Located within the East Region of Singapore, with the Singapore Straits on its southern border, Changi and Pasir Ris to the east and north respectively and Bedok and Paya Lebar to its west, Tampines is the name of both the planning area and the residential new town. The town – at 2089 hectares – is both the third largest and third most populated new town on the island.

Artist's Impression of Tampines North from HDB
Artist’s Impression of Tampines North (Source : HDB)


Like many places in Singapore, the name of the area can be traced back to the 1828 Franklin and Jackson map. Unusually for Singapore however, there is very little argument about where the name actually derives from. Sungei Tampines flowed through the area, which got its name from the Malay name for the ironwood trees – tempinis – that grew along its banks.


Tampines’ early history is mainly one of swamps and forests with the occasional sand quarry, until by the end of the 1900’s it was home to rubber plantations including the Hun Yeang and Teo Tek Ho estates.


Its modern-day history began in 1978 when building work started, and between 1983 and 1989 neighbourhoods 1 through to 9 (with the exception of 3, 6 and 7) along with Tampines Town Centre were completed. A feature of the new estates was that instead of the ubiquitous drab concrete slabs previously favoured by the HDB, those in Tampines incorporated more interesting and pleasing to the eye colours, designs and finishings. In a similar vein, the town centre was in a unique hour glass design. The remaining three neighbourhoods were finished in 1997 (3 and 7) and 2014 (6 or Tampines North New Town).


Tampines Regional Centre

A massive shot in the arm for the region came when it was announced that Tampines – along with Jurong, Woodlands and Seletar – was to become not just a regional centre, but the first in Singapore. The government initiative was a plan to prevent Singapore from becoming too CBD-centric by creating self sufficient towns in other parts of the island. These areas would be provided with homes, employment and amenities, so those living and/or working there would not need to go outside the immediate area.



As a result of its regional centre status, Tampines boasts a good range of amenities. Top of the tree is Our Tampines Hub, which opened its doors in late 2016. It is designed as a place for local residents to come together, meet and bond as a community through common interests and activities. These include swimming, bowling, karaoke as well as other sports and recreations. It also houses a library and a community centre.

It has three shopping malls, all in close proximity to one another, namely Tampines 1, Tampines Mall and Century Square. Education-wise Tampines is very well served with a dozen primary, ten secondary schools, four tertiary institutions along with two international schools.


Tampines Estate
Tampines Housing Estate



Tampines has six MRT stations. Tampines and Simei on the East West Line, and Tampines West, Tampines East, Upper Changi and Expo on the Downtown Line. The PIE, ECP and TPE all dissect the area.



You might be interested…

The Tapestry @ Tampines is a new residential condominium located near the Tampines Regional Centre.