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

Image: Jonathan Choo / Shutterstock.com

Have any of you guys ever been to Guilin(桂林)?

You know, the place in Guangxi known for its gorgeous scenery?

Image: guilin.com.cn

From what I’ve heard, it’s a beautiful place. As such, I’ve already planned a trip there soon.

…and I think that’s why my editor is making me write this article (as always).

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

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. So yeap, there’s a piece of land called “Guilin” in Singapore!

Image: Google maps

I guess you can tell your friends you’ve been to Guilin once you’ve made a trip there!

2) Getting there

Umm, it’s no rocket science, you know. I’ve already included an image(see above). If you’re planning to walk there, you’ll be glad to know that it’s just a 5 minutes walk from Bukit Gombak MRT!

If you’re planning to go by bus, consider taking bus service 945 from Bukit Batok bus interchange.

Ah Hock loved Michelle and asked her, ‘Ai stead mai?’ in the 90s. Today, he tried again but would it work? Prepare some tissue paper and watch their love story here:

3) Disused granite quarry

Bukit Batok Town Park was created from a disused granite quarry. Hence, it became known as Little Guilin as the granite rock formations in the park bear a resemblance to those in Guilin.

Image: wikipedia.org

(Hmm, I guess it is pretty scenic, huh?)

4) Name of Bukit Batok

Did you know that Bukit Batok got its name due to the granite quarry? Bukit Batok, which literally translates into “coughing hills”, got its name from the sounds produced by the quarrying works in the past.

Image: broketourist.net

5) Gombak Norite

So, what were the quarrying activities for? I mean, they can’t be digging around for no reasons, right?

Before it became a nature park, the quarry was extracting a form of Norite known as Gombak Norite.

Image: wikipedia.org

Yeap, looks just like any other piece of rock to me.

6) Uses for Gombak Norite

Just so you know, Norites are being used as building stones, facing stones and cemetery markers. It’s essentially a sturdy piece of all-purpose stone!

For all you know, the flat you’re staying in now might very well consist a piece of Norite from Little Guilin!

7) Almost a road

Bet you didn’t know that Little Guilin almost didn’t become a thing! Back in 1984, our dear HDB wanted to fill up the quarry and build a road over it.

Image: memegen.com

However, upon noticing that the quarry is actually a pretty scenic place, HDB decided to convert the quarry into a park instead!

Hey, I’ll take a park over a road any day. Singapore has too many roads and buildings as it is IMO.

8) Urban legends

I’m sorry(not) for doing this, but it’s time for me to turn up the spooky notch a little.

Image: knowyourmeme.com

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 though, I haven’t been seeing 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.

9) Beautification

Ahem. Anyway, Little Guilin hasn’t always been this beautiful.

In case you have no idea what a disused quarry looks like, here’s a photo of one in Bukit Timah.

Image: remembersingapore.org

(Somehow reminded me of the Power Rangers movie…)

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.

10) Remembering 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.

Image: jidan365.com

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

Turns out, Singapore does have some scenic spots, huh? Whodathunkit?

"Not all who wander are lost, but I think I took a wrong turn back there."