The age-old debate between Easties and Westies rages on in Singapore: Is it better to be in the east side of the island or the west?

Well, let’s attempt to settle the issue once and for all, with a point-to-point comparison of east-side hub Tampines Central and west-side hub Jurong East.

For a fair comparison, the factors we’ll be considering are the areas’ retail, residential and commercial amenities; recreational facilities; and educational institutions.

1. RETAIL

Both Tampines Central and Jurong East have a cluster of shopping malls near their MRT stations. Each shopping mall has its own characteristics. For example, JCube in Jurong East and Tampines Mall in Tampines Central cater to the younger generation, with retail and F&B outlets that are geared towards the youth.

IMM Jurong East

IMM is an outlet mall in Jurong East. (Photo: 99.co)

The malls in both Jurong East and Tampines Central have more than a thousand retail and F&B outlets, with many big names and franchises. Uniqlo, Muji and Starbucks are some of the common ones. IMM, within walking distance from Jurong East MRT, stands out the most: It is an outlet mall with more than 90 outlet stores such as Adidas, Nike, Coach, Espirit and Giordano. Locals and tourists frequent IMM for its discounts and sales. Furthermore, there are over 50 F&B outlets such as Ajisen, Hai Di Lao, McDonald’s and Kopitiam to fill the tummies of shoppers.

It’s a close tie, but the shopping malls in Jurong East are actually more appealing than those in Tampines – perhaps because they feel more up to date. There’s also more in the way of variety, whereas retail in Tampines seems mainly confined to mid-range clothing brands.

Westgate in Jurong East provides a holistic shopping experience for its consumers, with special features such as alfresco dining options. Moreover, the interiors and exteriors of Jurong East’s malls are newer compared to those in Tampines.

2. RESIDENTIAL

Tampines Central

Tampines Central is a popular residential area. (Photo: 99.co)

Tampines MRT and its cluster of malls are surrounded by residential buildings. Older HDB blocks are found in close proximity to the shopping malls, while newer HDB blocks are found further away.

Besides HDB buildings, condominiums such as The Tampines Trilliant and CityLife @ Tampines are also in the vicinity. Newer condominiums such as The Alps Residences and The Tapestry are located further away.

In contrast, there are not many residential buildings near the mall cluster in Jurong. J Gateway Condominium is the nearest. The rest of the residential buildings, both HDB blocks and condominiums, are located a distance away. That gives Tampines a slight edge in terms of quick accessibility to retail and dining.

3. COMMERCIAL

If you think that Tampines is all about retail, you’re mistaken. There are many commercial buildings in Tampines Central, towering over other malls and residential buildings. Abacus Plaza and 9 Tampines Grande offer cost effective commercial space for companies. Bigger companies, such as AIA and Hitachi, have their own buildings here.

Westgate commercial building

Westgate Tower is one of the commercial buildings in Jurong East.

Jurong East has more going for it in this area, however. Commercial buildings such as JTC Summit and Westgate Tower lease out office spaces to companies, tapping on nearby resources and businesses. Furthermore, Singapore’s pioneer business park, International Business Park (IBP), has developed into a vibrant site for knowledge-based activities. Companies are free to construct and build on allocated plots, so they can meet their specific needs.

Comparing between Tampines Central and Jurong East, companies in the latter have more resources and expertise to tap on. Moreover, there are more commercial buildings and office spaces available in Jurong East.

4. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Home Team NS

There are lots of activities at HomeTeamNS. (Photo: Facebook/Laser Quest Singapore)

With the new Tampines Hub, which officially opened two years ago, there are more things to do near Tampines Central.

There’s a variety of retail and F&B outlets, and many facilities such as a swimming pool, badminton courts and a football field. This encourages a healthy lifestyle among its residents. The Festive Arts Theatre and Festive Plaza promote cultural activities such as live music, drama performances and film screenings. All these activities cultivate vibrancy in Tampines Central.

For music lovers, Club Jamming Paradise is located a stone’s throw away from Tampines MRT. It serves as a platform and provides a space for music lovers to congregate and jam to pop songs. Moreover, HomeTeamNS is just nearby, where activities such as laser tag and rock-climbing are available to its members.

Jurong East has The Chevrons, which is catered to SAF personnel. The Chevrons also has entertainment and facilities such as a KTV, bars, and chalets for its members.

Jurong Bird Park

Jurong Bird Park is great for families. (Photo: WRS.com.sg)

There are also other recreational facilities such as the elaborate Jurong West Sports and Recreation Centre. Attractions such as the Science Center and Snow City are in relatively close proximity to Jurong East MRT. There’s also Jurong Bird Park, although you’ll have to take a bus to get there.

In comparison, there are more recreational facilities and activities in Tampines Central than in Jurong East. With a mixture of sports, cultural and leisure activities, Tampines Central is more attractive to people of all ages.

5. SCHOOLS

Schools in the East

St Hilda’s Primary School in Tampines Central. (Photo: 99.co)

If you have children, you’ll want a wider variety of schools and enrichment classes to choose from.

In Jurong East, these include Fuhua Primary School, Jurong Primary School, Crest Secondary School, Jurongville Secondary School, The Brainery Code and The Learning Lab.

Tampines Central, however, has a greater number of educational options. Some examples include Junyuan Primary School, St Hilda’s Primary School, Tampines Primary School, Pasir Ris Secondary School, Tampines Secondary School, Mindchamps Kent Ridge Education and Yamaha Music School.

IN CONCLUSION

Tampines Central and Jurong East each have unique features, so where you choose to station yourself will boil down to your priorities. If you focus more on residential and recreational facilities, you will probably stand with Tampines Central. In contrast, if a commercial space is your priority, Jurong East may be a better choice.

This first appeared in 99.co.