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Singapore/North East

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Singapore : North East
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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.

Get in[edit]

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.

Get around[edit]

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.

See[edit][add listing]

  • My Waterway @ Punggol, (Punggol MRT (North East Line)), [1]. My Waterway @ Punggol is a waterway park that leads from the Punggol West all the way to the East whereby it is Serangoon Reservoir.  edit
  • Punggol Point, (Bus 84 from Punggol MRT/LRT)), [2]. Punggol Point lets you enjoy the greenery and biodiversity flourishing along the coast. Southwards towards Punggol East, you can take pleasure in the sights of Sungei Serangoon. Punggol Park has a bicycle rental kiosk for avid cyclists to rent a bicycle, which can be used for a mini-adventure all the way to the Punggol Broadwalk and beyond.  edit

  • Coney Island Park, (Walk from the nearest LRT station - Oasis (PE6) )), [3]. A 45 Hectare park, Coney Island sits just off the coast of Punggol. It is accessible only by foot or bicycle. Bikes are available for rental from Punggol Park. The journey from Punggol Park to Coney Island is around 5km. In 2015, Coney Island was officially opened to the public after some refurbishment works to make the place accessible and more enjoyable to the public. Visitors can expect to catch glimpses of Johor Baru, Malaysia, from Coney Island. Please be advised that no retail facilities are available on Coney Island, so stocking up on food and drinks prior to visiting are highly recommended!  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Prawning, along Punggol Promenade (LRT station - Riviera. Alternative: walk from Punggol Park (Hougang MRT). Walking time is about 25 minutes). Prawning is a play on the word 'fishing', and is basically the catching of prawns with a rod. Has become popular in recent times. Visitors can expect to pay about $20-30 for a 2 hour session. Prawns caught can be grilled on the spot at BBQ pits provided, with drinks sold. A fun activity for families and couples to participate in. Do check for directions to here, as it is not directly accessible by major transportation routes. Taking a taxi might be a good idea.  edit
  • Cycling, Punggol Park (Bus 80 and 89 from Hougang Bus Interchange. Alternatively, take a ten minutes walk from Hougang MRT Station). Depending on demand and period, a bicycle kiosk operates from Punggol Park. Bicycles are rented out on an hourly basis, with visitors required to place either a deposit or some form of identification (discuss with the kiosk owner). Makes for a wonderful time together as a family, as cyclists can make their way to Punggol Promenade and beyond, into Punggol Waterway. Expect to see joggers and other avid cyclists in the morning and evenings. Great atmosphere!  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • NEX, 23 Serangoon Central (Serangoon MRT (North East and Circle lines)). Nex is considered a large shopping mall, by and large the biggest in Northeast Singapore. Crowded on weekends, this mall is very popular with Northeast residents. it has Isetan, FairPrice Xtra, Shaw Cineplexes, Food Junction, Food Republic, ESPRIT, Cotton On, Charles & Keith, Design & Comfort, Cold Storage, Courts, Challenger, G2000 and STUDIOTANGS. A public library is also situated here. An outdoor water park/playground on the top floor is a site of much revelry for children.  edit
  • Waterway Point, Punggol MRT Station (Punggol MRT Station (North East Line)). The latest development in Northeast Singapore, Waterway Point is a large shopping mall catering to residents of Punggol New Town. A decade ago, a Punggol 21 masterplan was launched by the Singapore government. This mall sits squarely in the middle of the exciting development of the area. The mall opened in mid January 2016. Shops are expected to open progressively until the end of February 2016. Included in the mall is a 24 hour supermarket, a large cineplex and an array of different retail, educational and food/beverage outlets. Not to be missed. Do be advised that this mall may be more attractive from February 2016 onwards, due to the ongoing tenant on-siting phases as mentioned earlier.  edit
  • Hougang Mall, (Hougang MRT Station). Hougang Mall is a mall catered to the needs of Hougang Town, forming part of the town hub that enjoys connectivity with major transport nodes (train and bus). Retail and food outlets are available here. A public library can be found on the 3rd floor.  edit
  • Greenwich V, 1 Seletar Road (Bus 103 from Serangoon MRT). Greenwich V is a new shopping mall that is built in 2012. It has BBQ Chicken, Cold Storage and 7-Eleven.  edit
  • Rivervale Mall, 11 Rivervale Crescent (Rumbia LRT), [4]. Rivervale Mall has Daiso, EC House, the basic needs of Bata, Cheers, McDonald's, NTUC FairPrice, Guardian, Long John Silvers and several more shops.  edit
  • Compass Point, 1 Sengkang Square (Sengkang MRT/LRT), [5]. Compass Point has Popular, Cold Storage, Kiddy Palace, Best Denki, 7-Eleven, McDonald's, Guardian, Watsons and several more shops. (Closed until late 2016)  edit
  • My Village @ Serangoon, 1 Maju Avenue (Bus 315/317 from Serangoon MRT), [6]. My Village @ Serangoon, with shops that include supermarket FairPrice Finest, Bakerzin, DBS Bank, Watson's and Shin Kushiya. Note that this mall is not considered large. Travellers would be well-placed to combine a visit here with a trip to Chomp Chomp hawker, where affordable and tasty local fare is available.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Jalan Kayu, (Thanggam LRT), [7]. Jalan Kayu is a one-lane road, renowned for its road-side eateries such as roti prata. Today, there are various other food found along the stretch of road, and its popular among the locals.  edit
  • Punggol Promenade, (Riviera LRT). Punggol Promenade has a cluster of eateries and entertainment, located along Sungei Serangoon (Serangoon Reservoir).  edit
  • Chomp Chomp Food Centre, (Bus 315 or 317 from Serangoon Bus Interchange). In local parlance simply known as 'Chomp Chomp', this hawker centre houses some of the best stalls around the island. Try the sambal stingray, fried hokkien noodles (yellow noodles fried with a fragrant prawn stock) and fried carrot cake. .  edit
  • Kovan Food Centre, (Kovan MRT Station). Delectable local fare served in this hawker centre patronized by large groups of locals. Go early to avoid crowds at meal times.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

The drinking spots in Northeast Singapore are concentrated in Serangoon Gardens. Mostly confined to bars and KTV lounges. Popular with expatriate and young crowds.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Hotel 81, Upper Serangoon Road (Nearest MRT Station is Serangoon MRT Station). One of the branches of the Hotel 81 budget hotel chain.  edit

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.

Stay safe[edit]