Old is gold when it comes to the food scene in Sembawang. Having established itself as a colonial outpost, Sembawang is a known foodie haunt where Singapore’s favourite Chong Pang Nasi Lemak and Sembawang White Beehoon can be found. The former was established at the rustic Chong Pang Village Hawker Centre in 1973 and is still going on strong today with six outlets – Sembawang Cottage, Euphony Gardens, Sembawang Golf Course, Yishun Secondary School, SAF Education Centre and AVA Orchid & Ornamental Plants Research Centre. Meanwhile, The Original Sembawang White Beehoon, now known as White Restaurant, has expanded with five outlets in all.
Other notable oldies that have made Sembawang their home include Gin Thye Cake Maker which specialises in Chinese pastries, the tender and juicy SatayBros @ D’Rubinah and Chye Lye Fish Head Curry.
Sembawang has a fairly high middle-age population and as such, it is not surprising that the shopping options here are geared towards those who are more or less settled in life. The amenities here include lifestyle, dining and entertainment options that can be found at Sembawang Shopping Centre, Sembawang Mart and Sun Plaza.
Sembawang Shopping Centre is a family-centric shopping destination that counts Watsons, Popular Bookstore and Giant as some of its tenants. It is popular among residents living in the area as well as uniformed personnel from the nearby military base.
Another favourite spot is Sembawang Mart which offers a wide range of goods for your everyday necessities. To cater to a slightly younger and sophisticated demographic, Sun Plaza features a cinema and a wide range of dining and lifestyle options such as Starbucks. From the first half of 2020, residents at Sembawang can look forward to the opening of Sembawang integrated hub called Bukit Canberra, which will offer a hawker centre and lifestyle-related amenities.
Health and Fitness
Sembawang is the area to live in if you want to be in the pink of health. A concerted multi-government agency effort is well on its way to turning Bukit Canberra to be the hub for health and fitness in 2020. When fully completed, residents can look forward to top-notch facilities by Sport Singapore, Ministry of Health, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, National Environment Agency and National Parks Board. The National Heritage Board will also provide inputs on the landscaping of the site, keeping in mind Sembawang’s rich colonial past. This 12-hectare hub will feature a polyclinic, a senior care centre and sports facilities. In turn, this will allow the various agencies to work closely to help people improve their health and fitness.
Meanwhile, golfing enthusiasts can look forward to sharpening their putting skills at the Sembawang Country Club. Founded in 1967 by the British Marines, the club has undergone a massive expansion from a nine-hole golf course to an 18-hole golf course that it is today. Offering hilly terrains to test your golfing skills, it ranks as the sixth best golf course according to Golf Digest. There are also other sporting and lifestyle options available for non-golfers such as a gym, a swimming pool and a mahjong room.
Parks and Nature
Sembawang offers a great escape to explore nature and the outdoors thanks to the many scenic views, nature trails and rustic environment that it offers. From the natural sandy beaches at Sembawang Park to Sembawang jetty fishing, there is plenty to see and do here for the mind, body and soul.
A great place to start is at Sembawang Park where you can trace the history of Sembawang to its namesake tree. Offering unobstructed views of the Straits of Johor, Sembawang Park will take you back to the good old colonial days thanks to Sembawang’s rich naval history. There are plenty of things to do here for everyone. Joggers can enjoy a scenic run on the upgraded asphalt pathways that lead to the black and white colonial building at Beaulieu House while families can enjoy a picnic, barbeque or camping amid the calm, gentle, sea breeze. There is also a maritime-themed playground for children to enjoy. Bird watchers will be pleased to know that the park is known for its rich biodiversity. The Nature Society of Singapore has recorded more than 40 bird species here.
Meanwhile, Sembawang Adventure Training Site offers thrill seekers a wide range of obstacle courses and challenging programmes that are suitable for corporate retreats and youth development. Also known as Camp Challenge, it offers various facilities for rental such as obstacle courses, campfires and dormitories.
Last but not least, Sembawang is home to Singapore’s only natural hot spring on the main island. Aptly known as Sembawang Hot Springs, it was discovered in 1909 and is reportedly believed to have healing properties. Currently under renovation, the hot spring will be redeveloped by NParks into a new and bigger national park that is set to open by end September 2019.
Get the Guru View
One of the common gripes among residents of Sembawang is how cheap their properties are in the resale market compared to other estates. A check on HDB’s website showed that during the fourth quarter of 2018, a 4-room flat in Sembawang fetched the second cheapest price in the resale market with a median price of $330,000, followed by Yishun and Jurong West at $338,000 and $350,000 respectively. While this may ring true right now, there are upcoming property boosters that will uplift home prices here in the near future. They include Canberra MRT station, Bukit Canberra and Canberra Plaza. It is worth noting that the upcoming JTC Food Hub @ Senoko will create local job opportunities which will enhance the desirability of Sembawang.
There are more exciting plans in the pipeline. Under the URA Draft Master Plan 2019, the government has set aside a white site as well as a commercial and residential land parcel just next to Sembawang MRT station. In addition, land parcels for hotel developments have been allocated just next to Gambas Avenue. Collectively, all these will enhance the liveability factor of Sembawang.