Tourists or short-term visitors to Singapore might not have the opportunity to see the areas that Singaporeans live in and the places that we frequent on a regular basis. Travel guides to Singapore will probably direct tourists to more ‘well-known’ places such as the Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown, Little India, Orchard Road etc. However, in an ordinary Singaporean person’s life, we carry out our day-to-day activities mostly in the neighbourhood that we live in, or otherwise known as the heartlands of Singapore. Singapore’s residential areas are generally clustered in various heartlands around the island where there will be supermarkets, places to eats, schools etc. where residents, both young and old, carry out their daily lives.

In this blog entry, I would like to show you the neighbourhood that I live in. I live in the northeastern part of Singapore, called Kovan. The pictures that follow are taken on a walkabout around my neighbourhood where I run most of my daily errands.


The picture above is Kovan market and food centre. This is a place where residents who live in the neighbourhood often visit as this is where we get fresh produce for cooking and a place where we can have affordable, local meals.


The picture above is an example of a store in the market. This stall specialises in selling dry products such as all sorts of beans, dried prawns, cooking condiments etc.


This is a typical fruit store that we can find in markets. Most of the fruits that we find in Singapore are imported from neighbouring ASEAN countries as we do not have the luxury of space to grow our own local fruits.


Another part of the building is the food centre, which is also locally known as a hawker centre. There are many stalls that sell various kinds of local food. In recent years, we can see that international foods are also sold in local hawker centres such as Japanese and Korean cuisine! Eating at a hawker centre is pretty affordable and a meal for one person would probably set you back at between 4-6 Singapore dollars.


This is a close up view of what is being sold at a one of the stalls in a hawker centre. In this particular stall, customers are able to choose from a variety of fried noodles, and they have the option of choosing whatever side dishes they want to add onto their noodles.

Visitors to Singapore should definitely check out one of the many heartlands of Singapore as this is what ‘real’ Singapore is like. Nowadays, most of these heartlands are reachable by public transport so it isn’t that difficult to visit one of these heartlands!


By Tan LiJia Gloria, ASEAN Correspondent from Singapore