Exploring Our Urban Trails

Text by Carmela Mendoza

Challenge trails a team of urban explorers to peel back the layers of the city and see what’s underneath. - Text by Carmela Mendoza, Photos by Colin Ho

Welcome to the secluded forest in Marsiling—mysterious and relatively far from the orderliness of civilisation.

Here, Challenge explores a disused British military facility with the team from Urban Explorers of Singapore, a local community of adventurers who delve into abandoned spaces in an attempt to understand and document Singapore’s past. To corroborate their discoveries, they conduct historical research and consult preservationists and naturalists.

The team made their first trip to the area in 2005, without any map or idea of where they were headed. They initially wanted to locate a tunnel that was rumoured to be in the forested Marsiling hill area.

This Marsiling location turned out to be an underground oil facility known as Woodlands North Depot, constructed in the mid-1930s and operated by the Asiatic Petroleum Company. In World War II, the British Royal Navy converted the facility into an underground fuel reserve depot, which was forgotten after the war.

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To learn more about Singapore’s hidden troves of history, information about Singapore’s abandoned sites can be found at the Urban Explorers of Singapore Facebook page

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