Thursday, 20 February 2014

An interesting day out!





Well my husband and mother thought I was slightly odd but after reading about this deserted HDB estate out in the middle of nowhere mentioned on a couple of blogs, I was intrigued to see this ghost estate. My friend and other blogger L (check out her great blog site at http://www.expatadventuresinsingapore.com ) decided we'd take a trip out there and explore a different side of Singapore. Although it turned out slightly different than we had expected......

Well just getting there proved an adventure! From the blog posts we tracked it down to the junction on Neo Tiew rd and Chai Chu Kang rd on the otherside of Bukit Panjang. After searching bus routes we set off and at the first stop near Palmer rd wandered up and down looking for the bus stop for bus 982e for the next stage. One good thing here was we spotted Hock Teck See Temple (note to self - need to go and investigate this on another day) anyway we finally found the bus stop and then realised 982e doesn't run until evenings - thanks travel apps. So wandered on and caught 700 up to Bukit Panjang and then caught 975 to the finally destination. Traveling out of Bukit Panjang along Chou Chu Kang rd we passed another temple to add to the list to revisit Leng Hup San Chee Chea temple, Teck Whye lane. 




Anyway I digress as we left Bukit Panjang the bus emptied and soon we were the only female and westerners amongst a handful of young looking servicemen. We certainly felt unusual, what were these 2 odd women doing out here!! We passed camp after military camp, and the landscape changed from urban to open jungle. To be honest it was a surprise (a pleasant one) to see that Singapore does have a vast amount of open space albeit used for the military. 

We travelled on and soon passed an area of cemeteries covering a vast area, Christian, Chinese, Jewish, French, Muslim, Hindu and others and this was just what we saw from the bus. It turns out to be the biggest cemetery in Singapore and the only cemetery still in operation according to Wikipedia. I've since come home and looked at this on the internet and yes you guessed it ........  further visit and exploration needed!!



Soon there were very few of us left. We passed Malays in traditional dress walking along the road, a sign for frog farm, goat farm and various other farmsteads until we alighted in the middle of nowhere at the stop the travel app directed us to. Again to find it was wrong so I guess we walked for a couple of km and finally arrived at the junction with Neo Tiew rd and our reason for the adventure stood in front of us.......



All fenced off, no entry and military signs every couple of feet warning us we'd be shot!!! It was clear it had seen some attention recently with the buildings having a quick coat of paint and the grass having been cut. The military use it for exercises and clearly no longer want us exploring. You could still see the old children's play area but it was a little sad we couldn't go and explore. I was strangely looking forward to see the desolation and how the jungle was retaking manmade structures. I was also secretly hoping to see, along with other wildlife, a snake or two!!








Hey ho! the journey in itself was an experience and at least we can update websites/blogs on the current situation. Plus I've seen two temples to add to the list of places to visit. I've learnt about the cemeteries and realized how green Singapore is in places. We now have farms to visit and I've realized the Sungei Buloh nature reserve and Kranji is achievable by bus, which is something that I had found off putting before this days little adventure. 

All in all the trip didn't turn out as expected, I didn't see what I was expecting to see but in fact I saw much more and and have further places now to explore, so altogether it was a success!

Neo Tiew Rd was named by the Bristish government after Mr Neo Tiew who developed Lim Chu Kang. He cleared the land, paved and built workers quarters. He planted coconuts and pineapples and set up pig and poultry farms in the early 20th century. He also set up the first mini mart in Lim Chu Kang in the village of Nan He so that his workers, farmers and fishermen would have fresh supplies of fresh produce. In the 1930-40s he also built Qi Hua school and a hospital. Reading some of the comments on other blog sites people can still remember living in these buildings. It would be good to hear more from them of their time spent living here.



Sign for Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, Kranji countryside and heritage trail. Sungei Buloh is a place I am very keen to explore as recently crocodiles have been spotted at this reserve. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sungei_Buloh_Wetland_Reserve


More to places to visit and I now know how to get here via public transport. Previously I thought I'd need a car.
 

hidden in the jungle is a disused Pill Box - you'll have to take my word for it!