Settling down in Singapore

So, have you got an air ticket to travel to Singapore with a resident permit to live and work in Singapore?  If it is so, you’d obviously be curious to know more about the city state and how to settle down there.  It is important to know many things about the country you are immigrating to, including housing, public transport, education for the children, finances, taxes, shopping or buying or renting a car.
As far as settling down in Singapore is concerned, there are no complicated facts involved.  Governance is quite smooth and most of the information is just a call away or available on the Internet.  However, some of this information should be handy, before you even land in Singapore.  For example, Singapore is quite intolerant about drug trafficking and it is illegal and punishable offense to carry even the small amounts of drugs inside the country.  The next array of information is related to basic amenities, such as housing, temporary accommodation, applying for water, electricity, phone connection and cooking gas.  This article would provide you brief information on all of these topics.

Housing
in Singapore, housing can be categorized into three main housing types: low-cost housing, apartments, and serviced apartments.  Low-cost housing is available in suburban areas and is known as SHIFT.  Given excellent transportation facilities in Singapore, this option is not bad at all.  If you want a luxurious apartment in urban part of the city, you can get it by paying some premium price for it.  You can also go for apartments known as serviced apartments on a temporary basis.

Hotels
As far as hotels are concerned you would find all types of hotels from economic to luxury, based on your choice as temporary accommodation.

Telephone Services
Singapore offers fixed line telephone, mobile subscription and public phone services.  To apply for fixed line telephones, which often come with Internet connection, you need to deposit $300 and submit your documents such as passport and work permit or other residential passes to SingTel Retail Shops or authorized dealers of SingTel Mobile.  Corporate discounts are available on behalf of the employer to go for prepaid or postpaid mobile phone subscription, which comes at attractive call plans.  However, there is a contract for one or two years and terminating this contract may result in heavy penalties.

Home furnishing and decoration
Singapore is a modern city, which offers excellent home furnishing items and furniture.  You can also take a few items on lease.
Education
As far as education of your children is concerned, there are various ethnic and international schools in Singapore, along with some schools with special or vocational training.  There is no dearth of play schools, nurseries and kindergartens for small kids.

Getting Domestic Help
Hiring a maid servant in Singapore is not very expensive, given the fact that it becomes extremely important for working couple.

Cost of living
Apart from cars and properties, everything else is quite affordable, which includes grocery, clothes, entertainment, food and other basic goods.  You must be familiar with the fact that Singapore is a shopping paradise and basic goods are competitively priced at local supermarkets and other places for expatriates, which provide good discounts.

Water, Electricity & Gas supply
To avail water, electricity and gas supply, you need to contact The Public Utilities Board (PUB).

Postal Services
Postal services are quite affordable, efficient and rapid in Singapore, even if it is as small as a grocery item.

Health Care
Singapore offers affordable healthcare, both at private and public hospitals, which are equally competitive and advanced.  Healthcare coverage is also offered through employers and private insurance operators.

Experiencing the most romantic dinner in Singapore

Want to experience the most romantic dinner in Singapore?  Well, you have chosen an ideal destination for the most romantic excursion ever in your life.  Singapore offers plethora of opportunities for couples enjoying their holidays.  But, to select the most romantic dinner spots, you must be familiar with the city.  To make your task simpler, we would like to suggest some of the best places to experience the most romantic dinner ever in your life in this article.
Well, this list is not prepared by a novice, but some choosy travel journalists, therefore, we are a hundred percent sure that these are the best places to enjoy a romantic dinner in Singapore.  The list is prepared keeping a holistic experience in mind, rather than just the outlook, ambience or the surroundings.  Quality of food and service standards was a major concern for our research team.  However, we don’t claim that the order is according to the quality standards, as we have given them in a random order. 

Restaurants, according to ambience
If you talk about ambience, then, we have chosen three places for you viz. Dempsey-Hill, Halia Restaurant in Botanical Gardens and the Jewel-Box in Mt. Faber.  These are the best places, we recommend as far as surroundings and ambience is concerned.  Though, these places are slightly inaccessible, and you need to hire a taxi to reach there, but you would be thrilled to experience the ambience there.  

