Toa Payoh town is home to about 105,000 HDB residents, with 37,900 flats as of 31 March 2018. The town, which is called 大巴窑 in Chinese and தோ பயோ in Tamil, borders Bishan and Serangoon to the north, the Central Water Catchment to the northwest, Kallang to the south, Geylang to the southeast, Novena to the west and Hougang to the east. It also encompasses estates such as Potong Pasir and Bidadari.
What does “Toa Payoh” means actually? Well in Hokkien, it means “Big Swamp”, as previously, the area used to consist mainly of swamps, forests and trees until the government earmarked it for development and became the town of Toa Payoh that we know today.
Though it may not be as sexy a town as Yishun or Punggol, or packed with shopping malls like Tampines or Jurong, there are definitely interesting places and things for tourists and locals alike to explore if you care to look closer.
Here are 10 interesting places or unique features about this lovely little town in Singapore.
(1) The Block Where Royalty Visited
Toa Payoh town has one of the most unique looking blocks of flats in Singapore, the Y-shaped of Block 53. But what makes it even more special is that it is the block where the Queen of England visited in 1972, as it was the latest HDB project at that time.
Again in 2007, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also visited the town.
(2) First MRT Station In Toa Payoh
The MRT or Mass Rapid Transit system of Singapore first opened in 1987 with the launch of a 6km section of the North South line from Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh, with Toa Payoh being the first MRT station to ever be built. Today, within the town of Toa Payoh, there are technically 3 MRT stations, including Caldecott MRT, Braddell MRT and Toa Payoh MRT itself.
(3) Athletes’ Village
In 1973, Toa Payoh became the first town in Singapore to host athletes for the first international sports event held in Singapore, the South East Asian Peninsula Games, now known as the SEA Games.
(4) First Air-conditioned Bus Interchange
Toa Payoh town is home to Singapore’s first air-conditioned bus interchange that’s integrated with an MRT station. The interchange also houses a variety of shops within it, selling everything from clothes, bread, cakes, beauty products, kopi to housing a food court.
(5) Of Dinosaurs and Dragons
Besides the very famous Dragon playground in Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, there is also a dinosaur playground at Blk 27, Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, plus a singular dragon pillar featuring traditional Chinese motifs and design near Blk 91, Lorong 3 Toa Payoh.
(6) Block Numbers
According to HDB’s website, Toa Payoh town is the only HDB new town where the block numbers go continuously over 100 blocks. This means that the block numbers go consecutively from 1 all the way to 260! All new towns built after the 1970s adopted the 3-digit block number system, so there’s no way for this to happen again.
(7) First Satellite Town In Singapore
Toa Payoh is also the first satellite town that was comprehensively planned and developed by HDB Singapore based on the Neighbourhood Principle, which means it was the first town dwellers can reach useful amenities and entertainment such as schools, shops, cinemas, library, churches, etc. without travelling to another location.
Toa Payoh town is usually overlooked by most people but it does have many cool and interesting places to explore, as well as things to eat. Follow us on Instagram @ToaPayohTown for more of such news!
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