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Taste, trek and travel back in time: Changi Heritage Trail

2 mins read

The National Heritage Board’s latest self-guided Changi Heritage Trail is located all the way in the east of Singapore and offers a sense of escape, offering a relaxed rhythm different from the city's usual hustle and bustle. With Changi's heritage stretching from the early to post-colonial eras, you might want to plan a few visits to fully soak in all fifteen sites along the trail!

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A good point to start off would be from Changi Village itself, which expanded with the establishment of the British military base known as Changi Cantonment in the 1920s. Here, you can fuel up for the trail at the food centre, famous for their nasi lemak stalls like the popular Mizzy Corner Nasi Lemak stall. And if you have the time, it’s well worth the wait when you join in the snaking queues for Kampong Lor Mee and Mei Lin Dessert.

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Just a short walk away sits the Sree Ramar Temple on the corner of Loyang Avenue and Changi Village Road. The temple was founded by Hindu members of the Royal Air Force Changi base as a shrine at the foot of a bodhi or fig tree considered sacred by Hindus.

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Interestingly, the temple is also another example of “cross-worshipping”, with devotees of both Buddhism and Taoism. All are welcome to worship at the temple’s non-Hindu shrines dedicated to Guan-Yin and Buddha, which are located at the foot of the same sacred tree. Walking in the other direction from Changi Village, and along the idyllic coastal boardwalk, you’d be able to admire the pre and post-war bungalows which are now part of the Civil Service Club’s recreational facilities.

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Did you know that nestled within these bungalows is a waterfront building called Changi Cottage? Fun fact: This serene cottage at 26 Netheravon Road was the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's favoured place to unwind.

Built in 1950, this was the very house in which the late Prime Minister stayed and worked, for a few months after Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965. It’s easy to see why the Prime Minister enjoyed his stay here. Changi Cottage’s tranquil location is surrounded by gentle forested hills and lapping waves.

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The trail, of course, is chock-full of military heritage. One of the many markers describes a dark time in history, with a location on the beach being the site of the Sook Ching massacre in World War II. There is also the Changi Chapel and Museum to check out, which holds many stories of the internment of allied prisoners of war.

The National Heritage Board has split the Changi Heritage Trail into three short trails – Bungalows and Beaches, War and Peace in Changi, and Gateways and Communities in Changi. Set out on each trail for a fun and unforgettable adventure with your loved ones, lasting 1 to 2 hours, easily accessible by public transport!

All images are credited to the National Heritage Board.

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