Have you ever dreamed of living next to a lake (okay fine, in Singapore’s context, reservoir)? Well, if so, you should head over to this particular small estate, Westlake Gardens, which is right next to MacRitchie Reservoir with just under 100 houses. The view in the photo above is literally less than 5 minutes away from the houses in the estate!
Since the key attraction of living at Westlake Gardens is MacRitchie Reservoir, let’s start today’s landed tour there! Well, that and the 3 famous schools nearby – Raffles Institution (15 minutes walk away), Raffles Girls School (22 minutes walk) and Catholic High (27 minutes walk away). Some houses are within 1 km of Marymount Convent (Primary) School and 2 km of Ai Tong School, another well-known school. And since we are on the subject of education, I should also mention that there are also at least 3 childcare centres nearby (some within the estate proper.)
Despite being such a tiny estate, there are actually 2 exits and entrances for vehicles into Westlake Gardens, which makes it very easy for people who drive. For those who don’t, you’re 11 minutes from Marymount MRT and 16 minutes from Caldecott MRT. There is also a bus stop right next to the entrance above, where ELEVEN buses stop! (Buses 52, 74, 130, 132, 162, 162M, 163, 165, 166, 167, 852, 855 and 980.) As you can see, this is a very well-connected landed enclave!
This is the 1st row of houses next to the entrance. Although Westlake Avenue is off a busy main road (Upper Thomson Road), there is actually a small stretch of empty land on the left of this (small) road, that separates these houses from the main road, which helps provide a buffer from the sound of the traffic.
Note that there is definitely wildlife within the estate – spot the monkey in the picture above! I saw several monkeys during my tour and also saw a boar (but not within Westlake Avenue. The boar was happily snuffling around in a gated compound next to the estate. I think the compound was St. Theresa’s Home but can’t be 100% sure.)
Walking down the road brings me to St. Theresa’s Home.
As you can see, there’s a lot to keep you occupied if you live here (and enjoy an active lifestyle.) There’s kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking and more!
According to a signpost, Lim Bo Seng’s tomb is not far away – never knew! There’s also Mushroom Cafe and a treetop walk. Mushroom Cafe is the closest F&B outlet that I can find (to Westlake Avenue). Unfortunately it only had a 3.6 star review on Google at the time of writing. However, I’m not sure how much to trust the review as one of them was (to paraphrase) “good food. Shame I had to pay for it.” (???!)
The path to the bus stop and the overhead bridge is partially sheltered. I am also impressed that this overhead bridge has a lift! It certainly makes it feasible for the less mobile.
However, as the parking at MacRitchie isn’t the most ample, visitors do park outside the houses. Having said that, I visited thrice (twice on the weekend), and all 3 times was able to easily traverse the roads/find parking spaces.)
Remember the monkeys I mentioned? Although I did come across a couple, they were generally inside the reservoir and I didn’t see any throwing parties in the houses. I was puzzled as, when I visited Island Country Villas near Upper Peirce Reservoir, the monkeys had definitely made themselves at home everywhere. Then I saw a lady throw something away and realised that all the bins were secured (see above – it’s something like the straps used to secure luggage) and thus the monkeys couldn’t get any food. Smart move.
Anyway, let’s walk back into Westlake Avenue to see more of the landed enclave.
Most of the houses closer to the St. Theresa’s Home (which is zoned as a Civic and community Institution, so won’t be turned into a condo) are still in original condition so there’s lots of redevelopment opportunity here. In 2022 alone, there were 4 sales, which is quite a lot as there were several recent years with 0 sales! (At the time of writing, asking prices ranged between $6 – $18 million.)
And here’s the Google map of the area. Unfortunately for shopaholics, as shown, there aren’t many malls nearby- the closest would be Bishan Junction 8 and Thomson Plaza. (Lots of plant nurseries, such as Ji Mei Flowers, though!)
It’s quite different from Yew Lian estate, which we viewed last week, as that had a ton of shops and cafes!
Note: The 2nd childcare centre that I mentioned is to the right of the photo. (Preschool by the Woods.)
Now that you’ve seen Westlake Gardens, how did you find it? It’s quite an interesting juxtaposition to me: simultaneously so close to nature yet so urban, thanks to the proximity of the highways. (Being situated at such a busy junction also means that it’s not really pleasant to walk anywhere, outside of McRitchie!) I guess it sums up life in Singapore, living in “a city in Nature.”
Anyway, let us know in the comments what you think and see you again next week as we visit Westville (requested by several readers!)