Woodlands Heritage Trail With 15 Heritage Sites and 8 Heritage Markers

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The Woodlands Heritage Trail traces the rich military history of Woodlands, the evolution of its communities and places of worship, and its transformation into a modern estate.

Featuring 15 heritage sites and supplemented by eight heritage trail markers, the Woodlands Heritage Trail has been developed with contributions from the community and is presented through three thematic routes – Communities of Woodlands, Woodlands at War, and A Journey through the Woods – that uncover the area’s lesser-known stories. 

Stories From The Kampong Days

National Archives of Singapore

For much of the 19th century, the present-day Woodlands area was known as “Kranji” or “Mandai”, after the main rivers in the area. In fact, the name “Woodlands” only emerged in the late 19th century after a bungalow bearing the same name was built on the northern coast.

The early settlers in the 19th century, include the Orang Seletar and Teochew migrants. The Teochew settlers inhabited the land and established coastal and riverside settlements known as chu kang (Teochew for “river port”) along the northern coast. The nomadic Orang Seletar made their living by fishing, while the Teochew community cultivated gambier.

Military Hub Of The North

Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria

The Woodlands Heritage Trail also delves into the area’s rich military past. From the 1920s, Woodlands became an area of military significance as the Causeway formed a vital connection between Singapore and Malaya. The British built a naval base along much of Woodlands’ coast, with two major naval depots – The Torpedo Depot and the Royal Navy Armament Depot – that stored torpedoes and ammunition such as shells and mines.

Woodlands and Kranji became part of the military frontline in early 1942 when the Japanese invaded Singapore. The Japanese military converted the site of an Australian Army field headquarters into a prisoner-of-war camp. The camp’s cemetery later became the Kranji War Cemetery after hostilities ended.

From the 1950s to 1997, the Malaysian navy also operated its headquarters in Woodlands. The former Royal Malayan Navy jetty was once part of the Malaysian naval base, and its administration block is retained at 21 Admiralty Road West. These landmarks serve as a reminder of Woodlands’ past as a military hub.

Religious Institutes

Sri Arasakesari Sivan Temple

Woodlands’ former villages made way for new housing and checkpoint developments by the 1990s. While these settlements no longer exist, the religious institutions that once served them continue to cater to the spiritual and social needs of the community. Today, places of worship such as the Church of St Anthony of Padua, Hong Tho Bilw Temple, Masjid An-Nur and Sri Arasakesari Sivan Temple have become prominent and important landmarks of Woodlands.

The Different Woodland Heritage Trails

National Archives of Singapore

Trail-goers can discover the long and varied history of the neighbourhood in their own time through three thematic routes that cater to different interests.

Communities of Woodlands (1.5 hours with public transport, 4km)

This trail introduces trail-goers to different religious institutions and community landmarks that originated in Woodlands and continue to serve residents today.

  • Hong Tho Bilw Temple (also known as Feng Tu Miao)
  • Shang Di Miao Chai Kong Temple
  • Sri Siva Krishna Temple
  • Marsiling Lane Market & Food Centre
  • Masjid An-Nur
  • Marsiling Park
  • Church of St Anthony of Padua

Woodlands at War (2 hours with public transport, 9km)

This trail brings trail-goers to former military sites such as the Kranji War Cemetery and the former KD Malaya administration building, and reveals their role in Woodlands’ history.

  • Admiralty Park
  • Former KD Malaya Administration Block
  • Former Malaysian Base jetty
  • Causeway
  • Kranji War Cemetry

A Journey through the Woods (1.5 hours on bicycle; 2.5 hours on foot with public transport, 15km)

This trail lets trail-goers to explore the parks and other green spaces in Woodlands, as well as the rich history of these places.

  • Marsiling Park
  • Former Malaysian Base jetty
  • Admiralty Park
  • Ulu Sembawang Park Connector (PCN)
  • Sri Arasakwsari Sivan Temple

Companion Guide and Map

The Woodlands Heritage Trail’s companion guide and map (the map is available in four official languages) can be downloaded from NHB’s heritage portal Roots.gov.sg.

Limited printed copies of the guide will also be available at

  • Marsiling Community Club,
  • Fuchun Community Club,
  • ACE The Place Community Club,
  • Woodlands Galaxy Community Club,
  • Woodlands Community Club,
  • the National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum and
  • NHB headquarters at Stamford Court.


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This article is prepared by

Jiarong Yu
Daddy to 2 adorable little ones. Misses them the moment they are not around, regrets missing them the moment they are around.

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