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Thomson, Singapore: A teenager’s guide to living, eating and shopping in this neighbourhood near MacRitchie Reservoir Park


The Thomson neighbourhood is just a short hop from Orchard Road, but the foliage of the nearby MacRitchie Reservoir Park makes it feel far removed from city life.

Kirra Draper (16), Australia

Where did you live when you first came to Singapore?

My family and I lived in the Great World Serviced Apartments for about three weeks before we moved to the Thomson 800 condominium.

What were your reasons for living in this area?

My parents were looking for an apartment with a balcony big enough to hold our massive barbecue. They really like the outdoors, so they like being right next to the MacRitchie Reservoir. Our place is surrounded by a lot of greenery, which makes a nice change from the synthetic urban jungle.

The best thing about living in this neighbourhood?

It’s so close to everything! I never have to take the MRT because all the buses go directly to my location. Orchard Road is only one dollar away, which is very handy and convenient. My school (the Australian International School) is also pretty close and easy to get to by bus.

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

Our pool is under renovation at the moment, so I wish they would hurry and re-open it soon.

Any drawbacks to living in this area?

No one seems to know where it is. I usually have to assist cab drivers and talk them in the right direction, and my friends often get lost trying to find it. How hard can it be to spot a salmon-pink condo?

Why this specific home?

Again, the large balcony. We spend most of our time there, especially when we have guests. I never did ask my parents much about why they moved here. I only cared about the size of my room.

Which facilities are important to you?

The pool is amazing. It’s the perfect length for swimming
laps and it looks spectacular. There is also a steam room and sauna, and the rock pools and waterfalls make it feel like a spa.

Your preferred local leisure area?

I spend most of my time hanging out on Orchard Road with friends. We’re usually in Cineleisure, a mall just off Orchard with almost everything – a cinema, an arcade, a karaoke bar, a pool room and some great shops. A warning to parents: Cineleisure is a prime teen hangout, so if you don’t want to embarrass your teenage kids, plan your family day at Sentosa. Thomson Plaza and Junction 8 are also close to home and convenient for last-minute shopping. I write in my spare time, so I can just get a bus to Thomson Plaza, sit in Starbucks and spend the day there.

Your preferred local shopping centre?

For groceries, either Fair Price in Thomson Plaza or Cold Storage in Junction 8. For serious shopping you can’t beat Orchard Road. Malls such as Wisma Atria, Paragon or Takashimaya are within a comfortable walking distance from Far East Plaza. The clothes in these shops are a little more expensive, which is a perfect excuse for asking parents for money. If you want cheaper clothes, Far East Plaza offers a range of different styles of clothing at reasonable prices.

Special finds?

There is an excellent shop in Far East Plaza where I buy most of my writing supplies, and a clothing shop called Blood Romance, which sells Gothic Lolita & Punk, a Japanese line of gothic clothing. There is also a very nice little clothes shop in Thomson Plaza, and in Junction 8 a shop called Lemon Ice Tee sells cheap high heels, unusual jewellery and nice clothes.

Favourite restaurant for a special night?

On special occasions when we go out as a family – my birthday, for instance – we go to the Hard Rock Café on Orchard Road. We love the atmosphere of the place. The entire building is decorated with rock memorabilia and sometimes they have live bands playing.

Favourite “cheap and cheerful” restaurant?

Generally I’m happy with a hawker’s centre, which is great because there are so many of them around Thomson Plaza. I’m a big fan of chicken rice and roti prata. However, if I’m out with friends and we want a change from the same old Burger King, we head to Pastamania because the food is quick, cheap and tasty.

Kirra’s Recommendations

Cineleisure Orchard
Junction 8 Shopping Centre
Thomson Plaza
Far East Plaza
Blood Romance
Paper People
Ice Lemon Tee
8 Grange Road
9 Bishan Place
301 Upper Thomson Road
14 Scotts Road
Far East Plaza
Junction 8 and other locations

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