Simei is a predominantly residential region in District 18. This region enjoys a great location in the eastern part of Singapore and lies between the Pan Island Expressway and Upper Changi Road, with the crossing of these two major roads lying adjacent to it. Simei is also surrounded by the regions of Tampines and Bedok. It is close to the Upper Changi industrial area. Despite its strategic location, the region is quite calm and peaceful, and mostly free from the clatters of industrial activities.
The name is Chinese – the term ‘Simei’ being pinyin for ‘four beauties’. Previously roads in this area bore the names of the four great beauties in the history of China, namely Diao Chan, Xihsi, Yang Guifei and Wang Zhaojun. Owing to difficulty in pronunciation, particularly by the non-Chinese ethnicities, the names were abandoned and now the roads are known as Simei Streets 1 to 6. The area is popularly known as Simei. Evidence of its early history can be found in the void decks of many Simei HDBs, where the curious tourist will spot Chinese paintings of these four extraordinary beauties.
The area was initially a kampong (village) by the sea. The development of housing estates has been a recent phenomenon. Today Simei is a well-developed residential area with all the facilities of contemporary life, offering luxurious and care-free living in eastern Singapore.
Places of Interest
There are number of places in Simei that offers glimpses of Singapore’s history, particularly World War II reminiscence. Being a coastal region Simei also offers its visitors enjoyment of the sea side panorama and other activities involving water.
Some of the notable places of attraction found in Simei are:
• Changi Chapel and Museum – Situated at the heart of Changi, this museum was built in honour of the Singaporean soldiers who fought in the World War II, and who lived and died in the dungeons of this prison house. There are photographs, paintings, and sketches displayed at this museum which bring back the memories of these times.
• Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre – There’s always something interesting happening at the Expo Centre. From warehouse sales to musical performances, the Expo Centre provides an astounding array of events.
• Tanah Merah Country Club – Located on the Changi Coast Road it is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in Singapore. There are two 18-hole golf courses- the Garden Course and the Tampines Course.
There are a number of shops in Simei, the majority of which relates to fashion.
The major shopping malls are:
• Eastpoint Shopping Mall -This six-storey shopping mall serves the majority of Simei residents. Many reputable stores selling general merchandise, boutiques and garments, including a Bata store are located in this mall. The shopping mall is also popular for Pet Safari, once the largest pet store in Asia.
• Tampines Mall – This upmarket mall is one of the most popular shopping centres in eastern Singapore. It houses a variety of shops and restaurants, including Toys “R” Us, NTUC Fairprice, Golden Village, and Courts.
• Bedok Shopping Complex – A major shopping centre in the vicinity, shoppers come here to buy items of regular use as well as specialized products. There are various outlets in this complex selling a wide range of products and services.
Simei offers variety of foods including some exquisite dishes. There are a number of restaurants and food centres located at the large shopping complexes, and also in many of the HDBs. Not only local flavours, but also delicious Asian, European, American and other cuisines are served in these restaurants as well.
The major restaurants are
• Ka-Soh Restaurant
• Han River Barbeque Restaurant
• Breeks café
• New Zealand Natural
• Jack’s Place
• Club 10 House of Lobsters
Being a residential area Simei has all the modern amenities and facilities that together provide cheerful and comfortable living to its residents. This is one of the best locations in the country with access to both the coastal seas and industrial areas. A number of HDB (Housing and Development Blocks) apartments in the region enhance planned infrastructure. There are ATMs located at frequent intervals, and branches of major banks within the vicinity. Healthcare facilities are available at the clinics and hospitals. Changi General Hospital serves the people of this area. For recreation and sports activities there are many parks and fitness centres in the region. The Changi Simei Community Centre offers a platform for socializing and exchange of culture.
Since the region is adjacent to the two major expressways in Singapore – Pan Island Expressway and East Coast Parkway, it is evident that Simei has one of the most efficient transportation networks in the country. All modes of transportation are available in Simei.
MRT service is also commonly used by the residents of this region. There are MRT stations located at Simei, Expo, Tampines, Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris.
Nearby educational institutions are:
• Changkat Primary School
• Griffiths Primary School
• Chongzheng Primary School
• Changkat Changi Secondary School
• Ngee Ann Secondary School
• East View Secondary School
• ITE (Institute of Technical Education) College east
• Metta Development School
• United World College East Campus