Let’s all move to Kovan now.
I was 17 years old when my parents announced that we were moving to Kovan. Having lived in a HDB flat in Potong Pasir all my life, I was
damn excited that we were moving to a condominium apartment (Kovan Melody) with a shopping mall (Heartland Mall) in the vicinity. Back then, we didn’t have NEX shopping mall at Serangoon and Potong Pasir was and has always been more of a ‘village’ town.
But when I finally moved there, I was disappointed, having thought that Kovan wasn’t so different from Potong Pasir except for the really awesome food available 24/7. Heartland Mall wasn’t half as exciting as Dhoby Ghaut’s Plaza Singapura too. But the heavens seem to have a plan for this humble little town. Fast forward by 10 years and after 12,345 sunset photos captured, I have repented and can safely say that Kovan is really one of the best town to live in.
Here are 10 reasons why Kovan is the best place in Singapore to live in (and why you should consider moving here).
1. Foodies’ Haven
This is easily the best selling point for (living in) Kovan. Every resident living along the Northeast line knows that Kovan has some of the best hawker delights. Kovan Market and Food Centre (behind Heartland Mall) is known for serving affordable, far-above-average local food. Expect long queue at food stalls Yam Mee Teochew Fishball Mee, Fa Ji Minced Meat Fishball Noodles and 51 Mingfa Wanton Egg Noodle. Elsewhere, Ponggol Nasi Lemak (965 Upper Serangoon Rd) and Nakhon Kitchen (212 Hougang Street 21) are famous for their awesome nasi lemak and thai food. Don’t forget the popular Soon Soon Teochew Porridge (13 Simon Rd) too.
Head north along Upper Serangoon road at dusk. The streets of Kovan light up at night and there are plenty of good food to choose from along the famous ‘Kovan food street’. Dig into the popular scissors cut curry rice at Sin Chie Toke Huan Hainanese Curry Rice (1018 Upper Serangoon Rd) or choose from a delectable array of dishes from Teo Seng Teochew Eating House (1012 Upper Serangoon Rd). Remember to get some beancurd at the ever-popular Selegie Soya Bean (990 Upper Serangoon Rd). Residents craving for some good Indian food can visit Srisun Express (212 Hougang Street 21) which by the way also serves Milo tower (how awesome is that?).
2. Hipster Cafes
Move along Tiong Bahru, Kovan is the next hipster neighbourhood to chill at. Long-time cafe, Ice Edge Cafe (2 Kovan Rd) has delighted Kovan residents for years with its wide selection of handcrafted ice creams, gelato and lava cakes. Further down, Lola’s Cafe (5 Simon Rd) has garnered quite a following with their Avocado Eggs Benedict, Truffle dishes and Nutella Pie, at affordable prices. The arrival of nearby Hatter Street Bakehouse & Cafe (Block 212, Hougang Street 21), Ciel Patisserie (124 Hougang Avenue 1) and Flavour Flings (121 Hougang Avenue 1), in recent years makes Kovan the next best hipster neighbourhood for hipster cafes.
3. Chill Out Bars
Kovan is home to a few longtime (not the shabby type of) bars; Grapevine Cafe Bar & Restaurant (787A Upper Serangoon Rd), O Bar & Restaurant (780 Upper Serangoon Rd) and Joe’s Corner Cafe & Bar (25 Simon Rd). Newcomer Japanese restaurant and bar of sorts, Tachinomiya (211 Hougang Street 21) is a welcoming addition to the already-charming Kovan. With the exception of O Bar, these bars are the best chill out places to hang out with friends and let one’s hair down after a long day of work.
4. Convenient Location
Kovan MRT is 7 MRT stops away from the city (Dhoby Ghaut MRT), taking less than 20 minutes to get there. Kovan is also very well-connected via public bus. You’re stuck in town with no more trains to take? Take bus 147 to bring you back to Serangoon where you can either take bus 153 or take a 10-minute-walk home. Another little known secret is that buses run till late in Kovan. For example, you can still catch bus 81 to the East at 12.30am or bus 153 to the West at 11.45pm.
Drivers will be delighted to find that driving to town takes as little as 15 minutes. Kovan is also strategically located just minutes away from the Central Expressway (CTE), Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) and Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), effectively linking Kovan to everywhere else in Singapore.
