The Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide: Is Tengah New Town the Best in Town?
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The Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide: Is Tengah New Town the Best in Town?

Joel Koh
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To help you find the best place to live in, we decided to create this Definitive Singapore Neighbourhood Guide series.

Where we lay out the facts of the neighbourhood and evaluate it as objectively as possible.

This guide will be particularly useful to you if you’re:

  • a prospective homeowner
  • a homeowner looking for a change of environment
  • an expatriate looking to settle down in Singapore

The first instalments took us to Punggol, Tanjong Pagar, Tiong Bahru and Tampines.

This week, we’ll head on a Journey to the West to Tengah to see if West side is THE best side.

Note: this will be particularly useful to prospective homeowners looking at May 2020 BTO launch in Tengah where 1,040 2R Flexi, 3R, 4R and 5R flats will be up for sale.

Artwork image courtesy of the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Singapore.

TL;DR: The Definitive Guide to the Tengah Neighbourhood

Final Score for the Tengah neighbourhood: 18 | B-rank 

*Click on each individual category to jump straight to it.

Our Comparison Methodology

Each neighbourhood will be evaluated based on a list of 7 criteria with equal weightage.

Comparison Seth Meyers
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 total score will then determine the neighbourhood’s rank, which ranges 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

Disclaimer: As objective as I strive to be, there’ll inevitably be some bias present in my evaluation. So… All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Is Tengah the Best Neighbourhood?

For this guide, the focus will be on the Tengah planning area and the area surrounding it as it is still rather undeveloped at this point.

Map of Tengah
Source: Google Maps

The Tengah estate and neighbourhood is located within the West Region of Singapore.

From Tengah, you will find Choa Chu Kang to the Northeast, Jurong East and Jurong West to the South, Bukit Batok to the East and the Western Water Catchment to the west and north.

The current name is taken from the old maps, where the area was named Teneh or Tengah which means centre, central or middle in Malay.

Back then when Singapore was a mere fishing village, Tengah was filled with farms, villages and plantations. It was later converted to a restricted military training area.

The neighbourhood has since been set aside for future housing developments, making it the newest HDB town after Punggol.

The neighbourhood will be split into five major zones.

Five Housing Districts Tengah
Source: HDB | Tengah Neighbourhood Map

Plantation, Park, Garden, Brickland and Forest Hill, with each zone forming a unique part of the town’s identity.

Eventually, the area will house about 42,000 homes with 30,000 units and 12,000 units set for public and private housing respectively.

All this sounds rather exciting, but understandably you might still have reservations about how ulu (remote) the neighbourhood is.

We will address your concerns and more here.

1) Personality and Charm of Tengah New Town (3/5)

There is a Tengah master plan formulated by HDB to develop Tengah into the town of the future.

A) Tengah Master Plan

Tengah Master Plan
Source: HDB

The estate stretches for over 700ha, roughly the size of Bishan. HDB envisioned Tengah as a “Forest Town”, to be designed with green, sustainable and smart features, and will also feature the country’s first car-free town centre a feature of its car-lite town scheme.

Forest Town

  • There will be a 15 to 20-metre strip of or “forest fringe” surrounding the town that connects you to the other forested parts of the island such as the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Macritchie Reservoir Park
  • Hiking trails will be carved out within the corridor so that you can get closer to nature
  • Tengah feature an expansive 20-hectare Central Park and a grand amphitheatre
Tengah Central Park
Source: HDB | Tengah Central Park

Home of the Future

  • Homes in Tengah will have more power points and data points to facilitate smart home devices
  • Car parks will have charging points for electric vehicles

Sustainability

  • When there are enough people living in the town, a car-lite scheme will be implemented to encourage walking and cycling. As such, the roads in the district will have a 2-metre wide cycling path and wide walking paths
  • This town centre will also be car-free with roads and vehicles channelled underground
Tengah-town-centre-artist-impression
Source: HDB | Artist’s impression of Tengah Town Centre in the future Park District 
  • There will be a futuristic Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System (PWCS), an automated waste collection and management system that is enclosed to reduce the spread of pests.
  • The Tengah town plan used a computer simulation tool to ensure the buildings are angled in a way to trap as little heat as possible while optimising wind flow. With better natural ventilation and overall cooler temperatures throughout the estate, you will not need to turn on your aircon as much

B) What is the Jurong Innovation District (JID)

Right next to Tengah is the Jurong Innovation District

Announced in the 2016 Singapore Budget, the JID aims to provide a conducive environment for startups and encourage innovation and grow the advanced manufacturing ecosystem.

