HDB Reviews Keat Hong Mirage Review: Army-Inspired HDB With Good Amenities (Plus McDonald’s)
- October 25, 2021
- 26 min read
Reviewed by Reuben on October 25, 2021
What we like
- Lots of amenities within the development
- Next to the LRT
- Close to the Park Connector
- Short distance to multiple parks
What we don't like
- —No major shopping malls nearby
- —Not within walking distance to the MRT
|Project:||Keat Hong Mirage|
|HDB Town||Choa Chu Kang|
|Address:||816A-B, 817A-C, 818A-C Keat Hong Link|
|Lease Start Date:||01 Sep 2017|
|No. of Units:||1,159|
Keat Hong Mirage. It’s got quite a strange name, if you ask me. That is, till you find out its roots (I’ll explain further below).
Keat Hong Mirage is actually our very first HDB review done in the Choa Chu Kang estate. The development was part of the November 2012 BTO exercise launched alongside flats in non-mature estate Sengkang as well as those in Queenstown, Bedok, and Toa Payoh.
But Keat Hong Mirage isn’t the only BTO in the vicinity.
Unlike most other HDBs that are built on vacant plots of land (especially Punggol & Sengkang HDBs), a large area that used to be the old SAF training camp (Keat Hong Camp I & II) was demolished in 2012 and replaced with the new HDB flats that we see today.
As new residents move in and ground-level shops open up, the estate has gotten more lively. Still, many see Choa Chu Kang as a pretty ulu place to live, probably best reflected in the estate’s persistence in being one of the cheapest to stay in.
But if you’re planning to find a home on the west side of Singapore, I would say that Keat Hong Mirage can be quite an appealing proposition – so without further ado, let’s find out more in our usual HDB tour!
Keat Hong Mirage Insider Tour
There are 2 entry points into Keat Hong Mirage – one along Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1, and another along Keat Hong Link. This seems to be more of a necessity than a good-to-have, considering the large size of the development (8 residential blocks + 1 commercial block) and the total 1,159 units here.
Arriving in from Keat Hong Link is the 1st drop-off point. It is located close to block 817A and on first impressions, this does not really feel like a drop-off point, but more of a loading and unloading area.
There isn’t any indication that this is a place to do a sort of U-Turn for passengers to alight and board, so I can imagine vehicles simply reversing into this spot to park. In fact, I believe this happens quite often! A quick look at Google Streetview does show this to be the case.
That being said, the area is very spacious, airy, and like most drop-off points, it comes with an ample amount of seats. It’s also fully sheltered all the way through blocks 817A and 816B, and can accommodate up to 4 cars at any time!
However, doing a U-Turn/3-point turn here can be a little awkward, especially if there are other cars lining up – but it’s not such a big deal for residents.
What really matters here is the openness of this drop-off point. You can see how several blocks (816A, 816B & 817A) have a pretty direct view of the drop-off area, so units on this side may get some noise.
The next drop-off point is vastly different. Immediately, you’ll see that this fronts a bustling commercial space. In some sense, residents living here have the privilege of having amenities at their doorstep. This is extremely convenient, as your daily needs can be met on the way home – saving you time from having to make a separate trip altogether.
Like the first drop-off, there’s an ample amount of seating space, and it’s also fully sheltered. Do note that there are some stacks here that face the drop-off point too, so units here would likely get traffic noise.
Unlike the former, however, this one has a decent roundabout, making it easy for drivers to exit. It’s also sheltered to block 818A.
Since I’m here, I might as well talk about the commercial elements of Keat Hong Mirage. Overall, Keat Hong Mirage is a self-sustaining development and is probably one of its strongest points that make up for the lack of shopping malls in the vicinity.
Over here, you’ll find U Stars Megamart that caters to all your grocery needs, a clinic, dental, barber, laundry, a DIY store, and even a Chinese Medicine shop.
On the F&B side, you even have an ice cream store, a bakery, a food court, and a McDonald’s.
