Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Woodlands Heritage Trails

I am back on my feet to Woodlands trekking again, it was 3 years ago outings by my friends. This time I was with the TREE group who organised the trips including Marsiling tunnel and unknown location on morning 26 Feb 2017, their partners (3playgrounds) and their members also joined the TREE event.
Huge turnout!
It was huge massive turnout event over 70 participants and even they bring their friends along thus increase to 100? Oh wow!
Massive crowds walked in line
Meeting place was at Marsiling Mrt at 8.00am and it was delay till an hour or so because of the huge crowded gathered outside mrt.
Site of Kampongs@Sungei Mandai Kechil (Small Mandai river)
After an hour later, we proceeded on our journey to the former site of kampongs demolished long ago along the Sungei Mandai Besar and Sungei Mandai Kechil, where large mature mangroves exist alongside the structures of the former kampongs (demolished) - Kampong Mandai Kechil and Kampong Lorong Fatimah.
Former sites of Kampongs where it was once stood
Mandai mangrove is located between two rivers Sungei Mandai Besar (Big Mandai River) and Sungei Mandai Kechil (Small Mandai River) hence the mangrove was autonomously named Mandai. This 10-ha mangrove area once housed several Malay villages. One of the kampongs that was documented fairly well was Kampong Lorong Fatimah (Village of Fatimah’s Alley). Below is a typical of kampong looks like this in the past.
Typical Malay kampong 
Credit: NAS
The characteristic of a typical kampung house is its on stilts or piles. This was to avoid wild animals and floods, to deter thieves, and for added ventilation.
There was once kampongs located along Woodlands road - Kg. Mandai Kechil and further up near the Causeway to where Woodlands Police Station and Customs Station was once stood close to Kg. Lor Fatimah.
Kampong Lorong Fatimah
Kampong Lorong Fatimah was once situated off Woodlands Road, near the causeway, past the immigration checkpoint. Kampong Lorong Fatimah was struggled to exist until 1989 when the land needed for the extension of Woodlands Checkpoint. Before the construction of Woodlands New Town in 1970s, this kampong seemingly isolated from the rest of Sg as it was sandwiched between the Johor Strait and forested land. 
Some of the houses were constructed on stilts. Only a small channel separated this kampong from Johor. In the past, this kampong was filled with sampans or koleks ferrying people between Johor and Singapore. With the sea on one side and a jungle on the other (before Woodlands was fully developed), this kampong seemed very cut-off from the rest of urban Singapore. Entertainment in the past included Ronggeng (a Malay ethnic dance) with the nomadic boat people who came here with their gongs, drums, tambourines and violas. Shopping was done from Indian men who came on bicycles carrying bundles containing clothes, towels and sarongs. In the past, the villagers were fishermen and boatmen, ferrying passengers between Johor and Sg but the newer generation were started to move out to work in the Woodlands Industrial estate. When industries were set up around Woodlands, many of them found jobs in the factories, while the younger ones found work in hotels and banks in Orchard Road. Kampong Lorong Fatimah was then pulled down to make way for the construction of the Customs Department extension to the Woodlands Checkpoint. The kampong’s residents were relocated, mainly to the Marsiling and Woodlands HDB estates.”
Remnants of concrete left by villagers
Over the years of long forgotten to the present day, the kampongs are no longer exists to this day and what I recalled there was some left structure of remnants of concrete, pavements and bamboo poles stood on the ground base of once kampongs stood.
There was huge turnout of the TREE group of over 70 participants or even more. Thereafter, the TREE admin has decided to spit into two groups - Masta's group and Kamal's group to ensure that everything went smoothly otherwise it made participants confused to which side they should follow or it's hard for them (TREE) to gather large group into one. And of course, each group has a different side story of the Woodlands heritage trails. I do have a different story. Hahaha.
Below - A simple and effective group photo (Masta's group & Kamal's group) before we proceeded to other location trail.