To be developed by JTC, the first phase will be completed by 2022 and might provide job opportunities for Tengah residents.

As the Tengah neighbourhood is so new, with so many things still in development it is still ‘one to watch.’

It would be unfair to judge it based on what the neighbourhood is like right now as there has been only the May 2019, November 2019, and the upcoming May 2020 BTO launch.

Thus we will judge this based on the Tengah master plan that HDB has made.

From the plans that HDB has provided, it is clear that nature lovers and those who want to get away from the busyness of the city would favour this town.

Based on the promising future concept, I will give it a 3/5 score.

2) Affordability: Tengah Flats Price (4/5)

hdb logo

A) How Much do BTO Flats in Tengah Cost?

We’ll be using the median price of HDB resale flats during the fourth quarter of 2019 as a benchmark.

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

Since there is not enough data about the prices of resale flats in Tengah yet, we will be using the prices of the Tengah BTO launches from May 2019 and November 2019.

Here are the indicative prices from the Tengah BTO May 2019 and November 2019 launches:

HDB Neighbourhood2-Room Flexi3-Room4-Room5-Room
Tengah BTO Indicative Price May 2019From $106,000From $192,000From $309,000From $415,000
Tengah BTO Indicative Price Nov 2019$110,000 - $167,000$208,000 - $256,000$302,000 - $381,000$409,000 - $510,000
Woodlands-$240,000 $330,000$398,000
Punggol-$358,000$463,900$472,500
Bukit Merah-$310,000$684,000
$783,500

(-) indicates no resale transactions in the quarter

The prices for flats in the Tengah HDB town are amongst the most affordable flats you can get in Singapore and comparable to very affordable neighbourhoods like Woodlands.

Granted these are BTO prices, but we can only compare what is in front of us now.

If you want low prices, a higher chance of success, and don’t mind waiting for a bit for this “forest town’s” prices to grow.

Then consider the Tengah BTO (think of it as Punggol, but about a decade ago).

I would rate affordability at an affordable 4/5.

3) Accessibility: How Accessible is Tengah by Public Transport and Private Transport (1/5)

In terms of accessibility, Tengah’s far west location and distance from the city centre makes it one of the less convenient places in Singapore (read: ulu).

This is one of the major downsides of living in Tengah. Those who have served their National Service at the nearby Tengah airbase will know the pain of having to book in.

A) MRT Stations in Tengah

Currently, there are no MRT stations in Tengah.

All that is set to change starting 2026.

Tengah will soon be connected to the rest of the island via the spanking new Jurong Region Line (JRL).

There will be 24 stations on the JRL to serve the Jurong housing districts. Out of these 24 stations, Tengah residents will have four stations in their neighbourhood:

  • Tengah Plantation (JS1)
  • Tengah Park (JS2)
  • Tenagah (JS3)
  • Hong Kah (JS4)
JRL-Map-Tengah-LTA
Source: LTA | Jurong Region Line Map

This new MRT addition at Tengah MRT station will connect Tengah to:

  • North-South line and the East-West Line via Choa Chu Kang MRT (NS4/BP1/JS1) and Jurong East MRT (NS1/EW24).
  • East-West Line via Boon Lay MRT Station (EW27/JS8).

The JRL will open in phases.

  • Phase 1 (2026): JRL (West) which will have 10 stations connecting Choa Chu Kang to Boon Lay and Tawas
  • Phase 2 (2027): JRL (East) which will have seven stations linking Tengah and Pandan Reservoir
  • Phase 3 (2028): The final phase will have extensions into NTU in the west and Jurong Pier in the south, finishing up the JRL (West) route.

B) Bus Services in Tengah

Although Tengah currently has no bus Interchanges, there are quite a few buses passing through Tengah.Red And White Public Bus

The buses connect you to the nearby Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok Bus Interchanges.

Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange

ServiceDestination Remarks
67Tampines
172Boon Lay
188HarbourFront
188eHarbourFrontExpress Service / Weekdays Morning Peak
188RResorts World Sentosa Express Service / Sundays & Public Holidays
190 Kampong Bahru
190AOrchard Road (Dhoby Ghaut Stn)Short Trip Service
300↺ Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3
301
302↺ Choa Chu Kang Crescent
307↺ Choa Chu Kang Street 62 / Teck Whye Lane
307AChoa Chu Kang Avenue 4 (Opp Choa Chu Kang Stn)
925Woodlands
927↺ Mandai Lake Road (Singapore Zoo)No Operation on Sundays & Public Holidays
976Bukit Panjang
983↺ Jelebu Road
983AChoa Chu Kang Road (Blk 26)
985Lorong 1 Geylang
991Bukit Batok
991BChoa Chu Kang Avenue 1 (Opp Choa Chu Kang Mkt)Short Trip Service

Source: Land Transport Guru

Bukit Batok Bus Interchange

ServiceDestinationRemarks
61Eunos
77Marina Centre
106Shenton Way
106ACommonwealth Avenue West (Clementi Stn Exit B)Short Trip Service
173↺ Clementi
173ABukit Batok East Avenue 4 (Blk 254) Short Trip Service
177↺ Jelebu Road
189↺ Clementi Avenue 1
189ABukit Batok Street 23 (Opp Midview Bldg)Short Trip Service
852Yishun
941↺ Bukit Batok West Avenue 9
944↺ Bukit Batok Road
945↺ Bukit Batok Street 34
947↺ Bukit Batok Road
990↺ Jurong Gateway Road
991Choa Chu Kang
991ABukit Batok West Avenue 3 (Princess E Pr Sch)Short Trip Service

Source: Land Transport Guru

C) Tengah 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 Tengah by public transport:

CBD:

65 – 75 minutes

Changi Business Park:

95 – 100 minutes

One North Buona Vista:

45 – 50 minutes

Jurong International Business Park:

45 – 50 minutes

Tuas:

135 minutes

Unfortunately, getting around Singapore from Tengah will take ages on public transport. Even Jurong International Business Park, which is relatively near is still about half an hour away.

D) Tengah Accessibility by Private Transport

Motorists in Tengah are still relatively well connected to the rest of Singapore.

Jon Hamm Driving A Convertible
Source: Giphy

They can use the Kranji Expressway (KJE) which passes through Jurong, Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang.

They can also head on the KJE to reach the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) which can take them all the way to Woodlands.

Tengah is also near the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) which connects it to Changi in the east.

Here is an estimation of how long it will take to get to the main work areas in Singapore from Tengah by car accounting for traffic:

CBD:

35 – 45 minutes

Changi Business Park:

45 – 50 minutes

One North Buona Vista:

30 minutes

Jurong International Business Park:

25 – 30 minutes

Tuas:

30 – 45 minutes

E) Overall Accessibility in Tengah

In terms of convenience by public transport or private transport, Tengah’s connectivity is not too good for Singapore.

Public transport will take ages and it is only slightly more convenient if you take a car.

But when the Jurong Region Line and Tengah Integrated Transport are open connectivity will be improved.

This is one of the downsides of its forest town charm.

I would give Tengah an accessibility score of 1/5 because of this.

4) Schools near Tengah (3/5)

Strictly speaking, there are no schools in Tengah.

However, there are quite a few schools in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Fish Kids Bored At School
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

The schools cater to students of all ages.

There are many PCF Sparkletots schools around the area and even an MOE Kindergarten in Dazhong Primary School.

A) Primary Schools Near Tengah

  • Choa Chu Kang Primary School
  • Concord Primary School
  • De La Salle School
  • Dazhong Primary School
  • Jurong Primary School
  • Princess Elizabeth Primary School
  • Saint Anthony’s Primary School
  • South View Primary School

B) Secondary Schools Near Tengah

  • Bukit Batok Secondary School
  • Bukit Panjang Government High School\
  • Fuhua Secondary School
  • Hong Kah Secondary School
  • Jurongville Secondary School
  • Dunearn Secondary School
  • Hua Yi Secondary School
  • Swiss Cottage High School
  • Yuhua Secondary School

C) Special Schools Near Tengah

  • APSN Delta Senior School – offers vocational training for students aged 17 – 21 with mild intellectual disabilities
  • Eden School – for young children diagnosed with autism

D) Tertiary Institutions Near Tengah

  • ITE College West
  • Millenia Institute
  • Jurong Junior College
  • Nanyang Technological University

E) International Schools Near Tengah

  • Canadian International School Singapore
  • Dulwich College

I am rating the school situation in Tengah 3/5 due to the popular Primary schools, Secondary schools, special schools and tertiary institutions and even International schools around the area.

