. You may be lucky but don't pin your hopes or build your plans on it.

Always happy to answer any questions I can - been here 4 years now and it's a great place to live.

Tango80 Tue 22-Nov-16 16:59:56

Hello, thank you all for replying to my post. Some great tips!
I think we'll see how we get on without a helper initially especially as I won't be working. I guess I can decide once I get there, though I will bear in mind when house hunting so we have the option!

We are slowly going through all the admin needed for our move, such a headache!

I have been looking at condos on PropertyGuru along the downtown line, its convenient for CBD and buses to Dulwich College. Is Hillview and Bukit Panjang nice areas or should I stick to King Albert Park and Sixth Avenue areas?

A silly question, but do your kids sleep with a duvet over there, what tog should I take over?

Kelso1 - good luck with your move also.

LAD1 Wed 23-Nov-16 12:45:15

Hi, we are heading over next week for a 5 day visit in anticipation of a move next Spring. We are visiting schools (Tanglin, Dover, Chatsworth and Eton House) and hopefully will be meeting with a property agent o show us some options near each of the schools. Where else should we visit? What else should we try to see in order to get a sense of how life would be for our family in Singapore. We have a 6yo and a 3yo. Any mums at the above schools who would he happy to meet up with me (whilst hubby in his office) to show me the ropes? Thanks x

JamieVardysParty Wed 23-Nov-16 13:32:52

Tanderra is a great place to meet other parents and they do a lot of Mum and Baby groups that are otherwise difficult to find in SG. (Have to admit, I am friends with the owners, so slightly biased).

There are SO many FB groups where you can meet new people in the same situation. People also advertise babysitting services - either their teenage kids or there are some 20+ year olds working there who want to make a bit extra in the evenings.

Newyearnewbrain Wed 23-Nov-16 13:38:29

Hi. We've been here about four weeks now, so still finding our feet.

Def second the pp who said to live pretty close to an MRT (or indeed a decent bus route), walking in the humidity is pretty intense

We live around Serangoon Gardens and my DDs go to the French school. Happy to answer any questions about this area.

BradleyPooper Thu 24-Nov-16 01:31:14

Left Singapore a while ago but can answer your duvet question! We always had summer duvets and slept with the air con on in the living room. No need for anything more than the minimum tog but you can get cheap duvets in ikea in sgp if you need to. I would actually leave duvets at home and buy new when you get there to avoid sleeping under duvets that have been in a sea shipment for 6 weeks. You can sleep with just a duvet cover if you need to in the meantime.

We always had a part time cleaner who was fabulous. She didn't babysit for us although I know other part timers who did babysit for their families. We always asked dd2's nursery school teachers to babysit, even after she left that school. We still miss them!

Google mums at work Singapore for part time jobs, there are some out there! I worked part time, full time (sponsored employment pass), freelance and owned my own company during my 9 years in Singapore (also did voluntary work) so there are options.

FreddoFrog Thu 24-Nov-16 02:05:58

Just to correct the above, Duchess Crest is close to Tan Kah Kee MRT (Downtown line). Easily less than a 10 minutes walk. Lots of Dulwich kids here, the bus comes just before 8am. Duchess Residences is a nice condo too - fabulous pool!

My children just sleep with an empty duvet cover. They go to sleep with the AC on, then we switch over to the ceiling fan when we go to bed.

Good luck, the first few months are a bit of a rollercoaster but you'll soon settle in!

BradleyPooper Thu 24-Nov-16 02:40:17

Used to live in duchess crest (2008-10). Check out the town houses at the front, we lived in one of them. Units round the pool are nice but can get a little noisy if you have smaller kids who need naps / early bedtimes....

shuijiao Thu 24-Nov-16 03:43:15

We live at Hillcrest Villa, cluster houses about 5 min walk from Tan Kah Kee MRT. It's lovely, not as many facilities as you get with the large condo complexes, but it's great for young children. I've got a 6-year-old at Dulwich, and there is a small group of children who all get the school bus together.

