Sembawang has a below average crime rate for Singapore.
Named after the Sembawang Tree, Sembawang served as a British naval base during the early 1900s. Since the handover of the naval base to the Singapore government, Sembawang has been converted into a commercial dockyard and still continues to handle regular shipping traffic today.
Like other estates in Singapore, Sembawang started from humble beginnings as the site of the Nee Soon Rubber estate. It was home to many kampongs and villagers up until the 1980s when most of them were relocated so the area could be developed. As an effort to preserve the kampong atmosphere of Sembawang, the Sembawang MRT station was designed with a kampong-styled roof and has a bay for 350 bicycles for workers traveling to and from the shipyard.
With much of its past steeped in naval history and now playing a prominent role in Singapore’s shipping trade, Sembawang residents can enjoy seafront views and catch glimpses of the many different ships coming in and out. Places such as Sembawang Park offer a space for outdoor recreational activities set against a stunning backdrop of the open sea.
Modern HDB estates are juxtaposed against old colonial black and white bungalows, adding to the quaintness of this neighbourhood. Retail shops, restaurants, cafes, and other services are available from a couple of large shopping malls such as Sembawang Shopping Centre and Sun Plaza Shopping Centre, while local supermarkets (e.g. Fairprice and Giant) and wet markets scattered around the neighborhood offer convenience for getting your everyday necessities and groceries.
Interesting features of the neighborhood add diversity to life here, including the Sembawang Hot Springs – the only natural hot spring in Singapore, which is visited by residents and non-residents alike. With several kopitiams conveniently located around the neighbourhood, you’ll also never have to worry about being hungry!
Due to its commercial importance with the dockyard and shipping trade, the neighborhood has been blessed with a well-integrated transport system of bus interchanges, road networks, and a direct MRT station. The availability of primary, secondary, and tertiary schools, along with the convenient transport systems and good amenities, has led many families to choose to live in this neighborhood. With a higher concentration of HDB estates than there are condominiums, this area sees more local residents than expatriates, and still houses many older residents. The affordability of property in the area also draws in young couples and first-time home owners.
Sembawang is bordered on the north by the Johor Strait, on the east by Simpang, on the south by Yishun and Mandai, and on the west by Woodlands.
CBD: 26.1 km / 30-70 minutes by car / 50-60 minutes by transit
Changi Business Park: 27.2 km / 35-70 minutes by car / 90 minutes by transit
Jurong International Business Park: 23.6 km / 25-50 minutes by car / 50-60 minutes by transit
One North Buona Vista: 24.5 km / 30-65 minutes by car / 50-55 minutes by transit
Tuas: 34.2 km / 40-75 minutes by car / 150 minutes by transit
The largest suburban shopping mall in the area, Sembawang Shopping Centre caters to residents’ retail and dining needs. Other services located in the mall include a 24-hour fitness gym, hair salons, beauty treatment centres, home furnishing stores, children’s enrichment centres, and more.
Sembawang Park offers a much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of work and city life, with a beautiful beach and an amazing view for residents to recharge themselves. A favourite spot for fishing, the park also has jogging paths, and areas for a refreshing swim in the sea. Remnants of history hide within the park and its surroundings, with restored pathways used during the British occupation, old shipyards, and even a war memorial nearby.
Named after prominent businessman Lim Chong Pang in the 1900s, Chong Pang Market & Food Centre is a favourite haunt for locals for the comforting and affordable hawker fare like Satay Bee Hoon, chicken rice, and the infamous Chong Pang Nasi Lemak.
Quite a well-kept secret even among locals, the Sembawang Hot Spring is the only natural hot spring on the main island of Singapore and is open for public visitation (for free). The springs were discovered in the early 1900s by merchants who owned the estate. A well was built along the spring, supplying water the villagers who believed in the spring’s healing properties. Since then, gamblers have taken baths in the water for luck, the spring water has been bottled and sold, and many plans have been made and forgotten on how to develop this feature into more of an attraction in the area. To this day, the exact source of the spring water is still unknown.
This temple is dedicated to the God of Wealth, the Chinese god of prosperity worshipped in Chinese folk religion and Taoism. Find an impressive statue towering at 31 feet on the roof of the temple, opulent interior decorations and ornate figures of other deities housed within the temple. If you’re in need of a bit of a pick-me-up in fortunes, perhaps a little visit to this temple could give you a little boost.
Built in 1939, the Old Admiralty House once served as the residence of senior officers in the British Navy. With the withdrawal of British troops from Singapore, Old Admiralty House has changed hands amongst a few country clubs, and is now used as a private education institution. Its quaint architectural style makes it a rather unique design in the area, and was gazetted as a national monument in 2002.
Photo Credits: Thanks to @yemekteyim, @sherlyapriliani17, @shortmonsterxx, @seventeen10, @hannhatredz, @argentem, @diannesuperlove, @megaunciano, @stanmoong, @itsgalchristine, @krstnblnt, @thechinkiguy, @hanzqq, @wson, @nycars, @jayneyang23, @sembawangcalisthenics, @kiffly, @carlhallocod, @mrsniy for your great photos of this neighborhood!