5) Shopping and Lifestyle Amenities Near Tengah (2/5)

While Tengah estate does not have any malls at present, future residents can head over to the nearby shopping malls at Sunshine Place, Bukit Batok West Shopping Centre, and West Mall.

A) Shopping Malls near Tengah

Sunshine Place

Sunshine Place is a charming heartland mall that houses a 24 hour Giant Supermarket as its anchor tenant. There are many optical shops, a Guardian,
7-Eleven, beauty salons, clinics and even a Kopitiam food court if you get hungry.

Bukit Batok West Shopping Centre

Bukit Batok West Shopping Centre is another shopping centre near Tengah. You will be able to find many Chinese medicinal halls as well as clinics here.
There are also quite a few beauty salons, neighbourhood boutiques with a wet market selling fresh fish, meat and vegetables here.

West Mall

West Mall
West Mall SG | Facebook

Near the Tengah housing district is West Mall, a shopping centre with something for all your shopping needs.

With a Cold Storage for groceries, Cathay Cineplex for movies, Japan Home and Thirty Three for your household needs, and the Bukit Batok Public Library for some reading fun. There’s something for everyone.

B) Tengah Markets

Tengah Supermarkets

However, there are only a handful of supermarkets and wet markets near Tengah.

  • Cold Storage (West Mall)
  • FairPrice HomeTeam NS Bukit Batok Clubhouse
  • Huiwah Supermarket
  • Giant Supermarket (Sunshine Place)
  • Giant Supermarket (Bukit Gombak)
  • Sheng Siong Supermarket (Bukit Batok)

Tengah Wet Markets

  • Bukit Batok West Wet Market
  • Quan Shui Wet Market and Fresh Food
  • Bukit Gombak Wet Market

C) Hospitals And Clinics Near Tengah With CHAS

For healthcare, you will have a multitude of options near Tengah.

The nearest polyclinics are Jurong Polyclinic and Bukit Batok Polyclinic.

For more serious ailments, there is the nearby St Luke’s Hospital and Ng Teng Fong Hospital (pictured below).

Ng Teng Fong Hospital
Source: Wikimedia Commons | Joey Foo

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

There are also quite a few private clinics near Tengah.

Family Medicine

  • Healthway Medical (Bukit Batok West)
  • Family Care Clinic (Bukit Batok West)
  • Frontier Medical Associates (Bukit Batok West)
  • Fresenius Medical Clinic Jurong West
  • Island Family Clinic (Bukit Batok)
  • Island Family Clinic (Keat Hong)
  • OneCare Medical Clinic Choa Chu Kang

Dental

  • Chen Dental Surgery
  • Kong Dental Surgery (Sunshine)
  • Oral Health Dental Surgery
  • The Dental Gallery Choa Chu Kang
  • Universe Dental Clinic

In addition, you can head to Jurong Polyclinic for your dental appointment too.

Do note that this list is not exhaustive. You can check out the CHAS clinic locator to find one nearest to you.

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.

D) Post Office in Tengah

You’ll be glad to know that there is:

  • Singapore Post Bukit Batok Central
  • Singapore Post Chua Chu Kang Central
  • Singapore Post Jurong West
  • POPStation at Sunshine Place

branches for all your mailing needs.

In terms of shopping and lifestyle amenities, Tengah has the basics covered but nothing much more.

I am giving Tengah a 2/5 score for its less than perfect range of shopping and lifestyle amenities.

6) Recreational Amenities near Tengah (3/5)

To serve the Tengah population, there will also be a sports hub built there in the future, much like what you see in Punggol and Sengkang today.

A) Sports & Fitness

There are actually a few gyms near the future HDB town of Tengah.

We have the:

  • Bukit Gombak ActivesSG Gym
  • Evolution Fitness Studio (Choa Chu Kang)
  • Fitness Workz Gym (Bukit Batok West)
  • Jurong ActiveSG Gym

There is also Bukit Batok Swimming Complex that features an Olympic-sized swimming pool as well as a swimming pool at HomeTeam NS Bukit Batok.

In the future, all roads in Tengah will have walking and cycling trails on both sides making the Tengah estate a dream for those who love to cycle.

B) Parks And Nature

Currently, there are actually three nearby parks.

Some of you might know about Bukit Batok Town Park which is home to Little Guilin. The park has a huge granite rock formation that looks a lot like the rock formations in Guilin, China. On top of being really instagrammable, you can find many nature photographers stalking the wildlife from afar in the park.

