Thursday, September 12, 2013

Great Parks in the Toa Payoh Estate

Toa Payoh is a great neighbourhood that's huge and has full of awesome places. It has one of the first town centres in Singapore, has the tallest HDB flats in Singapore and it even has three MRT stations (Toa Payoh, Bradell and Caldecott). Toa Payoh also has some interesting interesting attractions like the two parks that I am going to talk about in today's article. These two parks are Toa Payoh Sensory Park, which is located along Lorong 5 Toa Payoh and Toa Payoh Town Park, which is located opposite the bus interchange. Let me give you a walkthrough of both of these great neighbourhood parks.

Part 1: Toa Payoh Sensory Park

A walk along the Toa Payoh Sensory Park

What is a sensory park actually? I have never heard of a park with the phrase 'sensory park' so I was kind of curious when I was first saw that phrase on a website. I checked some online maps to see how to actually get there and I also browsed the web to see what Toa Payoh Sensory Park actually is all about. Turns out, it actually is a small neighbourhood park sandwiched right between some HDB flats that focuses on the five human senses which are taste, touch, sight, smell and hear. Now I know why it's called a 'sensory park'.

A playground for children to enjoy

When I first entered the park, I was presented with a colourful children's playground. Although it's called the 'sensory park', it's also a regular park which means it has all the things that regular parks have like playgrounds, fitness corners, plants and trees and so much more. It's also located right beside a hawker centre so you can head there after your stroll along the park and have a nice and delicious cheap meal.

Entering the Sensory Park

This is how the Sensory Park actually looks like. It may not seem much but this is how the park actually looks like when you're strolling in. The park is shaped after a maze so you walk in and do some twists and turns when you are right inside. Just like other parks, the Toa Payoh Sensory Park is just quiet and peaceful.

Fun Facts about Toa Payoh Estate

Along the way, you can actually find some fun facts about the Toa Payoh Estate. It's actually one of the oldest towns in Singapore and as you can see from the picture above, it's also Singapore's first self-sufficient HDB town. What does that actually mean? Well, it means that residents don't really have to travel far to buy things and enjoy some facilities. There are parks, hawker centres, a town centre and cinemas all in one place. This housing model is now being used in the majority of housing estates in Singapore. Other fun facts of Toa Payoh include the Queen of England visiting Toa Payoh in the 1950s.

A Sense of Touch

At this part of the Sensory Park, you get to actually use your sense of touch and touch some installations here. Now I'm not entirely sure what this is actually but what I do know is that it has some Braille. Obviously, Braille is being used by visually impaired people to know where they are by actually feeling the small tiny metal bumps. At this part of the park, you can actually feel and touch the Braille installations pictured here which I believe is rather cool.

The Sense of Hearing

Right over here, you get to use your sense of hearing. This contraption here is called the Parabolic dish which is someone similar to what people use when they sign up for satellite TV. There are two of these dishes in the Sensory Park and both of them face each other. All you need to do is to just clap while standing in between the two dishes and you can actually hear your claps being reflected back at you. You have to actually be there and experience it for yourself. Describing it just doesn't feel so 'shiok' compared to doing it in real life.

The Sense of Smell, Sight and Taste

Unfortunately, you can't really taste anything here due to hygiene purposes but there is actually a place where there are so called 'concrete pictures' of plants that are edible and that are used commonly in various parts of the world. I cannot really confirm this but if I'm not wrong, there is actually a small garden planted by the local community where there are edible plants. Again, the plants found here can't really be eaten as well. With your sense of sight, you can actually see a wide variety of plants and trees that can be found here and with a sense of smell, you can even smell the plants that are found right here at the Toa Payoh Sensory Park.

Great Amount of Fitness Corners

Although Toa Payoh Sensory Park is a rather small park, there are plenty of fitness corners here. There is one at the end of the Sensory Park trail itself and there are plenty of stations that are more suited towards senior citizens. There is one where it's like an exercise bike and another whereby you stand on this disc and rotate your hips from the left and to the right. Another one is located nearer to Lorong 5 Toa Payoh and it's more suited towards people who want to train for their fitness tests.