Masta's group at Blk 3A
Kamal's group at Blk 3A
As we walked towards the Woodland Town Centre after crossing the road, gathered around at blk 3A to hear the host's storytelling.
Old Shaw Brother (SB) Cinema in its heyday
The old (SB) Woodlands cinema used to be bustling in its heyday and now is old and abandoned with no more movies to release. There was an old favourite supermarket - the Oriental Emporium which sold everything and anything, locals and travellers needed.
Crowds gathered at the old cinema
Peek thru the old cinema theatre (2014)
As we walked to the old Woodlands Town Centre was once the attraction of the both locals and Malaysians, was the first hub for transiting travellers. My ex-colleagues whom I knew and worked with, are from Malaysia, came to Sg to work and rented a room at woodlands estates and Yuan Ching (Taman Jurong) estates. They even called me up to meet at woodlands centre for a meal between 1980s-1990s. Sometimes I couldn't remember until I was brought to there. Reminiscing the place where I used to hang out and frequent coffee shop with my ex-colleagues and old friends. My ex-colleagues arrived at the Woodlands checkpoint to board a Malaysia bus after they booked a ticket (S$20-30) at checkpoint counter, to travel back to their hometown during CNY and Public Holidays.
The old Woodland Town Centre has come a long way in its heyday and a bright pastel paint on the wall seems struggle to hide mould and other signs of age on its worn facade on the both side of the staircase 
Laundry cloths hanging to dry 
A walk through the grand old dame Woodlands Town centre and old cinema that bring fond memories of my younger days when my old friends lived in this woodlands estates in 1980s. My family had been to woodlands town centre to look for the 'tailor-made' shops years ago.
Sadly, the 'fate' of Blk 1A to 6A Woodlands Centre Road were selected for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) by the HDB. The affected 197 rental shops, eating houses and offices at Blocks 1A to 6A, and the hawker centre at Block 4A comprising 78 cooked food stalls managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA), will be cleared in tandem with the sold flats. Woodlands estates were 37 year old and built in 1980, the residents had moved to the new flats at Woodlands Drive 70.
Sheng Siong at Blk 6A Woodlands in 2014
There is a Sheng Siong supermarket at Blk 6A was supposed to move out by end of Sept 2016 (last year) and I heard that the supermarket is given an extended till end of June 2017 this year. It therefore intends to renew its lease for its Woodlands Centre Supermarket till that date.
Old 'No Parking' signboard (2014)
I remember that the lonely old signboard stood out of its own in the middle of the carpark close to the old Woodlands cinema and I didn't see it today, could it be still there, I am wondering...
Woodlands Checkpoint & Customs (2014)
Strategically located next to the Woodlands Checkpoint and Customs, it was known for its many shops and businesses selling a variety of goods, textiles and accessories shops. Another highlight of the area was the competitive exchange rates offered by the money changers. A bus interchange is located nearby, also served a 'drop-off' point for mostly cars and Malaysian buses ferrying workers into Singapore.
Spiral Ramp structure 
We gathered at a spiral ramp structure next to overhead bridge at Blk 6A. This spiral ramp structure is for 'human' traffic (pedestrians) and NOT for bicycles and motorcycles.Back in the old days when the bicycle tracks and park connectors were non-existent at that time, the Woodlands Town Centre was a big draw for those who liked to walk or cycle. 
Spiral ramp structure links to overhead bridge
Most notable was an underpass linking the 'Lookout' Tower of the Woodlands Town Garden to the Old Woodlands Town Centre. This concrete structure had three underground levels, equipped with a basic staircase.
Old Woodlands Checkpoint
I could remember...a long time ago, my family and I as well as relatives used to travel by coach booked from agencies (Five Stars, 707, Konsortium and others) and the pickup point located at Golden Mile Complex, to Malaysia and even Bangkok (took about 11-12 hrs) to reach the destination at HaiYat terminal thru old Woodlands checkpoint. 
