Hut in Chestnut Nature Park
Photograph: Abu Uwais / Facebook

Forgotten relics in Singapore and the stories behind them

These historical monuments provide a glimpse into Singapore's past

Dewi Nurjuwita

In an urban city like Singapore, we're well-acquainted with the buildings and art sculptures found around town. But beyond the towering skyscrapers and well-manicured gardens, you'll find interesting relics that seem perfectly out of place. How well do you know Singapore's history? These historical monuments provide a glimpse into Singapore's past – from a monumental gate that used to be the entrance to one of Southeast Asia's biggest entertainment theme parks to an abandoned kampung hut in the middle of a forest.  

RECOMMENDED: 11 abandoned places in Singapore and the stories behind them and the best hidden trails in Singapore to explore 

Fascinating forgotten relics in Singapore's history

Japanese tomb at Mount Faber

Mount Faber may be a popular spot amongst hikers and tourists – but it also boasts historical significance. After all, the area was a very important place during WWII. Hidden in the forested slope at almost the top of the hill is a mysterious tombstone of a Japanese naval officer who died in 1942. According to the inscriptions on the tombstone, his name was Komoto Ekasa (小本江笠), and he was a civilian naval engineer who had worked for the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

New World Amusement Park

At the entrance of City Square Mall is a peculiar sight: A gate with the words "The New World". It's a symbolic reminder of the historic New World Amusement Park, a theme park opened in 1923 by two straits Chinese merchant brothers Ong Boon Tat and Ong Peng Hock. The amusement park – which stood at the exact same spot as City Square Mall now – boasted open-air cinemas, shops, opera halls and restaurants alongside its nightlife and cabarets. The cabarets are New World Park were said to be so popular that they were said to have occasionally attracted the late Sultan Ibrahim of Johor and his entourage. 


Old Gate at Jalan Selimang

Between the Sembawang coastline and Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang stands a forgotten gate hidden amongst thick vegetation. It's made up of brick walls, wooden doors and a tiled roof and was said to be the former entrance to a grand seaside bungalow owned by Chua Boon Peng (1918-2005), the chairman of Cycle & Carriage from 1957 to 1985. 

There were four to five exclusive seaside villas at the end of Jalan Selimang in the past, built possibly in the sixties. In the early eighties, there were newspaper advertisements portraying them as seafront bungalows with three large bedrooms, American designed kitchen with modern appliances and a patio overlooking a matured landscaped garden. By the late eighties or early nineties, however, the site was acquired by the government and all the houses were subsequently demolished, except for the forgotten gate that stands till this day.

Pillboxes at Bermuda Road

Sembawang was once home to the British naval base – which is why old structures including underground bunkers, air-raid shelters and storehouses can be found there. In fact, there's even speculation that these bunkers and air-raid shelters are part of a complex and undiscovered underground network in Sembawang. One of the most interesting relics in the area are two partially-exposed pillboxes located opposite 250A Bermuda Road. The pillboxes are perched on a small hilltop, partially exposed on the slope and overseeing the Sembawang Shipyard, said to be intended for the defence of the former Sembawang Naval Base. 



Abandoned hut at Chestnut Nature Park

Within Mandai Forest, hikers will come across an abandoned green kampung hut in Chestnut Nature Park. The kampung hut is located about 100m off the Gangsa Track, formerly Mandai Track 15. Now, it's a long-forgotten relic of old kampung dwellings that were once in the area – one of the last few left in Singapore. Explore the area and you might even find a well that is no longer used, covered by shrubs. 


  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Bukit Batok

Crumbling wells, a rickety wooden boardwalk, overgrown torii-like gates, and pavilions – these are some of the relics you'll find at the abandoned Bukit Batok Hillside Park. Little is known about the history of this park, but people familiar with the area say there used to be a farm on the other side of it. It's just a 10-minute walk from Bukit Gombak MRT station but is a place you've got to be prepared to get dirty to explore. Two poles beside the bus stop by the edge of the forest are all that mark its entrance, where you'll find manmade stone steps leading up into the park proper. Follow the tread of many feet up the hill face to explore the fascinating secrets of the park. 

More about our history

    You may also like
    You may also like