10 Facts About Little Guilin, the Not-So-Hidden Gem in Bukit Gombak

In case you have no idea, there’s a place in Singapore known as Little Guilin. I think us west-siders should have a better idea of the place than them east-siders (all hail the west side!).

It’s a nice and quaint little place, really. You guys should probably go check it out if you have the time!

As such, here are 10 facts about Little Guilin to pique your interest:


1. Bukit Batok Town Park is located within Little Guilin

Bukit Batok Town Park is a nature park located within the Guilin precinct of Bukit Batok. As such, Guilin is a subzone of Bukit Batok.

The town park is not that big despite the granite rock formations in the park.

You can easily cover the whole of Bukit Batok Town Park in 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll also come across the remnants of granite when you walk along the stone pathways.

Up till 2007, there was the Bukit Gombak Trail, but it is now permanently closed due to landslides.

2. Sleepy Valley became Bukit Batok because of Little Guilin

Before Bukit Batok was known as ‘Bukit Batok’, it was known as ‘Sleepy Valley’ before WWII. Eventually, the name ‘Sleepy Valley’ was changed to ‘Bukit Batok’ due to the origins of Little Guilin.

3. Little Guilin was a granite quarry

Little Guilin was one of the quarries used for mining tonnes of granite. After the operations stop, the quarry was abandoned and filled with rainwater.

Initially, HDB wanted to fill the quarry and turn it into a road but they noticed the flooded, disused quarry gave the appearance of mountains in the distance above a lake.

Thus, in 1984, HDB turned it into a beautiful park.

4. There’s an actual size Guilin in China

The name, ‘Little Guilin’ comes from its resemblance to Guilin in China but of a smaller scale. So, if you want to see the ‘full-size’ version of Guilin, add China to your next to-go list.

5. Little Guilin ‘named’ Bukit Batok

Back to the origins of Little Guilin. As mentioned, that location was previously a granite quarry. The blasts from the quarrying activities sounded as if the hills were coughing.

The dust storm from the quarrying activities also created a dust storm that caused many to develop coughing fits. Thus, the name ‘Coughing Hills’ or loosely translated in Malay, Bukit Batok, was created.

Another theory why the name Bukit Batok was given was due to the cold air in the area that caused coughs and colds to the residents.


The origins of the name ‘Bukit Batok’ is unclear but what is clear is the name was derived from the ‘coughing hills’.

6. They were mining rocks to build stones, facing stones and cemetery markers

In case you are wondering what are they mining, they are mining a type of Norite, the Gombak Norite.

Gombak Norite was extracted from the quarry. Although it looked like another piece of rock, Norties are used to build stones, facing stones and cemetery markers.

Who knows, maybe your walls have some Gombak Norite in them now.

7. Little Guilin revamped

After little Guilin was abandoned in the 1980s, it was a wreck. Thus, HDB beautified the area by placing granite blocks on the retaining walls and adding footpaths and lighting.

Soon after, it was known as Little Guilin by the Chinese residents due to its resemblance to the Guilin of China.

8. Featured in various local dramas

If you grew up watching local dramas, you should be no stranger to The Return of the Condor Heroes, starring Fann Wong and Christopher Lee.


Parts of the film was actually filmed in Little Guilin. As a kid, I’ve always thought the show was filmed overseas.

9. Little Guilin is haunted 

I’m sorry for doing this, but it’s time for me to turn up the spooky notch a little.

As with everything with a little age, there are bound to be scary stories surrounding Little Guilin.

Rumour has it that the park is still being haunted by the spirits of those who have died while working in the quarry.

To be honest, I haven’t seen anything strange or weird around the park at night. It’s quite well-lit at night and there are always some people strolling or exercising.


Unless you’re there at 2 am for whatever reasons. Then…you’re on your own.

10. Little Guilin is only 5 minutes away from the nearest MRT

Situated next to Bukit Gombak Stadium, you can follow the road and take a 5 minutes walk to Bukit Batok Town Park.

If you want to enjoy the coolness of the bus, you can take 945 from Bukit Gombak Stn (43579) for 1 stop to Bt Gombak Stadium (43569).

If you are coming from the Bukit Batok East Park Connector, go westwards and it will take you to Bukit Batok Hillside Park.

What are you waiting for? Grab your running shoes and explore Little Guilin now.


Featured Image: Daniel_Ferryanto / Shutterstock.com