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Guide to Bishan

Name: Sandi Gilmour
From: Cape Town, South Africa
Occupation: Elementary School Teacher

The Specifics:

What street do you live on?
Bishan Street 21.

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
“It’s the condo directly opposite Raffles Institution.”

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?

Closest MRT station?
We are equidistant from Bishan MRT (red line) and Marymount MRT (yellow line).

How long have you lived here?
Just over two years.

Why here?
It’s a central area, close to MRT stations and shops, and it has a suburban and homey feel to it.

The Scene:

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
The entrance to Raffles Institution.

The closest store (of any type) to your front door is:
The 7/11 at Bishan MRT station

Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:
Dead Poets Society. Living opposite a traditional, private boarding school we always see students walking to and from school with their bags and books.

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Shoes lying across the hallway. They need to get an extra shoe rack!

The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Corporate attire (from the Bosch Head Office which is located next to our condo) as well as running shoes (we are really close to Bishan Park and MacRitchie Reservoir).

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Take a walk along Upper Thomson Road. There are great local restaurants there. “Old School Delights” is a favourite.

If you’re missing home, you:
Take a walk down to the Starbucks that has opened in the Bishan Community Centre.

A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
The Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

You’d swap houses in a second with:
One of the landed properties in the suburban area just behind our condo.

A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
That it’s too far away from town. We are so close to the MRT stations that it’s really easy to get around.

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
The water-polo players practising in the swimming pool at Raffles Institution!

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
Students returning home after water polo and swimming practice.

The Superlatives:

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Grub, the burger restaurant in Bishan Park. They serve the best burgers and have the most stunning spot right in the middle of the park. Old School Delights on Upper Thomson Road is a great restaurant that takes you back a few years! Din Tai Fung in Junction 8 shopping mall at Bishan MRT station has good service and great dim sum. Romano Ristorante for delicious Italian food and fantastic service.

You won’t find better local food than at:
The hawker centre at the end of Bishan Street 13.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
A lady chewing food and then spitting it out in her hand and feeding it straight to a cat!

We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
The local shops at the bottom of Block 150 on Bishan Street 11 sell everything and anything at a great price.

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Ice cream from Udders on Upper Thomson Road.

One thing you’d never change is:
The gorgeous view we have from our condo – the morning sunrises are just beautiful!

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Design and build water fountains for joggers and walkers as they make their way to and from Bishan Park. The heat can be unbearable, and water fountains would be a welcome sight.

Why should your neighbourhood be featured in a guidebook?
Our neighbourhood is filled with such variety – from eating places to outdoor activities and shopping. There is something in the Bishan area for everyone, young and old.


This article first featured in the May 2014 issue of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

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