Singapore Travel Series: Top Things to do in Toa Payoh!

Having completed our Singapore Travel Series to Ang Mo Kio, this time, we decided to cover the top things to do in Toa Payoh in this next Singapore Travel Series! Why Toa Payoh? Well, because it is a town steep in history and also because of the many sights that you can visit as well! During this trip, we visited

A. Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre
B. Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream And Coffee
C. Toa Payoh Town Park
D. Cash Converters Toa Payoh
E. Chung Hwa Medical Institution
F. Toa Payoh Golf Range (by Poh Bro)
G. Toa Payoh Sensory Park
H. Toa Payoh Public Library
I. Toa Payoh HDB Hub
J. Don Signature Crab

An overview of this day trip is as shown…

Map of Singapore Travel Series to Toa Payoh
Map of Singapore Travel Series to Toa Payoh

About Toa Payoh Township

The name Toa Payoh was probably derived from the hokkien word “Toa” (which means big) and the Malay word “Paya” (which means swamp). Together, Toa Payoh actually means “big swamp”, which is a reference to what it was like before the Toa Payoh township was built. Toa Payoh was also the 2nd satellite town to be built in Singapore (after Queenstown) and was the first township to be self-sufficient. Meaning, you could live, work (industrial areas) and play (Toa Payoh Central) all in Toa Payoh!



Another snippet of information about Toa Payoh. It was actually the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games Village for the SEAP Games held in 1973!

In reality, before our day trip to Toa Payoh, we actually made a pit stop at Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah, simply because we’re in the vicinity and they’re so irresistible! Try out both sweet and salty tau sar piah. The filling’s so rich and the pastry is so buttery and fluffy and it’s still going for only 80 cents each! (What?!)

Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah: If only photos could tell the tastes and smells from this legendary TSP...
Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah: If only photos could tell the tastes and smells from this legendary TSP…

From there, we took 129 to Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre where we started our trip proper…

Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre

 Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre
Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre

Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre was our first stop during our Singapore Travel Series coverage of Toa Payoh. Well…simply because we wanted to grab lunch before our next stop at Creamier. Mains before desserts right? To our surprise, we found these yummy treats…

Mee Sua ($3) at 88 Congee Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre
Mee Sua ($3) at 88 Congee Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre

88 Congee is famous for its porridge but the mee sua was awesome as well. Mee sua tng (vermicelli soup), definitely one of our favourite comfort foods.

Come Daily Hokkien Mee ($4) Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre
Come Daily Hokkien Mee ($4) Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre

We waited half an hour for Come Daily’s Hokkien Mee! The style is a little wet but the noodles were definitely infused with the taste of the broth. A little fishy this time but what the heck. Nothing a little chili and lime can’t help. Portion was a little small for $4 though…

Cool Desserts Chendol ($1) Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre
Cool Desserts Chendol ($1) Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre

Still can’t believe that this chendol was only $1! A “cool dessert” for a sunny afternoon. ;p

Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream And Coffee

Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream And Coffee Toa Payoh
Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream And Coffee Toa Payoh

Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee is a local ice cream shop that makes daily batches of premium ice cream on site. The reason why Creamier is so popular is because of the honestly good ice creams derived through plain simple hard work and the use of quality ingredients. One thing to note, it only opens at 12pm. “Thanks” to our long wait for Come Daily’s Hokkien Mee, we actually arrived at 1155am, at which time, a queue had already formed. As the queue led to the next door cafe, we were gently advised by the owners not to stand too close the stall -_-

Inside Creamier Cafe Toa Payoh
Inside Creamier Cafe Toa Payoh

Love the interiors of Creamier. Simple industrial design with lounge music. Of course, the stars are the ice creams that Creamier serves up. You can either go for single scoop ($3.50) or double scoop ($6.20). Add a dollar more premium flavours. This time we tried the Earl Grey Lavender as well as Pistachio. Both as the name of the cafe suggests, were creamy and rich in flavour. The Earl Grey Lavender is the perfect choice for cooling down summer’s heat while the Pistachio with real pistachios found within is a departure from the usual “green coloured” pistachio ice creams…

Earl Grey Lavender (top) and Pistachio ice cream at Creamier Toa Payoh
Earl Grey Lavender (top) and Pistachio ice cream at Creamier Toa Payoh

If you have some spare cash, the waffles ($8) with single scoop ($9.10) seems to be a crowd favourite. Will definitely drop by on a Wednesday for “Triple Wednesdays” where an additional scoop of ice cream is thrown in when you order waffles with a double scoop!