I recalled that the staircase at old woodlands checkpoint had no escalators at that time, my relatives as well as my family had to drag our luggage up and down the staircase and walked over the other bus station after first checkpoint was passed, to board Malaysia buses to KL after our passport had stamped (well it was in old fashioned way to be stamped). But we were lucky as we have elderly families among us and we queued to the special counter to clear without any problems.
Woodlands Train Checkpoint (2014)
At one time, my family and I took a train at Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB in 1970s to visit my mum's long-time friend in KL who was a minister by then. Instead he asked us to take a helicopter that would be faster.
At one time, Singapore purchased US fighter planes and attack helicopters. In the past, hiring a helicopter to Malaysia used to be very expensive and was only for the rich. 
Recently last year in 2016, the news was announced that tickets for Shuttle Tebrau, the shuttle train between Woodlands and JB Sentral, will no longer be available online from Dec 1 onwards. Commuters also will not be able to book tickets in advance. The ticket sales will only be released at 8.30am one day before departure, and will only be available at KTM Intercity counters. Sales will be limited to four tickets per person. The tickets were previously available 30 days in advance online and at ticket counters. Accordingly to Malaysian rail operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), which runs the service, explained that the change is to avoid the abuse of ticket sales and overcrowding trains. This is to ensure that all passengers have valid tickets to board the train. The Shuttle Tebrau was launched in July last year to ease traffic congestion along the Causeway.
Upcoming of the two MRT stations; Woodlands South and Woodlands North, both located on the TEL, are planned to be built in Woodlands town, bringing convenience to commuters. In addition, the current Woodlands station will become an interchange linking the North South Line and TEL (Thomson-East Coast Line). Travelling times are expected to be reduced.
The Causeway (taken in 2014)
Photo by Lina Catcat (me)
Singapore-Johor Bahru Causeway is a 1056m long cross-country link over the Straits of Johor, connecting Singapore and Malaysia. First proposed by the Director of Public Works, Federated Malay States and built at a cost of $17 million, it was officially opened on 28 June 1924 by Governor Sir Laurence Guillemard, in the presence of His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Johor. Do you know....Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor, his great grandfather, the late Sultan Ibrahim, who opened the Causeway, designed for both road and rail links. He paved the way, literally, for the first train to rumble into Singapore from Malaysia back in 1923. Besides trains, he (Sultan of Johor) flies jets, helicopters, and he sails his own yacht too. As you can see the Johor Straits along Berjaya Waterfront (background far right) with other buildings such as AIA and residential buildings.
Short History of the Causeway
The earlier seige explosion of the Causeway on 31st Jan 1942 in the morning, the explosion could be heard on the south coast of Sg. The Causeway was a road built on a foundation of big boulders at the cost of over £4,000,000, unlike a bridge, it was hard to cause substantial damage. Blowing the Causeway was to stop the Japanese advance as many allied troops left behind in Johor, swam the Straits over the next 24 hours with ease. Search Lights has been set up along the shore but there were no concrete defences. The main supply of water from Johor also destroyed in the explosion but there were two reservoirs on the island so water was rationed by having one tap in use for 3 households, food was not a problem.
Rotherham Gate (background)
Rotherham Gate could be seen in the background, during workers strike in 1952.
 Rotherham Gate (1960s)
Source: Deret Tait
The Rotherham Gate that was the last marked as the reminder of the Naval Base still stands, a mark structure is hidden by the roots of the tree covered tightly and only a partial of structure is seen.
Map of location of the Rotherham Gate
A gate post marked belonging to the former Rotherham Gate, the northernmost into the former base, is the last of the several entrance into the huge naval facility that was once been the pride of the British Empire. Rotherham Gate was built in 1945 in commemoration of the role of the Commander of RN Destroyer HMS Rotherham in the acceptance of the surrender of men from the Japanese Imperial Navy at the Naval Base in Sept 1945. It stood right until the end of Oct 1971 when British Forces withdrew from Sg.