Nearby, you can find Bukit Batok Nature Park which is known for its World War II memorial plaque honouring the soldiers and victims that suffered during the wear. There are also winding footpaths that lead you through a secondary forest and an abandoned quarry inside the park.

Last but not least, you have the friendly Choa Chu Kang Park! The older generation will appreciate being able to take a leisurely stroll through what remains of the former fruit tree plantations. There are also many fitness corners and playgrounds there as well.

In the future, Tengah Estate will have its own forest centre and Central Park, the first of its kind for HDB housing districts in Singapore. The huge 20ha central park will have plenty of greenery and a body of water in the middle for water sports like kayaking.

Tengah Central Park
Source: HDB | Artist impression of Tengah Central Park

There will be even more lush greenery than usual around the homes in Tengah wetlands and a secondary rainforest.

C) Cultural and Entertainment

You can hop on over to nearby Bukit Batok for your cultural and entertainment needs.

There is also a Cathay Cineplex at West Mall to get your movie fix.

In addition, HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok and Civil Service Club have a myriad of fun activities to really let your hair down.

At HomeTeam NS Bukit Batok, you can play laser tag, golf, take on rock climbing, a challenge rope course and even book villas for a nice staycation.

At the Civil Service Club at Bukit Batok, you will find the 8 Degree KTV lounge bar, an old school arcade, bowling, tennis courts, a swimming pool and even Art Zone a spot for art workshops.

I would give the recreational amenities around Tengah a middle of the road 3/5 due to its fantastic parks.

7) Tengah Food 2/5

You can find a few decent food options near Tengah.

A) Sunshine Place Food

The nearby Sunshine Place near Choa Chu Kang has a nice Kopitiam which serves all manner of local food. Seafood lovers can head to Master Crab Seafood Restaurant and New Seafood Restaurant (新海鲜餐馆) @ Sunshine Place.

For those who want something a bit spicier, there is Nabia Indian Muslim Food.

Nabila Indian Muslim Food
Source: Open Rice

B) West Mall Food

The nearby West Mall in Bukit Batok lets you enjoy food in air-conditioned comfort.

You can find food like Malaysia Chiak a Malaysian food court, a Koufu with more local fare and an Encik Tan branch selling Halal-certified Chinese food.

You can also find food like Delifrance, Hanssik Korean BBQ, ICG Chicken and Burger Singapore, Ichiban Sushi, Pepper Lunch Express, KFC, Subway and more.

On top of the food you can find at the malls, there are a few notable restaurants places near Tengah.

C) Restaurants Near Tengah

First on the list is Vegetarian Villas, a popular vegetarian restaurant. You can also find Xing Xian Teochew Cuisine nearby with their mouthwatering Teochew favourites like Steam Red Garopa, Teochew Braised Duck and more.

Nex on the list is the cool [email protected] an innovative rainforest-themed restaurant with fresh farm-to-table cuisine.

Forest at Orchidville
Source: [email protected] | Facebook

Seafood lovers can also check out the old school Hong Kiat Seafood restaurant or grab a meal at Cheng’s Seafood Village.

D) Tengah Cafes

Tengah is has a few cafes around the area like:

  • Cuppafield – Cheap and good western food
  • D’Hut – Western and Singaporean cuisine
  • My Grandfather Cafe – serves Lavazza coffee from Italy
My Grandfather Cafe
Source: My Grandfather Cafe
  • Reach Community Cafe – Elderly friend pay as you wish cafe
  • The Co-op @ HomeTeam NS Bukit Batok – Halal-certified cafe French cuisine

I find the Tengah food scene slightly lacking due to a lack of famous hawkers and restaurants. Nothing too spectacular and nothing too bad either, which grants it an average 2/5 score in my books.

Final Score and Evaluation for Tengah

The scores are in:

  • Personality: 3/5
  • Affordability: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 1/5
  • Schools in the area: 3/5
  • Shopping: 2/5
  • Recreational: 3/5
  • Food: 2/5

Final Score for the Tengah neighbourhood: 18 | B-rank 

Tengah scores a good 18 points which land it in the B-Rank category.

For now, Tengah is not the most ideal neighbourhood to be living. You would want to live there if you really love nature and want to get away from the urban jungle that is most of Singapore.

Most of Tengah is open space right now. There may come a time when Tengah is packed with homes and demand runs high, but that is still a long time coming.

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

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

REITs Tool

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, as well as financial transactions and models.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

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