Do you know that there is still a traditional kampong in Singapore? We managed to visit the surviving kampong on Singapore’s main island – Kampung Lorong Buangkok
When we think about Singapore, most of us will imagine urban dwellings, skyscrapers and high rise flats. Since Singapore’s urban area is almost 100%, most of the traditional kampongs (Malay for village) have disappeared. However, unknown to many, there is still one remaining kampong on Singapore’s main island. Kampung Lorong Buangkok, the one and only kampong on Singapore’s main island, is the best kept secret in Singapore.
How to get to Kampung Lorong Buangkok
It is very easy to get to Kampung Lorong Buangkok. You can get to Kampung Lorong Buangkok by taking the public bus.
Kampung Lorong Buangkok is located off Yio Chu Kang Road. To get here, you can take the MRT to Serangoon MRT station. From Serangoon MRT station, take Bus No. 70 or 103 and alight at the Church of St Vincent de Paul bus stop. From the bus stop, cross over the white bridge to the other side of the canal. Follow the unpaved road behind the jogging trail to a tree-filled area. Once you reached there, you will see the sign leading to Kampung Lorong Buangkok.
A little bit about the last remaining traditional kampong which is Singapore’s best kept secret
There are plenty of reasons why you must visit Kampung Lorong Buangkok. The main reason is because of rapid urbanization in Singapore. Places which exist today might not be so in the next 20 years. This is evidenced by looking at the development of Singapore itself. All the traditional houses have been demolished to make way for development. Even earlier HDB flats are also demolished for re-development purposes.
As such, to see something so traditional which reminds us of Singapore’s past is a must. Especially when we do not know what is the fate of this village in the future.
Kampung Lorong Buangkok itself is very unique because it is situated near many new high rise residential areas. According to history, Kampung Lorong Buangkok was originally a swamp. The land was purchased by a traditional medicine seller, Sng Teow Koon in 1956 and small plots were rented out to Malay and Chinese families for them to settle down. During its peak, there were over 40 families who had made the kampong their home. However, the number is now downed to around 30 families.
Today, Sng Teow Koon’s daughter Sng Mui Hong is the landlord who still lives in this kampong. We were so lucky that during our visit, we managed to meet her in person. She is one friendly lady who can speak perfect Malay. She told us about the kampong and how things have changed with development now creeping into the village area.
Kampung Lorong Buangkok, a reminder of the past
Walking around this kampong really showed us how life in Singapore in the past. With wooden houses painted in bright colours, electric wires dangling from poles to poles and stray cats and roosters roaming freely all over the place. This place has that laid-back vibes often associated with kampong lifestyle.
However, during our visit, we could not see other villagers outside their houses. Most houses had their doors closed. Some houses even shut the windows. Our guesses were that maybe they did not want people to invade their privacy by taking unnecessary photos in their kampong. Or perhaps, most of them were out for work.
Still, walking from one houses to another on the mostly unpaved road is an interesting thing to do. Especially if you are looking to visit something different in modern Singapore. If you are tired with the city life while travelling in Singapore, a visit to this last surviving kampong might be a break that you need. It is definitely a reminder of the past – a time wrap in a modern city of Singapore.
Tips when visiting:
- If you are visiting in the afternoon, bring a hat or an umbrella. It can be very hot and humid in Singapore
- Be friendly, if you see some villagers around, greet them nicely
- Do not invade privacy. If you see the doors or windows are closed, do not take a peek
- Ask for permission – If you want to take photos on someone’s property, ask for their permission first
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