History & Origins
Named after the first American consul Joseph Balestier who was also a botanist & agriculturist, the area has housed numerous groups of settlers - from Chinese farmers, to convicts from India, who would later stay on in Singapore as traders, artisans and craftsmen, making the area a prominent site for cultural & technical sharing. Unlike most residential areas, which tend to be homogeneous in nature, Balestier is a lot more eclectic - featuring a wide array of shops, temples, hotels, eateries, industrial complexes, apartment blocks & hospitals.
With multiple foreign institutes choosing Balestier for their campus locations, the influx of international students has helped rejuvenate the Balestier area. Multiple new developments, such as City Suites, a 56-unit freehold project and OKIO represent competitive pricing for investors & home owners, given their proximity to the city center as well as freehold tenures. HDB states that there are 21,690 public housing residents living in Balestier.
Transportation & Connectivity
While Balestier per se lacks an MRT station of its own, it is actually situated in the middle of 2 established stations, Toa Payoh (NS19) & Novena (NS20) on the North-South Line (NSL). A major bus terminal, Toa Payoh Interchange, which docks over 20 buses (8, 26, 28, 31, 73, 88, 90, 139, 139M, 141, 142, 145, 155, 157, 159, 163, 231, 232, 235 & 238), also serves the area giving the area a distinctive charm for being away from the city, yet never too far from it.
The famous ‘Tau Sar Pia’ shop along Balestier Road
Image credit: The Edge Market Singapore, Samuel Isaac Chua
Balestier is home to over 5 educational institutions & schools. Balestier Hill Primary School lies in the heart of Balestier. While Balestier doesn't have any secondary schools, Bendemeer Secondary School, ACS, Singapore Chinese Girls School & CHIJ Secondary School are within 15 minutes drive of the area. Beacon International College, Curtin Singapore & East Asia Institute of Management helm the International Campuses in the area.
With numerous residential & educational offerings in Balestier, it is no surprise that commercial developers have been quick to enhance the amenities of Balestier with a multitude of malls, parks, and other facilities for the residents in the area. Balestier is home to a surprisingly large number of malls. The most notable being Zhongshan mall, which opened its doors to the public in 2013. The property features 35 units over 58,000 square feet of retail space with one basement car park located along Balestier Road. It is located in close proximity to the commercial, retail and medical hubs at Novena and Orchard Road. Next to Zhongshan Mall is VIIO @ Balestier, another up-and-coming development catering to residents in the area. Other malls in the area include Balestier Plaza, Shaw Plaza and Balestier Hill Shopping Center
Recreation & Amenities
Balestier boasts recreational spots including Novena Rise Park, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall and Whampoa River Park Connector. The area is also home to famous food stalls such as Founder Bak Kut Teh, Loy Kee Chicken Rice, Boon Tong Kee and the iconic Balestier Market Food Court. The roads along the area are also lined with psychedelic bars & pubs which add a nostalgic & familiar vibe to Balestier Road.
URA Master Plan
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has already announced plans to conserve the shophouses in the Balestier area and spruce up the existing landscaping. There are also plans to build an interim car park to ease parking congestion in the area.
Did You know?
- At the corner of Boon Teck and Balestier roads is a small kiosk that dispenses free water.
- The Balestier Market was used as a food rationing centre during World War II.
- Rediscover Singapore by checking out the Chinese Baroque-style shophouses along Balestier Road. These buildings were built in the early 1920s when the ornate style was favoured by wealthy developers.