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Thomson East Coast Line Woodlands South
Photograph: Yenwei

TEL Stage 3: The best things to do and food to eat along the new line

Make good use of the free commute on November 11

Cheryl Sekkappan
Written by
Cheryl Sekkappan
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Stage three of the Thomson East Coast Line is finally opening on November 13, with 11 new stations from Stevens to Gardens by the Bay. And heads up – you can trial the new line on November 11, when commute will be completely free. Now, that's a great opportunity to explore the sights and eats along the Thomson East Coast Line. Here are the best things to do and eat at each of the stage three stations. 

RECOMMENDED: The ultimate guide to Gardens by the Bay and The best hidden food gems in Orchard

The best things to do and eat along TEL3

Stevens

DO This residential neighbourhood has a number of gyms in the vicinity, including Anytime Fitness and Personal Training. A short walk away is Tanglin Community Club, where you can book sport facilities, such as badminton and basketball courts, or attend courses like yoga, craft, and other skills-based workshops. 

EAT Dig into homely Italian fare at Al Borgo, a restaurant that was first opened by former chefs of Borgo and Pasta Fresca. Now headed up by Chef Russo Tiziano, Al Borgo serves up heartwarming signatures like fettucine with sliced kobe beef and porcini mushrooms in light cream, and the half-folded Al Borgo pizza with prawns, sausage, bufala, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and a truffle fragrance. Nearby is theRitual café, where you can kick back for a spot of coffee and light reading. 

Napier

DO The new Napier MRT is your gateway to the 'other side' of Singapore Botanic Gardens. On this end of the park, you can watch swans and monitor lizards in the Swan Lake, explore the walkways and elevated boardwalks in The Learning Forest in the new Tyersall-Gallop Core, or visit the SBG Heritage Museum to learn about the history of the gardens. Fun fact: the abandoned former palace, Istana Woodneuk, is in the vicinity – just be warned that it's closed to members of the public. 

EAT Up for a walk? Head towards the Dempsey Hill neighbourhood, where you can find gems like Samy's Curry, Canchita Peruvian Cuisine, and Claudine

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Orchard Boulevard

DO Orchard Boulevard MRT will put you within easy reach of Tanglin Mall – and good thing too, as it's just been given a facelift. Visit long-standing boutiques like Badger & Fox and shop deli and specialty food at the new Little Farms physical store. Platinum Fitness has also just moved in, so you can consider a membership to smash those fitness goals. 

EAT You must try B For Bagel, a bagel café hailing from Gangnam, Korea. Tuck into hearty, savoury bagels like Jamon Butter ($11.90) or Red Curry Chicken ($14.50) for lunch, or go for sweeter confections like the Black Bean Turtle Mascarpone ($7.90) and Peach Cloud ($7.50). Another new joint is Tanglin Cookhouse, with nostalgic menu items like ox tail stew. For restaurants that have been around for ages, go for Steeple's Deli (closing soon) and Caffé Beviamo

Orchard

DO Orchard Road offers a world of shopping, if that's your jam. But if you'd rather avoid the shopaholic crowds, then head to Far East Plaza, which offers a treasure trove of alternative pursuits. Pick up unique vintage-styled apparel at The Corner Shop or buy a secondhand book at Ana Bookstore. Here's where you can get piercings and tattoos too – we love Exotic Tattoos and Piercing. If you walk to Mandarin Gallery, you can also visit the new SNKRDUNK store for limited edition and exclusive sneakers. 

EAT There are tons of hidden food gems in Orchard. Try slurp-worthy honeydew chicken noodle at Puncak Best Noodles Halal Restaurant, tender wagyu beef rendang at Bonding Kitchen, and a hidden joint in Shaw Centre serving up handmade Indonesian bakmie – among many others, of course. 

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Great World

DO Finally, an MRT in River Valley. There's a lot to do at the revamped Great World mall – including catching a movie at GV Grand, shopping at fashion and jewellery labels like Weekend Sundries, Our Second Nature and Curious Creatures, or getting fresh groceries from the swanky CS Fresh, Meidi-Ya, Source Wholefoods and Ryan's Grocery.