Opening Hours of Creamier

Tue – Thu / Sun
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Fri – Sat
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Toa Payoh Town Park

Toa Payoh Town Park
Toa Payoh Town Park

Known as the Toa Payoh Town Garden in the 1970s, Toa Payoh Town Park grew to become a hot favourite for wedding photoshoots in the 1980s and 1990s. The most iconic feature is the 25 metres tall Observation Tower. Built in 1972, it has since been given conservation status by URA in 2009…

Iconic 25m Observation Tower in Toa Payoh Town Park
Iconic 25m Observation Tower in Toa Payoh Town Park

Unfortunately, it was not open for a climb during our visit. According to this article about the Toa Payoh Tower, it has been locked as it no longer serves its function as a vantage point for views over the area due to the taller buildings around. Nonetheless, we were happy to enjoy the park and walk around the the pond at Toa Payoh Town Park…

Pond @ Toa Payoh Town Park: Home to the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies
Pond @ Toa Payoh Town Park: Home to the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies




Cash Converters Toa Payoh

Cash Converters Toa Payoh: One of the largest Cash Converters in Singapore
Cash Converters Toa Payoh: One of the largest Cash Converters in Singapore

Continuing along the length of the Toa Payoh Town Park, we arrived at Toa Payoh’s Cash Converters. What’s unique about this Cash Converters in Toa Payoh is that its one of the largest Cash Converters in Singapore. Also, when we entered, it was neatly arranged (well…neater than most CCs) and did not have any foul smell that some CCs have. Though we failed to snitch any tennis rackets this time round, we’ll be sure to return to “hunt for other treasures”.

Chung Hwa Medical Institution

Chung Hwa Medical Institution Toa Payoh
Chung Hwa Medical Institution Toa Payoh
History of Chung Hwa Medical Institution Toa Payoh
History of Chung Hwa Medical Institution Toa Payoh

With the ever-increasing prices of food, housing and transport, its nice to still see a clinic offering free medical services in Singapore. Chung Hwa Medical Institution has been doing just that since the 1950s. The current site in Toa Payoh, is the HQ of Singapore Chinese Physician’s Association (SCPA) and houses the Singapore TCM College as well as two research institutes – The Chinese Medical and Drugs Research Institute as well as the Chinese Acupuncture Research Institution. Even till this day, medical advice and herbs are still given at a heavily reduced rate to help the poor (a nominal $3 paid for registration + relevant treatment charges). How cool is that? Kudos to SCPA and the volunteers at Chung Hwa Medical Institution!

Toa Payoh Golf Range (by Poh Bro)

Toa Payoh Golf Range (by Poh Bro)
Toa Payoh Golf Range (by Poh Bro)
Robotic Golf Statue at Toa Payoh Driving Range
Robotic Golf Statue at Toa Payoh Driving Range

After a 15 minutes walk, we arrived at the Toa Payoh Golf Range. Managed by Poh Brothers, this Golf Range is essentially a driving range. Besides the driving range, there’s a golf clinic, golf pro shop as well as a pub/restaurant where chinese tze char and pub foods are served.

Chilling at Toa Payoh Golf Range
Chilling at Toa Payoh Golf Range

We sat back and chilled with a couple of beers while enjoying the breezy afternoon. We also noticed several really good players as well. This prompted Tom to want to dwell a little deeper into the topic of golf…

Toa Payoh Sensory Park

Toa Payoh Sensory Park
Toa Payoh Sensory Park

After about an hour or so later (and having rested our tired feet), we journeyed another 15 minutes to the Toa Payoh Sensory Park. As the name suggests, the park is meant to tingle your senses through flowing waters, intricately placed curvatures as well as flora and fauna (bird viewing deck) planned throughout the park.

