The northeastern part of Singapore consists of the following towns: Serangoon, Kovan, Hougang, Sengkang and Punggol. Originally a settlement with a large population of Teochew-speaking Chinese in early Singapore. This district enjoys great connectivity to the city centre and other parts of Singapore, thanks to the MRT network and public buses. Punggol is being developed into a large town, with the Punggol Promenade and Waterway being the anchor attraction that promote salubrious living for residents and some of the best nature experiences in Singapore on offer. Serangoon has become the de facto hub of the Northeast due to it being the most convenient place to reach via two MRT lines serving it and a large integrated bus interchange. It has a large shopping mall called NEX, and a short distance away is a heartland where neighbourhood shops still operate to serve the populace around the area. Sengkang is classified as a New Town, and is largely similar to Hougang.
As a residential investment district, North East Singapore has become one of the most populated areas due to a government-initiated development plan to relocate more Singaporean families to the Punggol/Sengkang area. Accordingly, there has been an explosion of public housing projects alongside private projects. Investment opportunities are concentrated in estates that are along the waterfronts of Hougang, Sengkang and Punggol. For example, Upper Serangoon View and Upper Serangoon Crescent are popular estates due to the availability of supermarkets, extensive transport linkages and vicinity to an arterial expressway, the TPE/KPE.
Northeast Singapore as a region has largely had a commercial history, with basic trade and agricultural activities in areas that were more populated. In Punggol for example, there used to be pig farms where local farmers bred local livestock. Developmental plans following the election of the incumbent political party led to land reclassification. A reason for this was the water pollution being caused by discharge of animal waste from these farms. But this is a past that no longer is seen in Punggol, let alone most of Singapore.
Among the different Singaporeans that resided in the region, interestingly many local Chinese stayed around the area today known as Hougang. A prominent marker of the growing Teochew population staying here is reflected in the setting up of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Roman Catholic church established in the 1800s by foreign missionaries. These missionaries aimed to reach out to the inhabitants of Hougang. The church still stands today and even has a statue donated by Sultan Ibraham of Johor.
Today, Northeast Singapore is a largely self-contained region where housing, retail and recreational facilities ensure that residents need not move out of the area much. High rise public housing buildings can be seen over most of the region, alongside private condominium apartments. There may be occasional areas where landed housing is found, but these are not the norm.
Politically, Northeast Singapore is interesting as it is represented in different parts by both the ruling and the only opposition party in the Singapore Parliament. The former is the People's Action Party with representation in Punggol, Sengkang and parts of Serangoon. The Members of Parliament are elected under the following constituencies: Sengkang West Single Member Constituency (SMC), Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC), Ang Mo Kio GRC and Marine Parade GRC. The Worker's Party represents parts of Hougang and Serangoon under the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Evidently, electoral constituencies largely do not coincide with geographical lines. This points to the difficulties associated with defining the latter. But by and large, the boundaries of Northeast Singapore are largely those reflected at the start of this page entry. Election season every few years are exciting activities that residents in the region are probably very excited by - owing to the significance associated with opposition challenges to existing PAP constituencies.
The North East Line traverses up to Sengkang and Punggol on the northern coast of the island, but doesn't go to very many places of interest for even the most determined of travellers, however the Circle Line traverse only parts of Bartley, Serangoon and Lorong Chuan.
The Sengkang LRT and Punggol LRT (East only) is a branch of North East Line. Only the Punggol West LRT is not opened at this time.
Serangoon Road continues out of Little India, whereby it crosses into the Bendemeer Underpass, Potong Pasir, Woodleigh, Serangoon (through the viaduct), towards Kovan, Hougang, Sengkang; and there is also a branch which is called Punggol Road, where it terminates at Punggol Road End.
In addition, there is also Yio Chu Kang Road which runs through Serangoon Gardens and Serangooon North.
Public buses and trains are transportation modes that serve this area equally well as in any other part of Singapore. Being a highly developed city that boasts some of the best transport infrastructure in the world, it would be difficult to find any places of any interest being less than 500m from a bus stop or train station servicing that particular locality.
Train stations form the hub in this radial model of town development. The stations found are as follows: Serangoon; Kovan; Hougang; Buangkok; Sengkang; and Punggol. A Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system also runs in Sengkang and Punggol, and are meant to serve residential areas that are not near the main MRT stations. Punggol is not highly developed and lacks extensive shopping facilities.
Bus interchanges are found in Serangoon, Hougang, Sengkang and Punggol. Do check local bus service websites to find out more on which buses can take one into the Northeast. More often than not, locals will use the train network to get in from other parts of the island as it is much faster. Within the Northeast itself, however, buses might be preferable for the traveller as it enables one to take in the sights of this area.
The drinking spots in Northeast Singapore are concentrated in Serangoon Gardens. Mostly confined to bars and KTV lounges. Popular with expatriate and young crowds.
In general, this is by and large a residential district that does not provide tourist accommodation. Travellers will do better in the city area, such as Bugis, Orchard Road and Balestier.