EAT There's just as much to eat as there is to shop. Popular Korean chicken joint Goobne will satisfy with its crunchy wings and array of sauces and dips. Meanwhile, Ho Fook Hei serves up no-fuss, yet delightful, Cantonese fare for when you're more pressed for time. Up for some fancy dessert? Try House on the Moon's beautifully plated sweets brought to you by Juan Amador of one-Michelin-starred Alma by Juan Mador fame, dessert chef Hüseyin Turan, and Berlin-based food lab The Science Kitchen.

Havelock

DO There's not much in the way of shopping and activities near Havelock MRT station, but a five minute walk will bring you to the Singapore River front where you can take a stroll and enjoy the sights. It's particularly lovely at night, when twinkling lights from the bustling bars and restaurants reflect in the rippling waters of the river. 

EAT Depending on the kind of food that you're looking for, you can stick to the riverfront and patronise restaurants like Limencello, Decker Barbecue, and Publico. Or, you can head the other way – deeper into the Havelock neighbourhood for local cuisine. One place to visit is Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh for its peppery pork bone soup and Teochew side dishes. Intrepid explorers can go all the way to Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre for the famous Tan's Tu Tu Coconut Cake. 

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Outram Park

DO The existing Outram Park MRT station puts you within striking distance of cool hoods like Everton Park, Chinatown, and Tanjong Pagar. Our ultimate guide to Everton Park is a good place to start, with recommendations for pottery class at Bethel Pottery, art mural walks, and gallery hopping. 

EAT The coolest kid on the Everton Park block is 46 Mittsu, known for its Japanese-inspired sandwiches. Around the corner is Folks and Stories, a cosy cookie shop with innovative cookie flavours that change by the season. If you're craving more traditional fare, then head straight to Ji Xiang Confectionery for its famed ang ku kuehs or Beano for a comforting drink of preservative-free and non-GMO soya bean milk. 

Maxwell

DO Learn about Budhhist artifacts, arts and culture at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum or trace the country's stunning urban transformation at the Singapore City Gallery in The URA Centre. If you have a pet friend you want to splurge on, head to luxury pet boutique Woofer & Purrlensky on Erskine Road. 

EAT No doubt – when in Maxwell, head to Maxwell Food Centre. Besides the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice, fill up on South Indian pancakes at Mr. Appam, ngoh hiang at China Street Fritters, and melt-in-your-mouth tapioca cake at Heng Heng Tapioca Cake. Hop over to Erskine Road and Ann Siang Hill for more – including refreshing cold pressed juices at Waved Beverages, fluffy bakes at Mr. Kneady's, or sinful pizzas at Blue Label Pizza & Wine.  

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Shenton Way

DO Shenton Way MRT puts us in the heart of the Central Business District – but it's not all business here. Get a load of culture at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, which has exhibitions and performances all year long. Shop for jewellery and accessories at Downtown Gallery or sneak in some time on the rock walls at Boulder Movement. 

EAT With lots of hungry office lunch crowds to feed, the office towers at Shenton are filled to the brim with food options. A favourite hidden gem of ours is Bengali restaurant Aapon, which has a rich and authentic kosha mangsho (or mutton curry) you simply must try. For something more casual, head to Extra Virgin Pizza for affordable Neapolitan pizzas and wine. 

Marina Bay

DO The waterfront promenade at Marina Bay is the obvious option – but we're not complaining. Hop on a bike or strap on some rollerblades for a scenic tour around the bay, which will bring you past landmarks like the The Esplanade, Merlion, and Helix Bridge. Spend hours shopping at The Shoppes at Marina Bay, or stop by Red Dot Design Museum to admire award-winning product and communication design works. 

EAT Waa Cow! at Marina One is a popular spot for its hefty Wagyu beef bowls and chirasi don. Another great hangout is The Social Space, a multi-concept store where you can have healthy savoury toasts and acai bowls, while shopping for fair trade items or even getting a toxic-free manicure. 

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Gardens by the Bay

DO Highlights in Gardens by the Bay include the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, which showcase flora from the tropical highlands and subtropical regions respectively. A lesser known spot is the tranquil Serene Garden – modelled after Japanese zen gardens, it has a charming mini waterfall and rock garden with stones imported from Japan. 

EAT Chill out in a beautiful garden setting at Fennel Café, where you can dine on casual Mediterranean fare – think toasted paninis and heftier mains like the Moroccon lamb tagine. There's also a popular afternoon tea set available from 3pm featuring savoury and sweet gourmet snacks and a side of fragrant tea. 

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