Mention Tampines to most Singaporeans and they will more than likely talk about its great connectivity, the fact that it is a regional centre and its reputation as one of the most desirable places to bring up a family on the island.

They may even tell you about its abundance of education facilities, or the incredible choice of parks and leisure facilities inside or a stone’s throw from its boundaries.  Here we look at some of the things that they are less likely to say about the area, but are still no less interesting or true about this remarkable region.

Internationally Award Winning

In 1992, Tampines New Town won the much coveted United Nations’ World Habitat Award for its success in and contribution to “innovation and successful human settlements”. Shortlisted along with Vancouver and Boston, Tampines was finally selected as the winner after the assessors made two trips to each of the contesting towns and cities.

Tampines Mall

Tampines Mall

Some of the features that particularly impressed the judges were the walkways and connectors linking precincts to the neighbourhood centres; the variation in housing design and the number of parks and open spaces in the town.

The panel were so impressed with the district as an entry, that they upgraded it from the category of developing world to that of developed world.

It is named after a Tree

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the area that is modern day Tampines was covered in woodland and swamps. One particular type of hardwood tree was dominant – the ironwood tree, or tempinis as they were known locally.

These gave their name to the Sungei Tampenus, and the surrounding area soon followed suit. The first mention of Tampines as a specific region was on the 1928 map by Franklin and Jackson.

More Stations, More Malls…and the Hub

Tampines has three MRT stations – Simei and Tampines on the Pasir Ris branch of the East West Line and Expo on the Changi Airport branch. If that wasn’t enough, Tampines West and Tampines East will come online shortly as part of the new Downtown Line extension along with a new connection on the same line at Tampines.

Our Tampines Hub

Our Tampines Hub

This will mean the region has more MRT stations than any other in Singapore. It also has – outside of the centre – the most malls with Tampines 1, Tampines Mall and Century Square not to mention the new Festival Walk at Our Tampines Hub.

Which brings us to another unique feature of Tampines.  Our Tampines Hub is Singapore’s first and only integrated lifestyle and community centre, bringing together a diverse and comprehensive range of facilities and services that can be enjoyed by the whole community.

The Round Market

Tampines Round Market isn’t just an iconic landmark, a place to buy a fantastic array of delicious and expertly cooked cuisine or an excellent wet market offering large selection of meat, fish fruit and vegetables.

Tampines Round Market

Tampines Round Market

It is also the only completely round market anywhere in Singapore.

It was the first Regional Centre

The seeds for the success of Tampines were sown back in 1991 when it was decided that the CBD’s dominance would have a destabilising effect on the nation. From there, the regional centres were born, and the first to be built – with work starting the very next year in 1992 – was Tampines.

Such has been the success of the project that Jurong and Woodlands followed suit, with Seletar being next. So, don’t forget, whenever people talk about the impact and transformation regional centres have had, it all started in Tampines almost three decades ago.

Beginning of the Cycling Revolution

Another first for the area, Tampines was selected as the place to trial the now familiar shared footpath scheme. The trial – carried out between May 2007 and May 2008 – was on 1.2km of specially modified footpaths (widened to 2m) and utilised almost 250 wardens to police the scheme and help any confused pedestrians and cyclists.

It was deemed a success and in 2010, Tampines was named the first cycling town in Singapore and is to this day one of the few places on the island cyclists can legally bike on the pavements.