The Gate hidden by roots of the tree
Structure Gate seen hovering by tree roots
There was an Ruthenia jetty (just after customs jetty) that was used to fuel RN ships prior to completion of the British Naval Base (1938) and was fed by a pipeline from the RN Oil Fuel Depot at Kranji (completely destroyed during the Japanese invasion). Other jetties were Customs jetty, Woodlands jetty (formerly Shell jetty) and the large 'L' shape was used by the Royal Malaysian Navy – the Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM).
The pipelines would have been passed to the Singapore Government when British forces withdrew in 1971. Pre-war and post-war in this areas do not show a Pump House at the root of the Ruthenia jetty, and so it was probably built underground into the hillside - Marsiling tunnels. The former British RN fuel installation under Marsiling, unused for more than 4 decades and probably longer.
Naval Base Road (then)
Courtesy of NAS
Admiratly Rd West (formerly Naval Base Rd) (now)
I remember the road that I used to walk pass in 1990s when my former company organised a 'farm' trip, at that time the road was called 'Naval Base road'. Years on, the road renamed to 'Admiratly Road West' as seen at the junction road (as seen in pic above). The 'stretched' in the naval base area was called Naval Base Road (now called Admiralty Road West), The naval base was renamed to Woodlands Garrison when ANZUK forces took over, before the handover to Singapore.
The word "Admiratly" is a suburban neighbourhood of Woodlands New Town, is connected to Sembawang and Yishun via Gambas Avenue; the Woodlands Industrial Park and Senoko Industrial Park via Woodlands Avenue 10 and stretch to the Causeway via Woodlands Ave 12. It also reflects the area's association with the large British Naval Base (in the Sembawang area) that was established between 1923 and 1941.
There was once the prison which is situated alongside the Admiralty West Park was originally the site of a Royal Air Force (RAF) radio station, and later became the base for the Royal Malayan Navy (RMN). The RMN’s origins are linked to the Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve (SSNVR), which was formed on 27 April 1934 by the British colonial government.
Off to the Marsiling tunnels
Thereafter we went to the Marsiling tunnels which is said to be hidden away from the forested jungle. Oh yes, I went with Sembawang group under Encik Kamal who organised a trip there 3 years ago after the news was announced in the media in 2014.
Encik Kamal's group bashed thru fallen branches
There are several tunnels on every part of the forested that leading us to the opening tunnel in the southern side.
West Entrance tunnel (2014)
East Entrance tunnel
North Entrance tunnel
Tunnel floor plan with four entrance
Two Marsiling tunnels had been sealed off are north entrance and east entrance. East and West entrance are connected directly to the Main Tunnel. The underground tunnel was built on an uneven hill slope.
This time I went with TREE group and a special host Encik Kamal who was a resident of naval base who could share his story. The Marsiling sites were once used as a fuel reserve facility for the Royal Air Force and not for the Royal Navy. Its storage facility underground (Woodlands North Depot) supplied fuel oil to the Royal Air Force, refuelling the ship oiler known as RFA Ruthenia berthed Ruthenia Jetty as the stationery oil depot.
Under the pipelines
Unfortunately, the fallen tree branches has blocked us to deter entry to the tunnels but they wouldn't give up easily, bashed thru the fallen branches or even walked under the pipelines to walk towards the thick forested up the hill to where the tunnels are.
Masta's Group waiting at the pipelines
Later Masta's group came in after Encik Kamal's group has passed through the forested jungle. 
One of admin TREE enters the fallen tree branch
Before that, one of the admin TREE walked thru the branches and checked everything was alright, then... 
Admin TREE signal using his hand gesture
signal to the other admin TREE Faye who happened to pass by the pipelines to ensure everything was okay and ensure of their safety ahead. Seeing the picture above makes me think he was talking to a 'invisble' person (hidden in the bushes) in the air. Giggles.
Masta's group walked up the forested
After given the 'green' light from the admin TREE, they proceeded and walked up the footpath to the pipelines and to bash through the forested along the pipelines, up the hill to the Marsiling tunnels.
