I will be working in Singapore at the ION Mall for 1 year. My goal is to live in an apt for about $1000USD or less a month - any advice on neighborhoods to look for a space in? I don't want to travel any more that 30 min to / from work.
The most sought after places would be Holland Village (15 mins by bus), Clementi (20), Queenstown / Commonwealth (10). These areas are popular because they're very expat friendly. If you like your bars and pubs, then Holland Village would be a great place to stay. A condo there might set you back S$2,500 onwards, while if you're renting a flat (HDB) by yourself it would be around S$2,000. So these might be areas you'd want to consider if you don't mind stretching your budget. An alternative would be to rent a room in either a condo or HDB flat in these areas (maybe S$1,000 onwards). But rent / sales in this area has been climbing recently.
Other areas you might want to look at would be Ang Mo Kio or Bishan. These would be 20 mins away by train (not sure abt buses). Renting a common room in a shared HDB flat would cost you around $700 onwards. Condos maybe S$1,000.
If you're really trying to save on your rental, you can try Bukit Panjang. It's a quieter neighbourhood, and renting a common room would prob only cost you S$500 upwards a month. If you can get a room near Bukit Panjang Plaza or somewhere near the highway (PIE) that leads to town, then ION would be a 30 min bus ride away (altho it'll take abt 45 - 60 mins by train). Traffic on the highway may get heavy during rush hour tho.
However, most of these options do mean that you'll most likely be sharing a flat / condo with a Singaporean family or other expats.
And don't worry about public transportation here btw. It's cheap, fast and efficient. There are also many threads in these forum if you're wondering abt costs of living and such. Hope you have a great stay here! ION seems like a fun place to work.
I would say Singapore is one of the safest place in the world.
it is not uncommon to see girls going out to bars, and coming out sloshed, at 3 AM, and happily getting into cabs, because, they know, that nothing can happen to them .. Now, that is not something I have seen in any other country ..
And most bars and discotheques close at 3 AM or later, and you can see the staff and customers alike, happily get the midnight bus service, or sit outside the work places waiting for the morning buses - especially for those places that close at 5 AM or later ..
Molesting of girls leads to painful caning, and the police response is very fast. And there are a lot of cops in civil, especially around the crowded areas .. if you call the miniscule crowds here as crowded ..
Singapore is not crime free, but, with the crimes that happen here, a simple pick pocket case is shamed and made headline, and that shows the virtually crime free environment.
As for the 30 minutes travel, if your company is providing transport allowances, then you could stay virtually anywhere in Singapore, as, from Orchard, except on rarest days, you could reach any end of Singapore within 45 minutes to one hour, maximum.
For rooms - master bedroom refers to the room with toilet attached.
Common room refers to the other rooms, and the toilet is a toilet shared with other rooms in the apartment, as most housing board apartments tend to have three bedrooms, with one attached and a common toilet.
As for the budget, at 1000 US (approx 1,400 S$), you may be able to get a two bedroom apartment, if you are not too finicky about the facilities, and if you are keen to live alone ..