We have a part-time cleaner who also babysits for us occasionally. I personally don't want a helper, I don't like the idea of having someone else around the house all the time, and I'd be no good at 'managing' them.

We bought some 1 tog duvets from M&S before we came, they're very light/thin, but fill out the duvet covers just enough to feel like there's something there. My dc have the aircon on in their rooms, but it's set at something like 29 degrees, so I think it's on fan mode for most of the night. DH and I have a ceiling fan in our room which makes a big difference, so we don't need the air con on.

Kuriusoranj Thu 24-Nov-16 04:28:19

We use aircon and duvets as we don't have ceiling fans.

LAD1 you'll get a range of lifestyles depending on partly where you live and the school. We are out East - very suburban, not traditional River Valley expat life. It suits us but we don't do the Orchard-club-high end shopping stuff. Lots of people like to take advantage of that lifestyle while they are here and I don't blame them. It just doesn't suit us so East is good for us. We both commute to a location which is technically West and our 20-30 minute taxi trip is widely believed by locals and long-termers to be stupidly long grin. It's a small country. Talk to your agent about how you want to live and go from there. We are at one of the schools you mention - happy to fill you in where I can.

Re working for yourself - again I'd advise against pinning your hopes on that. The rules changed this year and the word is that it is now extremely difficult to get permission as a sole trader on a Dependent Pass. I have had friends previously approved who were rejected for renewal and now cannot work any more. I'm not saying it's impossible, but please all, if working part time or for yourself is a key element of your plans or particularly financially necessary, do your research. It would be awful to end up being disappointed or resentful and have it spoil your experience here.

And it can be a great experience- it's a very easy place to live, everything WORKS here although you may take a while to establish how, people are largely open, welcoming and helpful. And just take a look at the map and see how much of the world is accessible within a 7 hour flight. It's amazing.

kelso1 Thu 24-Nov-16 18:02:45

Hi folks. We are moving to Singapore in Dec and keen to continue with my favourite hobby. Does anyone know of it could recommend any good choirs that I could join in the new year in Singapore. I've been a member of lots of different types of choirs and Am Dram groups in the past , so not fussy if it's more social or serious , I read music, also up for a musical challenge. Would really appreciate any advice on where to look. Many thanks.

kelso1 Thu 24-Nov-16 18:03:58

Woops, , sorry didn't mean to add to this thread , I thought I had started a new post , my apologise.

BradleyPooper Thu 24-Nov-16 18:06:59

Friends of mine were in numama choir, their concerts were just amazing. Lots and lots of opportunities for every type of singing, music, drama etc.

JamieVardysParty Thu 24-Nov-16 18:22:04

A friend of a friend was part of the Stage Club and we saw a couple of their productions, which were really cool.

waitingforsomething Sat 03-Dec-16 05:43:33

Hi, I'm in Singapore now, leaving in Feb. You'll have a great time. Bukit Timah is nice, there is a large condo called Maplewoods by King Albert MRT which is popular. The downtown line is useful to live on.

In terms of meeting other parents, if you are planning to stay at home with your two year old (rather than send him to kindergarten) then there is a great playgroup in Dempsey (near Orchard) at St. George's Church where I met a lot of friends. To be honest, the culture locally is to send children to at least mornings in kindergarten at around 18-20 months so a lot of people at groups are with younger children.

KateInKorea Sat 03-Dec-16 06:17:57

I also think Maplewoods is a good bet, but I think that Floridian next door to it is nicer.
Actually all of the condos around King Albert park are lovely.

pklme Sat 03-Dec-16 07:46:40

We slept under a sheet. We didn't use air con on the house much, as it puts you off wanting to go outside. The less you use it, the quicker you get used to it.
We found some of our friends would lend us a maid for an evening, for a tip, to babysit. Children tend to stay up later and be out and about in the late evening, and are pretty welcome most places, though.
We joined the toddler groups at St Georges, at the top of Orchard Road. It was a good place to meet people. They were set up to support all us transient families.
I found people there pretty good at welcoming new arrivals, groups which met weekly etc.

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