The East Coast area of Singapore takes in the south-east of the island, starting at Marina South and heading east to include East Coast Park and Changi Airport, and encompassing the suburbs of Katong, Marine Parade, Siglap and Tanjong Rhu (District 15), Bayshore, Bedok and Chai Chee (District 16), Changi, Loyang and Pasir Ris (District 17), Simei and Tampines (District 18). It is an area packed with opportunities for outdoor activities and water sports, provides large, good value family accommodation, has some intriguing pockets of local history, and provides many of Singapore’s best eateries. Travel to and from the CBD is straightforward, while for those who go abroad frequently the close proximity of Changi Airport is a real bonus. The area also has its own international schools, and easy access to others throughout the city.
East Coast is increasingly popular with expats because when looking for housing, you can get a good deal more for your money than in many other areas. It also offers a more relaxed pace of life, with plenty of space for a family, and for many the chance of a sea view is too good to refuse. It is an attractive and peaceful place to walk around, with many streets being lined with angsana and palm trees, and the sea is always close by.
A mixture of housing types can be found here, including apartments, townhouses, HBD flats, landed houses and bungalows, but condominiums tend to be the most favoured accommodation type for expats. Some of the developments here are older than you might find downtown, but those that have been renovated especially for the expat market are of a good standard and make ideal family homes. The draw for many families is that you can get more condo for your money in this part of town than just about anywhere else. At the very least, you will expect to find at most compounds facilities such as a swimming pool, sauna, outdoor cooking and dining, tennis and squash courts, a gym and children’s play areas, as well as 24-hour security and car parking. The clubhouse will usually contain restaurants and a convenience store or supermarket as well.
Condominium developments in East Coast are generally located within reasonably easy reach of an MRT line (although owning a car here has its advantages), but most compounds will also offer private shuttle bus services to major shopping malls, the CBD or the airport.
For those who like the outdoor life, East Coast is probably the best region in the country, with an unmatched array of activities for young and old on your doorstep. With an 8km stretch of white, sandy beach and a lively promenade (including a plethora of seafood restaurants) along the south-eastern coast at East Coast Park, and the more secluded beaches at Pasir Ris or Punggol on the east coast, these seaside areas really are the jewel in the East Coast crown.
Being so close to the sea, it is natural that aquatic activities abound. The Changi Sailing Club (32 Netheravon Road) offers sailing courses, boat mooring and storage, and offers members recreational and dining facilities. The Changi Beach Club (2 Andover Road) prides itself on being the only club in Singapore with a useable beach front, and it offers a gym, sporting facilities and an Olympic-size pool. There is also the Pasir Ris Sea Sports Club (125 Elias Road) that offers a sailing and a range of other water sports, while Mana Mana (1212 East Coast Parkway) provides regular watersports courses and programmes for adults and children, as well as equipment rental and storage facilities.
For runners, the Tampines Stadium (25 Tampines Street 82) has a running track available from 4.30am – 8.30pm daily, while the Chinese Swimming Club (21 Amber Road) has five swimming pools, a bowling alley and badminton courts, as well as entertainment facilities and restaurants. If you’re into futsal (more commonly known as 5-a-side football), at Sports Planet (1020 East Coast Parkway) four FIFA-approved pitches can be hired, perfect for a social or work team.
Golfers too are well catered for in East Coast. Courses include Changi Golf Club (20 Netheravon Road), Tanah Merah Country Club (25 Changi Coastal Road) and Laguna National Golf & Country Club (11 Laguna Golf Green)
For those who are just looking for open spaces for children to play, or to enjoy a picnic or barbecue, you can try Pasir Ris Park (Pasir Ris Central), which has a playground, a marine pond suitable for angling, and plenty of trees and cool spots.
