Friday, November 2, 2012

Bub & Me: Kampong Buangkok, the Last Singapore Village

Buangkok is said to be the place for Singapore last kampong {Malay village} and we went chasing memories there. Not exactly our own childhood memories, because the boy and I didn't grow up in kampongs, but that of Singapore.

We also wanted Lil Pumpkin to see for herself what a Singapore kampong was like too. To see that Singapore isn't all concrete buildings and sky scrapers, and to come into contact with her humble beginnings before it disappears to make way for modernisation.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok was actually just about 15 mins drive away from our home! I'm not very good with the smaller districts in Singapore, and thought it was at a very far-end of Singapore :P How is it possible that this little piece of land was left untouched in the middle of the city?

Nestled in-between a busy main road and high-rise housing developments, you wander into a world very much different from cosmopolitan Singapore with rustic wooden houses and tin roofs, vegetable patches and wild fruit trees. 

It was quite surreal to step into there as the thick trees and bushes blocked out any noise from the modern world, but even though it isn't as developed as the rest of Singapore, I thought it was still quite peaceful and orderly. I was actually expecting a more forested, remote area with wild animals {??} running around freely, old wooden houses on stilts {I've come to learn that these are only in swampy or coastal areas} and lively village chatter. There was hardly a soul around.

Was hoping we might have a little interaction with a resident or two to find out more about their lives there but nobody seemed home that evening. It was nice to see all the open porches and inviting courtyards of the kampong houses, reminiscent of the old times where community spirit was strong among villagers and you didn't really need to worry about crime or people coming into your home to steal.

You hardly, if ever, see a modern Singapore house without it's high guarded walls, electric gates and advanced CCTV systems nowadays.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok is not a tourist attraction, but you are free to wander around the public areas {do respect the privacy of homes though} and enjoy the atmosphere, which is exactly what we did :)

Random red bags on a tree. To protect the fruits from the birds?

Charming rusty metal gates

An abandoned home

Lil Pumpkin playing with one of the village cats

House with hanging fairy lights. Would be lovely sitting out there at night

Mossy wooden gates

The last Singapore kampong is slated for redevelopment and will eventually only be found in our history books, like all its other counterparts. If you have the time, do take your kids for a visit there and maybe relive your own memories of olden Singapore.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Enter Lorong Buangkok via Gerald Drive off Yio Chu Kang Road.
Look out for the handwritten road sign into the kampong.

P.S. My friend Jerome wrote a lovely post with beautiful photos of the kampong. Read about the other fun activities we did with Lil Pumpkin or my list of Kid-Friendly places in Singapore.



Unknown said...

Wow, I had no idea that there were these hidden parts of Singapore - thanks for sharing it!

Geraldine said...

Nice kampong visit! My husband grew up in Lim Chu Kang kampong, but we only have pictures to show our little ones next time. Hopefully Buangkok is still around in a few years time, but I doubt so.. Thanks for sharing :)

The Kids Are All Right said...

These are beautiful photos and a wonderful story. This looks more like what I've seen of Asia rather than the cities. My husband is travelling to Singapore a bit for work at the moment - if I get to go along I will definitely visit this place. Thanks so much for sharing. You've opened my eyes and put a smile on my face!

Oliveoylz said...

A very .enlightening read-up with beautiful pictures to go with it. I would say a gem hidden in the hustle bustle of modern Singapore. I can actually feel the tranquility and serenity of the place.

Grace said...

That's really lovely, Ai. So nice to see a historical part of Singapore. It's such a shame that it too will soon go. At least you got to introduce it to Lil Pumpkin.

Ai Sakura said...

Danya: no worries, hope you get to explore them one day soon :)

Geraldine: oh I think my colleague might have stayed there too!

Kids are All Right: yes let me know if you do come by. I'd introduce you to other local sights and food :)

Oliveoylz: aww thanks. glad you are able to spend more time here and explore these gems with SP and DQ!

Grace: yup, with some photos to remember the moments too!

Seana Smith said...

It's amazing that this area is part of Singapore. I have such happy memories of wandering around in kampongs in Sabah a long time ago. So different from Europe where I'd flown in from. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.

Lydia C. Lee said...

We were there in April and I wanted to visit but the guide book said it was in the process of redevelopment and would be gone for good shortly. I am disappointed we didn't make the effort. It looks fantastic in your photos. I hope the guide book is wrong...

B@bYh|r0Sh| said...

wow! I've never been to a kampung in Singapore. Pretty darn amazing to see it on your blog!!!

Delphine said...

Such a great experience for your girl. Don't know if I'll ever take Anya there!

Virginia said...

Hi Ai, thanks for sharing. It is so beautiful, it will be good to bring the kids there to explore and get to know about Kampung living.

Becky said...

Amazing, thanks so much for sharing!

Lee said...

Hi Sakura, your this posting sure brought back memories to me. I used to go to Singapore very often back in the '70s and used to pass by this area, and couple of times busybody around.

Yes, it's nice to know this piece of memory still remains in Singapore fast living lifestyle.
Thanks for the memories, you have a nice weekend and keep a song in your heart.
Best regards,

Kim-Marie from Kimba Likes said...

I love Singapore - we stop over there nearly every time we come back from the UK.

~Summer~ said...

Lovely pics, Ai! Sounds like a very different and unique place for kids to visit, I hope to bring Angel to a kampong someday too! =) Thanks for sharing!

Bachelormum said...

Wow. Amazing. How sad that it's the last bastion of traditional Singapore in the area - i really love authentic old villages - we don't really have them in Oz because it's so new. Looks like you had an awesome time exploring x

Serenely said...

I remember seeing one of your pics of this trip on your instagram. Really fascinating to find out about it. I lived and worked in Singapore for a good number of years but I always thought these kind of scenery is totally non-existent. It’s like a little time bubble tucked away from the rest of the modern world in Singapore.

Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

Reminds me a little of the type of home my grandmother lived in in Bukit Timah before it was all redeveloped. I have vivid memories of the place and also from the stories my father told me from during the Japanese occupation. It's sad it's all gone. There is no way it can be replaced by a sanitised "fun park" version either. I remember seeing some kampongs in Pulau Ubin years ago. Any left there? Are there any kelongs left?

Amila@Leisure and Me said...

Thanks for this post.I've heard about this Kampong before,but never visited.Actually it is a surprise to see such a Kampong in mainland Singapore among all other buildings etc