In this instalment of the non-tourist trap guide, we will be looking into the young and vibrant neighbourhood of Punggol; now known for its fast rising property values, and the coming Punggol Digital District:
A Brief History of Punggol
Despite its recent development into a new town, Punggol was inhabited 200 years before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles. In fact, it’s one of the oldest settlements in Singapore. For a long time, much of the land was used for plantations and farms for various livestock. Perhaps, this was where the name ‘Punggol’ came about – a word describing the act of “hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring them down to the ground” in Malay.
In recent years, Singapore has spent much effort building Punggol up. Rising from just 18,000 dwelling units in 2010 to over 43,000 units in 2017, and many more exciting developments down the corner, Punggol’s future is a bright one. The government has set its sights into transforming Punggol into a “waterfront town of the 21st century”: The first Eco-Town, and an important part of Singapore’s push to become a Smart Nation.
Characteristics of Punggol
Youth and children have been steadily on the rise as many new couples have chosen to start their families here. After all, with the lush open spaces for play and great education opportunities, this is pretty much the perfect place to raise a child.
With 134,000 residents currently, this number is likely to rise as Punggol continues to grow and change to become more and more attractive.
The highlight of Punngol, at the time of writing, is the upcoming Punggol Digital District (PDD). The PDD will be Singapore’s first “enterprise district”. It combines academia (Singapore Institute of Technology), multiple start-ups and SMEs (JTC business park), established companies, and a central logistics hub. This will make it easier for students, as well as different companies, to network and share ideas. Hopefully, this is where the next Google or Facebook will come from.
Food Places to Eat
Singapore is known for its food culture, and foodies in Punggol don’t lose out. Here are some great restaurants among many other amazing food places:
Big Fish Small Fish
Situated at Punggol East, Big Fish Small Fish is teeming with customers wanting a taste of its Western selection. Try their Sea Bass with crisps, or grab a couple friends and get the FOMO platter to try a lot more at once! They offer set meals unique to Punggol, and sauces are free-flow. The fresh fish and crisps is definitely worth your while.
It’s impossible to miss out Punggol Settlement when talking about great food. It’s foodie heaven with such a wide range of choices of food and drink, all with the backdrop of the mesmerizing seafront. Come here after a relaxing walk along Waterway Park, or just take the LRT for a quick boost. Izakaya 95 is a Japanese bar selling a range of high-quality foods, like barbeque, claypot and sashimi, together with a selection of alcohols.
Leong Ji Seafood
Also at Punggol Settlement, bring your family along to have a hearty meal of Chinese-style seafood. This place is often filled with customers late into the night. The seafood is fresh and mouth-watering, so come here and have a try!
Happening Places to Visit
Whether it be scenic backdrops of greenery, or wide shopping centres for all your needs, Punggol definitely doesn’t lack great places to spend your time out in. Here are some of our favourites:
You’ll never run out of things to do here. Catch a movie, shop for stuff, eat dinner, have a relaxing walk on the boardwalk, or take your kids to play in the outdoor spaces of this mall, including a dry and wet playground – all within this 50,000m2 of fun. What’s more, Waterway Point is right outside the MRT station, and you can take the LRT from your house just as easily, making it so convenient. Connect with nature right outside the mall, or take a short walk to Waterway Park!
The Punggol Waterway and the endless greenery around makes for wonderful scenic beauty. Bird-watchers and photographers can enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna, especially in the Nature Cove. Families with children can have fun in the open spaces of the Recreation Zone. Those seeking a better understanding of Singapore’s culture and history can make a visit to the old walkway at the Heritage Zone, or admire the conserved landscape and various fauna at the Green Gallery. Apart from fitness corners around the park, fitness enthusiasts can cycle or jog around the park, or take the park connectors for a smooth trip all the way to Kalland in the South. The beautiful fusion of blue waters and green lands here makes Punggol truly a ‘waterfront city’.
One might not immediately think of Coney Island when Punggol is mentioned, but this gem of nature is just a stone’s throw away and a great place to frequent. In this little island, you can find sandy coasts, swampy mangroves, wide grasslands, and dense woodlands, each habitat home to its own unique flora and fauna, some of which are rare or endangered. For example, there are over 80 avian species here. A great haunt for nature enthusiasts, photographers and bird watchers alike. Families can bring their kids to appreciate nature, or bond while having a fun day playing. Or get lost in the enchantic rustic feel of the island as you learn about its history.
NSmen and their families can enjoy a wide range of facilities here. Sweat it out in the gym or while playing sports like swimming or badminton. Alternatively, you can take the day to relax in a spa. Or spend it having fun playing electronic darts, bowling or singing karaoke. Your children can also develop themselves at the learning centres here.
Start a Family
Lush open spaces for fun and play for your growing child are everywhere in Punggol. As they grow older, the 11 primary schools and 3 secondary schools available give you a lot of choice for their education. Moreover, the Singapore Institute of Technology is expected to open in 2023, and if you live here, your child’s university might just be next door.
A short trip on the LRT can get you from the confines of your room to being immersed in nature. Both Waterway Park and Coney Islands are great getaways for a relaxing escape. Moreover, recent residential buildings like [email protected] and future developments incorporate more vegetation into their design for a refreshing view.
But there are some downsides:
Even for a New Town, Punggol is not fully developed in terms of housing or amenities. While its growth and development will be rapid in the next few years, for now, it is still lacking in terms of quantity of residential estates or various places to work and play in.
Long Travel Times
Punggol is located in the northeast corner of Singapore, and travel times to the CBD are long. It’s great if your place of work is around the area, but if it’s further away, the long distance and traffic congestions along the TPE and KPE might be a source of frustration when travelling around.
In conclusion, Punggol is a great place for you if you are a young couple starting a family that wants your child to have a conducive living environment for their growth, a nature buff who loves enjoying the serenity of nature, or a futurist who wants a place with a community of like-minded people to live, work and play with.
Do you think Punngol is right for you? Voice your thoughts in our comments section or on our Facebook community page.
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