The Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide: Is Punggol the Best Place to Live?
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The Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide: Is Punggol the Best Place to Live?

profileJoel Koh
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Just the other day, I was hanging out with my friend’s house after dinner.

The conversations died down and we decided to play some board games. My friend then went over to her storeroom and dusted off her Monopoly: Singapore Edition set she received as a Christmas gift some years back.

Out of boredom and a sense of nostalgia, we opened up the box.

Monopoly Singapore Edition
Source: Weekender Singapore

The game was long, drawn-out and only got exciting towards the end when we started trading our properties with each other where chaos ensued and it turned into a wet market.

Suddenly, one of my friends popped this question.

Which is the best neighbourhood in Singapore to live in?

The debate has just begin meme
Source: Giphy

From then on, the night became so much more lively as each of us presented our case for which neighbourhood is best.

The debate got a bit heated because we were all so passionate about the neighbourhoods we lived in. I believe this is the case for most of us in Singaporeans well.

That got me thinking.

This debate needs to be settled once and for all. Here is our attempt at answering this age-old question.


TL; DR: The Definitive Guide to Which Area to Live in Singapore as Written by a Singaporean

  • How we ensure objectivity
  • Explanation of comparison methodology
  • Evaluation of the Punggol neighbourhood
    • Personality & charm: 4/5
    • Affordability: 2/5
    • Accessibility: 3/5
    • Schools in the area: 2/5
    • Shopping: 3/5
    • Recreational: 5/5
    • Food: 3/5
    • Total Score 22/35
  • Final Score for the Punggol neighbourhood: A-rank

Ensuring Objectivity

As I learnt from the debate with my friends, this topic is highly subjective.

There are many reasons why we would prefer one neighbourhood over the other when we choose someplace to live.

You might have grown up in the area and made many happy memories there.

Your relatives or closest friends might live nearby.

Maybe you are friends with all the aunties and uncles at the nearby hawker centre who give you an extra portion every time you buy food for them.

Maybe you found a dream job in the furthest reaches of Singapore in Tuas or Changi.

To address this, we have developed a trademarked Seedly Neighbourhood Comparision Methodology™ backed up by science to evaluate a neighbourhood as objectively as possible.

Meme Man Wurds Science

This guide will be good for prospective homeowners, expats looking to settle down in Singapore, people looking for a change of environments and more.

Note: as much as I try to be objective in analysing these neighbourhoods and presenting the rationale for them, there will still be some amount of bias. Opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Our Comparision Methodology to Find the Best Neighbourhood in Singapore

Each area will be evaluated based on a list of 7 criteria where no one criteria will have a higher weightage over another.

Each criteria will be given a score from 1 – 5.

Personality and CharmWe will look at the distinct charm and character of the neighbourhood.

A score of 5 means that the neighbourhood is charming and full of character, while a score of 1 indicates the reverse.
Affordability
(Median Resale Flats Price)
We will look at the median price of HDB flats in the neighbourhood.

A score of 5 means that the flats are the most affordable, while a score of 1 indicates that prices are the most expensive.
AccessibilityWe will evaluate transport links such as MRT stations, bus interchanges and accessibility by private transport.

A score of 5 means that the neighbourhood is very accessible, while a score of 1 indicates the reverse.
SchoolsWe will look at all the Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions in the neighbourhood.

A score of 1 indicates that the school landscape is rather lacking, while a score of 5 indicates that this is where you will see all the parents queueing up to volunteer at schools.
Shopping and Lifestyle AmenitiesWe will evaluate the malls and shopping available in the area.

A score of 1 means that the neighbourhood is lacking in amenities and would be rather inconvenient, while a score of 5 indicates otherwise
Recreational AmenitiesWe will evaluate the access to recreational facilities like nature parks or reserves.

A score of 1 indicates that you will probably have to go outside the neighbourhood to have fun, while a score of 5 indicates you won’t have to leave.
FoodWe will look at the hawker centres, fast food joints and restaurants available in this neighbourhood.

A score of 1 indicates much improvement needed with food options, while a score of 5 indicates a foodie paradise.

The scores will then be collated. The total score given will determine the neighbourhood’s rank.

The neighbourhoods will range from S Rank to D Rank:

  • S-Rank: 28 – 35 Points
  • A-Rank: 22 – 27 Points
  • B-Rank: 15 – 21 Points
  • C-Rank: 8 – 14 Points
  • D-Rank: 1 – 7 Points

Is the Punggol Neighbourhood the Best Neighbourhood to Live in Singapore?

