Published on 7 September 2017

Tampines Central Park, where the iconic watermelon and mangosteen playgrounds are located, 2017. (Photo: National Heritage Board)

Discover Tampines’ charming heritage with NHB’s latest heritage trail.

By Melanie Lee

Before Tampines was a vibrant residential town, it was mostly known as an ulu (remote) dusty road that passed through kampongs (villages) and farms. To explore its unique history and cultural heritage, the National Heritage Board (NHB) has just launched the Tampines Heritage Trail for Singaporeans to revisit the iconic spots of this once rural district that has undergone much transformation these past 40 years.

Tampines Heritage Trails comprises three thematic routes:


Watermelon playground at Tampines Central Park, 1993. (Photo: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)

(1.5 hours bus and walk)

Get the lowdown on Tampines’ town planning innovations with this route that starts at Our Tampines Hub. From there, take a stroll over to Tampines Central Park, where you’ll find HDB’s iconic 1980s watermelon and mangosteen playgrounds. The next stop is Tampines Chinese Temple where you can keep an eye out of their two Tempinis trees from which Tampines derived its name. The last stop is the Tampines Round Market & Food Centre, which houses some of the best local hawker food in Singapore. Do take note: the stalls here usually close around 3pm, so it’s best to do this trail in the morning!


The Tampines Chinese Temple brings together 12 Taoist temples that once stood in Tampines, 2017. (Photo: National Heritage Board)

(1.5 hours bus and walk)

The trail begins at the majestic Tampines Chinese Temple with its 270m-long dragon sculpture. From there, you head to Masjid Darul Ghufran, with its towering minaret that has become a distinctive Tampines landmark (do take note it is undergoing upgrading works till late 2018). Over at Tampines Link, there’s a cluster of temples such as Jiutiaoqiao Xinba Nadutan Temple which houses shrines of multiple faiths. The last stop is the Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity, where you can admire its beautiful Italian stained glass panels.


(1 hour on bicycle)

The trail starts out at Bedok Reservoir Park (a former sand quarry) and goes through Tampines Link, passing by temples and Tampines NEWater Service Reservoir. You also pass by a row of shophouses that was once part of the former Hun Yeang Village. The route ends at Lorong Halus Wetland, a former landfill that is now rehabilitated into a picturesque wetland. Interestingly, this is NHB’s first cycling trail. According to Mr Alvin Tan, Assistant Chief Executive (Policy and Community) of NHB, “This was curated for Tampines because cycling is a way of life for many of its residents.”


– “Tampines” is named after the Tempinis trees that used to grow in this area.

– Tampines was first recorded in an 1828 map as “R. Tampenus”.

– In the early 19th century, there were tigers in Tampines.

– Tampines used to be full of sand quarries, especially during the 1960s when HDB flats were being built.

– The development of Tampines Town was conferred the World Habitat Award in 1991.

The historical transformation of Tampines can also be viewed at Our Tampines Gallery in Tampines Regional Library. Click here to download maps and guides of Tampines and other heritage trails.

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