Restaurants with the best views of the city
Another exciting romantic dinner destination is at the sixty ninth story of Swissotel the Stamford and it is known as Equinox Restaurant.  For a nice view, Jewel-Box is good, because it is located at a certain height.  However, if you want to have the best landscape view of the Singapore skyline, you should choose the Cliff located in Sentosa Spa and Resort.  

Restaurants according to specific foods and dishes
For food lovers, Hai Tien Lo, maybe an ideal destination that has a modern setup and a great view.  To enjoy the lush green tropical look and natural surroundings, you may approach Flutes at the Fort, which also provides delicious food made by some of the best foreign chefs.  If you want to enjoy some of the most exotic menus that include fresh garden vegetables with vibrant tropical colors, then head towards St. Pierre.   If romance is on your mind, then you should choose Desire.
For amazing views, the Lighthouse Restaurant at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore is the best.  Besides the warm interiors, this luxurious restaurant offers an amazing waterfront view and exquisite food.  It is rated highly and recommended by the visitors for the overall experience.  Once you are there, we recommend you to place an order for seafood risotto.  We are sure you wouldn’t have eaten such a wonderful seafood risotto ever.  LaBrezza restaurant at St. Regis Hotel is the best for Italian food.  It offers some of the most exotic Italian dishes such as buratta and cavatelli with lobster. LaBrezza wins hands on, on both food quality and service.

Outdoor dining
If the romantic outdoor dining is your choice, a visit to the La Cantina at the Changi Village Hotel will prove to be the best romantic evening with treetop sea views.  However, you are supposed to reach there well before 7 PM to book an early cocktail for you that will bring you the exciting view of the sunset as well.

Singapore customs at a glance.

Singapore Customs is the government agency which is responsible for implementation of the customs and enforcement of trade measures in Singapore. This agency was reconstituted in 2003, and is now under the Ministry of Finance (Singapore). Also, Singapore Customs exercises Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund, which is a part of Tourist Refund Scheme.
 A GST (Goods and Services Tax) is levied on all items that are imported into Singapore, regardless of the fact whether the goods were purchased overseas or in Singapore itself. Thus, one is required to declare the goods in possession to the checking officer at Singapore Customs Tax Payment Office or at the self-service Tax payment kiosk. Duty-free Concession is not available on the following items:

1.No concession for tobacco products:
Duty-free concession and GST relief cannot be availed on Cigarettes, Cigars, Shisha and other Tobacco related products. Thus, one needs to pay the required taxes to bring them in Singapore.

2.No concession on motor spirits:
Motor spirits (like Petroleum, Diesel and many more) in containers are not duty-free. Also, there is no GST relief for them.

3.Liquor :
One can avail duty-free concessions on alcohol, if one is aged 18 years or above, has spent 48 hours or longer outside Singapore immediately before arrival and the imported liquor is not prohibited from importing into Singapore. However, there is no duty-free confession on liquor if one is arriving from Malaysia.
Remember: Duty free concessions are generally granted on goods purchased for personal consumption and it is an offense to sell or give them away. Furthermore, one needs to pay the taxes on all goods exceeding the duty-free confession and even on goods one is carrying for or on behalf of others.

Customs Clearance Procedure:
On arrival in Singapore by air, sea, bus or rail, one can spot examination counters in the Arrival hall. This system further bifurcates into a Red Channel System and Green Channel System.

Red Channel:
 The Red Channel Counters are mostly manned by officials from the Immigration & Checkpoint Authority (ICA), which has the authority to conduct the required checks on people, baggage and even vehicles that enter Singapore. Also, the ICA officials may also refer these matters to Singapore Customs for follow-up. One must proceed to the Red Channel in the following situations:
a)      If they are carrying taxable or dutiable goods exceeding the GST relief.
b)      If they are carrying goods listed among controlled or restricted goods.
c)       If one is carrying goods listed under the prohibited category.
Accordingly, a customs permit for clearance is required to be produced for the above mentioned items.
 
Green Channel:
One may wish to proceed through the green channel if one is not carrying any of the three above mentioned goods. However, the officers may conduct random checks in order to ensure the same. Furthermore, in case of doubt one may be asked to head to the Red Channel for checking.
Note: It is one’s own responsibility to provide accurate and complete declarations of all goods in possession exceeding the GST relief. Failing which, one can be prosecuted in court and fined up to ten thousand dollars and imprisoned for up to three years.