Thomson Nature Park is the latest buffer park around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Found along Upper Thomson Road, it is unique because of its heritage as the site of a former Hainanese Village and rambutan plantations.
Trails run throughout Thomson Nature Park. The park is bounded by Upper Thomson Road to the east and Old Upper Thomson Road, part of the old Singapore Grand Prix race course, to the west.
Imagining Kampong Life in the 1960s
In its heyday, during the 1960s the area was home to a kampong where families from Hainanese, Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Malay and Eurasian backgrounds lived side by side. The village dates back to the 1930s and the last villagers moved out in the 1980s.
Roads like Lorong Pelita once ran through the area. This road has since been expunged but a street sign still remains.
Since the residents of the Hainanese kampong moved out in the 80s, the forest has reclaimed the area. Shrubs, vines and trees cover the ruins of the former dwellings.
Stairs lead to nowhere.
Wells, an essential source of water in the village, have been covered up.
What is most interesting about Thomson Nature Park is that NParks has used the ruins of the village to tell an interesting story which stretches back into Singapore’s past.
For example, an information panel tells of a famous rambutan plantation once found in the Thomson Nature Park area.
Another information panel tells us that House 56, Lorong Pelita was owned by the Han family. They reared pigs (up to 400 at stage – imagine the noise!) and poultry, and also had a rambutan and coconut plantation.
The house at 25 Jalan Belang belonged to the family of Mr Han Choon Fook. The entrance to the house is marked by a pair of brick gateposts, one still standing and the other now-knocked over. Mr Han’s father was the founder of Han’s Bakery along Upper Thomson Road. The bakery has since grown and is now well-known as Hans.
Other information panels describe how villagers would look out for each other in the close-knit community.
Trails through the Forest
There are a total of five trails within the park. They are fairly easy to walk on but you can expect to encounter some slopes along the way.
The Ruins and Figs Trail, Stream and Ferns Trail and Rambutan Trail lead past the former village. The Macaque Trail and Langur Trail lead out to Old Upper Thomson Road.
Thomson Nature Park also has a freshwater stream running through it. The park is a complementary habitat for local wildlife such as the Malayan porcupine and Lesser Mousedeer.
Most importantly, it is a conservation site for the critically endangered Raffles’ Banded Langur, previously known as the Banded Leaf Money.
The park is off limits between 7 pm and 7 am so as to provide respite for wildlife.
Paths are clearly demarcated by rope barriers and visitors should stay on the paths when visiting Thomson Nature Park.
Amenities at Thomson Nature Park
Thomson Nature Park is accessible from Upper Thomson Road and there are a limited number of lots at the small Thomson Nature Park car park. Restrooms and an event space with information panels about the area’s history and the Raffles’ Banded Langur can also be found close to the park’s entrance.
Befitting of the park’s kampung feel is its only playground equipment – a humble garden swing.
Thomson Nature Park
Opening Hours: 7 am to 7 pm