The neighborhood still has tons of potential for development, but at least there are already a couple of Build-to-Order (BTO) HDB blocks, sleek condominiums, as well as up-and-coming launches like Flo Residence in the area. While it’s not yet built, the highlight of the area has to be Punggol Northshore (Punggol Eco Town, along Punggol Way), a waterfront HDB cluster, with smart homes starting at $28,000 for a two-room flat for first-time buyers, that’s slated for completion in 2020. It’s one of the seven waterfront building projects and the first to feature smart technologies like an energy management system tracking real-time energy consumption of home appliances; a monitoring system for elderly and patient care; a smart car park system monitoring parking lots; a pneumatic waste conveyance system and environmental modeling to monitor city planning conditions like temperature and wind flow. It all sounds great, but once it’s up and running, we hope for fewer hiccups (like sewage problems and cracks appearing in the new BTO flats) which have been hogging headlines lately.
This northeastern coastal area is surrounded by plenty of water and green spaces. Already popular among joggers and cyclists, the Punggol Waterway Park is ideal for bird watching and walks. Other scenic locales include Punggol Park, Punggol Beach and the 2.4km Punggol Promenade Nature Walk, which stretches between Punggol Point Walk and Riverside Walk. But if all that nature is too much, pop over to bustling neighboring districts like Pasir Ris and Sengkang.
There aren’t any notable hawker centres in Punggol (yet)—a major one at the town center is still under construction —people flock here for the famous seafood restaurants. Don’t miss Ponggol Seafood, a zi char-style eatery famous for its mee goreng and chilli crab. Most items on the menu are on the steep side, but the food is reliable. There are also plenty of casual dining choices like the picturesque lakeside Wild Oats @ Punggol Park, serving localized Western favorites like chicken chop and pan-fried fish fillet with sambal belachan and butter rice. Head over to Whisk & Paddle for your brunch fix: the alfresco cafe lets you assemble your own breakfast plate of bread, eggs, meat and seafood. Brunch aside, it’s also got mains like pulled pork tacos and duck and lychee pizza. Not forgetting dessert, Wayne’s Chill-Out is a popular spot known for sweet treats like homemade ice cream in flavors such as Lemon Puff and Black Forest, floats, milkshakes and ice cream on waffles.
The selection may still be niche, but it’s got other unpretentious choices away from kopitiam beers. Georges by the Bay is an outdoor and sea- facing dive bar with Balinese-inspired beachy decor, cozy wicker furniture and great drink deals ranging from pints of Guinness to fancier spirits like Hibiki Japanese Harmony, which you can order with bites like black pepper tenderloin steak. Walk over to gastrobar Fur Kicks for small sharing plates, Paulaner beer on tap, beer cocktails and a comprehensive list of wines. Further down is the delicious-sounding Bacon & Booze, specializing in bacon-infused food like bacon-wrapped enoki and bacon rolls. Plus, there’s craft beer, cider, Japanese sakes and wines, too.
As the area is compact, accessing the Punggol MRT and LRT systems is easy. There are also several bus lines at the temporary Punggol Bus Interchange, which may face future redevelopment. The neighbourhood is flanked by major expressways like the KPE, CTE, SLE and TPE, so heading to the CBD takes about 15 minutes. Those who cycle aren’t neglected either as there’s an upcoming 8.8km intra-town cycling network slated for completion by 2017.
If you love prawning, you’re in luck: the 15,000 sq. ft. Hai Bin Punggol rents rods at $18 an hour. Punggol Waterway Park (along Sentul Crescent Rd) is great for leisurely strolls but if you’re out for sea views, head to The Punggol Settlement, a cluster of eateries along the tip of the district (see Dining, above). You can also rent a bike from Jomando Adventure & Recreations for a breezy ride along the coast. A highly anticipated off-shore attraction is Coney Island, a 45-hectare recreational, residential and sports zone that’s located off the northeastern coast and is currently undeveloped. Unfortunately, shopping choices are miniscule. Punggol Plaza Mall is the only mall in the area and has fashion, beauty, lifestyle and food options like casual Japanese eatery Nihon Mura (#B1-05) and Koufu Foodcourt (#01-01). There’s also Waterway Point, dubbed the first suburban waterfront mall in Singapore, slated to open later this year. However, if you want to do more complete shopping, head to the Sengkang’s Rivervale Mall and Compass Point.