A Day Out In The Neighbourhood: Tampines

Take some time to wander the regional centre of Singapore’s east.

By Chris Ong        2 December 2021

Thinking about where to bring the family or meet up with the squad this weekend? Why not try Tampines?

It might be surprising to learn that this bustling residential town was once so ulu it had no proper bus interchange till 1987, with one of Singapore’s first suburban malls, Century Square, completed in 1995. Way back during the 60s, 70s and even 80s, it was a bona fide kampong village with many sand quarries operating in the area.

Fast-forward to 2021: Tampines continues to develop a-pace with the newer towns, having three MRT Stations – Tampines, Tampines West and Tampines East – serving the area alone, and being the first Singapore town to have its own dedicated cycling network.

In fact, Tampines is slated to transform into an Eco Town by 2025. Read on to find out what else keeps Tampines happening!

(If you’re going west instead, read what we’ve got to say about Jurong, Boon Lay and Pioneer. And, keep an eye out for the next instalments featuring Mount Faber, Toa Payoh, Punggol and Yishun!)

1. SAFRA Tampines clubhouse

This is the place to go if you, your fam and friends are itching for some sporting fun and activities.

Fans of racket games will have a field day here. There are indoor squash courts for smacking small black rubber balls against walls in; open-air tennis courts to lob furry green balls around on; and badminton courts to smash shuttlecocks like you’re national shuttler-hero Loh Kean Yew.

A lover of ball sports? Then book the futsal courts at SAFRA Tampines to play quick small-pitch games with your mates. And, when restrictions ease and bookings resume, there’s also a main soccer pitch to use for larger soccer games to be had.

Meanwhile, you can engage in other kinds of “ball” games here. Spin for a 10-pin strike at the family-friendly bowling centre SuperBowl. Or, send a cannon or kiss with your cue ball in a game of cuesports at the Lagoon Snooker Centre.

Need more thrills? Then get “trigger-happy” shooting an air weapon at Denker Sports World Shooting. Junior (8 to 9 years of age) can join in the laser shooting offered here instead. Or, have your sniping enthusiasts take on digital enemies in Esports games at Clique Gaming.

Action Jacksons can try out Muay Thai, or strength and conditioning classes at Onyx Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Prefer less action? Then simply work out at your own pace at the EnergyOne Gym or take a dip at the pools here.

Here’s a tip for parents of young ones. There are also swimming classes by Yale Swimming School, brain-based development programmes by ThinkersBox, and dance lessons by Crestar School of Dance if you intend to bring the kids ’round here often.

And, when you and the gang have had enough excitement for the day, wind down with some mouth-watering fare and thirst-quenching drinks at 7th Heaven KTV & Cafe, Gin Khao Sino-Thai restaurant, Renew Deli, Sarpino’s pizzeria, Springleaf Prata or bubble tea specialists Forbidden Tea.

1/A Tampines Street 92, 528882, www.facebook.com/SAFRATM; www.instagram.com/safratm

BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy up to 25% off F&B, facilities, services and activities at SAFRA Tampines.

2. Century Square, Tampines Mall and Tampines 1

One can’t talk about Tampines Central without mentioning the “triumvirate” of shopping centres here: Century Square, Tampines Mall and Tampines 1, all situated around Tampines MRT Station.

Century Square is the Grand Dame of the three, having opened in 1995. It has spruced itself up a couple of times since and remains a favourite with Tampines residents, with 6 levels of retail and dining, plus cinema chain Filmgarde Cineplexes, an NLB E-library E-reads wall at level 4 and a rooftop garden (currently closed).

Photo: Century Square

Tampines Mall officially opened in February 1996, and like its fellow retail pioneer Century Square, has undergone a couple of refurbishments to keep up with the times. It’s where to go for some major shopping, what with anchor tenants Isetan, Uniqlo and Toys “R” Us found here. There’s also major entertainment coming in the form of movies screened at the Golden Village theatres.

Photo: Tampines Mall

Meanwhile, the “newer” kid on the block (it opened in 2009) Tampines 1 is marketed as a “trendy mall for the young and young-at-heart”. Daiso, Don Don Donki and Muji are but three of the main reasons to come by. As for the young ’uns, it’s definitely the animal-themed rooftop water playground that’s, unfortunately, temporarily closed for now.

Photo: Tampines 1

2 Tampines Central 5, 529509, www.centurysquare.com.sg, www.facebook.com/fpr.CenturySquare (Century Square);

4 Tampines Central 5, 529510, www.capitaland.com/sg/malls/tampinesmall, www.facebook.com/TampinesMall (Tampines Mall);

and 10 Tampines Central 1, 529536, www.tampines1.com.sg, www.facebook.com/fpr.tampines1 (Tampines 1)


3. Our Tampines Hub (OTH)

This structure is so massive you cannot not pay it a visit when you are in Tampines. A community-focused development led by the People’s Association, OTH is Singapore’s largest, first-of-its-kind integrated community and lifestyle destination. Housing multiple facilities, shops and organisations, the complex occupies the grounds of the former Tampines Stadium, Tampines Sports Hall and Tampines Swimming Complex. Meaning, it is humongous – 5.7 hectares to be specific.

In the basement is a Festive Mall (that continues up to level 1) with more than 100 shops and dining spots, a bowling centre and a Festive Play kids’ playground.

On level 1: an open-space Festive Plaza Atrium, a sheltered Central Plaza atrium and a hawker centre. That’s not all; there’s also the Town Square that’s a 5,000-seat stadium with a football pitch, a dedicated exercise venue called Gate 1, 2 futsal courts, 1 in-line hockey court and 4 tennis courts.

Make it up the upper levels and you will get to see a Festive Arts Theatre, the Tampines Regional Library, and multiple health and wellness centres. Of especial interest is level 5, where there’s an Eco-Community Garden, a jogging track with locker and shower facilities, and a sky garden. On level 6, there are 6 swimming pools.

And… we’ll just stop here. Just pop into this huge hub and explore the day away.

1 Tampines Walk, 528523, www.facebook.com/OurTampinesHub; www.instagram.com/ourtampineshub

4. 2 Refreshed Major Parks + 1 Quaint One

First, the good news: Tampines will have 2 renewed major parks (with 2 more planned for 2022). The not-so-good news? Most of the renewal works are to be completed by end-2021, as part of the Our Tampines in a Garden project.

The 36.5-hectare Tampines Eco Green, that has open grasslands, freshwater wetlands and a secondary rainforest, with hiking trails to help visitors explore it all, is undergoing a significant facelift that’s to be completed by the year’s end.

As is the popular Tampines Central Park; hopefully, the iconic 80s’ retro-vibing Mangosteen and Watermelon Slices playgrounds, and the Dog Run will remain within this green social space when it is completely refreshed.

You can still (and should) visit these community-beloved parks if you are in the neighbourhood, though some segments might be closed off to the public.

If not, there’s the smaller but no less interesting Tampines Changkat Butterfly Garden to chill at. It’s a tranquil space with gravel paths and flora that attract butterflies of course. Try and spot colourful winged beauties – up to 50 specimens of 7 different species such as the Plain Tiger and Tawny Coster. Bring your budding entomologists here to watch them “bloom” with wonder and appreciation.

Tampines Avenue 9 and Tampines Avenue 12 (Tampines Eco Green);

Tampines Street 82, extending from Our Tampines Hub to Tampines Street 83 (Tampines Central Park); and Tampines Street 11, beside Block 124 (Tampines Changkat Butterfly Garden).