Yes, you read that right. There is a McDonald’s in this HDB project. Considering how McDonald’s always charges for delivery and has a minimum order amount for delivery, fans of the fast-food franchise will certainly be delighted living here. It may sound strange, but I know of some people that inhale McDonald’s on a daily basis so this could actually be a selling point for some.
Either way, you are nearly always guaranteed footfall when there’s a McDonald’s closeby, so this in turn would help the viability and staying power of the nearby shops.
Next, let’s check out the car park. Now if you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of link bridges. Keat Hong Mirage, unfortunately, does not have one, so drivers might want to take note of this.
It may seem like a trivial thing to mention, but when you go down to the nitty-gritty of everyday living (as a driver), not having a link bridge means having to head down to the ground floor and walk over to your block, then head back up to your home. This is a real nightmare if you are doing things like grocery shopping and expect to carry heavy things. Of course, it’s not always the case if you can secure a ground-floor car park, but that’s no guarantee each time!
The good news is that sheltered walkways are provided from the car park to the respective residential blocks. With how fickle Singapore weather can be, this is pretty much the bare minimum in my opinion.
Now as with all the multi-storey car parks I’ve looked into, I’ll touch on the privacy issues for units here. This is an important consideration if you’re looking to purchase a lower-floor unit!
From the car park, you’ll see that no stacks directly face the car park. Only the service yard for certain stacks can be directly seen. This bodes well for Keat Hong Mirage and for the owners of the units here.
Very often, you’ll find that buyers are quite turned off by a car park-facing view. It’s not just about privacy, but peace and quiet too. We’ve actually done a poll on this based on our review of Pasir Ris ONE, and you can see the disdain for such units. Carparks tend to have the echoes of tire screeching or motorcycle accelerations – and it can happen at any time during the day or night, so this is something to be aware of if you’re purchasing a unit that faces the car park.
Of course, it’s not always a bad thing. Prices for such units could sometimes be lower, so in some sense, it makes units here more affordable – after all, there’s a price to everything.
There are 2 car park lift lobbies here, and from what I can see, it’s pretty well-maintained!
The car park here is quite big – and I’m not surprised given the number of units. It is a total of 7/8 stories high, and the car park is divided into 2 with a service road the cuts between it. The car park design sports a white and grey colour tone which is consistent with the rest of the development, though I do prefer having more greenery in sight.
You’ll find that the car park is also very spacious, bright, and well-ventilated – with no musky smells associated with basement car parks at all too!
And like some other newer HDBs I have reviewed, Keat Hong Mirage has a car park rooftop garden too. Located on the 9th floor, the car park rooftop garden here provides residents with a convenient location to unwind.
There is a decent amount of greenery here which is great to soak in during your walks/jogs here. However, there are some areas that are clearly in need of maintenance.
You can also see that the wooden planks used look really worn out as it is exposed to the harsh elements.
From the garden, you can also get some pretty decent views of the development!
Walking around, you’ll find that there are ample seating areas here, though they are mostly unsheltered.
Beyond the greenery, walking paths, and seating area, the rooftop garden also houses an elderly fitness corner as well as a children’s playground. It’s a common scene that you’ll see in most HDB developments, so nothing out of the ordinary here.
As with the other car park levels, the rooftop garden does not directly face any unit, though it does have a good view of the service yard. Again, this is not much of an issue unless you prefer to treat your service yard as a balcony to relax in! (Need some design inspiration for that? See it here).
Now let’s head down to check out some of the facilities here. I’ll start off with the preschool which is located in the development itself – My First Skool. It is located at the first level of block 817A-C and the 2nd level of the commercial block.
And right behind the preschool is the first of 2 playgrounds found in the development. It’s a pretty ordinary space, so don’t expect too much from it.
There’s also an elderly fitness station and an adult fitness station here.
I would have to say that the adult fitness corner is pretty well-equipped here with a full set of static exercise machines that can really give you that full-body workout you want.
