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Love at Play

Loving My Spot in Terrific Tampines! {Blog Hop}

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Tampines ( say ‘Tam-Puh-Knees’) is the name of my neighbourhood. Its strange name is derived from the large forest of Tampines trees that used to be here, which is of course way before I ever lived here. Now it is the second largest commercial and residential area, after Jurong Lake, in Singapore.

I have lived here for more than 20 years, so of course I am biased when I say this is a truly amazing place to live! But if you really want to know why Tampines is one of the best in the world, what I think sets us above the other towns in Singapore is that our town actually has an international World Habitat Award from United Nations that says so.

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The World Habitat Award given to Tampines still sits proudly in the heart of our town

But yes, like you, I don’t need any external validation to love where I live…because you see, Tampines has that knack of constantly springing surprises on me to charm me. It’s really quite impossible to not love her. I have a million reasons why I love my Tampines which would be impossible to list here. So here are the 4 things I adore most about my Eastern home.

#1. An Urban Town with Kampong Charm

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You can take the villager out of the village, but you can't take the village out of the villager.

I am probably one of the few younger Singaporeans who actually grew up in a kampong – complete with chicken farm, outhouse, rambutan and durian trees. I lived with my grandparents during the week, and returned to be with my parents over the weekend. That Lim Chu Kang village was within the Ama Keng area which I recently learned was Singapore’s poorest area then.

My free-spirited kampong childhood days are probably why I crave greenery and space so much.

Tampines has so many little spots around where I can still see the kampong style about. Green thumbs lovingly tend to pots and pots of lush green plants, and flowers. Even benches, swings and rabbit hutches can be seen erected on ground floors.

But it isn’t just looking like a kampong that makes Tampines so endearing. There is also a kampong spirit that is very much well and alive in the estate I live in.

My neighbours are a lovely bunch of people from different races and religions. We don’t just exchange cursory courtesies, but we’re friends. We throw parties at our lift lobby area. We visit each other for afternoon teas. We share the goodies we make with each other, on regular days.

 #2. Play Galore

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Absolutely Awesome! Giant see-saw, tyre swings and stuff at a nearby outdoor playground

In addition to the plethora of playgrounds (I count 5 within 2 minutes walk of us) found around, there are also so really neat play spaces for my children and I to play at.

In Tampines Central park near us, we have the last of the Singapore heritage playgrounds in the form of mangosteen and watermelon mosaic structures.

At Tampines 1, the newest suburban shopping mall we have, there is a cute little outdoor water play area with a small water slide, water bucket and fountains.

My favourite is my latest discovery you see pictured above – an outdoor adventure playground, tucked in an unseen corner of Temasek Polytechnic. Some things like the flying fox, and overhead log walk are out of bounds. But there is still plenty for kids and big kids to do. Made from simple wood, rope and tyres, there is nothing boring about the area. Our kids, and ahem, us big kids, had a blast going on the giant see-saw, using the tyres as swings, climb ropes and a bridge. There was a 5-metre long balancing log made from a thick trunk that I loved walking across. There is even a big permanent tent set up on top of that hill for you to seek respite from the heat.

#3. Natural Beauties in My Backyard 

Pausing to take in the beauty of the great outdoors at the Tampines Eco Park

Honestly, if not for the pair of mating olive-backed sunbirds flirting along my corridor some months back, and if I didn’t have kids as curious as mine, I would not have noticed the sort of birds and biodiversity we are so blessed to have where we live.

So often, we decry the lack of nature and space here. But yet, if we only stop long enough to just be still or muster enough courage to brave the heat and go for a walk or cycle, we will be surprised with what we can find.

After a brief two-day courtship, those sunbirds disappeared. However, my boys and I discovered to our glee that we had a pair of cheery black-naped orioles nesting in the tree outside our window. Then we spotted more birds- the blue-collared kingfisher, egrets and herons – in the monsoon drains nearby.

We love cycling to the Tampines Eco Green to just be amongst the trees and shrubs. While this park may have been artificially created, there is no denying that there is still this ‘wildness’ to it. A wildness and quiet where we can enjoy the restorative and inspirational touch of Nature.

