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Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Visiting HDB estate as a tourist


I’m Australian and will be visiting Singapore next month for four days. I am wanting to do a mix of touristing and non-touristy things while I’m there, and have been told by a friend who lived in Singapore when she was growing up that I should visit a HDB estate.

My question is, how does one do that as a foreigner? I’m worried I will seem intrusive and obviously I do not want to do anything that may be perceived as offensive or distasteful.

Thank you :))

Netizens’ comments

  • I think she meant visiting an iconic estate or a heartland. Not like go around the flats hahaha. Visit a heartland with hdb, small shops and coffeeshops.
    • Haha I know!! But I wanted to check that it wouldn’t seem disrespectful to residents?
      • not disrespectful , but ppl will just wonder “what is this ang mo doing around here” haha (for the estates further from the city). More curious than repulse
  • Ok, so the big HDB estates take up a lot of room. They are multiple buildings with interconnecting paths and sometimes gardens and grass. They have playgrounds, outdoor seating and meeting areas. The ground floor level is free to walk around, some will have shops and restaurants at ground level under certain buildings. It is often the fastest way to walk somewhere is to cut through a HDB complex rather than walk the outside roads… No one will care if you are walking around having a look, sitting at a bench watching the world go by, or going in and out of the shops. Just don’t try and look into any of the apartments themselves, there are strict rules about “peeping tom” type things. Ask your friend for some suggestions or Google some classic HDBs in the area you are staying or visiting. There are some old more run down ones, some cool architecture ones, some modern very nice ones, and everything in between. High-rise, low rise, coffee shops, wet markets and hawker centres… enjoy
  • I think it’s totally fine! In fact it seems like a great activity to do as you can experience the more authentic side of Singapore.
    I’d suggest avoiding the “high end” flats like pinnacle at Duxton or skyville at dawson, since those are considered outliers and more premium. Like many have suggested, old estates would be great. Even better if there’s good food nearby.
    You can just casually walk around the blocks, see what type of amenities we have like exercise corners or neighbourhood shops, appreciate the design and architecture, do some people watching and observe people going about their daily lives in the heartlands. As long as you don’t peep into the houses or stare at people it should be all good.
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