Gateway to JB
Connecting Singapore with Malaysia's southernmost city, Johor Bahru, via the Johor-Singapore Causeway, Woodlands is a bustling neighborhood growing in attraction for people looking for homes in established estates. Besides educational institutions like Marsiling Primary School, Fuchun Secondary School, Singapore Sports School, Republic Polytechnic and Singapore American School, residents also have access to healthcare facilities like the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. Meanwhile, the existing Woodlands Civic Centre is a designated center of education, and a one-stop location for public services such as Woodlands Branch Office, CPF Board, North West CDC and National Library Board. In the future, a unique waterfront destination with high-rise residential and commercial developments is in the pipeline, offering myriad employment and investment opportunities for both locals and visitors. Apartments in the vicinity include Rosewood Suites, Woodsvale, La Casa, Century Woods and Casa Blanca condominium – all easily accessible by Woodlands, Marsiling and Admiralty train station.
The government has big plans for Woodlands which is located at the northern most part of Singapore. Other than various improvements in terms of upgraded facilities, connectivity and landscaping, it has been ear-marked for a “make-over” in the next 5 to ten years under HDB’s Remaking Our Heartlands Programme.
According to HDB, “The plans for Woodlands comprise several major improvements to transform the town into the 'Star Destination of the North', in keeping with its status as the northern regional centre and gateway to Singapore.” The six “Stars” are:
- Woodlands Regional Centre (three new MRT stations along a train line which will be linked to the future Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System Link)
- WoodsVista Gallery (a 1.9-kilometre-long community link with dedicated cycling and pedestrian paths)
- Discovery Playground (The Woodlands Town Garden located at Marsiling will be upgraded and expanded)
- Wellness Haven (new integrated healthcare complex next to a new MRT station)
- Community Nexus (integrated facilities housing a medical centre, eldercare and childcare centres, a hawker centre, dining and retail outlets and housing for the elderly)
- Social Corridor (expansion of park connector)
From the look of things to come, if you live, or work, in or near Woodlands, there is no need to leave the town to enjoy fantastic facilities for both young and old.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation options in Woodlands. There are HDB flats, executive condominiums (ECs), private condominiums, town houses and landed property both for sale and rent. Most of them are still affordably priced now but we suspect this may not be the case for much longer - not with all the bells and whistles (read multi-millions) that the government is pumping into Woodlands. Woodlands is home to ECs such as Bellewoods, Northwave, Forestville, Rosewood and Twin Fountain. ECs bridge the gap between HDB flats and private condos as they come with condominium-like facilities such as a swimming pool. Woodlands also features rare HDB jumbo flats, so named because these flats comprise of two HDB flats combined together into one insanely huge flat. HDB jumbo flats in Woodlands can be as big as 2,000 square feet and have up to five bedrooms – a rarity in land scarce Singapore.
Like most areas in Singapore, Woodlands has its fair share of delicious hawker food and restaurants laid out in various food blogs and websites. With limited virtual real estate, we now highlight a few interesting ones that rank high up on our must-try list:
- Citrus by the Pool located at the Woodlands Swimming Complex.
- Penang Street Buffet at Causeway Point
- Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant at Admiralty Road West
- 1036 Live Seafood along Sembawang Road
- Siam Square Mookata
- Sakura International Buffet at Riverside Road
- Garden Asia Bistro at Neo Tiew Crescent – the best kept secret this side of the Johor Straits
For desserts, check out CocoCane for coconut and sugar cane desserts, Melvados for brownies and Rabbit Owl Depot for waffles.
Worried that you can’t find a half decent pub for a nice cold drink in Woodlands? These places are worth checking out:
- Handle Bar at Jalan Mempurong. This is said to be a biker pub for bikers. We can’t wait to check out the beer, babes, muscles and machines
- Cheval Café Bar Bistro at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre
- Bojangles Pub and Diner at Woodlands Ave 1
What is there to buy in Woodlands? Plenty, apparently. You can buy fresh seafood at wholesale prices at Senoko Fishery Port. Or if wholesale shopping is more your thing, Woodlands Terrace Road is the go-to place for stocking up on frozen seafood, “bak kwa” (BBQ dried meat), tidbits etc in large quantities. You may want to bring along an industrial size freezer bag to store your precious finds (tip: purchase the frozen seafood last).
If furniture shopping is your cup of tea, you may want to do your browsing at Courts Megastore, Soggiorno Pte Ltd, Cmyk Outdoor Furniture and Budget Furnishing Market. Woodland-ers make a beeline for Causeway Point, the suburban mall which carries most of the shops you would find downtown.
Being next to the sea and the nature reserve, Woodlands has a surprising long list of attractions and things to do. You can:
- Visit the Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari in Mandai
- Go kayaking or wakeboarding at Sembawang Park.
- Go bird watching at the visit the Sugei Buloh Wetland reserve
- Bet on horses at the Singapore Turf Club
- Visit the Kranji War Memorial
- Soak your fee at Singapore’s only hot spring near Gambas Avenue
There are 12 primary schools in Woodlands, various secondary schools and a junior college. So, there is no need to worry that your children don't have access to educational institutes in the area. Perhaps the best-known school in Woodlands is The American School. Its presence in Woodlands has translated to the increased rentability of the many landed properties and condos in its vicinity. If you're on the lookout for engaging in fun learning activities, you may consider the following:
- Browsing and borrowing books at the Woodlands Regional Library for free.
- Learning how to swim at the Woodlands Swimming Complex
- Learning how to ride a motorbike at the Singapore Safety Driving Centre
In the past, one may have dismissed Woodlands as being too far from the Central Business District (CBD), Orchard Road or other parts of Singapore. Not anymore! It is set to be transformed into the Jewel of the North, which is set to give newer townships like Punggol a run for its money. Woodlands is now served by four MRT stations on the North-South Line (red line) with three more new MRT stations in the making. It has easy access to the various expressways (BKE, CTE, SLE). On a good day, Woodlands is only 25 minutes from Orchard Road by car. Woodlands is looking more and more attractive as a location to live in or for property investment. And since it is only a few minutes’ drive from the Causeway, it is a breeze if, on the spur of the moment, you decide to make a quick run into Johor Bahru for some food, shopping or foot reflexology. (All images are sourced from Pixabay and may not be representative of the items and places mentioned in the article.)