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Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

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Singapore, Singapore
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Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Dear All,

For those who have visited Singapore many times and thinking of new places to visit (or like to see how the locals live), there's no better way than to visit the heartlands. Fortunately, all the major housing estates in Singapore are served by the subway, making the commute extremely easy and accessible.

More than 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing; though the concept of public housing outside of Singapore may be viewed negatively, in Singapore - the concept of public housing equates to quality, reliability and liveabilty - so much so that some public housing units have made the local headlines for price tags that are close to S$1 million. In Singapore - buying a government flat is an indirect way of a marriage proposal (as priority are given to newlyweds)!

A typical 3-bedroom flat (we call it a 4-room flat) is about 95sq metres, 3-bedroom + dining (5 -room flat) is about 115 sq metres. For those interested to see how a HDB unit is like (or to view some of the projects), take the subway to Toa Payoh to the HDB sales office. A mock showflat is located at level 2 (or 3 - cant remember), just to have a feel living in a government flat.

The major housing estates are served by hawker centres (many Singaporeans will tell you there are more gems found outside the city region), major amenities such as schools, government clinics, sport facilities, malls (in selected areas), places of worships etc - making many housing estates self-contain in many ways.

Many of the housing estates in Singapore take on a more localised name (compared to English names such as Orchard, Raffles Place etc). In some of the older estates, one can still see shops, coffee shops etc (including. barber, provision shops) where time have stood still (eg. Tiong Bahru, Toa Payoh). Things in the heartlands are generally cheaper as well.

Like in all countries, the heartlands are where opinions / views /impacts about local society in general are more closely expressed and felt - this is where you get to see a real side of Singapore! Experience local festivities (which you will not see in downtown!), such as the interesting Hungry Ghost Festival, experience the colors of a beautiful Malay wedding etc etc - right at the heartlands of Singapore!

Below are my recommended housing estates

- Toa Payoh (where the Housing Development Board office is located - busy town! A mix of old and new flats)

- Ang Mo Kio (pre-dominantly late 1970s' flats)

- Tiong Bahru (a very interesting old estate built since the 1930s in phases, Art-deco inspired low-rise estate with a very famous hawker centre). Very close to the city centre.

- Tampines (a very large and self-sustaining estate built mainly in the 1980s', with its own commercial office / shopping blocks that house major back-offices function such as Citibank). A winner of the UN World Habitat Award in 1992.

- Pasir Ris - IMHO one of Singapore's most beautiful housing estate (largely developed in the 1990s). Close to the Changi Museum / Changi Village. A great laid-back estate.

- Punggol - Singapore's newest housing estate - with a man-made river running through the estate. An exceptional estate in the making.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDB

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_housing_in_Singap…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ang_Mo_Kio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toa_Payoh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoZPXvVHeoU

Singapore
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1. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

DP I thought you were trying to discourage people from going to Tiong Bahru!!

Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Dover

Can U consolidate Ur List & Listed it on "Top questions about Singapore"

I spend most of my weekend strolling thru some Suburban estate (Beside where I am staying now) for food.

My favourite estate are Clementi, Jurong East, Bukit TImah, Bedok, Chinatown, Whampoa, Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon, Parkway Parade, Redhill / Beo Crescent, Commonwealth, Buona Vista, Ghim Moh, Telok Blangah, West Coast & Pasir Panjang.......

Luxembourg
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3. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Visited the Pinnacle @ Duxton and found the complex very impressive! Interesting visit with its observation platform open to the public.

LON-SIN
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4. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Should point out that everything else in Singapore is also the 'Real Singapore'. Very little ( besides the Casinos) have been set up solely for tourist consumption. The City area, Orchard Road, China Town, Little India, Marina, the visitor attractions, Sentosa etc will all be there even without tourists. Unlike some other cities and places in other countries, there aren't any 'Tourist' areas in Singapore with shops, resturants and other things aimed specifically for Tourists. Even on Sentosa, you will find more Singaporeans than visitors. On weekends even the hotels in Sentosa seem to have more Singaporean guests than visitors.

The heartland areas are a different side to Singapore. Both the heartlands and the city areas are the real Singapore.

Australia
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5. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Hello,

When I used to wander around outlying areas a few years ago I used to get glances, people probably wondering what I was doing out there. One time an elderly couple at a bus stop asked if I was lost as I was way off the usual tourist beat. They seemed surprised that I would want to see their area. Now I think there are many of us venturing way out away from Raffles Hotel and Marina Bay Sands that we hardly warrant a look anymore. I have had the best days of my recent annual trips travelling quite a few MRT stops beyond the central areas.

Thanks everyone for taking pride in your particular areas and sharing them with us, so we can go and wander around (and find a nice place for a meal, and spend money in the little local shops).

Singapore, Singapore
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6. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Avanti

Am glad U take the time to check the Suburb out. Dun be shy, if ever next time U had some curious Folks chatting with U, talk to them, they can tell U where the good food are......:D Or which nice place to go check out.....in the neighbourhood........They are My Guide on most of my "roaming" I Like it also when they tell U where to avoid :D

Cheers

Australia
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7. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

MeOnly,

Usually when someone I meet out in the suburbs finds out I am Australian we end up chatting about Australia (a lot of people seem to have visited here and want to tell me about their trip, or they have a relative who lives in Melbourne or Sydney and know more about those cities than I do).

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Hehehehe Avanti Yes, it very insightful sometime.

I had one very Jovial Old Uncle in Wheelchair at the Coffeeshop in Toa Payoh; telling me about WW2, How he had met a old visitor from Canada who used to serve as a Cook during the WW2.

Singapore
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9. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Lol. Lucky we did not meet or I might bore you to death with my Australian stories, Denise!

Australia
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10. Re: Experience the real Singapore - visit the heartlands!

Nancy,

If you ever tell me about your Australian trip I might learn something about a few places I haven't even been to yet!! Australia is so huge, its always been cheaper for me to visit Singapore than go for a holiday in Tasmania or Western Australia.