Known as a city in a garden, Singapore is home to over 300 parks and four nature reserves, providing nature-lovers with many things to do and see in the green city. Before we attained such a status, lots of work was put into building up our beautiful city.
Quarrying is a significant part of Singapore's history – for starters, it fuelled Singapore's development into the 20th century. Back then, most quarries in Singapore mined granite for the construction of early public housing and roads.
Since Singapore’s quarry mining days are over, the remaining quarries have been transformed into picturesque locations which welcome all visitors.
Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” So here are six quarries in Singapore that all have rich histories and unrivalled glimpses of nature.
1. Seng Chew Quarry
Seng Chew Quarry is a disused granite quarry that once supplied the material for the construction of buildings and roads in Singapore. This historical site is conveniently located near Bukit Gombak MRT. While Seng Chew Quarry does not have a designated path to guide new visitors, its surroundings remain open to all.
Also, despite its lack of a designated path, the quarry is not hard to access, but you need to walk up a slight grassy slope. Pay attention to the wind rustling the leaves and the quiet chirp of insects to feel the peace that permeates this place.
The journey to the Seng Chew Quarry is an adventure on its own with unmarked trails, making it a good adventure compared to the usual nature trails and parks or outdoor activities. Just be sure to lather up on your suncare products before you conquer the trails.
For a better view of the quarry, a walk uphill will bring you to the top of a rocky outcrop.
Getting there: Take Bukit Gombak MRT Station Exit D, and walk past the Bukit Gombak Sports Hall to Block 383 Bukit Batok West Avenue 5.
Address: Behind Blk 383 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 650383
2. Singapore Quarry
Known for their stunning waterfront views, woodland friends and IG-worthy spots, Singapore Quarry is an essential stop on your next nature trail for your furry friends and yourself.
Situated between Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Dairy Farm Nature Park, this site is a 10min walk from the Rail Mall — making it one of the most accessible quarries in Singapore. Once used to mine granite before being filled with water, the quarry is now a huge lake where you can spot animals like fish, turtles, and even monitor lizards.
Walk on the boardwalk by the water for the best views and keep a lookout for all sorts of dragonfly species flitting over the water – there is more than one type and some of them are pretty rare. The large viewing deck is perfect to get an unobstructed view of Bukit Timah Hill.
If you include the large viewing deck in your photos, it’ll add a rustic woodland vibe that is perfect for that #wanderlust hero shot on your mobile phone for Instagram. There are lots of interesting wildlife along the way, just remember to keep a safe distance when admiring these animals. There is also a shelter at the observation deck if you need to take a break.
Getting there: Start at the Jalan Asas entrance of Dairy Farm Nature Park which is located behind the Rail Mall. From there, walk along the track that will bring you directly to the quarry. For a longer hike, walk along the Wallace Trail.
For those travelling by private transportation, head from Carpark A and follow the trail towards the Singapore Quarry.
Address: 100 Dairy Farm Rd, Singapore 679057
3. Hindhede Quarry
Located at the end of the scenic Hindhede Nature Park, this quarry is notable for many reasons. It was named after the Danish businessman and tea farmer Jens Hindhede, who was the elder son of famous physician Mikkel Hindhede.
The younger Hindhede operated the granite quarry until it ceased operations in the late-1980s, after eight decades of granite mining activity. From the lookout point at the far end of the trail, visitors can admire a quarry that is teeming with wildlife.
Look out for terrapins, fish and the occasional brightly-coloured bird flying by over the water. The Hindhede Quarry is a key spot to capture the golden hour in the mornings and evenings, so plan your trip to catch the view. It also has a kid-friendly nature trail and facilities, like a simple obstacle course, climbing nets and swings.
Getting there: Alight at Beauty World MRT station and head towards Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The entrance to Hindhede Nature Park is located right behind the Visitor Center at the base of Bukit Timah Hill.
Address: 11 Cheong Chin Nam Rd, Singapore 599736
4. Pekan Quarry, Pulau Ubin
It is a given that Pulau Ubin is one of the top offshore islands to visit from Singapore. But did you know that Pulau Ubin's name means 'Granite Island' in Malay, because it’s known for its granite quarries that operated until the 1960s and 1970s?