If you want more action for the kids, you can visit Downtown East (1 Pasir Ris Close) a family-centred entertainment hub that includes the popular water park Wild Wild Wet, the entertainment and leisure centre E!hub, featuring a cinema and arcade, and eXplorerkid, one of Singapore’s largest indoor family playgrounds. Alternatively, you might want to introduce them to the ancient children’s game of longkang fishing (catching small fish by hand with a net and bucket) at Pasir Ris Kid’s Kampong (11 Pasir Ris Farmway) or Mainland Tropical Fish Farm (1 Pasir Ris Farmway 1), while kids and adults can both learn to skate and roller blade at East Coast Park with Inline Fitness (tel: 6245 8234, www.inlinefitness.org) or Skate With Us (tel: 6246 6362 www.skate-with-us.com)
Some of the city’s most interesting and historic locations can be found in East Coast, and living there gives a unique perspective on how life was, and continues to be, for many of its citizens. Joo Chiat was designated as a conservation district in 1993 and some of the area’s unique architectural style, encapsulated in the traditional shophouses and bungalows of the area, have been preserved, with perhaps the best examples being on Koon Seng Road (between Joo Chiat and Still Roads). Katong is the city’s home of Peranakan culture and cuisine, most notably the noodle soup known as Katong Laksa (or Peranakan Laksa), now internationally famous after being promoted by Anthony Bourdaine. On a slightly different note, Changi Chapel and Museum (1000 Upper Changi Rd N) is one of the most moving places to visit in the country, and is a powerful and poignant tribute to the many who suffered there during the Second World War.
The diversity of the East Coast community is reflected in the places of worship that can be found. The Emmanuel Assembly of God Church (Upper East Coast Road), established in 1958 and moved to its current premises in 1998, has a large congregation, while the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple (20 Loyang Way) is unique in that it houses Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist deities and a Muslim shrine in one mixed-religion temple. It was founded in the 1980s when a group of figurines from different religions were found abandoned on a beach. The Bedok Lutheran Church (485 Bedok South Avenue 2) offers services in both English and Mandarin and also operates a kindergarten, while the Pentecost Methodist Church (91 Koon Seng Road) which began in 1966, has strong ties with the community through its outreach and education programmes.
The ares is well-served with regards to health facilities, with one government-run and and one private hospital in the area, as well as large number of polyclinics, ensuring that you and your family are never far from quality healthcare. As with all of Singapore’s hospitals and medical services, the standard of care and treatment is more than comparable with western countries.
Changi General Hospital, located in the heart of the East Coast district, has a 24-hour Accident and Emergency department for medical emergencies, while the Parkway East Hospital is a private institution with 24-hour A&E as well as GP clinics and a range of specialist services.
The area is also well-served by four major polyclinics and, as in most neighbourhoods in Singapore, you’ll also find numerous doctors‘ surgeries located throughout, often at shopping centres or malls. These provide GP services as well as specialist services, and you will be able to find a doctor or health professional within easy reach wherever you are living in the city.
Singapore Health provides comprehensive listings of GPs and medical centres by neighbourhood on its website.
Two of the main reasons for the increase in popularity of East Coast amongst expats are the introduction of an increased number of international schools into the area, and the improved expressway access, which has also made getting to and from international schools in other parts of the city a good deal easier. Within the East Coast area itself you can find The Japanese School, United World College of South East Asia—East Campus, NPS International School, Global Indian International School and Canadian International School—Tanjong Katong Campus.
In addition to these schools within the East Coast district, a number of other international schools are within easy reach. These include Stamford American School, Lycée Français de Singapour, St Joseph’s Institution International School and Insworld Institute. Contact the schools and they will provide you with information regarding the bus services that they run.
The area is also well served with regards to government schools and there are over 100 primary and secondary schools within East Coast districts.
There are also a number of pre-schools and kindergartens to choose from in East Coast, and these are all easily accessible and provide a good standard of early years education. As we have described in our section on the education system in Singapore, kindergartens are run by the private sector, including community foundations, religious bodies and social and business organisations, and are registered with the Ministry of Education.
