We chat to SMITA YOGRAJ SINGAL from New Delhi, India who lives in Woodleigh in Singapore. She works as a marketing manager (and tarot card reader!). Here, she tells us all about living in this Singapore neighbourhood.
What’s the name of your street? 2 Woodleigh Close.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? That it’s quite far from the centre of the city; in fact, it’s only 10 minutes to Orchard by cab. It’s also well connected as there are two MRT stations (Woodleigh and Potong Pasir) close by.
Closest MRT station? Woodleigh MRT (purple North East Line).
How long have you lived here? Why here? When my husband and I were in Singapore a year ago, we did a recce of the schools and areas to live in before we moved here. We chose our condo, 8@Woodleigh, as it was right next to Stamford American International School, which we were looking at for our children. Since moving here five months ago, we’ve discovered a lot to like about the location, beyond just the proximity to school. Also, Woodleigh is nestled between Serangoon and Potong Pasir and has very good connectivity to all parts of Singapore.
When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? Urbanised development, with more upcoming shops and malls across the road.
What’s the closest store to your front door? Potong Pasir market and The Poiz Centre.
If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Fast and Furious, shot on Upper Serangoon Road.
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? The neighbours in our condo are friendly and helpful. The building management and staff also are polite and smiling all the time.
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? With two major schools nearby, a lot of kids in uniforms and the adults in casuals and gym wear.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? Not something we’ve seen, but a lot of alarm bells keep going off – and we’ve Potong Pasir no clue where they are coming from!
Facilities: Pool, gym, tennis court, playground, walking track, function room
Size: 330 units
Community vibe: Friendly, laidback and multicultural
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? Broadway Food Centre at Block 147. We pick up egg fried rice, satay, stir-fried vegetables and other items from there all the time, and the kids love the McDonald’s there. We also enjoy Stuff’d at NEX mall. The Mexican takeaway sells yummy wraps.
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? The market behind The Poiz Centre has fresh fruit and vegetables at good prices. There are also two FairPrice outlets. For groceries, I also go to either FairPrice Xtra or Cold Storage at NEX. For shopping, NEX has all the big brands like H&M, Uniqlo and Dorothy Perkins, plus some really good foot massage places. I also recommend Hair Inn to anyone looking for a good hair stylist – they’re polite and professional.
What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? PUB Recreation Club at Woodleigh Park. It has various sports facilities, both outdoor and indoor, along with great food at Café Football. My kids love hanging out there as it has a huge park and wall climbing too.
What’s one thing you’d never change? The large and super clean pool at our condo – the water temperature is always perfect.
How about one thing you would change? I would make the apartments a bit more private and bigger in size.
If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? Add some colour to the area, develop some additional sporting facilities and an area where the kids can run around to offset all the high-rise buildings.
Beyond the ’Hood
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? CHIJMES is one of my all-time favourites, especially after seeing the movie Crazy Rich Asians. I love the background of the beautiful church, surrounded by all the open-air restaurants and live music. Margarita’s at Dempsey Hill is another favourite; as the name suggests, the drinks are amazing. Nearby is Jones the Grocer, which serves the yummiest gelato. I also enjoy the live bands on Arab Street during the weekend and the amazing nightlife and buzz of Clarke Quay.
Sentosa is great for a day out. Between the beaches at Siloso and Palawan are some lovely restaurants with pools and sunbeds available. There’s also Universal Studios, the S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark. Friends and family who visit us can never get enough!
Finally, the waterfront bar at The Fullerton Bay Hotel is one of the first places I visited with my new-found friends in Singapore. The view always leaves me gobsmacked.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? That s simple: Little India. Between Karthika and Mustafa Centre, there’s no ingredient or grocery that I can’t find. Even things I’d have difficulty finding back home, I can easily find at Mustafa. For a meal, we like going to Kailash Parbat.
If you’re missing home, what do you do? Call home or have a get-together with my friends and go to the cinema to catch the latest Bollywood flick.
• Woodleigh isn’t really a town or district of Singapore in its own right; it’s actually part of Toa Payoh.
• The area was once home to Bidadari Cemetery, which operated between 1907 and 1972, and serviced Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sinhalese families.
• Woodleigh MRT opened in 2011. Interestingly, it was completed back in 2003 but remained closed because of Woodleigh’s limited infrastructure – the number of passengers likely to use the station was considered too low.
• East of the MRT is the construction site of Alkaff Lake, a $25m artificial lake that will also double as a flood-control reservoir. Set to open next year, it’s part of the huge new Bidadari housing estate.
• The area is also home to dozens of black-and-white houses, located in Woodleigh Park. The one-storey buildings are tucked away in dense foliage and look more modest than many of their colonial counterparts on the island.
• Between Woodleigh Close and Woodleigh Park, near to Upper Serangoon Road, is a giant Angsana Heritage Tree that’s almost 60 years old. With a girth of almost eight metres, it’s among the largest roadside trees on the island.
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This article first appeared in the September 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!