First published on 21 Apr 2008. Updated on 16 Jul 2010.
Eat There’s good food everywhere you turn at Singapore’s first and oldest HDB satellite town. The station opens slap-bang into the busy town centre – comprising Toa Payoh Central and the HDB Hub – where there are eateries, cafés, bakeries, snack bars and a hawker centre. A short walk north of the MRT at block 177, yummy goreng pisang can be found at Lucky Pisang Raja inside Moon Sun Restaurant (#01-176); meanwhile, check out the traditional English fish and chips at Café Wok Inn (#01-124/126). For good old-fashioned popiah, take a 15-minute stroll east to block 22 at Lorong 7, and look for the established-in-1930 Old Long House Popiah (#01-03, 9171 7157).
Drink Within a 15-minute radius of the station, you can find them all – coffeeshop kopi and flavoured cappuccinos, teh tarik and bubble tea, local and foreign beers. Heck, you can even get wines from South Africa in this heartland town! At Lorong 4, north of the station, there are not one, but two, wine cellars. Euro Link Wines and Spirits (blk 85A, #01-324, 6255 7271) was the first to open and sells bottles of wine, brandy and whiskey from $15 up. Down the street, Wine Fella (blk 92, #01-274, 6352 2415) also has a wide range of international wines and holds tasting sessions every Friday evening from 6-8pm. Shop The Toa Payoh town centre is a shopping haven. The hundreds of shops here range from themed stores at the HDB Hub Mall to thrift stalls located at the air-conditioned bus interchange (the country’s first) to the neighbourhood stores that hawk everything from electronics to furniture. And unlike Orchard Road, you can bargain here.
People-watching spot Aside from being home to the headquarters of the Housing & Development Board, the HDB Hub building (480 Toa Payoh Lorong 6; 6490 1111, www.hdb.gov.sg) is where hundreds of locals go daily to enquire about public housing matters. Just grab any seat in the spacious airconditioned waiting areas and gawk at their requests. Great place to be if you need to get out of the blistering heat or oppressive rain.
See To learn all you need to know about the city-state’s 24 housing estates and new towns, visit the HDB Gallery (HDB Hub basement one), a free multimedia gallery that showcases the past, present and future of public housing in Singapore. For an iconic landmark, the Lian Sang Shuang Lin Temple (184E Jalan Toa Payoh, 6259 6924) is about a ten-minute jaunt east of the station. Nicknamed Siong Lim Temple, the 1908 Buddhist monastery is the oldest in Singapore and boasts a seven-storey golden-spired pagoda.
Trek For a dash of green, check out the 4.8-hectare Toa Payoh Town Park, which is a three-minute walk south of the MRT and directly opposite the Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre. Extremely popular in the ’70s with wedding couples, it recently underwent a multi-million dollar face lift and is once again a favourite with…wedding couples! In addition to its landmark observation tower and landscaped pond, it now provides more user-friendly facilities, such as cascading pools and jogging tracks.