Part 2: Toa Payoh Town Park

Entering Toa Payoh Town Park

After visiting the wonderful Toa Payoh Sensory Park, it's time for me to visit another great park which can also be found in the Toa Payoh estate which is called Toa Payoh Town Park. Unlike the Toa Payoh Sensory Park which is sandwiched between two HDB flats, the Toa Payoh Town Park is located right opposite the bus interchange and the Toa Payoh MRT Station. It's also located right beside the Pan Island Expressway. Since it's located near these places, it's actually quite convenient because you can hop on to the MRT or bus and just cross the bridge to get to this park. However, it may be a bit too noisy due to the busy traffic which is quite ironic since parks are supposed to be quiet and peaceful.

A Restaurant In The Park?

When I entered the Town Park, I saw this small building which was right beside the pond. It's actually a restaurant serving some kind of Taiwanese Porridge if I am not wrong. I'm not entirely sure what it's called so if you are interested in checking it out, it's right opposite the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange.

A Map of Toa Payoh Town Park

Although the park is not really that big, it does have a map. If you are interested in seeing all the things that the town park has to offer, you can refer to this map which is scattered all around the park. One fun fact about the town park is that the old Toa Payoh Bus Interchange used to be located here. However, it was just the temporary interchange due to the construction of Singapore's first Integrated Transport Hub. Right now, when you visit the park, the only remains you can find of the old Temporary Interchange is a portion of the shelter which I will show to you later.

Beautiful Viewing Tower

Believe it or not, Toa Payoh Town Park also has a viewing tower located right smack in the middle of the park itself. It's very rare nowadays to see a very tall viewing tower right in the middle of a neighbourhood park. Unfortunately, the viewing tower actually does not allow the public to access it. Why? I have no idea. It would definitely be awesome if they can give public access to this tower. What kind of views will you get to see when you are up top? Probably you'll see some HDB flats or maybe a better view of the buses parking at the bus interchange? Maybe.

The Toa Payoh Park Pond

The Toa Payoh Town Park also has a very very big pond in the middle. Instead of a big puddle of dirty water, there are plenty of interesting things around the pond such as lotuses and there were even some big rocks all around one part of the pond itself. The rocks made a pretty great looking fountain at the pond and it really is an amazing sight to look at. You get to hear the noise of the water flowing through the rocks which is really very serene and calming.

The Toa Payoh Park Pond Part 2

Apart from the rocks and lotuses found at the Toa Payoh Town Park pond, there's also plenty of long grass near the sides of the pond itself. The pond itself is very big and very spacious and I also saw plenty of people feeding some fishes. I'm not entirely sure if there were actual fishes in the pond but I'm pretty sure there are, am I right? Anyway, it's still cool to see such a very beautiful and big pond in the middle of the park.

Toa Payoh Temporary Interchange (Former)

Like what I have mentioned earlier in this article, Toa Payoh Town Park used to be the location of the Toa Payoh Temporary Bus Interchange. Why Temporary Interchange? Well, the site of the old Toa Payoh Interchange was undergoing renovations for the new Integrated Transport Hub so the premises of the interchange temporarily moved here. If you look at the shelter featured in the picture, it used to be part of the temporary interchange itself. Of course, not all the features of the interchange is left so only a portion of the shelter of the interchange is left. I can't believe that buses used to park here and pick up passengers but now, the roads and bus parking area have been filled with lots of grass and trees. It's pretty interesting to know that, isn't it?


Overall, my visit to both the Toa Payoh were awesome and enriching. Toa Payoh is such a great big neighbourhood with lots of history, parks and tall HDB flats. The Toa Payoh Sensory Park was certainly a great and educational park that focuses on the five human senses while the Toa Payoh Town Park is a great park for relaxation and its greenery. Have you visited these two parks before? If so, what are your thoughts? Oh and if you want some more Toa Payoh goodness, you can check out my article about Toa Payoh Town Centre which is part of the Awesome Town Centres series.

Getting Here

(Toa Payoh Sensory Park)

Bus services available: 235 (Bus stop along Lorong 5 Toa Payoh outside Blk 34)

Nearest MRT Station: Not available

Website: Not available

View Larger Map

(Toa Payoh Town Park)

Bus services available: Bus services from Toa Payoh Bus Interchange

Nearest MRT Station: NS19 Toa Payoh MRT Station (North South Line)

Website: Toa Payoh Town Park Website

View Larger Map

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