New things to do near Thomson-East Coast Line

You don’t have to be a train enthusiast to be excited about the new Thomson-East Coast Line. The latest addition to Singapore’s world-famous public transportation network improves connectivity, providing easy MRT access to many homes previously regarded as off-the-grid.

Six out of the 32 stations are currently ready for use, and already, there’s plenty to see and do. The MRT stations of Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott cut through a dense area of parks, nature reserves and cafes. Below are some of the best things to do, all within a 10-minute walking radius of the new stations:

Springleaf MRT

Springleaf MRT
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Springleaf’s newest addition brings artistic flair to your commute with motifs depicting shophouses and greenery – the two main things the estate is known for. 

Springleaf Nature Park – 7-min walk 

thomson east coast line - Springleaf Nature Park
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Wedged between Lower and Upper Seletar Reservoir is Springleaf Nature Park, a pocket of green often overshadowed by the larger nature parks and reserves nearby. Birdwatchers and wildlife photographers can look forward to spotting more than 80 species of resident and migratory birds here from a wooden bird watching platform. 

Meanwhile, cyclists can bring along their foldable bicycles to continue down the PCN to explore Lower Seletar Reservoir and Yishun Dam.

Springleaf Prata – 3-min walk

thomson east coast line - Springleaf Prata
Image credit: Burpple

Of course, when you hear “Springleaf”, the word that often comes after is “Prata”. Springleaf Prata has expanded to many locations but the OG store lies on Thong Soon Road, a short 3-minute walk from the new MRT station. 

Come by to enjoy crispy pratas alongside wacky creations like the Umami-50 ($8.90), stuffed with spam, chicken floss, mayonnaise, mushrooms and a whole handful of cheese.

Other popular food stops in the area include 928 Ampang Yong Tau Foo and Mongkok Dimsum.

Lentor MRT

thomson east coast line - Lentor MRT
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Continuing with the trend of chio MRT stations is Lentor – this time with a monochromatic interior and timbre panels on its facade.

Grillhood Mains x Desserts – 9-min walk 

thomson east coast line - Grillhood Mains x Desserts
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Grillhood Mains x Desserts 

Cafe hopping can easily burn a hole in our pockets, but at Grillhood Mains x Desserts, prices almost match those you’d find at your favourite kopitiam Western stall. Indulge in affordable burgers here priced from $9.90 alongside desserts like waffles and ice cream from $7.90.

Nearby, there’s also Korean-owned Chelabela dishing out affordable army stew with banchan, and Mr Teh Tarik Eating House.

Address: 603 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, #01-2661 Block 603, Singapore 560603
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 11AM-9.30PM (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: 6261 4166

Grillhood Mains x Dessert website

Mayflower MRT

thomson east coast line - Mayflower MRT
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Mayflower’s kampung bird-singing heritage is represented with hexagonal honeycomb motifs decorating the MRT station’s high ceilings. If you’ve time to spare, also look out for tiny little bird sculptures scattered around the area.

Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club – 10-min walk 

Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club

A touch of old in this bustling city of new is Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club. Not your usual attraction, this is the last remaining bird singing club in Singapore, and everyone – bird keeper or not – is welcome to visit.

Visit in the morning to spot birdcages being raised in the open field, with folks old and young sitting around enjoying the melodic singing of our feathered friends. A single songbird here is priced from $80 if you’re interested in buying one – but price tags can go up to $98,000, which someone paid for with no egrets.

Address: Blk 161, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, Singapore 560161

Bright Hill MRT

thomson east coast line - Bright Hill MRT
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The spotlight’s on Bright Hill for outdoor lovers and fans of picnicking alike. This station has seats with backrests, perfect for a quick rest after walking through the large Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park – 3-min walk 

thomson east coast line - Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is a picturesque 62 hectares of rivers, jogging routes and even an outdoor spa. Find sculptures to snap your next IG profile picture and a dog run for your little furball to run free. Yoga and taichi enthusiasts can also find waterfront platforms for a serene AM stretch to kickstart the day.

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

Upper Thomson MRT

thomson east coast line - Upper Thomson MRT
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Many a cafe hopper may remember trudging along the ~1KM route from Marymount MRT just to enjoy a nice brunch here. This cafe hub is now easily accessible with popular haunts like Columbus Coffee, One Man Coffee and Knockhouse Cafe just a short distance away from Upper Thomson MRT’s many exits.

MacRitchie Reservoir – 10-min walk 

MacRitchie Reservoir

MacRitchie Reservoir needs no introduction – it’s the reserve we can all escape to for major out-of-Singapore vibes. The trails leading to the panoramic treetop walk and tranquil waterfront boardwalks are now a short 10- to 15-minute walk from the Thomson-East Coast Line.

Splat Paint House – 4-min walk 

Splat Paint House

Enjoy Splat Paint House’s after-dark UV parties without struggling for direction as Upper Thomson MRT is now only four minutes away by foot. For those who haven’t heard of the unconventional art jamming house, you can read our guide here for all the details. Expect glorious chaos with glow-in-the-dark paint, squirt bottles and water guns.

Address: 207a Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574346
Opening hours: Wed – Fri 3PM-9PM | Sat 11AM-9PM | Sun 11AM-7PM (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Telephone: 8882 0839

Splat Paint House website

Thomson Plaza – 4-min walk 

Thomson Plaza
Image credit:
Bobby Wan

Heartland mall Thomson Plaza is where you can find old-school cobblers and key shops alongside newer additions like Daiso and Starbucks. There’ll be something for the whole family here, including a Cow Play Cow Moo arcade for the little ones to enjoy. 

Just a short distance from MacRitchie’s trails, this is also a great place to refuel if the other cafes in the area don’t fit your fancy. Restaurants here include Astons, iVegan and Omote. 

Caldecott MRT

Caldecott MRT
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Getting to the TEL is now as easy as changing trains from the Circle Line at Caldecott MRT. Fun fact: sitting 33.5M underground, Caldecott MRT is also one of the deepest stations around – that’s about 12 storeys deep!

Read our article on MRT secrets for more factual tidbits.

Toa Payoh West Market & Food Centre – 10-min walk

Toa Payoh West Market & Food Centre
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Toa Payoh is synonymous with good food and Toa Payoh West Market & Food Centre is among the hottest food stops in the area, as some residents may proclaim. First-time visitors have to go for their fried carrot cake, Hokkien mee and fishball noodles. 

Address: 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310127

Far East Flora – 5-min walk 

Far East Flora
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Aspiring plant parents, look no further than Far East Flora’s flagship outlet near Caldecott MRT. Indoor, outdoor, flowering and edible plants can all be found here. Pots of herbs are also available here for those looking for homegrown greens to add to their next culinary creation. 

Address: 555 Thomson Road, Singapore 298140
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 8AM-9PM | Sun 8AM-7PM
Telephone: 6254 6662

Far East Flora website

Explore Thomson-East Coast Line

The Thomson-East Coast Line now unlocks plenty of attractions – hop on and off the MRT to explore these attractions, now but a 10-minute walk away.

For more things to do in Singapore: 

Cover image adapted from (L-R): TheSmartLocal, Grillhood Mains x Desserts