Long considered the Orchard Road of eastern Singapore (primarily thanks to its proliferation of shopping opportunities), Tampines is a green and leafy suburb with plenty of cool things to do. We’re talking fruit-themed playgrounds, Insta-tastic architecture and more fantastic parks than you can shake a very large stick at. And shopping. Lots of shopping. Read on to discover our favorite things to do in Tampines, Singapore, including:
- Shopping malls galore
- Tampines Eco Green
- Hawker centers
- Sun Plaza Park
- Tampines Quarry
- The Chinese Temple
- Tampines Regional Library
Scratch Your Selfie Itch
Insta-tastic photo opportunities abound in Tampines, where architectural wonders and sassy street art are sure to zhuzh up your social media feeds. Get snap happy on Avenue 9, where monochrome apartment blocks bring a modern twist to ye olde English Tudor style. Check out the beautifully hand-painted 3D-effect paper crane mural on the side of the Tampines West Community Club building and conjure up yet more Instagram magic at the dramatic Chinese temple, complete with a huge dragon sculpture on its roof. You can even become part of the art yourself at Block 478 Tampines Street 44, where benches and tables allow you to sit and blend with local artist Francis Theo’s colorful 1960s mural, featuring a barbershop, provisions store and traditional Peranakan houses.
Tampines Eco Green
Nature lovers will be in clover in Tampines, where vast green spaces teeming with native flora and fauna abound. Tampines Eco Green is one of the finest tracts of parkland in the district, with 88 acres of tropical rainforest, grasslands, wetlands and more to explore. A trio of trails offer splendid opportunities for walkers, joggers and keen photographers to enjoy the landscape. Pause at the bird hide to spot superstars of local wildlife including the towering purple heron, noisy red-breasted parakeets and – if you’re lucky – the brilliant blue flash of a collared kingfisher diving for its supper.
One of the best things to do in Tampines (as indeed in just about any Singapore neighborhood worth its salt) is to sample local street food at a hawker center. Chief among these is the Tampines Hub Hawker Center where more than 40 stalls serve up Malay-Chinese-Indonesian fusion specialities and the aromas of sizzling BBQ pork, lime-drenched chili crab and zingy fried noodles are enough to make a grown man weep. Try local favorite satay bee hoon – rice vermicelli with pork or prawns liberally smothered in spicy hot sauce – for the win.
Sun Plaza Park
Sun Plaza Park provides yet another opportunity to enjoy Tampines’ abundant natural wonders. Kids will love the sensory garden with 10 interactive play areas including tactile walls of plants, musical tubes and chimes and much more. Challenge your friends to a contest on the woodball course or – if all that sounds a little strenuous – enjoy a lazy picnic on the manicured lawns. There’s even an amphitheater that hosts outdoor concerts, exhibitions and performances when the weather is fine.
Hike Tampines Quarry
If you’re looking for hidden gems in Tampines, then look no further! Abandoned to nature many years ago, Tampines Quarry is now a lush oasis, thick with tropical vegetation. Space-age water towers mark the beginning of the trail at the northern entrance, leading to dirt tracks that lead to the lake at the bottom of the quarry. Negotiate rickety makeshift bridges across tiny streams and keep your peepers peeled for colorful native butterflies like the Plain Tiger flitting among the dense undergrowth. You might even be lucky enough to spot the occasional monitor lizard dozing on the banks of the lake.
Tampines Central Park
This lush green space pays homage to Tampines’ illustrious fruit-farming past, with kids’ playgrounds that contain rides, slides and various other structures in the shape of mangosteens and watermelon slices. It’s a fab community space, where locals gather to gossip beneath swaying palm trees, to jog the many marked pathways and to watch regular musical events and theatrical performances. Nearby, Our Tampines Hub is a community-led initiative that features a climbing wall, laser tag, play areas, a swimming pool and a rooftop running track with park views.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
You’ll find not one, not two, but THREE major shopping malls within stumbling distance of Tampines MRT station. Tampines 1 boasts hundreds of shops and restaurants over seven floors, as well as a swimming pool for showcasing that expensive new swimwear you’ve just treated yourself to. Nearby Century Square and Tampines Mall offer more of the same, adding food courts, cinema screens and other entertainments into the mix. Spending money has never seemed so easy; they don’t call this neighborhood the Orchard Road of the east for nothing, you know!
An extraordinary 270-meter-long dragon sculpture stands sentry atop this traditional pagoda-style temple, an amalgamation of the 12 Taoist temples that stood in Tampines prior to its redevelopment in the 1980s and 90s. Inside, colorful altars, murals and shrines provide a place for quiet reflection and, of course, some of those all-important photo opportunities.
Tampines Regional Library
If you’re looking for a place to chill in Tampines, you could do far worse than the epic five-story library at Our Tampines Hub. Kids can enjoy the vast collection of children’s storybooks, many in English, and let off some steam in the playhouse on the ground floor, while adults find a cozy nook and lose themselves in a good book. There are coding and programming labs for teens and you can even get involved in cookery workshops by the cookbook section. Suffice to say, it's no ordinary library!