The 2nd playground is much more interesting as it pays homage to the roots of the place. As mentioned, the site where Keat Hong Mirage sits used to be where the old training camps of the Singapore Armed Forces Keat Hong Camps I & II used to sit. In view of the history of the place, Keat Hong Mirage features a military-themed playground. Think green, black, and brown shades.
It’s genuinely quite a fascinating space to be (for kids, at least).
This playground has a watchtower where kids can climb up to using the ladder provided.
There’s also a huge green truck here that children can climb into from the back, which ultimately leads to a slide.
From my tour here, it’s clear that the truck is in dire need of maintenance. It’s either very well-utilised, or just poorly maintained – you can be the judge of that!
Parents would also be glad to know that there are ample seats here available for you to relax and watch over your children.
Speaking of seats, one thing that I noticed while walking around is the ample seats available throughout the development. While most of it is unsheltered, it’s always good to have seating areas scattered around as a form of communal areas for people to gather around and socialise.
Heading into the blocks, you’ll find that the void deck here is really sparse, a huge contrast to the commercial space at the front of the development. There’s not a chair or table in sight, rendering a very bare look – almost as if the place was incomplete (or abandoned).
The lift lobby is quite decent looking and houses 2 lifts per block.
Now let’s head up to see what the common corridors look like!
Coming out, you’ll find the corridors to be rather narrow, and in some sections, quite dark – even during the day! And depending on the stack, you’ll also be able to see right into the service yards of some units!
That being said, a service yard is not quite a big deal to lose privacy in. It’s just a place to hang laundry and is not as undesirable as having your kitchen (some units at SkyVille @ Dawson face this issue) or living room face the corridor.
In terms of common space in front of the units, it really depends on your stack here. There are some that have a lot of space at the front to put your shoe rack and other outdoor equipment, while others do not have that luxury of space.
Here are some of the corridor layout plans to give you a better idea of what it looks like:
Finally, let’s head back down to round off the tour with the 2 precinct pavilions located in this development. The first one is located next to the drop-off point/loading/unloading bay. This one is quite a bright area and faces quite a pleasant green patch next to it.
The 2nd pavilion is a lot less open and is located on level 1 of the car park. While it is less open, I must say that the area is quite spacious! There are also fans provided here which makes it more comfortable on a hot day. Both pavilions do come with ample seating areas, making them suitable to host gatherings.
Now that we’re done with the tour, I’d like to go off track and share more about the garden located right next door: Keat Hong Garden.
This area is directly connected to Keat Hong Mirage, so much so that you would probably think it’s within the same development if you hadn’t looked at the site plan!
This kind of reminds me of Trivelis, with the Firefly park located right next to it seamlessly. I’d have to say that this seamlessness does make the development feel a lot bigger than it already is.
So what’s so special about this garden? Well, since Keat Hong used to house the former Keat Hong Camps I & II, the garden also has some obvious military-themed play areas too!
First up is the Tank Play Area. I think the picture is self-explanatory. And yes, you can climb onto the “tank” as I did in our Insider Tour review.
Of course, you can’t drive it. But to the child, I can imagine a lot of “adventures” going on here!
Next are the climbing obstacles – and no, it’s not anything close to the Standard Obstacle Course that many new recruits dread having. This is a sort of mini obstacle course filled with vertical play structures. Marking the “army camp” boundary is the playground’s rubber flooring which is designed to mimic the military camouflage colours.
The obstacle course also cleverly uses the area’s natural terrain to house “cannons” on a mini hill, allowing children to fend of make-believe intruders.
Keat Hong Mirage Location Review
Choa Chu Kang is probably not the most exciting of areas to consider. It is for this matter that most of the more affordable HDB flats are located in this estate, alongside Sembawang and Woodlands.
But don’t let this dishearten you. For families looking to live close to nature, Choa Chu Kang can have its appeal. The immediate vicinity around Keat Hong Mirage may look very urban given the LRT track and residential blocks, but it’s really a short cycle to the Choa Chu Kang Park Connector.
