Eateries, activities to check out near the new Thomson-East Coast Line MRT stations
Lots of great food and greenery await!
Exploring Singapore just got a little easier with six new MRT stations finally opening their gantries — Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott.
This is the second stage of opening for the Thomson-East Coast Line, now making it possible to journey from Woodlands to Thomson in just a few stops. Slated to be completed by 2025, the MRT line, one of the world’s longest driverless rapid transit lines, will eventually cover Orchard, Shenton Way, Marine Parade and Bedok.
While the opening of the Circle Line did make travel to the Thomson region far easier than before, there were still some pockets of the region that were peculiarly difficult to reach and, as such, left relatively unexplored.
Looking to take a trip to the new stations? Here are a few highlights you can check out!
Exit the Springleaf station and you will find a street of shophouses lined with delicious eateries.
There are three main highlights. On one end of the street are two outlets serving Ampang Yong Tau Foo. While both are delectable, there are still minute differences in taste so you’ll probably have to take another trip there to decide which is better.
Journey down towards the centre and you’ll find Soon Kee Duck Rice Eating House, which has been serving duck rice for over 20 years. On the other end of the street is Springleaf Prata Place, a popular supper spot that serves excellent murtabak.
Perhaps the best part of the station is its proximity to Springleaf Nature Park. Separated into two paths by a canal in between, the park is perfect for a morning jog or cycle before heading nearby to stuff yourself with food.
The station is also quite close to the Singapore Zoo. Previously, one of the easier ways to get there was to take 138 from Ang Mo Kio interchange. Springleaf is now part of the bus route, so it’s now possible to grab a meal at the area before heading there or heading back from the zoo!
Those looking for a weekend adventure in nature (and with good food) will be spoiled for choice at the Old Upper Thomson Road area, now far more accessible thanks to the Lentor station.
From there, Lower Pierce Reservoir, Upper Pierce Reservoir and Thomson Nature Park are also just a few bus stops away.
A popular route amongst joggers and hikers is to explore them all in an afternoon — although you will have to take note of the heavy traffic between Lower and Upper Pierce as a narrow busy road is currently the only link between the two.
More than just a good exercise spot, both reservoirs are great places to bring a date along too, especially with their sunrise and sunset views.
After the hike, head over to Casuarina Curry to get your fill of their famous prata, or drop by Tamako Meal for fantastic and affordable Japanese food.
Another popular spot on the stretch is Ban Leong Wah Hoe, a Zi Char restaurant that, in my opinion, serves one of the best chilli crabs in the country. After the meal, complete the trip at Biscuit King and be spoiled for choice with their selection of old school snacks and delights.
Frankly, other than for residents in the area, Mayflower will probably be a flyover station for most.
The biggest reason to visit the station will be for the food in the area, particularly at Mayflower Market & Food Centre. The station might also be a pit stop for those heading over to the far more connected Ang Mo Kio station and interchange.
Bright Hill station is, to date, the closest MRT station to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (yes, even closer than Bishan and Ang Mo Kio). It’s one of the largest urban parks in central Singapore and one of the country’s most beautiful exercise spots. The park is filled with activities, including an inclusive playground, a butterfly habitat and a few restaurants.
Bright Hill station is also relatively close to Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Singapore’s largest Mahayana Buddhist temple and a place of mourning for many Singaporeans.
This station will probably be the most visited on the Thomson-East Coast Line, at least until the next stage. The area is home to enough posh cafes and eateries to give Tiong Bahru a run for its money, New ones spring up regularly as well.
The biggest winner for the Upper Thomson station is, by far, Thomson Plaza. After an afternoon of cafe hopping, you can head over to the shopping centre to grab groceries from FairPrice or Daiso, and perhaps complete the day with a meal at Omoté, an ever-popular sushi bar serving delicious Chirashi. Just be prepared for long queues.
A side note about the station is that while it’s only one stop away from Caldecott interchange, those looking to switch to the Circle Line will save far more time taking a short bus ride to Marymount interchange instead. Upper Thomson and Marymount stations are so close to each other (walking-distance-close) that it’s quite puzzling why they are not interconnected.
More than just the primary link between the Circle Line and the Thomson-East Coast Line, Caldecott station is also a road-crossing away from a street filled with nurseries. Those looking to adopt a few new plants for their home gardens will have plenty of choices.
With how traffic is usually congested in that narrow street and parking being difficult, taking the train there will probably be the more sensible choice now.
Caldecott is also relatively close to Toa Payoh, so it is now possible to easily visit one of Singapore’s oldest estates via Singapore’s newest MRT Line.