Subway networks are like the veins and arteries of a city, born out of necessity to cope with a growing population, Singapore’s subway system, known locally as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), first started operations in 1987 with the launch of the North-South line.
Today, more than 130 stations across six MRT lines span the island. This 200km system has over three million daily ridership. In addition, there are more than 40 stations across two LRT lines and this 28km system has over 200 thousand daily ridership. More networks are being built to further expand rail coverage.
Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 (TEL2) was open for passenger service on 28 August 2021. Here is part one of some of our recommendations in the heartland of Singapore.
Springleaf MRT Station is located on the Upper Thomson Road, between Thong Soon Green and Springleaf Road, near the Seletar River in a quiet environment. The surrounding are private residential areas, as well as some old nostalgic shops. Originally only to serve the nearby residents or had to be reached by car, now this area can be easily accessed via MRT.
Stepping out of the train carriage, there is a giant artwork by local artist Koh Hong Teng on the lift shaft. The main feature of the artwork is the banyan tree, juxtaposed with buildings, imaginatively interpreted characters, and artefacts taken from the unique blend of nostalgic shophouses and lush greenery around the Springleaf estate.
As soon as you are out of the MRT station, it is Springleaf Garden, a private residential area started in the 1980s, with a long row of double-story old shops facing the main road. In the past, it was quite noticeable when driving by, but now it is blocked by the MRT station.
If you take the MRT here, you can see Exits 1 and 2 are right in front of the whole row of old shops. It is recommended to take Exit 2 and walk down the way from Springleaf Prata Place.
Springleaf Prata Place (Exit 2)
Head to the original outlet of the famous Springleaf Prata Place for a hearty breakfast or supper with friends. Tuck into classics like the Chicken Floss Prata. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the “Murtaburger”, a marriage of a Murtabak and a Ramly burger.
In addition to Prata, Murtabak, and Briyani, you can also order other dishes from the ala carte menu; don’t miss the popular Fish Head Curry and Lamb Shank.
It’s accessible via the sheltered walkway from the station, so you can make your way there, rain or shine.
Address: 1 Thong Soon Avenue, Singapore 787431
928 Ampang Yong Tau Foo (Exit 1)
The time-honored Ampang Yong Tau Foo has been in business for more than half a century. The founder is from Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, and inherits the authentic recipes and methods to prepare Ampang Yong Tau Foo. Currently, the business is managed by their second generation. Hand-crafted in traditional ways, a combination of various items will be served for one order, accompanied by rice instead of noodles or vermicelli. The stall was originally located in a zinc-clad shop house outside Yishun Village. After the demolition of the kampong, it moved to the current site here.
Address: 928 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 787121
In the same area, there are many other dining options, including Han’s Union, Wilder Mann German restaurant bar, Thai Hao Chi Mookata, Meeras Curry Banana Leaf, Mongkok Dim Sum, which you will be spoiled for choices.
Springleaf Nature Park
From the MRT station, take Exit 1, walk along the main road for 7 minutes and you will reach Springleaf Nature Park.
This nature park is home to more than 80 species of migratory and resident birds, including the White-throated Kingfisher, Long-tailed Parakeet, and Blue-tailed Bee-eater. You can cycle along the 1.2km Springleaf Park Connector to enjoy the rich flora and fauna of the area, or enjoy a quiet picnic on the lawn.
Address: 1230 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 787129
Explore Mayflower Station (TE6) in Part 2 as we explore the Thomson-East Coast Line in Singapore.