The Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide: Is Tanjong Pagar the Best in the Village?
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The Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide: Is Tanjong Pagar the Best in the Village?

profileJoel Koh
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Living in Singapore, we all have our opinion as to where the best neighbourhood in Singapore is.

This age-old debate will go on, but it is not helpful in helping you to find a new place to live.

Enter our Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide series.

This is where we will lay out the facts of the neighbourhood to you, and evaluate it in an objective manner as much as possible so you can make the best choice of where to live.

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

The first instalment took us to Punggol.

This week we will be travelling westward to Tanjong Pagar!

Banner photo in artwork: Nicolas Lannuzel | Flickr


TL; DR: The Definitive Guide to the Tanjong Pagar Neighbourhood

  • Comparison methodology
  • Is the Tanjong Pagar Neighbourhood the Best Neighbourhood to Live in Singapore?
    • Personality: 4/5
    • Affordability: 1/5
    • Accessibility: 5/5
    • Schools in the area: 1/5
    • Shopping: 4/5
    • Recreational: 3/5
    • Food: 5/5
    • Total Score: 23
  • Final Score for the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood: 23 | A-rank 

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.

Micheal Buble Check
Source: Giphy

Each criterion 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

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.

Is the Tanjong Pagar Neighbourhood the Best Neighbourhood to Live in Singapore?

Tanjong Pagar Neighbourhood Map
Source: Google

For this guide, the focus will be on the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood as demarcated by the boundaries in red.

Tanjong Pagar means ‘cape of stakes’ in Malay which is apt, given its history as a fishing village in the past.

The neighbourhood is also a microcosm of Singapore as the once sleepy fishing village has been completely transformed into a bustling business and commercial hub.

Personality and Charm of Tanjong Pagar (4/5)

Tanjong Pagar is an urban area that is rich in cultural and built heritage, yet it still retains its charming eccentricities.

This historic neighbourhood has undergone urban renewal and has attracted a lively community.

It is a multicultural neighbourhood with a myriad of local and international dining and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Craig Road and Duxton Hill are home to cool bars and international restaurants.

The northern part of Tanjong Pagar road has been dubbed ‘Little Korea’ due to the many casual Korean restaurants and speciality grocery stores there.

In the near future, as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront development plan; Tanjong Pagar will be transformed into a new major gateway and location for urban living along Singapore’s southern coast.

Undoubtedly, Tanjong Pagar is a cool neighbourhood to be living in, with its urban area that keeps its charming eccentricities and rich history. 4/5 for the cape of stakes!

Affordability – Tanjong Pagar Median Resale Flats Price (1/5)

For this guide, we will be using the median price of HDB resale flats during the fourth quarter of 2019.hdb logo

We have chosen this statistic as a measure of affordability as the median resale flat price provides a good indicator of the average price of housing in the area.

Tanjong Pagar is a much sought after location due to its excellent location.

However, aside from the flats in the Tanjong Pagar Plaza area, there are not many HDB flats found in the centre of Tanjong Pagar.

As a result, we will be using the price data of flats in the central area from HDB.

Central Area (Tanjong Pagar) Resale Flats Median Price Q4 2019

We have included data from the most expensive areas and most affordable neighbourhoods.

Town3-Room4-Room5-Room
Woodlands$240,000$328,000$400,000
Bukit Merah$320,000$710,000$810,000
Queenstown$301,500$739,000$832,500
Central$410,000$890,000*

Asterisks (” * “) refer to cases where there are less than 20 resale transactions in the quarter for the particular town and flat type.
The median prices of these cases are not shown as they may not be representative

The median resale flat prices for Tanjong Pagar are considered amongst the highest in Singapore and are in the same tier as neighbourhoods like Queenstown and
Bukit Merah.

This downgrades their affordability rating to a 1/5.

Accessibility – How Accessible is Tanjong Pagar by Public Transport and Cars (5/5)

In terms of transportation, Tanjong Pagar’s central location makes it one of the most convenient places in Singapore.

Tanjong Pagar is well connected to the majority of Singapore’s transport networks by MRT, bus or by car.