5. Affordable Public Housing
Kovan may not have the ‘bells and whistles’ like nearby Serangoon and Punggol, but that also makes property prices in Kovan that much cheaper. According to HDB’s 2016 1st-quarter resale price statistics, a 4-room flat in Kovan (Hougang) is transacted at around S$383,900 while the same property in Serangoon, Sengkang and Punggol is transacted at S$467,000, S$410,000 and S$435,000 respectively.
Kovan also has lesser HDB flats in comparison to neighbouring towns, reducing human congestion and adding to the hipster neighbourhood feels. It is definitely cheaper to own a public flat in Kovan without sacrificing on comfort and accessibility.
6. Luxurious Living Spaces
There are plenty of luxurious property options for Kovan residents to choose from (and upgrade to). Choose from condominiums (with private lifts), semi-detached, terrace and bungalow freehold landed developments. And there is the highly popular condominiums Kovan Melody (where I live!) and Kovan Residences located right next to Kovan MRT. I am a big fan of the unblocked sunset views at Kovan Melody.
New up-and-coming, British-inspired mixed residential development Stars of Kovan ups the stakes for luxurious living spaces in Kovan. The ground level of the condominium also comes with 46 retail shops and eateries. Interested parties can also acquire one of five terrace landed units. Besides the usual condo facilities, future residents of the atas Stars of Kovan can also get to enjoy impeccable views or BBQ with friends at the sky park. The upscale condominium has already caused quite a stir for its below-expected launch prices as reported in The Straits Times.
7. Kovan Sports Centre
In an urban jungle that is Singapore, finding a decent field to play football is fast becoming an impossible task (and playing on state land is illegal). There are less than 20 futsal courts and Kovan has the privilege to be the venue for one of them. Located less than 10 minutes away from Kovan MRT, every hot-blooded Singaporean man (and woman) can sweat it out on the field at Kovan Sports Centre starting from S$65 per hour (member rates). Students enjoy further discounts of just S$28 per hour!
Bored of futsal? You can also play Water Soccer, Archery Tag, Laser Tag, Bubble Soccer, Dodgeball, Touch Rugby, Handball and Frisbee at Kovan Sports Centre, well how about that! Basketball courts, badminton courts and bowling alleys are also available in Kovan. Let’s never leave Kovan.
8. Shopping Mall(s)
For decades, Kovan residents had to be contended with Heartland Mall, while their Serangoon counterparts were given one of Singapore’s largest suburban shopping mall, NEX. In spite of this, the humble mall has met the needs of Kovan residents (with Sakae Sushi, Xin Wang HK Cafe, Cold Storage, Popular bookstore and newcomer Shabu Shabu) through the years. Every Y-Gen adult will fondly remember their buying bubble tea at Cup Walker too. With the arrival of Stars of Kovan, residents will be well-rewarded for their decades-long wait. The condominium comes with 46 British-inspired commercial retail shops, giving residents more shopping options.
9. Religious Diversity
Matching up to Singapore’s multi-religious aspirations, Kovan is perhaps one of the few places in Singapore (the other being Chinatown) with institutions of the 3 main religions located within minutes from each other along the same road. Bethesda Serangoon Church, Tou Mu Kung Temple, Masjid Haji Yusoff Mosque and Kim Tian Christian Church are all located along Upper Serangoon Rd. St Paul’s Church, En-Naeem Mosque and Glad Tidings Church are also located in the vicinity of Kovan.
10. Reputable Schools
PHOTO: Jonathan Choo via Asiaone.com
Schools are always high priority for residents with children. Fortunately, Kovan is situated near reputable local schools such as Xinmin Primary School, Paya Lebar Methodist Girls Primary School, Nanyang Junior College, St Andrew’s Junior College, Maris Stella High School and Holy Innocents’ Primary School. Foreign residents will also find that international schools such as Australian International School and Stanford American International School are not too far away from Kovan. RW
About The Author
Reuel Eugene Tay is an experienced freelance writer and licensed real estate agent with Propnex. His ambition is to help residents own beautiful homes and he plans to live in Kovan for as long as he is residing in Singapore.