Yishun is almost like Singapore’s version of Florida and the neighbourhood has encountered more than its fair share of excitement. If you look beyond the sensationalism, however, you might discover the plenty of good that Yishun has to offer.
A brief history of Yishun
In the past, Yishun was home to an industrialist known as Lim Nee Soon, who grew rubber and pineapple plantations. He was known as a caring landlord who took care of the people who worked for him.
Lim Nee Soon bought land along the Seletar river from the government at the age of 24, and developed it into an extended settlement. As Chinese immigrants settled down in the area, they began to form villages, and paid him rent. Pig, poultry, and fish farming were taken up, and the neighbourhood began to flourish.
In 1976, the Yishun New Town initiative was put in place to develop the areas that made up the Lim Nee Soon district. The name Yishun is actually the Chinese pronunciation of ‘Nee Soon’.
Yishun and its undeserving notoriety
In recent years, Yishun gained notoriety in the news for a slew of unfortunate incidents. There have been cases of cat abuse, car chases, brothel raids, drug busts, and a disproportionate amount of suicides compared to the rest of Singapore.
By pure coincidence, a few sensational things happened in the neighbourhood that drew widespread coverage. As a result, a joke that “Yishun is cursed” was created, and then spread across social media. In reality, the amount of crime in Yishun is no more than compared to the rest of Singapore. A combination of bad luck and chance brought the neighbourhood into the limelight.
In fact, President Halimah Yacob liked her Yishun apartment so much that she wanted to remain in her HDB even after obtaining presidency. This actually prompted a few people in the block to market their flats as ‘Yistana’, highlighting the prestige of being the first Malay president’s neighbour.
Connectivity to the rest of Singapore
Yishun is located in the North, and is a short train ride down to the city centre. It has a large bus interchange that leads all across Singapore, and even includes a bus service that goes into Malaysia. Drivers will also be pleased to know that Yishun lies along numerous highways: the TPE, SLE, and CTE.
I’m hungry, what’s good in Yishun?
Do you like homely food? Yishun is filled with familiar food that will send you back to the days of dinner at your grandmother’s place. Chong Pang Food Center is well known for its incredible variety of Singaporean hawker favourites.
Look out for Wan Xing Nasi Lemak. Their rice is tinted green from pandan leaf juice and infused with the aroma of coconut milk. They’re also generous with their portions – you can choose either from their set menu, or ala carte. Another delicious option is Super Penyet – like their name suggests, their speciality is “Ayam Penyet”. The chicken is well marinated, fried to crispy perfection and served with nasi lemak-style rice. Their sambal chilli also packs a strong kick and compliments the fried chicken wonderfully.
What’s there to do in Yishun?
Paintballing in Yishun
There’s plenty. ORTO, previously known as Bottle Tree Park, is an all-in-one hub for outdoor activities. It offers activities such as prawning and drift karting. Katapult Trampoline Park is located here. There is also a children’s activity area, so that you have somewhere to stash your kids while you head over to the side for some longkang fishing.
If you feel like you need something a little more exciting, you can shoot people – with paintballs, of course. Red Dynasty Paintball, which is also located at ORTO, offers game packages that begin at $10.90 per person. You can also top-up $10 and get paint grenades.
If you like heights and thrills, Yishun SAFRA is packed to the gills with things to do. If you head over in the day, you can experience the high of being suspended fifteen metres into the air with the High Elements course. At night, knock over neon coloured pins with glowing balls at OrchardBowl’s Cosmic Bowling sessions,open from 10pm to 3am on Fridays.
There is also Orchid Country Club nearby, which features a golf course, bowling, dining, and resort facilities. If you enjoy taking part in social activities like karaoke, you might want to take a look at Signature@Yishun, which is just beside Orchid Country Club. This will allow you to easily attend events and head home without too much hassle.
Once you’ve had your fair share of activity, you can always take a break and relax in one of the nature spots around Yishun. Perhaps the most tranquil of these would be the Lower Seletar Reservoir Park, although there is also Yishun Neighbourhood park and Yishun Pond Park to choose from. For those who would like to try their hands at gardening, the 7th floor of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is a haven for organic produce, where people can volunteer to take care of the plants.
If you’re worried about everyday convenience, there are grocery stores and malls every third turn. Most notable of these is Northpoint City, the largest shopping centre in the North. It’s located right beside Yishun MRT station, and houses a total of 500 shops and restaurants as well as a library on the upper floors. There’s also Junction 9, Wisteria Mall, Chong Pang City, and numerous neighbourhood centres and markets.
Yishun also has a Golden Village Cinema that happens to be Asia’s first green multiplex. Its facilities feature enhanced energy and water efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, and is centred around sustainable operations.
Lower Seletar Reservoir is particularly stunning at night
With all the amazing things to see and do in Yishun, who wouldn’t want to live there?
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