Dubbed the “Western Loop”, residents can explore a different side to Singapore as it lets you easily connect to the Bukit Batok Town Park (aka “Little Guilin”), Bukit Batok Nature Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Dairy Farm Nature Park, and Zheng Hua Park.
In other words, yes some might consider this area to be quite “ulu”, but with that comes the abundance of nature all around you which is only a few minutes cycle away on the relatively safe Park Connector.
On the east side, residents can take a 4-minute LRT ride to Senja LRT station, which is just an 8-minute walk to the scenic Pang Sua Pond – a great outdoor activity to have on the weekend!
Beyond nature, residents at Keat Hong Mirage can also walk to the nearby Keat Hong Shopping Centre.
Don’t be fooled by the name though! This is no air-conditioned shopping mall that Singaporeans are accustomed to. Like the shopping centre that Natura Loft is close to (in Bishan), this is a low-lying, non-air-conditioned shopping centre that houses a wet market as well as a small coffee shop.
While Keat Hong Mirage already has several F&B options just below, it could sometimes be nice to have some alternative stalls around for variety.
You’ll also find some F&B outlets here, such as a KFC and Domino’s Pizza.
Next to it, there’s also a row of shops that house a childcare centre, a Pizza Hut, a hardware shop, and other retail outlets. Gym goers would also be glad to know that there’s an Anytime Fitness here too!
While there aren’t any major malls within walking distance, it is within quick LRT/Bus reach to Hillion Mall (15 minutes), Bukit Panjang Plaza (11 minutes), and Lot 1 (7 minutes), making it quite convenient for residents who value visiting malls as part of their recreational activities.
Overall, while this location may seem “ulu”, I would say that residents here should find the development and the surrounding areas to be quite self-contained!
|Bus station||Buses Serviced||Distance From HDB (& Est. Walking Time)|
|“Opp Hong San Terr”||172||50m (1-2 min walk)|
|“Blk 816B”||991||50m (1-2 min walk)|
Closest MRT: Keat Hong LRT; 2-min walk.
While Keat Hong Mirage is not close to an MRT, it does have the advantage of being right next to the LRT. Given it’s just opposite Keat Hong LRT station, residents would only have to spend 2 minutes to get there (depending on the block you stay in). From there, it’s only 2 stops to the main Choa Chu Kang MRT station – about a 2-minute journey.
What’s slightly disappointing is that the path to Keat Hong LRT is not fully sheltered – though most of it is. From the shops, you can take a sheltered path to the junction at Choa Chu Kang Way. From here, you’ll have to cross the road, which is not sheltered. Beyond that, however, the journey continues to be sheltered so residents would have to put up with this during a very rainy day, unfortunately.
There are also 2 bus stops that residents can utilise here. One is along Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1, with bus service 172 plying along this route (towards Boon Lay Interchange).
The other bus stop is located along Keat Hong Link, with bus service 991 plying along the road. Both bus stops provide direct, sheltered access to the residential blocks.
As both roads are rather minor, residents would likely need to transfer along busier Choa Chu Kang Way which has 8 bus services plying this route.
|Key Destinations||Distance From HDB (& Est. Peak Hour Drive Time)|
|Raffles Place||23.6 km (26-55 mins drive)|
|Orchard Road||15.8 km (22-45 mins drive)|
|Suntec City||22.4 km (26-50 mins drive)|
|Changi Airport||31.2 km (30-55 mins drive)|
|Tuas Port||27.0 km (28-55 mins drive)|
|Paya Lebar Quarters||20.8 km (24-50 mins drive)|
|Mediaopolis||16.1 km (20-40 mins drive)|
|Mapletree Business City||18.6 km (24-50 mins drive)|
|Tuas Checkpoint||16.8 km (20-35 mins drive)|
|Woodlands Checkpoint||11.3 km (16-28 mins)|
|Harbourfront Cluster||20.3 km (24-55 mins)|
|Punggol Cluster||26.8 km (28-50 mins)|
Immediate road exit:
Keat Hong Link and Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1.
