The search for unheard of hidden historical locations in Singapore is already an adventure, the adventure becomes even more exciting when exploring.
Fort Serapong, adventure to the largest fort in Singapore
Most would know Fort Siloso, but many would not have heard of Fort Serapong which used to be the largest fort in Singapore. This fort is located on the highest point of Sentosa, Serapong Hill and can be easily accessed from Serapong Hill road. You can expect to see ruins of batteries, lookout, casemates, stores and dormitories without hardcore explorations. The exciting adventure really starts with exploring the tunnels. We are also exploring this fort, do join us here.
This istana is owned by Sultan of Johor, hidden in the forest very near to Botanical gardens. This istana went through numerous fires, the last in 2006. The left to rot modern housing materials I assume are from the recent renovation that failed due to fire. You can read here to find out more of its glorious history and also its strange twist of fate. We are making attempts to gain permission from Sultan of Johor His Majestic to grant us permission to visit. We hope to give everyone a good news soon.
Adventure to Marsiling tunnel
Asiatic Petroleum Company a subsidiary of Shell built this tunnel to store oil, supplying fuel oil to British Navy. You got to be ready to walk on pipes and not fearful of dark and unknown creatures that may live in the tunnel. This is a tunnel for the hardcore adventurous ones. I rate this as my number one adventure. You will need to hike up the hills facing the causeways and entering via Marsiling Crescent is a shorter path. Troops of monkey will follow you for food, ignore them and they will leave you alone after some time. Joy Loh has done a great job of explaining the history, read here to find out more.
Keppel reservoir/Japanese grave/lookout platform
I was pleasantly surprised to find a small reservoir hidden within the hills and forest of Mount Faber, that used to serve the Tanjong Pagar dock from 1905. A Japanese grave that buried a Mitsubishi chief in charge of Singapore dockyard that died possibly between 1944 to 1945. A lookout platform that was built possibly in 1910 to monitor the ships coming in towards southern part of Singapore. It is easily accessible from Keppel Hill road. You should not miss the reservoir after walking the trail and you will need to hike uphill to see the Japanese grave and lookout platform. We are planning to explore this hill and possibly Seah Im bunker, join us here to explore this historical sites.
Seah Im bunker
The bunker is located just behind the Seah Im carpark, you will need to find a gap between the fences to get to the forest. The bunker is a short hike from the fence. Like the Marsiling tunnel you should not fear dark and some unknown creatures that may live in the bunker. It is unclear how it could have been used, possibly to store equipment and ammunition and even as a communication tunnel. This is adventure should be done in a group.
Last kampong Kampong Buangkok
Kampong Buangkok one of the last surviving kampong in Singapore. It is hard to estimate how many kampongs Singapore used to have. This article from rememberingsingapore.com estimates that Singapore used to have more than 126 kampongs. Unlike many squatter kampongs, Sng Teow Koon and its family own the land legally. I used to live in a squatter kampong that flooded regularly and checking this old photos Kampong Buangkok also suffered the same fate and even as recent as 2006. You can reach this kampong from Gerald Drive.
Syonan Jinja Mac Ritchie reservoir
The man in charge of the construction of the Syonan Jinja planned that it would be the best Shinto shrine in the Southern Asia. It was also planned to be the second greatest shrine after the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. The shrine, however, was destroyed by British forces when the British forces re-occupied Singapore. The entrance is marked by 3 big rocks, you can enter from Terentang trail. The once great shrine has been much destroyed and consumed by the forest.
Sembawang black and white houses, old gate, Sembawang shipyard
This 5km hike you will see Sembawang Shipyard that was once the base for British Navy. Then a Beaulieu house which served as a residence for senior engineers during construction, the operation of the Naval base. Along the hike, you will see a gate to a demolished house that is believed to be owned by Cycle and Carriage boss. Then a 70 years old rubber tree and 50 black and white houses build during British times along Gibraltar Crescent, Queens Avenue, Kings Avenue, and several other roads. Read this Straits Time article to find out its history. You can refer to this map for a rough guide of the walk.
Lim Chu Kang Jetty, Cashin house, and WW2 Japanese Army first landing site
The Japanese army first invasion on 8th Feb 1942 landed at the end of Lim Chu Kang road. Also at the end, you can also see The Cashin house built in the 1930s. The house owned by Cashin family from Ireland that made a fortune investing in opium farms in 1880s. You too can’t miss the last remaining wooden jetty fast disappearing in Singapore.14