Kovan is very much one of those neighbourhoods that largely flies under the radar of the majority of Singaporeans. Residents, in equal parts are happy to keep it that way, while desperate to tell anyone who will listen about what they consider to be a hidden gem.
Situated in the North East Region of the island, Kovan is actually a small suburb within Hougang New Town. Its boundaries are fairly ill defined and for most people it merges into the neighbouring Serangoon and Hougang proper. Officially however, it is the triangular area enclosed by Hougang Avenue 2, Yio Chu Kang Road and Upper Serangoon Road.
Traditionally, Kovan was home to members of the Teochew community, with several of its road names to this day bearing the names of the more prominent members of Teochew society. Its name in Teochew is “La gou Jio”, which literally translates to “6 miles from the Fullerton Hotel.”
Kovan has come to be characterised by its landed housing, with the vast majority of homes being made up of terrace houses, semi-detached properties and bungalows. In recent years however there has been a handful of Singapore condominiums being built in the area, as property developers seek to take advantage of this quiet neighbourhood that offers residents the benefits of a laid back, tranquil existence, while still being within easy commuting distance of the CBD.
That commute is made possible by Kovan MRT Station, on the North East Line. It is 7 stops from there to Dhoby Ghaut, which connects to the North South Line, from where City Hall and Raffles Place are 1 and 2 stops respectively. Kovan station, opened in 2004, features artwork by Eng Tow. Set in tiles in the floor, they depict the progress and development of the area between 1945 and today.
Kovan is well placed in terms of the major expressways, with the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), Central Expressway (CTE) and Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) all within quick and easy access, meaning that in good conditions the city is only just over a 10-minute drive away. There are still a number of buses that serve the area, though the bus interchange was closed down when the MRT Station opened its doors, with most of the bus routes moving to nearby Hougang Central Bus Interchange.
As well as the MRT station, the other main amenities of note in the area are the Kovan Sports Centre, which boasts no less than 8 indoor futsal courts, and Heartland Mall which is home to a good number of retailers and food and beverage outlets. The area around the mall also has a bowling alley, a small neighbourhood park and several bars and cafes.
There is a lack of schools in the immediate area, though there are several international schools a short drive/bus ride away such as the DPS International School, Australian International School, Stamford American International School and Dimensions International College which makes Kovan and attractive proposition for expats.
New launch condo, Stars of Kovan is located just a stone’s throw away from Kovan MRT station. If you prefer new launch that is closer to the Hougang neighbourhood, you might want to take a look at Kingsford Waterbay.