History of Tanglin

Unlike most areas in Singapore, Tanglin has not undergone major developments or renovations in the last few decades. Instead, in keeping with the ambience of the place, there have been modifications, new classifications and gentle upgrades, and the place is better for it. It was designated a Good Class Bungalow area in 1980 for example, and in 2015 the Singapore Botanic Gardens was awarded World Heritage Site status. The biggest change has been the development of Dempsey Hill. The enclave is on the site of the former British barracks, and many of the buildings remain giving the area a unique look and feel. A $6 million project to upgrade what was mainly a teak furniture hub, turned it into what it is today – Tanglin Village, a thriving lifestyle hub replete with bars and restaurants, though you can still find several good furniture shops.

Photo: Highwood, Tanglin Singapore (Photo: Terence Ong, Wikimedia Commons)

Photo: Highwood, Tanglin Singapore (Photo: Terence Ong, Wikimedia Commons)

 

What’s in Tanglin

There is more to Tanglin than embassies, bungalows and the botanic gardens, though the latter of those is the major draw of the area. The 74-acre site is perfect for a stroll, and it is easy to spend the day wandering along its many pathways and discovering areas you never knew existed before. There are also several F&B outlets, an orchid garden and the new Learning Forest. The biggest concentration of bars and restaurants in Tanglin are to be found in Tanglin Village. Between Tanglin Mall (which has several small boutique style shops) and the more heartland style Tanglin Shopping Centre, there are more shops.

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Tanglin in the next 10 years

One of the criticisms of Tanglin is the limited MRT access. Even though that is perhaps unfair, and its perceived remoteness from an MRT line is what gives it its character, that is set to change. Currently the only stations in Tanglin itself are Botanic Gardens and Stevens, both in the extreme north of the region. The Thomson-East Coast Line is set to bring added connectivity to Tanglin. Napier station, located on the southern tip of the gardens is set to open in 2021, and will connect to Orchard and the North-South Line two stops in one direction, Stevens and the Downtown Line and Caldecott and the Circle Line two and three stops respectively in the other direction.

It has also been announced that further development of Tanglin Village will be carried out, mainly to improve accessibility, traffic flow and way finding, which is a good thing as its layout can be confusing.