Moving MRT Train
Source: Alantankhenghoe | Flickr

MRT Stations Near Tanjong Pagar

Currently, there is Tanjong Pagar (EW15) on the East-West line and Telok Ayer (DT18) Downtown line in the neighbourhood.

Tanjong Pagar MRT station is just a stop away from Raffles Place MRT station (EW14/NS26) which grants easy access to the North-South Line.

Outram Park MRT station( EW16/NE3/TE17) is also one stop away in the other direction and grants access to the North-East Line.

For Telok Ayer MRT station, Botanic Gardens (DT9/CC19) and Bukit Panjang (DT1/BP6) are accessible via the Downtown Line.

This connectivity will improve in the future when the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is built and Maxwell MRT Station (TE18) opens in 2021.

Nearby Buses Tanjong Pagar

In terms of buses, there are currently no bus interchanges in Tanjong Pagar.

However, there is the Shenton Way Bus Terminal nearby, with many bus services that operate from there passing through Tanjong Pagar.

Shenton Way Bus Terminal

Service Berth Destination Remarks
70 B1 Yio Chu Kang Weekdays & Saturdays
Morning – Evening
106 B1 Bukit Batok
107 B1 Hougang Central Weekdays & Saturday Mornings
128 B1 Ang Mo Kio Bus Depot Weekdays Evening Peak
130 B1 Ang Mo Kio
133 B1 Ang Mo Kio
162 B1 Yio Chu Kang Weekdays & Saturday Mornings
186 B1 St. Michael’s
400 B1 ↺ Marina Coastal Drive
700 B1 Bukit Panjang Temporary Bus Park Weekdays & Saturday Mornings
970 B1 Bukit Panjang

Source: Land Transport Guru

Tanjong Pagar Public Transport Commute to Work Areas

Here is an estimation of how long it will take to get to the main work areas in Singapore from Tanjong Pagar by public transport:

CBD:
Tanjong Pagar is in the CBD

Changi Business Park:
60 minutes

One North Buona Vista:
30 minutes

Jurong International Business Park:
30 – 45 minutes

Tuas:
75 – 90 minutes

Tanjong Accessibility by Car

Motorists are spoilt for choice in Tanjong Pagar.

Golden Retriever Driving Car
Source: Giphy

They can head onto the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) to access the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) to get to the westernmost side of Singapore.

The MCE also connects motorists to the East Coast Parkway (ECP) to get to the east.

Access to the North is made possible through via the Central Expressway (CTE).

Here is an estimation of how long it will take to get to the main work areas in Singapore from Tanjong Pagar by car:

CBD:
Tanjong Pagar is in the CBD

Changi Business Park:
20 minutes

One North Buona Vista:
12 minutes

Jurong International Business Park:
18 minutes

Tuas:
35 minutes

Overall Accessibility in Tanjong Pagar

In terms of convenience by public transport or car, Tanjong Pagar is one of the most well-connected places in Singapore.

This is also one of the main reasons for its price premium.

I would give Tanjong Pagar’s accessibility a 5/5 score because of this.

Schools in the Tanjong Pagar Area (1/5) 

Due to its location in the Central Business District (CBD) with very few residential developments, there are little to no Primary schools and no Secondary schools or tertiary institutions in the Tanjong Pagar Neighbourhood.

MOE School Finder
Source: MOE Singapore

I had to widen my search to include schools around the neighbourhood via MOE’s SchoolFinder.

Primary Schools

  • Cantonment Primary School (within 1km)
  • CHIJ (Kellock) (within 1 and 2km)

However, there are quite a few pre-schools in the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood:

  • Modern Montessori (Pinnacle Duxton)
  • Mulberry Learning Centre @ Tanjong Pagar
  • PCF Sparkletots Preschool ([email protected])
  • KidsCampus Tanjong Pagar (Pinnacle)
  • Secondary Schools

Thus, this area is more ideal for parents with young children.

I am rating the school situation in Tanjong Pagar 1/5 due to a shortage of Primary schools and lack of Secondary schools and tertiary institutions

Shopping and Lifestyle Amenities in Tanjong Pagar (4/5)

Shopping is great at Tanjong Pagar.

