Singapore is something special. Some say that not even Hong Kong, another autonomous city-state, can hold a candle to it. Both are indeed little gems that are bordered by a large neighbouring country. However Singapore has something that Hong Kong doesn’t, and that’s a residential mindset. Hong Kong is a financial giant, just like Singapore. However due to it’s historic trading importance and perhaps because of Chinese influence. It hasn’t been able to create new residential homes for an influx of people.
Singapore is just the opposite. You get a feeling that it’s not all about money and economics here, it’s more so about living a great life. You are cut off slightly from the rest of the world when you look at the city-state on a map, but it’s truly an international hive of activity. Toa Payoh is a primary example of what Singapore is all about. It’s a developing residential area, that it catering for people that want to live and work here, but also for tourists that want to visit. Modern high-rise buildings are being built but there is also a family-friendly vibe. It’s a town that just keep on evolving and giving.
Serenity among concrete
When you land in Singapore, you’re going to be bombarded with concrete. Well, not literally, but you are going to feel a sense of being very small. The high-rise buildings are what has made Singapore so famous because just a small city-state of around 5.6 million people, produce 555 billion dollars every single year. So the concrete jungle is going to be something you’ll notice straight away. Depending on how long you’re planning on staying, you may want to get a little peace and quiet so you can enjoy some alone time.
The Toa Payoh Town Park was opened to the public in 1973 and since then it has been a safe haven to the locals and for many people visiting. It has an observation tower which is approximately 3-stories high and allows you to see the whole park and beyond. It’s 4.8 hectares and just a 5-minute walk from a local metro station. It has a large pavilion and a pond that has a stone arched bridge. There’s also a jungle gym for kids to enjoy. It’s great for a stroll and especially great for enjoying an evening picnic, watching the flickering lights of the skyscrapers.
Put your feet up
Before delving too deep into the Singapore lifestyle, you need a place to stay. Toa Payoh has come a long way and has recently had some much-needed upgrades done to it. Consider taking up a room in the hdb toa payoh where there has been a renovation in high-rise properties. It used to be known as the ‘swamp land’ since there was so much farming done that the mud and rainwater would create a slop. However, it’s nothing like it was a couple decades ago, as now there are approximately 150,000 residents living in Toa Payoh and 36,000 flat units with the majority being 3 and 4-room flat units. Thanks to the popularity as of late, there are even more estates being planned to eventually be erected beside the existing. A great place to rent or buy, you’ll find mostly affordable properties for families and bachelors will be here.
The Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery reminds you of what Singapore is doing. It’s keeping it’s heritage alive, while also moving forward in the depths of modernity. In this small city-state you have some of the most modern technology, fantastic road networks, high-rise buildings of finance and business, green energy and in among all of this, you still have traditional buildings and architecture still standing. The monastery practices a strand of buddhism as is a place where many locals comes to pay respects to the dead and pray for themselves. It also holds events which come about annually and see a rise in the number of people flocking to it’s doors.
The architecture is East Asian grandiose, with the roofs spreading out and upward at the edges like wings. The orange tiles are made out of clay and the pillars holding the roof up are made out of limestone. The feather gates are arches that guests walk under and as you look up, the artistic paintings are done in a dull royal blue. Certain features are painted in gold to offset this. Statues of jungle tigers and dragons are standing all over the monastery as part of the Cantonese culture. There are four main parts, consisting of the Dharma Hall, Mahavira Hall, Hall of Celestial Kings and the Main Entrance. It now stands as 111 years old and is the oldest buddhist place of worship in all of Singapore.
Do the dinosaur
Toa Payoh has a lot of things about it that are catered for families. It’s a developing residential area so the local authorities of the town want to attract families to live here. Children and adults can enjoy the Jurassic Park in the town that is a playground homage to the film series. The large dinosaur plays as parent to the young that is squatting beside it. There are eggs close by so the scene depicts dinosaurs growing as a family. It’s located at block 27 Lorong 6. Great for kids and parents that want to do something fun together before the day is started. There are rubber mats to not hurt children if the fall while running around. In the background there is a small jungle gym. Where kids can climb and navigate from one end to the other.
Singapore is a special place that not many people get to experience. For travellers that want to know what it’s like to really live like a local, visiting and staying in Toa Payoh is by far one of your best options. The town park is especially loved and cared for. It provides a brilliant place to relax in and enjoy a little break from the city center. The Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery is a what Singapore sometimes hides. The heritage and nature of the buildings is an homage to the old kingdoms in China. It’s now set in among a modern and prosperous city-state.