SINGAPORE: The name Bukit Batok means “coughing hill” in Malay, a moniker given because of the blasts of quarrying activity commonly heard in the area in the post-war years.
In the decades since quarrying ceased, nature has taken over the old mining sites, flourishing alongside the developments that have transformed the area into a self-sufficient residential town.
Bukit Batok boasts one of Singapore’s most unique landscapes: The distinctive formations of Little Guilin and Bukit Batok Nature Park have been backdrop to many local period dramas and selfies alike.
LIVE, DINE AND PLAY AT BUKIT BATOK
West Mall, located beside Bukit Batok MRT, is a comprehensive heartland mall with anchor tenants such as Bukit Batok Public Library, Cathay Cineplex and Cold Storage. Residents in the area favour the community vibe of the mall, without having to experience the high human traffic that occurs in other suburban malls.
If one wishes to purchase items from high street brands or department stores, JEM and Westgate are just one MRT stop away at Jurong East, touted to be the second Orchard Road of Singapore.
Every neighbourhood has a beloved eatery that has served generations of family meals. For Bukit Batok, it is Alif Restaurant, an Indian-Muslim eatery serving roti prata fluffy and tasty enough to rival its famous counterparts over at Jalan Kayu. The faithful patrons of Bukit Batok have kept Alif Restaurant in business for a few decades.
For more upmarket dining options, Joyden Canton Kitchen and iO Italian Osteria at HillV2 serve up fare comparable to what you would find in well-known restaurants in town.
Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient New Ubin Seafood has now made its home in the West. Don’t be surprised to find corporate bigwigs tucking into their signature dish of USDA Black Angus Ribeye Steak alongside heartlanders decked out in T-shirts and shorts.
Here’s a tip: Save some room for a decadent serving of rice fried with lashings of beef lard. We know of people who order the steak just to savour the fried rice, replete with wok hei and flavour.
Get your adrenaline pumping by gathering a group of friends for a spot of laser tag at The HomeTeamNS clubhouse at Bukit Batok. For less heart-racing activities, check out the bowling alley and karaoke lounge for some after-hours or weekend fun.
GREEN SPACES APLENTY IN BUKIT BATOK
Take in lungfuls of the fresh, crisp air at the Bukit Batok Nature Park, where residents go for scenic runs, morning tai qi sessions, and leisurely hikes along its gentle terrain.
The many trails lead you to look-out points that are over 10-storeys high, offering unspoiled views of the nature park and the disused quarry - its jagged cliff face juxtaposing the deep, still waters of the pond.
For a literally breathtaking hike, climb a flight of more than 100 steps to visit a World War II memorial site, as well as where the first TV transmission tower was built in Singapore.
Nature lovers can look forward to the completion of the 4.8ha Bukit Gombak Park in 2019, which will be linked to Little Guilin and Bukit Batok Nature Park by the Choa Chu Kang Park Connector, effectively creating a continuous green belt, further boosting the greenery of the region.
To the west of Bukit Batok, a new HDB town the size of Bishan is in the making. The new 700ha Tengah estate will feature a predominant back-to-nature theme that will be employed throughout the new town. These include community gardens, farming features and a plantation district. In line with the theme, Tengah will also have a car-free town centre, the first of such in Singapore.
An estimated 42,000 new homes are expected upon Tengah’s completion. With its influx of new homes and homeowners, Tengah is likely to breathe new life to the mature estate of Bukit Batok.
ONCE UPON A DATA STORY IN BUKIT BATOK
With a few different districts in the West, how did private property in Bukit Batok fare in comparison with its neighbours?
To answer this question, we did a comparative study examining data patterns of 99-year leasehold condominiums in three different neighbourhoods – namely Bukit Batok (in blue), Bukit Panjang (in orange) and Jurong (in brown – inclusive of both Jurong West and Jurong East).
To further refine our search, we only looked at the per square foot pricing of 99-year leasehold condominiums that had received their temporary occupation permit after year 2000. In addition, we zoomed in on psf data from 2011 to the third quarter of 2018.
We found that 99-year leasehold condominiums in Bukit Batok performed remarkably well – appreciating by 50.53 per cent across an eight-year period. The same property segment in Jurong registered gains of 16.6 per cent while its Bukit Panjang counterparts increased only slightly by 4.94 per cent.
If one is looking to buy a home or investment property in the West, private homes in Bukit Batok certainly warrant a closer look. Robust gains have been made by 99-year leasehold condominiums in just under a decade.
THE STRATEGIC POSITIONING OF BUKIT BATOK
When the 360-ha Jurong Lake District is complete, it is expected to be home to about 20,000 residential properties and support 175,000 jobs, according to projections shared by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
In the long run, areas in the Jurong Lake District are expected to register an increase in both property and population buildup. While a boost in infrastructure is in the works, it will not be surprising for congestion issues to crop up.
For home buyers and investors looking to be part of the Jurong Lake District action but do not fancy being in the thick of things, Bukit Batok is a good alternative to consider. Being a 10-minute drive away from the Jurong Lake District, residents in Bukit Batok have the twin benefit of quick access to the second CBD, while coming home to a green and tranquil neighbourhood.
READ: Overall impetus and vision for Jurong Lake District remain despite possible cancellation of HSR project
CONNECTIVITY AND SCHOOLS
Furthermore, the 24km Jurong Region Line (JRL) will add another MRT route to the Bukit Batok area.
For drivers, other parts of Singapore are easily accessible via major expressways such as the PIE, KJE, BKE and AYE.
For families that call Bukit Batok home, there is no shortage of schools in the area. Primary and secondary schools in the area include Princess Elizabeth Primary School, Bukit View Primary School, Swiss Cottage Secondary School and Bukit Batok Secondary School. Located in close proximity to Le Quest, Dulwich College – a British international school – adds diversity to the educational options and the demographics of residents in Bukit Batok.
A well-rounded lifestyle, potential for capital appreciation and proximity to the upcoming Jurong Lake District are just some of the reasons why property buyers choose to make Bukit Batok their home.
This article first appeared on 99.co.