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Guide to Jalan Kampong Chantek in Bukit TImah

Portuguese Library Assistant at Stamford American International School, Mariana Pinto, tells us about what it’s like to live in her neighborhood, Jalan Kampong Chantek…

Mariana Pinto
Mariana Pinto

The Specifics

What street do you live on? Jalan Kampong Chantek.

What does it mean? “Beautiful village street” in Malay.

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Bukit Timah, please. Go up Swiss Club Road, all the way to the end, turn left and then take the second right.”

What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Bukit Timah.

Closest MRT station? King Albert Park, on the new section of the Downtown Line.

How long have you lived here? Since July 2015. Previously, we lived in Dubai.

Why here? Because it’s green (we lived in the desert before!) and the house is big – we have three children and a huge dog. Plus, it’s a cluster house in a nice condo that has all the facilities and lots of children and dogs, so everyone’s happy!


The Scene

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: Lots of trees, people walking their dogs, and sometimes monkeys!

The closest store to your front door is: The Grandstand at Turf City, with all its lovely stores, restaurants and Giant supermarket.

Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of: Tarzan – it’s a jungle out there!

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less of: Children screaming and making a noise (mine included!).

The unofficial uniform of your street is: Running outfits; the Bukit Timah area is perfect for running.

If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be: I’ve heard lots of Singaporean VIPs live in the area. But as for international stars, I would say Jane Goodall. We don’t have chimpanzees, but we do have lots of monkeys!

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Great area for running in Bukit Timah

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Go to a museum – yes, we’re one of those families that actually go to museums! And, of course, we read books… lots and lots of books!

If you’re missing home, you: Go to Boca, the Portuguese restaurant, or to Dinata, which sells Portuguese baked treats.

Mandatory stops for out-of-town guests are: The Botanic Gardens (it’s very close to our place), the Marina Bay area, Chinatown, Little India and Dempsey Hill.

You’d swap houses in a second with: A landed property (my dog misses a private garden) located inside a condo like ours, which is next to an MRT station. (Does this even exist in Singapore?)

A common myth about your neighbourhood is: That it’s very far away from the city. By car, it only takes us 15 or so minutes to get to Orchard.

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to: Birds chirping – cool, right?

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: A party at the Swiss or British Clubs.

The Superlatives

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Peperoni at 7 Binjai Park is a really good pizza place, and it’s always open. Sometimes we go there in the middle of the afternoon for a late lunch or early dinner! Picotin at Champions Golf Course for the food, relaxed atmosphere and awesome views; we can see horses there too, since it’s right next to the Bukit Timah Saddle Club. PasarBella at the Grandstand for the chance to try so many different cuisines and organic products – and it has the feel of a European market. Brazil Churrascaria in Sixth Avenue, because all Portuguese people also love Brazilian food!

You won’t find better local food than at: Adam Road Food Centre.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: An abandoned Chinese shrine inside a plastic bag, left in the middle of the road just after CNY… and it’s still there!

We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are: The promotions at Giant supermarket at The Grandstand.

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: The macarons at Bonheur Patisserie at The Grandstand. We love the character macarons and the shaped macarons because they are delicious, creative and also a visual treat.

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PasarBella at the Grandstand

One thing you’d never change is: The nature that surrounds us.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The snakes. Yes, these are also commonly found around here, though luckily I’ve never seen one.

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Set up free bus routes all the way up the hill. The new MRT station is still a good 20-minute walk from our house!

This article first featured in the April 2016 issue of Expat LivingYou can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

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