Thomson Nature Park: Walk Amongst The Ruins Of A Hainanese Village

Thomson Nature Park
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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 at Thomson Nature Park Singapore

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.

Lorong Pelita

Roads like Lorong Pelita once ran through the area. This road has since been expunged but a street sign still remains.

Path through Thomson Nature Park

Since the residents of the Hainanese kampong moved out three decades ago, the forest has reclaimed the area. Shrubs, vines and trees cover the ruins of the former dwellings.

Stairs to nowhere - Trail at Thomson Nature Park

Stairs lead off into the distance to nowhere.

 

Well

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 convey an interesting narrative which stretches back into Singapore’s past.

Rambutan Plantation

For example, an information panel tells of a famous rambutan plantation once found in the Thomson Nature Park area.

Hans

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.

House 25, Jalan Belang

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.

Life in the Singapore Kampong

Other information panels describe how villagers would look out for each other in the close-knit community.


Trails through the Forest

Thomson Nature Park Trail

There are a total of five trails within Thomson Nature Park. They are fairly easy to walk on but you can expect to encounter some slopes along the way.

Signs

The Ruins and Figs Trail, Stream and Ferns Trail and Rambutan Trail lead past the residences of the former village. The Macaque Trail and Langur Trail lead out to Old Upper Thomson Road.

Stream

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.

Raffles’ Banded Langur Information Panel

Most importantly, it is a conservation site for the critically endangered Raffles’ Banded Langur, previously known as the Banded Leaf Money. These rare primates are able to access the site through a specially created access bridge.

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

Event Space

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.

Garden swing

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

Access to Thomson Nature Park from Upper Thomson Road

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