Ruby Dot Trails


Ruby Dot Trails


Ruby Dot Trails


Ruby Dot Trails




If you'd like a glimpse into the real Singapore - what Singaporeans affectionately refer to as our 'heartlands' - this is the trail for you!

Singaporeans enjoy one of the highest home ownership rates in the world - a far cry from the 1960s when, as a newly independent country, we faced a severe housing shortage with half a million people in overcrowded slums and squatter colonies. How did we turn things around? Join us on this unique tour to find out!

Today, 8 in 10 Singaporeans live in public housing. To understand Singapore Up Close, therefore, a visit to a public housing town will prove enlightening and informative.


About the Singapore Up Close Tour
Join us on this walking tour of the very first satellite town established by the HDB, Toa Payoh:

  • As we stroll through the Toa Payoh town centre, you'll be amidst Singaporeans going about their daily lives. Learn how the design of the town centre and its range of amenities helps facilitate the lifestyles of Toa Payoh residents, young and old.
  • We'll visit the headquarters of the HDB and learn more about the Singapore housing story.
  • We'll then explore a nearby public housing estate where you'll gain some insights into the habits and practices that are unique to Singaporean apartment-dwellers. Learn about the features and initiatives that encourage community bonding. Along the way, your guide will share interesting trivia about this satellite town.
  • We'll also make a stop at a beloved local institution - a kopitiam (local coffee shop) where you'll learn how to order some local coffee or tea, like a real Singaporean!
  • Please note: Ruby Dot Trails may adjust the above tour itinerary, in response to site conditions or circumstances beyond our control.


"Having been to Singapore numerous times, we were looking for a walking tour with a difference, so chose the Singapore Up Close tour and Shal did not disappoint. Shal's knowledge and enthusiasm provided a fantastic experience like no other. Toa Payoh may not be on the tourist trail, but to gain an understanding of what life is like for the majority of Singaporeans, this is a walking tour that should not be missed. At one point one of the locals even stopped to listen in to the story of 'the sacred tree'. Can not recommend highly enough!" HELEN & MARGARET, UK

"I went on the Singapore Up Close tour with Shal, who was a very friendly and knowledgeable guide, with answers to all my questions. The tour was well-paced, taking a closer look at the practicalities of building a city-state and of daily life in Singapore, away from the main tourist areas. I particularly appreciated Shal's tips on how to pick the best lunch spot in a busy market!" CARA, AUSTRALIA


Singapore Up Close was featured in The Singapore Insider October 2016, the definitive guide on things to do in Singapore in their article Unbelievable Tours

And in a Zao Bao (Chinese press) feature on the increased interest in heartland tours

We were also on TV! Mediacorp 8's Money Week (财经追击) featured our tour as part of their program on free & independent travellers seeking unique and authentic experiences. Check us out at the 5.43 min mark of the video!


9.30am on Fridays (except on public holidays due to attraction closures)

3 hours

How much?
S$49 per person.
We need a minimum of 2 guests for the tour to go ahead
If you're travelling solo, please email us to find out if the tour is going ahead on the date you're interested in and if so, you'll be able to book a place for one

What's included?
Small group walking tour for a more personal experience
A great guide (fluent in English, articulate and professionally licensed)
A unique & enlightening itinerary!

What's not included?
Food and drinks, Gratuities (optional), Hotel transfers

Where to meet?
Toa Payoh MRT Station (NS19)

We'll send you a photo of the meeting point and directions in your Tour confirmation email

What to bring?
Wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella or poncho, a bottle of water and of course, your camera

More information?
To ensure you have the best tour experience possible, do take a look at our FAQ Page - you’ll find it helpful!

Join us on one of our walking tours now!

Gems of

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Kampong Glam

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Little India

Up Close