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Bishan, Singapore: A resident’s guide to living, eating and shopping

Bishan was settled in 1870 by immigrants from Guangdong province, who called it Bishanting. Today, it’s a busy hub in the centre of the island, easily accessible via the CTE or PIE, and last month became an MRT interchange with the opening of the Circle Line. The sprawling Bishan Park is one of the area’s prominent features.

 

Sherah Brown, the UK / Singapore

Where did you live when you first came to Singapore?

When I first came back from England, I lived in Woodlands with my aunt and family for a few months. Their street was a few minutes’ walk to the MRT and near the local market, pretty much easy to access by car and public transportation. I actually enjoyed staying in Woodlands. The regional library is one of the largest in Singapore (though it’s really busy during the school holidays) and Causeway Point is a great mall that has a variety of restaurants, a Cold Storage and Metro.

What were your main reasons for moving to this area?

When we were apartment hunting, my husband and I looked at a few areas. We wanted to find something affordable but centrally located, so we would not need to travel far to work. Bishan has great access to the main expressways and is only a 20 minute drive if we need to get to town.

Best thing about living in this neighbourhood?

We fortunately managed to get a place that is not directly in the heart of the Bishan neighbourhood. There is hardly any traffic after 7pm. But we’re also on a main road, which gives us a direct route to our block. We looked at a few other places in Bishan and noticed they can get congested.

What’s missing from your local area that you would like to have?

I wish there was a Cold Storage nearby. Although there are two NTUC shops to choose from and their range has improved, we still can’t find some of the specialty items and gourmet foods, such as certain cheeses we like. We end up going to the Cold Storage at United Square, or Marketplace at Tanglin Mall. Otherwise, we moved here about a year ago, so we’re still finding new haunts.

Any drawbacks to living in this area?

They’ve built a skaters’ park around the corner from where we are. The overspill of skaters is quite a nuisance, as they hang around the seating compounds of our area. It would have been better placed within a larger area away from residential homes; Bishan Park is a thought.

Why this specific home?

The area is very well maintained. Though we had to initially put up with upgrading works, it was especially important for my husband, Ibrahim, to have a place that doesn’t feel so cooped up. Being on the ground floor is ideal for us, especially with the push chair.

Preferred local leisure area?

When we get time, we love going to Bishan Park for a stroll. Occasionally, for a change in scenery, we enjoy a walk along the waterway at MacRitchie Reservoir. We’ve yet to try the canopy-walk, though. Misha, our 15-month-old daughter, loves swimming, so we take her to the local swimming complex for splashing fun time. Ibrahim and I try to pop into Golden Village at Junction 8 for a movie, but I always end up feeling guilty about not having Misha with me.

Preferred local shopping centre?

Junction 8 is a great place. We stop by at least three times a week, for dinner if not to stock up on groceries. If we can’t find what we want there, we head to Thomson Plaza, Novena Square, United Square or, failing that, a trip to town.

Special finds?

Aramsa Garden Spa in Bishan is an ideal retreat. Ibrahim gave me their Lavender Drizzle package as a gift. A bit further from home, we recently had dinner with family at Fresh Bulgogi, a Korean restaurant in Changi Airport. I found their kimchi soup very tasty and the food was served fresh. It’s nice to gather around and share a hot-pot with the family.

Favourite restaurant for a special night out?

We enjoy the dinner buffet at Carousel, Royal Plaza on Scotts, and occasionally we pop by Ben & Jerry’s in Dempsey for a sweet treat.

Favourite “cheap and cheerful” restaurant?

The local hawker centres around our area are not bad at all. There’s an Indian stall beside Delifrance along Bishan Street 13 that does the best rojak in the area.

 

Sherah’s Recommendations

Aramsa Garden Spa
Ben & Jerry’s     
Bishan Park, (along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1)               
Cold Storage
Fresh Bulgogi, (+65) 6222 1339           
Golden Village
MacRitchie Reservoir, (along Lornie Road)
Tanglin Market Place, Tanglin Mall
NTUC
Carousel

 

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