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Labrador Jetty
Photograph: Huntergol Hp/Shutterstock

Jetties in Singapore and the stories behind them

With an island surrounded by waters, there's bound to be old jetties with interesting stories behind them

By Cam Khalid
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Make your way to the closest jetty, and you're likely to find fishing enthusiasts parked with their rod and bait. But it's not only used for the good ol' pastime. Jetties in Singapore are also used as a landing wharf, as well as protection for the harbour from currents and tides. Most of them started as small, wooden docks before being rebuilt into concrete versions fitted with lights. However, some – like the Lim Chu Kang Jetty – remain as old as time. And similar to old bridges in Singapore, there's always a story behind an old jetty waiting to be retold.

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Coney Island
Coney Island
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

Punggol Point Jetty

Things to do North East

The Punggol Point Jetty was a quiet, small dock that was built in the 1930s for Malay fishermen, as well as Chinese settlers who were carrying out trading and wholesaling activities in the area. It's been said that the jetty was used to load and unload goods for the now-closed private zoos. The jetty also had a role in the massacre in 1942 due to its location by the nearby beach where the Japanese forces invaded.

Today, it's a popular spot for many fishermen – mainly due to the amenities nearby you can find a playground, lookout decks, and seafood restaurants along the coast. If you're planning to park yourself by the jetty for a fishing sesh, expect fishes such as the grouper, barramundi, rabbitfish, and sand whiting.

Lim Chu Kang Jetty
Lim Chu Kang Jetty
Photograph: Wan Bock Tong/Shutterstock

Lim Chu Kang Jetty

It's not known when the wooden jetty was constructed, but due to its rustic exteriors, it's probably one of the oldest. On a clear day, the jetty is busy with the loading and unloading of fish and other seafood. However, its days may be numbered as a new jetty for fish farmers is set to be completed just a few hundred metres west by the end of this year. 

Made of wooden planks and pillars that stretched 100-metres into the Straits of Johor, the jetty has become synonymous with Old Singapore, making it popular among photographers for that rustic backdrop. But that doesn't mean that it's opened to the public as you can find a 'no trespassing' sign by the entry point, and there are police coast guards stationed nearby to keep a lookout for any trespassers. Nonetheless, with the kelongs in the calm waters, it's still a sight to see, even if the jetty is out of bounds.

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Sembawang Park
Sembawang Park
Photograph: Walter Lim

Sembawang Jetty

Attractions Beaches Sembawang

Also known as Mata Jetty, the simple wooden jetty was built in the 1940s, and was frequent by the British, including Admiral Geoffrey Layton, the commander-in-chief of the China Station who was staying at the Beaulieu House which stands on a slope overlooking the jetty. The Beaulieu House is now a seafood restaurant, Sembawang Seafood Paradise. 

Previously, there was a network of roads that led to the jetty but were later demolished to make way for the development of Sembawang Park. And speaking of roads, the area received media attention in 1975 when a man drove his car off the jetty in a suicide attempt, which left his wife for dead while he escaped and survived. He was later imprisoned for 10 years for culpable homicide.

Nonetheless, the jetty remains a popular spot for fishing and crabbing enthusiasts as it was for the villagers from the now-defunct Kampong Wak Hassan.

Labrador Jetty
Labrador Jetty
Photograph: Huntergol Hp/Shutterstock

Labrador Jetty

Things to do Habourfront

Part of the Southern Ridges, Labrador Park consists of the only rocky sea-cliff in Singapore, and offers a panoramic view of the sea and cliff-side vegetation. The jetty was originally used to ship liquid petroleum to and fro an oil refinery at Tanjong Berlayer between 1962 and 1997. After, it became a favourite spot for photographers and fishing enthusiasts before it closed in 2010.

But that's not the end of it. Since the refurbishment of the park, the slopes at the entrance has been stabilised, and the jetty was reopened in 2016. Do mind your step as the seabed is still covered with rocks. As this part of this park extends out into the sea, you can expect all sorts of fish species, like the elusive cobia which can weigh up to 10kg.

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Bedok Jetty
Bedok Jetty
Photograph: BPYF/Shutterstock

Bedok Jetty

Attractions Beaches Marine Parade

The 250-metre-long, concrete jetty was once the longest public jetty in Singapore before losing out the title to the new Woodlands Waterfront Jetty. Despite its name, it's actually located at East Coast Park, by the East Coast Lagoon Food Village.

The jetty was originally built in the 1960s as a private dock for a local business named Yap Swee Hong who was running a business importing scrap metal from the Americans. It was later taken over by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) as a military base for exercises as well as international humanitarian missions including the Operation Thunderstorm of 1975.

The jetty is now opened to the public and is popular among anglers, joggers, and cyclists. With the sea, the jetty makes quite a romantic spot for couples to take a relaxing stroll.

Woodlands Waterfront Park
Woodlands Waterfront Park
Photograph: NParks

Woodlands Waterfront Jetty

Attractions Woodlands

Also known as the Former Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Jetty, the 400-metre-long jetty is located within the former naval base of the RMN. It was first opened in 1966 and used by the RMN for activities such as the commissioning of new ships. When the RMN returns to Johor in 1981, the naval base and jetty were left unused until 1997 when Malaysia agreed to transfer the properties to Singapore.

In 2008, the jetty opened to the public as part of Woodlands Waterfront Park. It had a makeover too where its old, wooden planks were replaced with a concrete pathway and rows of street lamps. For some nosh, check out Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant, a halal resto located in the middle of the jetty.

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Pulau Ubin Jetty
Pulau Ubin Jetty
Photograph: EQRoy/Shutterstock

Pulau Ubin Jetty

Things to do Palau Ubin

Prior to the concrete jetty we see today, the Pulau Ubin Jetty was once a wooden dock that was built during the Japanese Occupation to facilitate the Japanese forces' movement to and fro the island. After the Occupation, the jetty was rebuilt and reopened in October 1965, just two months after Singapore gained independence. It had another makeover in 1978 before it was upgraded in 1994, complete with a shelter and seating area. The jetty remains the only place for residents and visitors to disembark on after their bumboat journey across Serangoon Harbour from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

Things to do by the waterside

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