Punggol, or Ponggol, is a planning area and new town located in the North-East Region of Singapore on top of the Tanjong Punggol Penisula.

In terms of geographical location, Sengkang is down south, Seletar is located to the west, Pasir Ris to the east and up north is Johor.

In addition, Coney Island which is up North is part of the Punggol planning area as well.

Google Map of Punggol
Source: Google Maps

Punggol is one of the oldest settlements in Singapore.

It is believed to have existed a little more than 200 years ago before Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore.

Back then the Punggol area was a developed rural district, filled with farmhouses and farm structures that were connected by many dirt tracks and roads.

Personality and Charm of Punggol (4/5)

The Punggol of today is very different.

As a rapidly developing waterfront town, Punggol is turning into one of the most coveted districts in Singapore.

Under the Punggol 21-Plus plan, the neighbourhood has developed rapidly.

From a dark, quiet and ulu (inaccessible) estate, Punggol has been transformed into a vibrant, bustling waterfront town surrounded by nature.

The Punggol neighbourhood offers up picturesque views of the water, flora and fauna and its many bridges.

Lorng Halus Bridge
Source: George Tan | Flickr

Punggol is also home to many eye-catching and instagrammable bridges that provide fantastic views and lookout points to view sunrise and sunsets.

As such due to the storied history and beauty of this place, I am rating the personality and charm of Punggol at 4/5.

Affordability – Punggol Median Resale Flats Price (2/5)

Punggol Resale Flats Median Price

According to data provided by HDB, the median resale prices for flats in Punggol during the fourth quarter of 2019 are as follows:

Punggol

3-Room: $358,000

4-Room: $463,900

5-Room: $472,500

For reference, I have included the cheapest and the more expensive resale flats to get a better gauge of where Punggol stands.

Woodlands

3-Room: $240,000

4-Room: $330,000

5-Room: $398,000

Bukit Merah

3-Room: $310,000

4-Room: $684,000

5-Room: $713,000

As the median prices for their resale flats considered on the high side, this downgrades their affordability rating to a 2/5.

Accessibility – How Accessible is Punggol by Public Transport and Cars (3/5)

Punggol MRT

Currently, there is only Punggol MRT in the neighbourhood.

Punggol MRT lies on one end of the North-East MRT (Purple) line. Taking the train from Punggol to Harbourfront takes about 32 minutes

A trip to Dhoby Ghaut which is connected to the town area will take about 21 minutes.

In the future, there will be the Punggol Coast Line which is set to be completed in 2023.

Punggol LRT

Punggol LRT Line Map
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The whole Punggol planning area is well connected by the Punggol LRT.

According to LTA, “Train frequency is 2 to 3 minutes during the peak hours of 7am to 9am and about 5 to 7 minutes during off-peak times.” 

This makes getting around Punggol rather convenient,

Punggol Bus Interchange (Punggol Temp Int)

As for the bus interchange, there are buses that go from everywhere to Tampines, Changi, East Coast, Serangoon, Bishan, Aljunied, Ang Mo Kio and around Punggol.

Punggol Public Transport Commute to Work Areas

Here is how long it will take to get to the main work areas in Singapore by public transport:

CBD:
50 minutes

Changi Business Park:
60-70 minutes

One North Buona Vista:
60-65 minutes

Jurong International Business Park:
90 minutes

Tuas:
140 minutes

Punggol by Car

Punggol is connected to the Singapore expressway network via the Tampines Expressway (TPE).

To get to the city area, you will need to take the TPE onto the Kallang Paya-Lebar Expressway (KPE).

Here is how long it will take to get to the main work areas in Singapore by car:

CBD:
20-50 minutes by car

Changi Business Park:
20-45 minutes

Jurong International Business Park:
35-60 minutes

One North Buona Vista:
35-60 minutes

Tuas:
45-85 minutes

Overall Accessibility in Punggol

In terms of accessibility, the Punggol neighbourhood is quite middle of the road for Singapore. This earns Punggol a 3/5 score in my books.

