JYOTI PRASAD, a chip designer from Bangalore in India, is greeted by calming nature against the backdrop of the elegant view of Marina Bay Sands each time she steps out of her Tanjong Rhu condo. Her Costa Rhu condo is nice and central and gives her easy access to Gardens by the Bay East, and it’s also home to a family of otters!
What’s the name of your street? Tanjong Rhu.
If it’s in another language, what does it mean? Tanjung means “point” in Malay, and Rhu refers to the casuarina trees that are common in this neighbourhood.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? That you can’t reach it by public transport!
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get to Costa Rhu? “Go to the last condo on Tanjong Rhu, just before Gardens by the Bay East.”
Closest MRT station? Currently, it’s Stadium (yellow Circle Line). But by next year there should be a Tanjong Rhu Station, and the Founder’s Memorial Station the year after that (both on the brown Thomson East Coast Line).
How long have you lived at your Costa Rhu condo? We moved here over six years ago because it’s nice and central – it’s an easy 15 to 20 minutes to both my workplace and my husband’s. The Tanjong Rhu condos are older but bigger. But the biggest attraction is the easy access to Gardens by the Bay East (or Bay East Garden) and the Marina Barrage area.
Condo fact file
Name of condo: Costa Rhu
Facilities: Swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, practice cricket pitch and multi-purpose rooms
Size: 737 units
New or old: Old (1998) Walking distance to supermarkets: 2 to 15 mins (but there’s a convenience store within the condo too)
Community vibe: Vibrant, active and friendly
Overview of the area
When you walk out of your condo, what’s the first thing you see? Massive green trees, the Kallang River, Marina Bay Sands, the domes of Gardens by the Bay and a family of otters!
What’s the closest store to your front door? Kallang Wave Mall – but the only store I go to there is FairPrice.
If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Crazy Rich Asians. You can see all the landmarks shown in the movie from our street.
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? There are massive crowds here during the weekends; I miss the empty walking and running tracks.
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Athletic wear. People here are addicted to working out!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? Otter-crossing boards – and a huge family of otters actually walking past it.
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? The food scene in this area isn’t great, but it’s conveniently located around 15 minutes from the CBD, Orchard and Joo Chiat, which is where we usually head to.
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? For the basic necessities, Kallang Wave Mall is convenient. But for a wider range I like to go to Suntec, which houses almost every shop I need.
What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? A lot of marathons start from Tanjong Rhu, which is great to see. It also has the most conveniently located cycling track. If you’re adventurous enough, you can even try dragon boating or kayaking on the Kallang River.
What’s one thing you’d never change? The massive old trees lining the streets.
How about one thing you would change? I wish there was a bridge directly from the Costa Rhu end of Kallang River to the CBD. If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? Build that bridge!
Things to do in Singapore
What are your favourite places in Singapore for taking out-of-town guests? The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, and the emptier stretches of East Coast Park.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? I love walking along the streets of Tanjong Pagar. The cafés, rows of houses and local markets give a nice old-world charm.
If you’re missing home, what do you do? Head to MTR Singapore restaurant on Serangoon Road to get my dose of Bangalore-style masala dosa.
About Singapore’s otters!
Jyothi mentioned she has seen a family of otters crossing paths near her Tanjong Rhu condo, and sightings of these smooth-coated mammals have become increasingly common in Singapore. In fact, the otter population is thought to have more than doubled since 2019, with around 17 otter families sleeping under bridges, fishing in the waterways and, very occasionally, attacking people in public parks. Otters have also been known to get into people’s homes and steal fish from ponds – one incident is reported to have cost a homeowner $64,000 in koi carp! To this end, NParks is working to relocate the island’s 170 otters away from residential areas, and otter-proof people’s homes.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
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This article first appeared in the September 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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