Overlooking Johor Strait taken in 2014 (Then)
Overlooking Johor Strait taken in 2017 (Now)
I made my way out to the main road where the group had walked this footpath, I could the see the scenery outside and I realised that the buildings at Johor Strait have sprung up over the years when I first stepped onto the footpath as above pictures.
Me at the south tunnel entrance in 2014
As for me, I have to skip this trail to these tunnels as I had an appointment and at least I am glad I had visited the tunnels before. Behind me is South tunnel entrance which has three level down while North tunnel entrance (sealed off) is a four level down.
After the Marsiling tunnel, they went to the 'unknown' location - the 'water' well nearby the forested area that close to the tunnels. I couldn't provide the location of the water well as this is their 'secret' place not to be known to the public otherwise it will be sealed up or barricade it.
Spotted them (in red dot) afar in the thick forested
Before I leave, I managed to snap some photos (below) of the participants and TREE admins at the foot of the forested hill a distance away from me. Above pic is where I took a shot of them in the thick forest hill up above.
 Spotted them from afar!
Give a helping hand
Faye, Helmie & Selfie queen Niza
Seeing them as happy as they are, at last they have accomplished their mission at the end of the last trail. At least, I am glad everything went well for the TREE and their group.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Bukit Timah Hill Trails

Old Bukit Timah Railway station
Credit: Postcard 
It's been a long time since I visited Bukit Timah ages ago and a few years ago and had blogged my journey to Bukit Timah railway in 2011 (6 years ago).
Me & My Younger bro in 1970s
A long time ago, some of my relatives lived kampong villages at Bukit Timah areas which were close to Jalan Kampong Chantek and Rifle Range road nearby Lorong Senapang for as long as I could remember. Picture below that some of my relatives lived similar to this house in early 1980s
Chinese hse@Jln Kampong Chantek
credit: nlb
There was a roadside stalls along Bukit Timah road stretch in the past where one of my oldest uncles's wife (my mum's oldest sister-in-law) used to have her roadside stall which she sold 'fishballs noodle' along the road in 1970s.
Swiss Cottage
Photo credit by Phase
The place was used to have a Swiss School (Swiss Cottage) where my former boss and his classmate (my eighth uncle - UK) had studied there located along Dunearn road in 1960s. There was a Swiss Club near to the school.
There is a infamous shortcut across the railway from Jalan Anak Bukit to Rifle Range road where there occurred several fatal accidents involving pedestrians over the years. It was also said that a girl was run-down by a train near the shortcut sometimes in 1970s.
shortcut to Rafle Range rd
Credit: nlb
The 'shortcut' where my friends and I were using this route to Rifle Range Road to where the old Gun club was located. But somehow we (the TREE members) were there earlier. The road (Jalan Anak Bukit) is near to Bukit Timah Shopping centre where one of my uncles's old shop is located. A railway bridge at Rifle Range Road junction, at Dunearn Road. Rifle Range Road is named after the rifle range built by the Singapore Gun Club and also home to Chartered Industries and School of Ammunition. The Singapore Gun Club at Rifle Range Road (where we were in the longkang earlier) close by, was started in the early 1950s. It first operated from a tiny zinc-roofed wooden shed of about four square metres. Before the Japanese occupation of Singapore, British forces used the site at the present clubhouse as an ammunition depot. Over the years, World War II grenades, bombs and even pistols have been uncovered from within the shooting range.
Bukit Timah area was my playground where my relatives lived a great house (kampong), a great garden, wildlife and a dark history. A very long way to walk down along the main road - Dunearn road or to drive or walk along Binjai Park and passed through the homes of the wealthy, or take the other road - Jalan Kampong Chantek.