Schools in the Punggol Area (2/5) 

Punggol Primary Schools

  • Edgefield Primary School
  • Greendale Primary School
  • Horizon Primary School
  • Mee Toh School
  • Northshore Primary School
  • Oasis Primary School
  • Punggol Green Primary School
  • Punggol View Primary School (Operates as a single-session school so as to commit more space and time for holistic education)
  • Punggol Cove Primary School
  • Valour Primary School
  • Waterway Primary School

Punggol Secondary Schools

  • Greendale Secondary School
  • Punggol Secondary School
  • Edgefield Secondary School

Punggol International Schools

  • Global Indian International Schools
father taking photo of mother and child holding up first day of school board
Source: Giphy

As the area was only recently developed, there are not a lot of established and popular schools in the area, hence the slightly lower 2/5 score.

However, this is set to grow.

Yusof Ishak Secondary School will be shifting to Punggol in 2021 to meet the growing demand for school places in the housing estate.

In addition, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will open a new SIT Punggol campus in 2023.

Shopping and Lifestyle Amenities in Punggol (3/5)

The main place to do your shopping is at Waterway Point or smaller malls at Punggol Plaza and Oasis Terrace.

On top of it being a beautiful waterfront mall, Waterway Point has a 24-hour NTUC, Daiso, Best Denki, H&M, Uniqlo and a variety of other tenants that make it comparable to the large malls along Orchard road.

For Punggol Plaza, it has everything from tuition centres, hair salons, banks to food. It also provides a general practitioner and expert medical facilities in the 1st and 2nd floors of the mall.

As for Oasis Terrace polyclinic, there is the Singhealth Polyclinic – Punggol, a neighbourhood centre, a sheltered community plaza.

For shopping and lifestyle amenities, Punggol still has room for growth. I am giving this segment a (3/5).

But in 2021, the new Punggol Town Hub is set to open.

It will boast a new hawker centre, public library, renovated Punggol Vista Community Centre(CC) that will be seven times the size of previous CC.

In addition, a childcare centre and multiple health services will be opening there as well.

Recreational Amenities in Punggol (5/5)

In terms of recreational activities, the Punggol neighbourhood has more than most.

You can head to:

  • Hiking at Punggol Waterway Park with its four different zones. I.e. the Nature Cove, Recreation Zone, Heritage Zone, and Green Gallery,
  • Punggol Beach to catch the sunrise from the eastern part of Singapore
  • Gallop Stables to ride horses
  • Prawning at Hai Bin Prawning
  • Cycling on the beautiful Coney Island
  • Play Futsal at Uber Sports
  • Bring your children to Kidz Amaze which has one of Singapore’s largest indoor water playgrounds
  • Water activities such as skin diving, boating and wakeboarding
  • A whole host of fun lifestyle activities at Punggol SAFRA

The sheer variety and quality of the recreational amenities you can do is staggering, 5/5!

Food in Punggol Review (3/5)

Underrated. That would be the word I would use to describe the food Punggol.

Granted, Punggol does not have famous hawker centres like Tiong Bahru Food Centre, Bedok 85 Market, Maxwell or Old Airport Road, there are still more than a few hidden gems you can find.

As for Hawker food, there is food like the halal-certified khaki yong tau foo at Fu Chan Coffeeshop, the three treasure rice set you can find at Kimly Dim Sum Coffee Shop and the delicious prawn mee at 639 Punggol Kopitiam.

From Hong Kong food you can find at Ah Dong Teh House, western food at Don’t Go Bacon My Heart, Affordable Atas Food, Whisk and Paddle, Japanese food like Yakitori and Sake and Thai food at Dependable Thai Food. There’s a bit for everyone.

Ah Dong Teh House Punggol
Source: Hungrygowhere

In addition, there are over 10 seafront dining outlets you can check out at Punggol Settlement.

However, there is still a bit of room for improvement due to the dearth of hawker centres, 3/5.


Final Score and Evaluation for Punggol

The scores are in.

  • Personality & Charm: 4/5
  • Affordability: 2/5
  • Accessibility: 3/5
  • Schools in the area: 2/5
  • Shopping: 3/5
  • Recreational: 5/5
  • Food: 3/5

Punggol scores a respectable 22 points which puts it in the A-Rank category.

All in all, there is a reason why Punggol is popular with nature lovers, families, young couples, and older residents.

If you have any other more specific questions and would like to discuss the property, the friendly Seedly Community is here to help!

Do also let us know in the comments what your favourite neighbourhood is.

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

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