And then, there is this small-but-interesting Butterfly Park at Tampines St 11 that we enjoy visiting too.

#4. Food, Glorious Food

The way to a Singaporean's heart is through the stomach. Oh yeah...SHIOK!

What Singaporean would forget to pay tribute to the yummy eats found here? Not I!

I grew up eating a lot at the Round Market at Tampines 11. It is not only an architectural landmark  but it also is home to stalls that have garnered food awards from the local TV stations. This market has also been named “Singapore’s Favourite Hawker Centre” for two consecutive years (2008 and 2009) in the City Hawker Food Hunt awards, organised by Sin Ming Daily News and City Gas. Check out this recent Makansutra Top 5 foods to try at the Tampines Round Market.

Local hawker fare aside, Tampines also has a well-kept gourmet secret. I know I may sabotaging my own dining experience by revealing this location but well, good things ought to be shared right?

Foodies on shoestring budgets really ought to consider paying the Temasek Culinary Academy  at Temasek Polytechnic a visit. During select weeks of term, students from the hospitality and food faculty as well as the Culinary Institute of America will serve up quality pastries and fine-dining meals at two on-location eateries. The cafe, Sugarloaf, has great pastry selections while the sit-down restaurant, Top Table, features fine-dining standard meals for a nominal price of $12+. Do call the hotline for opening hours and reservations before you visit!

And this my dear friends, bring me to the end of my love notes about my spot in Singapore.

Stay tuned for 16 more incredible love notes from 16 fabulous and proud-to-be Singaporean mummies in the days ahead! Here’s the Loving My Spot in SG party map.

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What do you love about your spot in Singapore?

Share your love story by linking up here to the LOVING MY SPOT!

  Tomorrow, Madeline from MadPsychMum will be sharing about the oldest neighbourhood in Singapore, where she has been calling home since 2001.

Madeline is a research psychologist and mom to a beautiful and intelligent little girl born in July 2010. She is passionate about child psychology and hopes to make a difference in the lives of children living in Singapore. Also an avid traveller and hardcore advocate of breastfeeding, she regularly documents her overseas trips and nursing room reviews with incredible detail on her blog, MadPsychMum @ University of Motherhood.



10 Comments

  1. Hmmm, I remember the round market at Tampines fondly. My gparents shifted to Tampines from Old Airport Road. The Old Airport Road hawker holds the fondest memories for me, as a child, as I spent a good part of my growing up years there.

    Being away from SG for abit does make you feel homesick and look at SG with a difference. :)

    • Lilsnooze, what do you remember about the round market? Any fave food stalls? My fave carrot cake from there is no longer the same after the owner passed his business to his son. But I really love the Lor Mee and Teo’s teochew noodles.

  2. So good, u have the kampong spirit and numerous playgrounds! And I never knew tampines had an award haha. Great post! :)

    • Madeline, haha. Yeah and it made headlines back in the day! So don’t play play. Hahah. As for playgrounds it is my impression that most HDB estates have them too. They aren’t all amazing but still I appreciate their existence! Helps my boys burn up energy!

  3. thanks for sharing about Tampines.. I only ever go there for the shopping malls but lovely to discover other gems too ;p

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • Ai, the next time you come to Tampines , make a trip to check out the Eco park or the adventure playground at Temasek Poly. Can even do a treetop walk at Bedok reservoir after.

  4. Nice! Haven’t not been to Tampines in a long time. I studied at TP actually! But never knew there was a big playground like that!

    • Really? Hahaha…. must be a long time ago? Just teasing. Things here change at a monthly rate I think. I have lived here for more than 20 years…and every time I go out exploring, I find something new. So when are you coming here for a playdate? :D

  5. Loved the Tampines eco green, may visit some day! Loved your post. :)

  6. Hi we have just moved to Tampines from Bishan (originally from the UK) so we feel a little lost. I have a little girl and I’m looking forward to exploring the area and thanks so much for sharing your info. Tina

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