Kampong Chantek House
credit by nlb
Jalan Kampong Chantek is just a name if I could remember back then, this street name - which old folks who lived for decades thus used to called - over a mile long much of it cutting through jungle. Hitchhiking and trekking were common back then. People didn't think twice to stop their car and offer a lift to some poor soul walking the long road. There is a sharp bend in the road before you get to a hill. At the very end of Jalan Kampong Chantek was a small Malay village - a kampong with about 200 people staying in attap houses. There used to have a temple near the viaduct on Jalan Kampong Chantek. It was reported to have commented on the pretty village thus giving it the name, Chantek, which is Malay for pretty. Surrounding  the area, is a single storey house in Jalan Kampong Chantek, from near the corner of Binjai Park towards Murnane Reservoir.
I heard that the authorities will seal off the area around the old Bukit Timah Station in the first quarter of this year, to lay a 22-km stretch of water pipes to feed the Central Business District.
Tree Admin Faye taking attendance to members
On that day (12th Feb 2017), I was supposed to meet up with the TREE group at King Albert Mrt (Exit A) at 8.00am and I arrived earlier as usual as it was just 5 stops from my place. From then, we set out our journey at 8.30am to the old Bukit Timah station in 15-20 mins.
Rushing up the station's platform
Upon reaching the old Bukit Timah station, oh wow, everyone was rushing up the platform station as if they have not seen it before..giggles. Snapping away is very common among people as if they were at the station before. But I was not amused as I was there a long time ago.
Me@old Bukit Timah station in year 2011 (then)
Me@old Bukit Timah station (now)
My last journey or outing way back in 2011 (6 years ago), there was not much changing except I didn't see the sign box that station staff used to pass the 'horse-shoe' shape near the red-bricked signboard on the foot-track (below pic).
Signbox indicated 'horse-shoe' taken in 2011
One of the old stands for receiving the key token remained at Bukit Timah station in 2011 but now it was removed.
Tree admins talked about Bt. Timah hill
As you can see behind them is the sign box that indicated 'horse-shoe' shape ring on the hookstand had been removed! The 'signbox'  hook is where the train driver dropped a key token for the northern section between Woodlands and Bukit Timah. So...where it has gone to...?
TREE Group@old Bt. Timah station (1st shot)
TREE Group@old Bt. Timah station (2nd shot)
2 Photos credit: Sarafian (Tuah)
After walked around at the station for half an hour till 9.30am before we proceeded our journey to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve but before that we took group photos with members of TREE. Seeing them as happy as they are before the station closes.
former rail track path to steel rail-bridge
Now as we were arriving the Bukit Timah hill by walking along the footpath at Rifle Range road that I walked the same path in 2011.
4 digits number at the wall taken in 2011
Me stood at the concrete wall in 2011
I remember there is a number on the concrete wall back then and this time I didn't notice when I walked pass hastily but wonder whether it is still there or not, and because I have to catch up with them along the way. Would be glad if someone taken a shot while at the steel rail-bridge then you are lucky.
 After passing the rail-bridge
Keep on walking the same path
As we keep on walking on the footpath that used to be the rail-track that I walked back then.
Overhead bridge wall taken in 2011
The Graffitied wall
Along the pathway, I carried on walking until I passed by the overhead bridge. But before that, the overhead bridge wall was not graffitied yet and then I saw it thus indicated that it would be sad to see this word 'Goodbye' or rather 'Sadbye' in short. On the other side of the wall are covered with graffiti. Overcome emotion by someone who was there, he or she walks pass daily.
At the slope of the hill
Along the pathway at Rifle Range road, we reached at the Bukit Timah hill along the rail-track and we have to crossing over the hill down slope. There we went down the slope one by one....then
 Crossing over the hill down the slope
at last, the person from admin TREE is the last who crossed over the hill slope..
