Until recently, Punggol was deemed by many as too desolate and inaccessible to be even remotely hospitable. It was a town in Singapore so unpopular that for a while, people would jokingly say you’d need a passport to go there. These days, Punggol is seeing an unprecedented spike in population size, and the erection of many attractions to cater to its residents present many opportunities for picture taking.
Geographically, Punggol is situated close to the sea, with Pulau Ubin as its immediate neighbour. While it is not exactly a seaside town, Punggol is arguably one of the few neighbourhoods in Singapore to boast of sweeping sea views (only if you’re living in a high unit). To celebrate its close proximity to the sea, My Waterway@Punggol was formed. This 4.2km man-made “river” provides many recreational opportunities for residents such as jogging, kite-flying, dog-walking, picnics, sunrise/sunset watching, and Lomography of course. The Waterway is a 5-minute walk away from the Punggol MRT Station.
At the other end of town, facing yet another body of water lies yet another Punggolian favourite spot – @Punggol or Punggol Sports Hub to some. The hub is essentially a cluster of F&B and recreational lots designed such that each place is within a stone’s throw away from its neighbour.
Fans of fried chicken will frequent this area a lot as there are Popeyes and KFC! Better watch that waist line.
If catching your own food is more appealing, Hai Bin nearby is a great for prawning and developing your angling skills. An ideal place for family bonding, the ponds are always filled with live, fresh prawns so that you won’t leave empty-handed and hungry.
With many young couples setting up home in Punggol, it is no surprise that the watering holes in the area are doing well. Bars and restaurants like Frienzie, Shin Nichi, and Uncle Leong are very popular with the locals, and to some extent, may even rival the likes of Holland Village and Simpang Bedok.
A short walk from @Punggol will bring you to the jogging track which connects to the waterway mentioned earlier. With its wooden boardwalk, fitness station, cycling and jogging tracks, and swaying lalang running parallel to nearby Sungei Serangoon, this is the perfect place to de-stress. Photowalks are recommended here as there are many things to shoot. Not to mention a photowalk is also a good form of exercise in itself. Who says Lomographers are lazy?
Another prominent communal spot in Punggol is none other than Punggol Plaza. It’s not ION or Takashimaya, so do not expect much. Having lived in Punggol for eight years, I’ve grown to love this neighbourhood mall for easy access to groceries and services like getting a haircut and banking. A tip: the bubble tea shop on the second floor beats the one below hands down!
Punggol may not be as well established as other matured neighbourhoods. It may be quiet, confusing to drive around, and boring to most people. But the locals know best, and this unassuming town has more to offer than lalangs and open fields. You only need to know where to look, or someone (like me) to show you around. Oh, and no passport is necessary. :)