Map of Toa Payoh Sensory Park
Map of Toa Payoh Sensory Park
Can you spot the mirrors above?
Can you spot the mirrors above?

In the park, we also caught some interesting snippets of information about Toa Payoh. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth actually visited Toa Payoh in 1972 and 2006! You can find out more in our little video below…

Toa Payoh Public Library

Toa Payoh Public Library
Toa Payoh Public Library

About 10 minutes away from Toa Payoh Sensory Park, we arrive back at Toa Payoh Central. This is also where the Toa Payoh Mall (a distinctive heartland layout) is located…

2bearbear @ Toa Payoh Mall
2bearbear @ Toa Payoh Mall

But our objective this time is the Toa Payoh Public Library! It was pretty crowded by the time we reached at 3 plus in the afternoon. As you climb up the flight of stairs, you’ll also be able to see some historic snippets of Toa Payoh and the iconic fountain at the town’s centre. A feature that is now removed 🙁

As inspired by the golf action we witnessed earlier, Tom decided to hit the books to learn more about the basics of golf. What better way to do so than to borrow the “Idiot’s Guide to Golf” at the public library! =_=”

Books borrowed from Toa Payoh Public Library
Books borrowed from Toa Payoh Public Library

As we proceeded to the Toa Payoh HDB Hub nearby, we chanced upon these spiral staircases…

Spiral staircase in Toa Payoh Central
Spiral staircase in Toa Payoh Central

Not seen other than at Tiong Bahru…Perhaps we’ll do a Singapore Travel Series there some time…Ideas anyone?

Toa Payoh HDB Hub

My Nice Home Gallery Toa Payoh HDB Hub
My Nice Home Gallery Toa Payoh HDB Hub
5 Bedroom Show Room at My Nice Home Gallery Toa Payoh HDB Hub
5 Bedroom Show Room at My Nice Home Gallery Toa Payoh HDB Hub

Also located at Toa Payoh Central is the Toa Payoh HDB Hub. At level three, we chanced upon the “My Nice Home Gallery”. Here, we were able to see how HDB flats can also look like condominium living spaces within. Check out this 3 bedroom layout…

Living Room of 3 BR Layout at My Nice Home Gallery @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub
Living Room of 3 BR Layout at My Nice Home Gallery @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub
Kitchen  of 3 BR Layout at My Nice Home Gallery @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub
Kitchen of 3 BR Layout at My Nice Home Gallery @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub
Master Bedroom of 3 BR Layout at My Nice Home Gallery @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub
Master Bedroom of 3 BR Layout at My Nice Home Gallery @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub

Now we know where to get design ideas if we were to ever refurnish our home…



Don Signature Crab

Don Signature Crab Toa Payoh North
Don Signature Crab Toa Payoh North
Don Signature Crab Bee Hoon with 2bearbear
Don Signature Crab Bee Hoon with 2bearbear

To cap off our trip, we headed over to Don Signature Crab. Yup, they’re the same guys who brought you Don Pie. Though it is located at “Toa Payoh North”, it is actually nearer to Braddell MRT Station. Just a 7 minutes walk towards block 206, opposite the industrial buildings.

Close up of Don Signature Crab Bee Hoon
Close up of Don Signature Crab Bee Hoon

There are two things we like about Don’s Crab Bee Hoon. In terms of taste, there’s a distinct herbal taste to it. The usual sweet and flavourful tastes of crab bee hoon soup ensues. The other thing we like about the crab bee hoon is its price. We ordered the $25 portion and was pretty full by the end of the meal. For bigger parties, you can choose upwards of $40. Before we arrived, we thought, going by the market rate of $60/kg, we’d probably be staring at a damage of upwards of $90 bucks. Economically priced. That’s a first for crab dishes.

Opening Hours of Don Signature Crab: 12pm to 8:30pm Daily

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In Summary…

Total Expenditure: $80 (for 2 people)
Total Steps Walked: 14,000
Total Time Taken: 6 hours

We hope you have enjoyed our Singapore Travel Series to Toa Payoh as we uncovered some things to do in Toa Payoh Heartlands. If you ever start to think that your precinct in Singapore is boring, think again and consider the possibilities you could have if you do a day trip around your township!

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