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Living in Singapore

Studying abroad is a precious experience that money can't buy. Starting an new life in a new place, making new friends, adapting to a different culture, trying new things dan finding out new places. Every student will experience and remember these beside studying, doing assignments and attending classes.

Awarded as a country with best life quality in Asia based on surveys to 350 cities in Asia by Economist Intelligence Unit in 2006, Singapore also leads other cities in Asia in the world's rank as the most decent city to live based on Mercer Quality of Living Survey in 2008. Singapore is a cosmopolitan city with a high living standard but compare to other modern cities, living cost in Singapore is quite low.

International students in Singapore will need around SGD 750 - 2,000 per month for living cost but it depends on the life style and school fees.

Needs Fees per Month
Accomodation SGD 400 - SGD 1,500
(rent fees vary to location, accommodation type, facility and room type)
Utilities SGD 80 - SGD 100
(not applicable for boarding school)
Food SGD 300 - SGD 450 (estimate SGD 10 - SGD 15 for 3 meals a day)
Note: Boarding school provides 2 meals a day and accommodation provides meals with extra charge
Transportation SGD 20 - SGD 150
Telecomunication From SGD 30
(Varies to usage and subscribe package)
Books and Stationery SGD 30 - SGD 100
(Varies to study program)
Medical Insurance SGD 5 - SGD 300 (depends on insurance policy)
Personal Needs SGD 100 - SGD 300 (varies to individual)
(clothes, toiletry, hair cut, hobby, activities outside school, etcs)
* source: Singapore Education
** average estimation on November 2007

Currency used in Singapore is Dollar and Cent. Some shopping centre also accept US Dollar and Australian Dollar, Yen and Pound sterling. Beside that, credit card and payment using ATM card (called NETS) are other alternative to do the payment. Singapore government charge 7% goods and service tax for every purchase.

Working hours of banks in Singapore are generally from Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 3 pm and on Saturday from 9:30 am to 11 am / 1 pm. Some banks operate until late night and longer on Saturday; even some banks in Orchard Road operate on Sunday.

International students in Singapore are advised to open an account during studing period in Singapore with minimum opening balance SGD 100 (under 21 years old student) accompanied by passport and student pass. Upon the account opening, bank will give the ATM card for cash withdrawing at ATM machine and payment trough NETS (non cash payment system in Singapore).

Singapore has a wide and efficient transportation system which makes Singapore the easiest city to be travelled with affordable cost.

  • MRT

    Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) operate from 5.30 am to 1.30 am every day and stop at each station every 3 - 8 minute. MRT Singapore map can be obtained at control room in every MRT station. MRT tariff range between 80 cents to SGD 1.80 and the payment method is by travelling card.

    Click to download original file (MRT routemap.pdf)

  • Bus

    Public bus generally operates every day from 5.30 am until mid night. Public bus tariff off working hour will be slightly expensive than normal tariff. Bus payment method is by cash.

    Other payment method for MRT and bus is using EZ-link card. EZ-link card is a prepaid card which offer discount for multiple travel. EZ-link card can be bought and top-up at MRT and bus station for SGD 15 with deposit value SGD 5 and card value SGD 10.

  • Taxi

    Singapore taxi operates all day long and it can be found at taxi stand, phone order and on the road. Taxi capacity is maximum for four person and each passenger has to use seatbelt.

    Every taxi will charge SGD 2.80 for the first kilometer. Extra charge will be applied on peak hours (Monday - Saturday, 7.30 am - 9.30 am dan 5 pm - 8 pm), after midnight (12 am - 6 am), city area at Central Business District (CBD) (Monday - Thursday, 5 pm - 8 pm and Friday - Saturday, 5 pm - 12 am), Singapore Changi Airport, Seletar Airport or Singapore Expo, night before national holiday, national holiday, and also travel through Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry. Extra charge 10% will be applied for credit card payment.

Singapore has three communication operator such as, SingTel, MobileOne and StarHub; and these operators offer communication service with competitive price for:

  • Local call
  • International call
  • Mobile phone service
  • Internet

Public phone are available almost in every shopping centres and public places, and it can be used by credit card or phone card. Local call from public phone will be charged 10 cent for three minutes call. All phone cards provide international call service and subscribe Trunk Dialling for call from Malaysia. Phone card top-up can be done at post office and phone card agent for denomination of SGD 2, SGD 5, SGD 10, SGD 20 and SGD 50. International phone card also available at post office, 7-Eleven (24-hours) stores and other stores.

Post Office
Singapore Post (SingPost) has more than 60 branch offices, more than 40 agents and more that 800 sales offices in Singapore. SingPost sales office acts as one-stop centres for post, telecommunication, and agent services. Generally sales office operates from Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5 pm and 1 pm on Saturday.

SingPost has a wide network for Self-service Automated Machines (SAMs) which is located at post office, supermarket, shopping centre and main MRT station. SAMs operate 24 hours and offer post service including mail label purchase, bills and fine payment, renewal of authorization card and top-up Hi! Cards (pre-paid mobile phone card).

Drinking Water
It is very safe to drink tap water in Singapore. Mineral water also can be found at supermarkets and stores.

Electricity standard in Singapore is 240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second with square-shaped three-pin plug. For electricity tools unequipped with square-shaped three-pin plug will need adapter or transformer which can be easily found at hardware store.

Drugs using is a very serious issue in Singapore. Drugs, narcotics and psychotropic traffic are forbidden in Singapore.

Safety and Hygiene
Singapore is famous for its safety environment. Low criminal level, stable politics situation and peaceful society The Singapore Government is very concerned with city safety by improving the security guard alert in places prone to crime.

Singapore is not safe only, but it is also clean which make Singapore free from disease like cholera and malaria. Singapore is also not affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Smoking is forbidden in public transportation, museum, library, lift, theatre, cinema, air-conditioned restaurant, shopping centre, food store, night entertainment place, salon, supermarket, department stores and government office. Violations will be fined up to SGD 1,000.

It is not allowed to spit in public places in Singapore.

Generally hotels and restaurants in Singapore have applied 10% service tax therefore not advisable to give more tips. Tipping for services is not a way of life in Singapore and prohibited in the airport.

Important Telephone Number
999 (toll free)

Emergency /Ambulance/Fire Department
995 (toll free)

Ministry of Education Hotline
(65) 6872 2220
(Working hour Monday - Friday 8 am - 6 pm and Saturday 8 am - 1 pm)

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Hotline
(65) 6391 6100
(24-hours automatic hotline for service and procedure information. Working hour for customer service Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm and Saturday 8 am - 1 pm)

International Telephone
Tel: 104

Indonesia Embassy
Republik Indonesia Embassy in Singapura
7 Chatsworth Road
Singapore 249761
Tel : (65) 6737 7422
Fax : (65) 6737 5037, 6235 5783
Working hour : Monday - Thursday 8.30 am - 1 pm, 2 pm - 5 pm
    Friday 8.30 am - 12.30 pm, 2.30 pm - 5 pm




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