The Tanjong Pagar Neighbourhood is home to four shopping centres with each one having a distinct mix of shops.

Guoco Tower (Tanjong Pagar Centre)

Tanjong Pagar Centre is the retail section of Guoco Tower, the tallest building in Singapore.

Tanjong Pagar Centre
Source: Sotheby’s International Realty

Situated right next to Tanjong Pagar MRT, Tanjong Pagar Centre is home to many brands that are new to Singapore such as the world’s first Japan Rail Café, Hattendo Café, SBCD Korean Tofu House and Chalong restaurants.

Other more atas (posh) retail food and beverage concepts include Henri Charpentier (French desserts), Pura Brasa (Spanish food), Starker Signature (bar and bistro), Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine and Blue Lotus Chinese Grill House and Bar.

Tanjong Pagar Centre is also home to premium grocer Little Farms. They sell fresh, high-quality and ethical produce

100 AM Tanjong Pagar

100 AM is another shopping centre in Tanjong Pagar that shoppers might want to head to.

Headlining 100 AM are shops like Daiso and Don Don Donki.

You can also stock up on groceries and toiletries at FairPrice Finest and Watsons.

Tanjong Pagar Plaza

For a more traditional heartland shopping experience, you can head over to Tanjong Pagar Plaza.

The friendly aunties and uncles there have been tending to their shops there since forever.

You can also get your groceries at Fair Price on the first floor.

International Plaza

International Plaza is the mall you’ll want to visit for less mainstream shops.

International Plaza Singapore
Source: Internation Plaza Singapore

The mall is home to boutiques such as S.H.E. International Plaza, That Corner Shop and Ethan Men Tailor.

There is also Alchemist International Plaza, a charming boutique cafe.

Hospitals And Clinics in Tanjong Pagar With CHAS

First off with the negatives. There are no Polyclinics in Tanjong Pagar.

There are also no hospitals in Tanjong Pagar, you will have to be sent to Singapore General Hospital (Outram Park) for more serious ailments.

Otherwise, you will be sent to Raffles Hospital (Bugis) if you prefer a private hospital.

Remember to check your Integrated Shield Plans to see what kind of coverage you are entitled to.

Now the positives. There a multitude of private clinics in Tanjong Pagar.

  • Duxton Medical Clinic (Tanjong Pagar Plaza)
  • Tanjong Pagar Medical Centre (Tanjong Pagar Plaza)
  • TPC Medical Clinic
  • Cambridge Clinic (Kreta Ayer Road)
  • Raffles Medical (Anson Centre)
  • Shenton Medical (International Plaza) 
  • And more…

You’ll be glad to know that these clinics support the new and improved CHAS card which provides subsidies for ALL Singaporeans for chronic conditions, regardless of income.

Post Offices in Tanjong Pagar

There is also a SingPost branch in Tanjong Pagar located in Tanjong Pagar Plaza for all your mailing needs.

Overall, the shopping and lifestyle amenities in Tanjong Pagar are diversified and comprehensive which earns a 4/5 score!

Recreational Amenities in Tanjong Pagar (3/5)

In terms of recreational activities, the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood has less and is more catered to the office crowd.

Tanjong Pagar Gyms

Fitness First has two outlets, one at 100 AM and Captial Tower.

Tanjong Pagar Centre is home to Virgin Active Gym which has a 30m outdoor pool that provides a breathtaking view of Tanjong Pagar.

Virgin Active Tanjong Pagar Pool
Source: Virgin Active Singapore

There is also Gold’s Gym Tanjong Pagar Road which offers a quality no-frills experience.

Those who work nearby can also pop by for a quick session of Pilates at Pilates Bodytree on Telok Ayer Street.

Tanjong Pagar Parks

Surprisingly, there are actually parks in a high rise downtown area like Tanjong Pagar.

The Duxton Plain Park in Kreta Ayer is one such park, with greenery that breaks up the downtown buildup.

The park is shaped like a line and connects New Bridge Road and Yan Kit Road to Tanjong Pagar.