'Brave' Faye crossing over the hill slope
Feeling relieved as everyone is fine and yet they are determined to overcome the long journey which started from King Albert Mrt to the Bukit Timah hill but there is not the end of it as we continued the hardest path - Bukit Timah Summit, not all people can make it unless they have a strong will and go for it despite the age for as long as they are healthy and fit. But for me to be honest, I am not that healthy leh...but I am willing to go for it as long as it fit me in.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in 2011 (then)
Bt. Timah Nature Reserve (Now)
Upon reaching at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, I noticed there is much changes at the visitor centre (upgraded) after it closed for two years since 14 Sept 2014 to enhance visitor's safety. And it reopened in Oct last year following the completion of restoration works and sensitive enhancements that spanned two years. The two-year closure allowed NParks to repair and enhance the slopes and trails for public safety, restore the forest habitat. Some paths are not ready yet.
Taking a short break
While we are taking a short break for 5-10 mins before we moved on our journey to the summit.
Happy faces
Seeing the TREE members heading past the Visitor Centre to start the ascent up the Main Road leading to the Summit.
Steep slope
Up the steep slope is not an easy as regular joggers and visitors are spotted braving the steep slope of Bukit Timah hill as it will help them to burn calories in their body.
One foreigner and his child on his back
Spotted one foreigner carrying his child on his back with the baby backpack carrier (for hiking) braving the steep slope to the summit! He saw me and smiled after I snapped a shot of him!
Steep Slope beside the Kruing hut
It was indeed hot weather in Sg but a little cool breeze blowing on our faces while walking up the slope.
After half an hour, we finally reached the steps to the summit and yet another 15-20 mins to reach the summit but we caught our breath and a short rest at the 'Kruing' hut for 3 mins earlier. The next leg of the trek is the easiest as the flattest part of the summit
A short rest at Kruing hut
A tiring long pathway for them as if we run 6-7 km on top of the hill on the steep slope, I remember one elderly man who is the father of my friend aka member of TREE friends who managed to walk up the summit and also among the 'elder' members too.
Small & large steps leading to the summit
Walking up the steps to Bukit Timah Summit (Height [Ht] 163.63m). The stairs comprise of small and large steps juxtaposed side-by-side. It will take more than half an hour (30mins) to reach the summit. Our legs are becoming more tiring upon walking up the steps if you can count the steps (small and large steps). So I walked up from small steps to large steps side by side because large steps are a little higher than small steps (small steps in middle of large steps).
Bukit Timah summit
It was indeed half an hour or less to reach the top of the summit. Finally here we are! And then...we again have a group photo of the TREE at the summit.
TREE@Bt. Timah Summit
Photo credit: Sarafian Salleh
At the summit, members of the TREE snapping away surrounding of the hill and the rock. There was a history way back in the past, in the 1890s, a government bungalow or holiday chalet was once stood at the hill and was available for rent to the tourists ($2 a day, without bed linen!), they slept on the wooden floor. The surrounding area was designated a forest reserve in 1883, making it one of the first forest reserves in Singapore.
 Walked back to the visitor centre
One of the Admin TREE - Harry
Later we walked down the slope and back to the visitor centre where we met up with two admin TREE who were waiting for us. Mr Harry, an admin TREE gave talks about the caves located at the hill. The 'hidden' caves.. there is a boardwalk that would led us to the caves that hidden away from the city. 
Some of the members would stay behind to continue the journey to the caves that they wanted to see! Some have other appointments or run out of their camera memory clips or likewise. Yes, I heard about these caves a long time ago and the last outing with my friends was in 2010. It has a dark history and not many people know.
The Boardwalks to the caves
There are also raised boardwalks that make the visitor experience more pleasant while protecting the natural environment. The boardwalks are made of wooden and hand-carried by workers and the repair works were done without machinery, I presume.
Surrounded by rainforests
In the forest, we are surrounded by the sounds of the rainforest and you may even get to spot the occasional wildlife.
Tomb marked in red taken in 2014
credit by Kwokyp
But before that, I remember there is a tomb marked in red at the Bukit Timah hill along the cave path and was wondering whether it is still there or not. The tomb is very old and has been there for a long time. What do you think? A tomb or another cave (3rd cave)?
