We always hear people complain about how small Singapore is, and how there’s nothing much to do here.
However, it seems absurd to us that this city-state that receives tons of tourists has “nothing much to do”. So we decided to take a look at some of our awesome neighbourhoods to see just how much Singapore has to offer us.
In this edition of the weekend guide, we’re taking a look at the huge township of Toa Payoh.
The busy estate is chock full of things to do, so here are some of the best things to do in Toa Payoh during the weekend.
Toa Payoh Park: For the ‘Gram
We didn’t know this until we took a closer look at Toa Payoh, but there are some pretty architecture and landscaping right across from Toa Payoh Interchange.
Toa Payoh Park has cool features like a hexagonal bridge feature, as well as a super classic arched bridge.
All this pales in comparison to the most iconic of all – Toa Payoh Tower. Built-in 1972, the tower rewards those who make the trek up with sweeping views of the estate. There are plenty of photo opportunities on the way up, and couples in the 70s and 80s used to spend entire days here shooting pre-wedding photos.
Singapore’s First Buddhist Monastery
There’s an interesting, and odd piece of history in Toa Payoh, in the form of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin monastery.
This ornate, intricate piece of architecture is Singapore’s oldest Buddhist monastery and has been gazetted as a national monument. The monastery even has a huge pagoda that rises 29 metres up in the air.
Walk down memory lane: Dragon Playground
This place has its own Google Map marker, with 164 reviews and 4.5 stars. Not bad for a playground that was built in 1979.
Today, it’s the last playground of its kind, standing as a nostalgic reminder of childhood joy for those who grew up in the 80s.
If you visit today, be ready for the sand, those orange tiles on the dragon, that bony structure that challenges your balance, and that rewarding slide at the end. This place is perfect for reliving your childhood, or for introducing your own child to what it was like to be a kid in the 80s.
Go before they tear it down for some other fancy new development.
See more: 6 Old School Playgrounds in Singapore
Dragons seem to be a thing in Toa Payoh, and nothing exemplifies that more than the weirdly placed Dragon Pillar at Toa Payoh Lorong 3.
It’s odd because no one knows who placed it there, or why it continues to exist as a thing. This was not a government or town council project, and one can only assume that some concerned citizen put the money in to build this pillar in Singapore’s earlier days.
Dragons are symbols of protection and wealth, so that was probably the initial reason for this pillar’s construction.
A Sensory Adventure
The Toa Payoh Sensory Park is one of a kind. This park isn’t just a place for people to stroll through. Instead, it was created to stimulate and challenge your senses and perception.
The place possesses interesting installations like parabolic dishes that reflect and redirect sounds, sculptures that create optical illusions, and even mirrors that change the way you view your surroundings.
The park also has an array of flowers, and even a butterfly garden for people to hang out in. This place is perfect for families with kids, who will definitely spend hours playing with the installations in this park.
Local Food Champions
No Singaporean neighbourhood trip would be complete without food, so it’s a good thing that Toa Payoh has some great food gems.
When you’re talking about food in Toa Payoh, you cannot ignore the Toa Payoh West Market & Food Centre.
This place has some popular hawker stores, like the ultra-popular Chey Sua Carrot Cake. This hawker store is well-loved by locals who travel all the way to get a bite of that pan-fried goodness.
They make the carrot cake themselves, and it’s so good that they were invited to the World Street Food Conference. Of course, the famous Handmade Teochew Pau stall there is also a must-visit. This place has been around for over 2 decades and serves up a variety of smooth and delicate baos for its customers.
See more: Toa Payoh: From Swamp to Abode