Drivers would be glad to know that Keat Hong Mirage is just a few minutes drive to Woodlands Road, which connects to the KPE. From there, residents can easily get onto the BKE and PIE.
|Name of Grocery Shop||Distance from HDB (& Est Time)|
|U Stars Megamarket||Within the development|
|Prime Supermarket||600m, 7-min walk|
|Educational Tier||Number of Institutes|
|Primary School (Within 1KM)||3|
|Other Tertiary Institutes||2|
My First Skool – Within the development
PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Brickland Blk 807C – 450m (5 min walk)
Carpe Diem Starlets 120 – 300m (3 min walk)
Greenfield Montessori – 350m (4 min walk)
Choa Chu Kang Primary School – 1.1km (14 min walk)
South View Primary School – 750m (9 min walk)
Teck Whye Primary School – 1.2km (16 min walk)
Teck Whye Secondary School – 1.4km (18 min walk)
Bukit Panjang Govt. High School – 14 min by bus
Fajar Secondary School – 21 min by LRT
Swiss Cottage Secondary School – 22 min by bus
Dunearn Secondary School – 20 min by bus
Jurong Pioneer Junior College – 1.5km (17 min walk)
Millennia Institute – 31 min by bus
ITE College West – 800m (10 min walk)
- Improved connectivity via the Jurong Region Line
Choa Chu Kang MRT is set to be part of the Jurong Regional Line, a new (and 7th) MRT line that would improve connectivity for residents living in Choa Chu Kang.
In the words of LTA, this line would “significantly improve the connectivity of the region and support the development of the Jurong area, which is set to be the largest commercial hub outside the Central Business District. Commuters can expect to be connected to key activity nodes in Jurong, such as the Jurong Industrial Estate, Jurong Innovation District, and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).”
As this line cuts through the upcoming Tengah HDB town, I do anticipate some exciting things to look forward to within the new estate that residents here can enjoy!
- Close to a popular primary school – South View Primary
South View Primary is the most popular primary school in the area. It is currently ranked #28 on schlah.com.
For parents looking to stay in Choa Chu Kang and prioritise getting their child into a popular school, Keat Hong Mirage would be a strong contender. However, bear in mind that proximity is by no means a guarantee given that all the other new HDBs around would be competing too.
Keat Hong Mirage HDB Site Review
Keat Hong Mirage is made up of 9 blocks (8 residential + 1 commercial) in total, housing 1,159 units. Units range from 2 to 5-room flat types.
The development also goes up to 20/22 floors, depending on which stack you stay in, with 6-8 stacks per block (depending on the block).
Overall, Keat Hong Mirage sports a modern look with a very safe grey and white colour tone (perhaps this is too overused?).
Some areas of the development do remind me of Pasir Ris ONE – particularly the inner-facing stacks. They are by no means too close, however, I think that a comfortable range would be to have about 50 metres or more of space between your stack and the opposite one.
Most of the inner-facing stacks here are around the 20-40m range, so if you are particular on this, be sure to be on the lookout for the right stacks – or just purchase an outside-facing one.
Again, these stacks are by no means as close to each other as the ones in Pasir Ris ONE, but if I could use Waterway Cascadia as an example, you can see how not all developments are the same:
Different land parcels have different shapes that architects can play with to balance out the various goals of the development, so do bear this in mind when you’re house hunting!
That being said, Keat Hong Mirage is a big development and is not short of large green spaces too. In fact, due to its size, I would say that the development alone has pretty decent walkways that you can take a jog in without having to leave the compound.
As such, I do not get the caved-in feeling that I experienced with Pasir Ris ONE, since the narrow sections only apply to areas between 2 blocks.
|Block Number||No. of Storeys||3 Room||4 Room||5 Room||Total|
Given the development’s location right next to the LRT station, residents staying in the northern stacks and lower floors can expect to have lesser privacy. With regards to noise, LRTs tend to be okay (not as bad as the over-ground MRT!). With this inconvenience does come public transport convenience, as the northern stacks are the closest to the LRT.
