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Lorong Buangkok: Catch a glimpse of kampong life on mainland Singapore

The last kampong on the main island of Singapore

· 3 min read

Singapore is known to be a concrete jungle, with skyscrapers and tall housing estates dominating the skyline. For those seeking something rustic in Singapore, the first few things that come to mind would probably be Pulau Ubin or the Southern Islands. But, unknown to many — Singaporeans included — is that you can actually find a kampong on the main island on Singapore. Lorong Buangkok, the last kampong on mainland Singapore, stands as a testament to how life in Singapore used to be like.


What is a Kampong? Does Singapore have Kampongs?

In Singapore, a kampong means a village. Traditionally, life in a kampong was harmonious; and the villagers in the kampong would share a deep bond and always be on the look out for one another. This spirit of solidarity and community is often referred to by Singaporeans as the 'kampong spirit'.

With Singapore's rapid development over the past couple decades, the traditional kampongs have been demolished to make space for high-rise residential and commercial buildings. And alongside the redevelopment of the kampongs, the way of living of Singaporeans have also changed — and the kampong spirit that used to be characteristic of communities in Singapore has also dwindled.

When we think of the Kampong life in Singapore now, most people would immediately think of Pulau Ubin. But, on the main island of Singapore, there actually exists one last traditional Kampong at Lorong Buangkok.

Source: BBC

Background of Lorong Buangkok

Kampong Buangkok, located in the northeastern part of Singapore on Lorong Buangkok, is the last surviving traditional village on the island.

The village was founded in the 1950s by TCM businessman Sng Teow Koon. At its peak, the kampong was home to over 40 families and was the size of 6 football fields. Over time, some of the land was sold to the government for the construction of public housing estates.

Today, the kampong is now much smaller, at about half the size it was when it was at its peak. A majority of the residents in the kampong today are elderly residents who have been living there for more than half their lives; but they still have a very close-knit relationship and a slower pace of life characteristic of the traditional kampong spirit.

While there has been efforts by both the residents and community to preserve the heritage of the kampong, there is definitely uncertainty around what lies ahead for this last kampong.

Get a glimpse of the kampong life at Lorong Buangkok

Kampong Lorong Buangkok is a privately-owned piece of land, and is an actual residential area. The same way you wouldn't like it if someone just walked up to your house, you should not just visit the kampong unannounced.

However, if you wanted to visit the kampong and catch a glimpse of the way of life in a traditional Singapore kampong, it is possible for you to visit the kampong on a tour.

These tours are small group private tours of up to 5 pax per group; and are offered by guides who have spent years helping out at the kampong and have forged bonds over the years.

Source: Let's Go Tour

On a visit to Lorong Buangkok, you can see the stark contrast of the kampong against the towering HDB flats around it. You will see free-roaming chicken and plants that you might not usually see around Singapore.

Spend some time speaking to the residents and get to hear their stories. If you thought Singaporeans were unfriendly and aloof, you are likely going to be pleasantly surprised during your visit there.

From zero-point to marbles and five stones, you can also have a go at games that the previous generations used to play while growing up — it's very different from the iPads and Nintendo devices that children today play with!

Source: Erwin Soo

Remember to be respectful during your visit

We can't emphasise enough the importance to be respectful during your visit to the kampong.

Remember, the kampong is where people actually live. So, don't do things you wouldn't want others to be doing when they are visiting your house!

Plan your visit with a permitted guide or tour, and ask for permission before taking photos.

How to book a tour to Lorong Buangkok

Book on Klook (rated 4.6/5, based on 18 reviews): From SGD250 per group

  • 50% refunds will be issued for cancellations made at least 24 hour(s) before the selected activity date.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations made less than 24 hours to the tour.

Book on Let's Go Tour Singapore: From SGD200 per group

  • Cancellations 48 hours prior to the tour will be refunded in full, subject to a 3% credit card processing fee.
  • Cancellations 24 hours prior to the tour will be refunded 50%
  • No cancellations or refunds for less than 24 hours to tour.