Bukit Timah’s Secret Kampung

Did you know the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve hides a set of ruins long forgotten by most? Don’t just walk past – here lies the little-known remnants of its kampung past, hidden by time and nature. 

We came here with our friends from the Temasek Rural Exploring Enthusiasts and Saniroz, whose maternal grandparents used to live in the area, told of how life was like in the Kampong back in the day.

Saniroz also shared memories of playing along a stream by the kampung. It is a never-ending stream of spring water where the villagers use to shower, do their laundry and collect water. The children also enjoyed playing “leaf boat racing” in the drain.

A sign at the start of a trail just behind Hindhede Drive states “Kampung trail”, but there are no markings on the map at the visitor centre as to where these remnants are. This hidden settlement area used to be the site of a Malay and a Chinese kampung in the 1960s, but only remnants of the latter remain today. 

Flanked by thick foliage, this piece of land contains the remaining structures of several Chinese kampung houses, with remnants of a well, a bathroom stall, a kitchen and a storage area still standing.

Aparently, there used to be quite a few different Kampongs situated in the area. Bukit Timah Village where the villagers lived in constant fear of tigers was formed by the early Chinese who settled near Bukit Timah Hill. A Malay village called Kampong Chantek existed near the former Turf Club along Bukit Timah Road. And a Malay village known as Kampong Quarry also existed at Hindhede road and borders of Bukit Pankang.