Curious onlookers to the cave
The footpath can be accessed either from the South View Path or Catchment Hut. Make our way along the Cave Path and we managed to find the caves by following the TREE admin ahead of us. The cave path is a moderate difficultly trail and there are many earth-cut along up and down the steps. The caves are still standing today.
One of the 1st cave
These caves were made by Japanese soldiers during World War II to store the supplies or other purposes. There are two caves (actually there are three caves) each cave is about 50 meters apart. The cave entrances are gated with metal grills to prevent people from entering. What a waste! But at least, it is safe for them from entering otherwise there is a creature hiding inside who knows.
The cave inside (1st cave)
Inside the darkest of the cave as the total and utter absence of light. Who could enter the cave without getting fear of darkest! These two caves run very deep, man-built, about two meters wide and two meters tall. The bars were installed to protect the bats that live in the caves from being disturbed by tourists or visitors. I presume
2nd Cave
We continued to the next cave within a short distance (50 meters) from it. It looks gloomy dark cave that covered with rock hill in the forests away from the city. These caves had a dark history unfold or hearsay from older generations like my relatives who lived in kampong at Bukit Timah. These caves were dug by Japanese soldiers sometimes in 1944 during Japanese Occupations.
A long gloomy dark cave
Inside the 2nd cave is rather long gloomy dark than the 1st cave. The caves were used for storing supplies and ammunitions during the Japanese occupation by the Japanese army. It is rumoured that it was to be military secret (the treasures that were looted by Japanese soldiers) during Japanese Occupations. A Japanese WWII veteran, whose name was HIGASHIURA Yoshifumi, there were 3 caves that were dug by the Japanese soldiers in the forest of Singapore, believed to safe-keep Singapore’s artifacts and treasures or was to hide treasures and artifacts. Believe it or not. Well.. is there a 3rd cave? 
Further up the caves, there is a stream before the end of Catchment path.
Suddenly I recalled about the Bukit Timah quarry, in early 1970s, the quarry was still filled with water collected from the hill near where the 2nd caves are located, is a stream flows to the quarry, ideal for swimming. It was known to be popular public swimming place as some elders or older generations might still remember.
Walked up the boardwalks to visitor centre
After visiting the cave, we walked to the same path and back to the visitor centre again. It was a such a long route (up and down the boardwalk) and was about 3km (to and fro). Our legs were getting tired and feeling weak as if we would stop for a short rest there.
The path to the stream
The last journey is the stream or you can say - longkang which people like me often called it on those days. I used to walk this path before as there are a two streams ahead in the forests along Raffle range road.
Stream Paparazzi
As we reached the longkang or the stream in clear water flowing from the pipe stand. My relatives (lived in kampung) used this stream in longkang to wash laundry and even bring fresh water home to boil and to wash vegetables in the past. Not forgetting the kampong kids bathing at the longkang. 
Washing laundry in the 'clear' stream (then)
The stand pipe at the stream (now)
Closeup - Clear water flowing from standpipe
The kampong kids used to bath in the clear stream using the bathtub that filled with clear water. I was there as a kid.
Kampong Trail to the other stream
As we continued to walk along the kampong trail (Hindhede Entrance) to where the other stream is located along Rafle Range Road.
Curious onlookers at the longkang
Finally, we reached the last route which would be the end of our trail that stopped at Rifle Range road where the Singapore Gun Club was once stood somewhere nearby, were demolished a few years ago.
 The longkang
The clear water flows from the hill to where the 1st stream is located.
The hill where the clear water flows
At the top of the hill where the clear water flows.
Time to take a group photo
After a long journey and finally ended here at the point location to where members of TREE would heave a sign of relief after many trails from the other directions where we first started at the mrt since morning.
TREE Group at the stream
Credit by Nen Fatah
At last but not least, we took a group photo at the stream along Rafle Range Road.
Blue Dragonfly on a tree branch taken by me
And added to the special specie (an insect), a dragonfly perched on a tree branch near to the stream.
Thanks to the TREE teams for the wonderful trails!