There are several interesting heritage trails that take you on fascinating journeys through Singapore’s past and present, allowing you to learn more about significant places that you may otherwise have missed and explore neighbourhoods that you might not have previously considered adding to your travel itinerary. Great ways to get out and about and uncover more of Singapore’s heritage and culture, not to mention interacting with the local community, coming across fantastic eateries on the way, getting some exercise and fresh air, and seeing some great sights, one such heritage trail is the Ang Mo Kio Heritage Trail. Free and fun to enjoy with plenty of interesting features, it covers around 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles).
The area is largely made up of residential blocks today. It was not always a housing area though; previously, before building works commenced, the land was mostly made up of forests, farmland, and swamps.
A true heartland of Singapore, here are some highlights along the Ang Mo Kio Heritage Trail:
Ang Mo Kio Joint Temple
You can see three historic religious sites in one at Ang Mo Kio Joint Temple! As the name suggests, the complex actually contains multiple sites: three old temples. Kong Lim Kong is one of the area’s oldest temples, established in 1888 by Chinese immigrants. Leng San Giam was founded in the 1950s by Chinese immigrants, and it was dedicated to deities who were known for having curative powers and being able to perform miracles. Kim Eang Tong combines elements of Buddhism and Taoism, initially a temple for Hakkas, but now welcoming anyone. It dates back to 1961. You’ll notice a distinct aroma of incense as you wander around the spiritual buildings, and many people come here to pray, seek blessings, and give offerings. There are many symbolic statues and bright colours.
One of Singapore’s Islamic places of worship, this is an important place for the local Muslim community. Built in the late 1970s, it may not be the country’s most ornate mosque, but it has gone beyond being a place for people to pray, and is a leading place for religious learning as well as hosting kindergarten sessions and a homeopathy clinic!
Catholic Church of Christ the King
Originally built in 1982 to serve the spiritual needs of the local Catholic community, the church as demolished and rebuilt in 1999. A modern building featuring cream and red colours, it houses a historic statue of the Mother of Perpetual Help. The statue was created in the 1950s.
Ang Mo Kio Town Gardens
There are two pleasant gardens in the Ang Mo Kio area, East and West. Ang Mo Kio Town Garden East is located on the site of a former rubber plantation. There are still rubber trees growing within the park, as well as sweet-smelling trees like nutmeg, and a variety of native plants and flowers. Interesting sculptures are scattered throughout the lovely park, and it is a popular place for locals to enjoy a peaceful stroll, practice tai chi, massage their feet on the reflexology paths, and get some exercise with jogging and skating.
Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West is also a good place for those looking to do some exercise or relax in nature. Built on a small hill, it offers a variety of trails for joggers. A sparkling pond can be found by the entrance to the park, perfect for chilling out and listening to bird song. One of the park’s main features is a viewing deck, reached by climbing 120 stairs, from where you can enjoy great views of the park.
A truly unusual sight, Block 259 is the only round block of flats in the whole country. A design experimentation, it was built so that all kitchens and living rooms face towards either the east or west, and that all bedrooms are north or south facing. The layout takes into account the movement of the sun to help keep the apartments cool.
Explore the thriving Ang Mo Kio Town, see traditional establishments, such as Chee Seng Tong Medical Hall, take a walk down to the Lower Pierce Reservoir and soak up the beautiful views, and much, much more!
Although not actually on the heritage trail, with just a short detour you can also add on Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park, a lovely park with plenty of places to eat and relax. If you walk past the car park for Ang Mo Kio Blocks 216 to 222 you can see two of the country’s unofficial Merlion statues too.