The East Coast area has easy access to three expressways: ECP, PIE and TPE. The ECP runs from Changi Airport along the south-eastern coast, until it links up with the AYE at the Telok Ayer Flyover. It also connects with the PIE at the Changhi Flyover, the PIE running from Changi Airport to Tuas in the west of the island. The TPE runs around the north-eastern edge of Singapore, connecting with the PIE, CTE and SLE. This means that travel to just about anywhere on the island is straightforward, and the run into the CBD on the ECP is relatively quick and easy.
The East-West MRT line runs through much of the East Coast area, and is the main MRT line for travelling both into the CBD and other areas, as well as to Changi Airport. There is an interchange with the Central Line at Paya Lebar (EW8/CC9), while the EW links to all other MRT lines as you travel westwards, so therefore MRT travel around Singapore is very convenient if you are within close range of an station
The Bedok Bus Interchange (junction of Bedok North Avenue 1 and Bedok North Drive) is Singapore’s second largest interchange and there are 29 different bus services operating from it, servicing both the local area and greater Singapore.
Shops and Services
There are extensive shopping facilities all throughout East Coast, with a number of significant malls and markets that cater for every household need, and more besides. No matter which part of East Coast you’re in, you will always be able to find high quality retail outlets.
112 Katong (112 East Coast Road) is a newly-built shopping mall (formerly Katong Mall) with a Raffles Medical Centre, NTUC Pharmacy, a range of high-end fashion stores and around 30 restaurants and cafes. In the Upper East Coast Road area, there is the Siglap Centre (55 Siglap Road), a small-scale mall with a Cold Storage and Watsons. At East Coast Park, you’ll find Parkway Parade (80 Marine Parade Road), an enormous complex with a number of well-known international brands, such as Marks & Spencer, Harvey Norman, Cold Storage, Isstan and Esprit, as well as two separate food courts and a host of cafes and hawker stalls surrounding it.
East Point Mall (3 Simei Street 6) is located beside the Simei MRT Station and is currently being redeveloped, due to reopen at the end of 2104. There are a number of large shopping malls in Tampines, which can cater to most shoppers’ needs. These include: Tampines Mall (4 Tampines Central 5), which includes electrical goods, sporting apparel and IT, and features 10 restaurants; Century Square (2 Tampines Central 5), with a toy store, music and video stores, and children’s clothing shops; and Tampines 1 (10 Tampines Central 1), which has a Cold Storage, an Urban Write, over 30 fashion stores, and offers free wi-fi. All three are open from 10.00am – 10.00pm.
Pasir Ris has White Sands Mall (1 Pasir Ris Central Street 3) that includes a Raffles Medical and Dental Centre, and a wide range of fashion, food and electrical stores, as well as a Fair Price supermarket.
Changi Village Hawker Centre (Block 2/3 Changi Village Road) underwent a significant facelift in 2013 and specialises in Malay cuisine, including the famous International Nasi Lemak (#01- 57), although you can also find western-style food at Charlie’s Corner (#01-08), that also serves a good range of beers.
The character and history of the East Coast means that the sense of community is strong here, and the local neighbourhoods provide people with a very strong sense of identity. This manifests itself in the number of civic facilities that can be found throughout the area.
In Marine Parade, these include the Marine Parade Community Building (278 Marine Parade) which houses the Marine Parade Community Club and the Marine Parade Community Library Marine Parade Public Library, as well as a theatre and sports facilities.
In Siglap, you’ll find the Siglap Community Centre (300 Bedok South Avenue 3) and Siglap South Community Centre (6 Palm Road), while Tampines residents can take advantage of the Tampines Regional Library (31 Tampines Avenue 7), which is particularly noted for its large range of children’s and teenagers’ books
International conventions, concerts and exhibitions are held in Singapore Expo (1 Expo Drive, behind which is Changi Business Park (Changi Business Park Central 1).