One of the island's oldest quarries, Pekan Quarry, has two quarry pits and overflows at a drainage point leading to the sea.
It ceased operations in 1970 and the two quarry pits were merged to form a scenic lake. Pekan Quarry then transformed from a bleak disused quarry, into a thriving freshwater wetland habitat, now home to lush greenery and thick vegetation.
As part of the habitat enhancement programme, three bigger floating wetlands were introduced to Pekan Quarry that serve as nesting and rooting sites, increasing the area of usable wildlife habitat.
Bring a pair of binoculars and spot some of the feathered residents there. Some have sighted the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) and more.
You’d also want to check out the Pekan Quarry Lookout Point — it offers a great view across the lake, framed by jungle greenery. To get there, head right on a small little path after the large wooden sign for Butterfly Hill, just after the lookout point. After walking through a forested area, you’ll end up at the pavilion at the top of a small hill.
Getting there: Make your way to Changi Village. Walk to Changi Point Ferry Terminal to ride the 15min bumboat. Then, take a 2min walk from Jalan Batu Ubin.
Address: Pulau Ubin
5. Poh Kim Quarry
You might have heard of the Little Guilin quarry at Bukit Batok. While we still recommend visiting that, Poh Kim Quarry is a close contender for those stunning rocky views that the former is known for.
The Bukit Gombak/Bukit Batok region has one of the oldest rock formations in Singapore, being pushed out of the sea by tectonic forces approximately 250 million years ago.
Like the other quarries, Poh Kim Quarry was also used to extract granite and other construction materials. It stopped operations in the 1970s, during a time when the Bukit Batok residential area was being constructed. It was then filled in with water to create the current quarry pool.
The abandoned quarry also stands today as a WWII Japanese memorial site: its trail along Lorong Sesuai leads to the current twin transmission towers today, but it used to lead to a memorial known as Syonan Chureito.
The memorial was built during the Japanese occupation by the Japanese army to commemorate those who fell in the Battle for Bukit Timah. For those up for a little hike, you can go on a 6km discovery trail to discover the wonders of the abandoned granite quarry.
Getting there: From Beauty World MRT, walk along Upper Bukit Timah Road and pass Bukit Timah Nature Reserve’s entrance and head towards Spruce Fire Station. Cross the road and head up Lor Sesuai
Address: Bukit Batok East Ave 2, Bukit Batok East Ave 6, and, 659761
6. Tampines Quarry
Have you ever seen these strange UFO-looking objects around the Tampines area? No, we do not have our own Roswell. They are actually just oddly shaped water tanks!
In other words, it’s actually a well-known landmark – just often mistaken for something extraterrestrial, especially for the uninitiated who hike along the Tampines Heritage Trail.
Tampines Quarry is somewhat of a hidden gem and the entrance is easily missed as it is covered by thick foliage, but it really is quite a sight. Unlike the rest of the quarries in Singapore, Tampines Quarry is a sand-based one.
The sand quarrying boom started in Tampines in the 1960s when vast urban redevelopment resulted in a high demand for sand.
By 1991, all quarries in Tampines ceased operations. One former quarry was converted into Bedok Reservoir while Tampines Quarry remains unused. Unlike most quarry lakes, there are no granite hills around, only “sand dunes” barely visible in the background.
Its lake is about one-third the size of Bedok Reservoir, while its surrounding thick overgrown foliage is the main star of the show. It may look a little less inviting than the more popular quarries, but if you’re up for adventure – and a trail that is less travelled – give Tampines Quarry a visit.
Getting there: Alight at Tampines West MRT and walk along Tampines Industrial Ave 1
Address: Opposite 3 Tampines Street 86, Singapore 528584
Nature trails are a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. More than that, they are a great place to learn about some heritage, wildlife and land reclamation projects.
Singapore may be small, but her efforts to reclaim land and create spaces for interaction with nature are commendable. Clocking steps and learning more about our biodiversity? Sign us up.
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