However, the main noise issue would come more from the commercial space just below. Stacks 109 and 111 in particular face the back of the commercial spaces, so you would expect to hear trucks/vans coming in to load and unload their goods. Those situated right in front of the drop-off point would also have to bear with some traffic noise once in a while, especially those on the lower floors.
In terms of views, the surrounding area isn’t particularly fantastic, though the southern stacks currently have the best views. It wouldn’t last long though, as it’s zoned a high-rise residential area. The good news is that stacks 67 and 69 would be facing more of the Educational Institute zone which is low-rise, so the higher floor units here should have better-protected views.
Keat Hong Mirage Price Review
|Project||Tenure||2 ROOM||3 ROOM||4 ROOM||5 ROOM||EXECUTIVE|
|Keat Hong Axis||2017||$280,000||$370,000||$475,000||$583,000||–|
|Keat Hong Colours||2017||–||$374,000||$485,000||$600,000||–|
|Keat Hong Crest||2018||–||$385,000||$467,500||$587,000||–|
|Keat Hong Mirage||2017||–||–||$499,000||$605,000||–|
|Keat Hong Pride||2017||–||$376,000||$472,000||$580,000||–|
|Keat Hong Quad||2017||–||–||$496,444||$603,444||–|
|Opp Keat Hong Mirage||1989||–||$315,000||$390,000||$463,000||$630,000|
From the pricing table, you can see that the BTOs around Keat Hong were offered around the same time. All of its leases started around 2017-2018, with Keat Hong Crest being the latest addition to the area.
While prices do not differ much, you can see that the median flat prices for Keat Hong Mirage happen to be the highest for both the 4 and 5-room flats. I would chalk this down to the location right next to the LRT as well as the abundance of amenities located on the ground level.
In other words, location and amenities – no surprise, eh?
There is also an old HDB block located across Keat Hong Mirage with about 66 years left on the lease. For those who do not mind an old (and depreciating) development, you can get a larger 4-room flat for a 22% discount off the median flat price of the one at Keat Hong Mirage.
Choa Chu Kang may be considered a non-mature estate, but I do think that Keat Hong Mirage has quite a lot to offer.
First is due to its location right next to the LRT which is only 2 stops to the main MRT. Next, the amenities are located right at your doorstep which includes a coffee shop, supermarket, and F&B outlets (including a McDonald’s!).
I also really like that the amenities are also located en route to the LRT, making it extra convenient for residents staying here. Certain parts of the development do feel spacious, and the facilities (especially the fitness area) are quite adequate.
More importantly, the development is close to nature (an upside to being “ulu”?). It is within a few minutes drive to numerous parks in the area, and residents can easily reach the Park Connector in a couple of minutes.
Overall, if you are a buyer looking for a fairly convenient and affordable place to stay in Choa Chu Kang, then Keat Hong Mirage could very well fit the bill!
What this means for you
You might like Keat Hong Mirage if you:
- • Are looking for a development with immediate amenities:
Keat Hong Mirage has full-fledged supermarket, barber, clinic, dental, a coffee shop and several other F&B options right at your doorstep!
- • Want to live near greenery:
Choa Chu Kang may be considered “ulu”, but its huge advantage in this is the amount of nature reserves and parks surrounding it which is very accessible by car, public transportation and even with a bicycle.
You may not like Keat Hong Mirage if you:
- • Want immediate access to an MRT:
While it is just about a 2-3 minute’s walk to the LRT, residents would still have to either take a bus to the MRT, or take 2 stops from the LRT which could be a hassle over the long-term if you do not work in the west.
- • Value major shopping malls as an amenity:
Prospective buyers who enjoy shopping and hanging out at major shopping malls may want to give this a second thought, as it’s not particularly within walking distance of any.