For those looking for a spectacular view with your greenery, Pinnacle @ Duxton has two large sky gardens at Levels 26 and 50.

Pinnacle @ Duxton HDB Flat At Tanjong Pagar
Source: The Straits Times | Pinnacle @ Duxton

The recreational amenities you can find at Tanjong Pagar are a bit limited as they are catered more towards office workers.

This earns it a 3/5 in my book!

Tanjong Pagar Food (5/5)

A Noodle Story
Source: Anders Husa & Kaitlin Orr | A Noodle Story

Tanjong Pagar has to be one of the yummiest neighbourhoods in Singapore.

From famous hawker centres, cosy cafes, renowned restaurants and a whole stretch of Korean restaurants; living here will be a joy during meal times.

Tanjong Pagar Hawker Centres

Tanjong Pagar has hawker centres that are home to some of the most delicious food you can find in Singapore.

Amoy Street Food Centre is home to famous stalls like A Noodle Story, Hong Kong Beef Noodle, J2 Crispy Curry Puff, Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings, Yuan Chun Famous Lor Mee, and Ah Ter Teochew Fishball Noodles.

Maxwell Food Centre has famous stalls like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Jin Hua Fish Soup and Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake.

Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre is home to stalls like Traditional Hakka Rice, Rolina Traditional Hainanese Curry Puffs and Katong (Peter) Fried Kway Teow Mee.

Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre
Source: Entree Kibbles

Tanjong Pagar Cafes

Tanjong Pagar is also a hotspot for cafes. These cafes are a great place to grab a nice cup of coffee, a quick lunch or a relaxed Sunday afternoon Brunch.

From beautiful Melbourne inspired cafe Bearded Bella, Cheeky alongside Neil road with its Kaya Pancakes and Kafe Utu a unique African Cafe and lounge that serves up authentic African cuisine.

There is something for every cafe hopper.

Tanjong Pagar Restaurants

Tanjong Pagar is home to many famous restaurants.

Bib Gourmand recipients like Peranakan restaurant Blue Ginger, European restaurant Bar-Roque grill and Japanese Unagi spot Man Man (Tanjong Pagar) are all in the neighbourhood.

There are also a few one-starred Michelin restaurants like French restaurant Rhubarb and Ma Cuisine, Italian restaurant Terra, French Asian fusion restaurant Meta and barbeque restaurant Burnt Ends.

Tanjong Pagar is also home to European contemporary restaurant Zén.

Zén Beer poached crustacean smetana wild trout roe
Source: Robb Report Singapore

Zén is one of the few two Michelin starred restaurants in Singapore. They offer up a stunning dining experience for around $450 per person!

Korean Restaurants in Tanjong Pagar

For all you fans of Korean food, Tanjong Pagar is also known as Little Korea due to the many Korean restaurants there.

There are spots like:

  • SBCD Korean Tofu House (tofu stew)
  • Chicken Up (fried chicken)
  • O.BBa Jjajang (jjajangmyeon)
  • Red Holic (Tteokbokki)
  • Guiga Korean BBQ Restaurant (Korean BBQ)
  • Super Star K (Korean BBQ)

Tanjong Pagar Bars

Tanjong Pagar is also known for its vibrant bar scene.

Jekyll and Hyde is a bar known for its amazing and unique cocktails.

Gibson bar is a vintage bar with sophisticated charm.

Don’t Tell Mama is also an amazing Korean bar to check out.

Overall, Tanjong Pagar is a great neighbourhood for foodies due to to its sheer quality and variety at all different price points.

The bars and Korean food just take it over the top.

This gives it a 5/5 in my books.


Final Score and Evaluation for Tanjong Pagar

The scores are in.

  • Personality: 4/5
  • Affordability: 1/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5
  • Schools in the area: 1/5
  • Shopping: 4/5
  • Recreational: 3/5
  • Food: 5/5
  • Total Score: 23

Tanjong Pagar scores a great 23 points which land it in the A-Rank category.

There is a reason why the neighbourhood is great for couples, creatives, families, working professionals and singles.

If you have any other more specific questions and would like to discuss 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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