Unknown to many, Singapore is not all concrete jungle with skyscrapers and mega highways. Tucked away in an obscure part of the republic is a quaint traditional kampung, looking very much like a page out of yesteryear.
It is called Kampung Lorong Buangkok – and easily Singapore’s best kept secret.
This village is accessible by public transport. Located in Yio Chu Kang Road, you can travel there by taking the MRT to Serangoon MRT station. From here, hop onto Bus No 70 or 103 and alight in front of the Church of St Vincent de Paul.
From this bus stop, take the white pedestrian bridge to the other side of the canal. Follow the paved road behind the jogging trail to a tree-filled area. Once here, you’ll see the signpost pointing to Kampung Lorong Buangkok.
Why Kampong Lorong Buangkok is so fascinating
With the rapid pace of urbanisation in Singapore, residences like this old-style village may not exist in the next 20 years.
This is evidenced by looking at the development of Singapore itself. All its traditional houses have been demolished to make way for development, including earlier HDB flats.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok itself is unique in that it is surrounded by sprawling new residential high-rises. According to history, Kampong Lorong Buangkok was originally a swamp area.
The land was purchased by traditional medicine seller, Sng Teow Koon in 1956 and small plots were rented to Malay and Chinese families to settle down in.
In its prime, over 40 families made this kampung their home. Today, it is down to around 30 families.
Sng’s daughter Sng Mui Hong is the present landlord and still lives here to this day. She is friendly, speaks perfect Malay and holds a wealth of knowledge about the village when it was in its prime.
A reminder of the past
The village is dotted with wooden houses painted in bright colours, electric wires dangling from pole to pole, and stray cats and roosters roaming freely.
This place definitely has a laid-back vibe often associated with kampung living although it takes some getting used to considering it is situated smack in the middle of cosmopolitan Singapore.
If you are tired with city life when travelling in Singapore, a visit to this last surviving village might just be the refreshing break you need. It is definitely a reminder of the past – sort of like a time warp.
Tips when visiting:
- If you are visiting in the afternoon, bring a hat or an umbrella. It can get very hot and humid in Singapore.
- Be friendly if you see some villagers around, and remember to greet them politely.
- Do not invade their privacy. If you see that doors or windows are shut, do not try to take a peek inside.
- Ask permission if you want to take photos on someone’s property.
Khai and wife Amira are Malaysian travel bloggers who blog at Kaki Jalans. Their travels have taken them to almost all the countries in Asean and five countries in Europe. They are still actively travelling and adding to this list.