Mystery Bunkers & Secret Reservoirs: Transport Back To SG's Past With This Hidden Park


Siti Ayeeshah Zaki •  Dec 13, 2021

There's a quiet park in the peripherals of Singapore's city centre. Unbeknownst to many locals, its tranquil facade not only provides for the perfect picnic spot but also holds snippets of Singapore's past! If you're looking for somewhere new to explore, this might just be it. Pearl's Hill City Park is perfect for both the adventurous and those who just want a quiet day surrounded by nature!

Pearl's Hill City Park

Tucked away in a corner of Chinatown, Pearl's Hill is a hidden gem. Its lush, green space makes it the perfect getaway spot for anyone who needs a break from the bustle of city life. Home to many beautiful sights like a small reservoir and a beautiful view of Singapore's city skyline, the quiet park has a little something for everyone - even little pieces of Singapore's past!

The Story Behind Pearl's Hill

Named after Captian James Pearl, commander of the ship which brought Raffles to Singapore after 1819, this hill was once covered by Gambier plantations sown by Chinese farmers. It was only after Captain Pearl bought it over that it was eventually renamed Pearl's Hill.

The centre of many historical moments and monuments, it's a surprise that this hill is often forgotten in Singapore's tale! From being home to the former police headquarters to being the original location of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the area is definitely filled with stories. If only trees could talk!

Credit: yongsengt on Instagram

And while closed for quite some time, rumour has it that this hill is home to a mystery bunker. According to a blogpost from 2009,  local Kiat San claims to have seen a mystery bunker on this hill during the 1980s. He described it as being very small, but had a large door and a square roof with nothing inside but a steel ladder in a corner, leading up to the roof's opening at the top. However, after some digging through the Internet, HHWT found that this bunker might be the bomb-proof bunker that served as the nerve centre for police communications once upon a time! ?

Things To Do At Pearl's Hill

1. Trek Uphill

Credit: edwinyap077 on Instagram

Where are HHWT's trekkers? ?? Pearl's Hill City Park is known for its hills and staircases. If you love trekking and are looking for a new place to explore and hike up, this might be the place for you. Especially with its steep gradients which may provide even the active with a little bit of a challenge, so remember to put on your sports shoes!

2. Have A Picnic

Credit: jiatlormee on Instagram

Looking for a calm spot to have a picnic? Pearl's Hill has a beautiful mini reservoir right at its very top. Lay down a mat and enjoy the swaying of the Tembusu trees' leaves, or relax by the water and treat your eyes to the Lotus blooms that float across the water, providing little speckles of colour to the greenery.

3. Snap Photos Of The City Skyline

Credit: cat_and_a_bunny on Instagram

Not many know this, but Pearl's Hill once used to be taller than Fort Canning! However, its top was shaved off by coolies in order to ensure that it would not be used as an attacking position against Fort Canning.  Now standing at 45m, you can view part of Singapore's skyline from this hill, including the nearby Chinatown.

4. Explore Historical Sights

Credit: One Pearl Bank on Facebook

Pearl's Hill was once home to the famous Pearl Bank Apartments, the former police headquarters and more! Take a walk around the area to walk in the footsteps of our colonial past, and maybe snap an Instagram-worthy photo while you're there! Pearl's Hill is home to colonial architecture which can't be found in many places in Singapore. And while the original Pearl Bank Apartments are no longer there, the new One Pearl Bank stands glorious as an ode to its former self. You have to check it out.

Are you up for another adventure? ? Share this with your trekking or picnic buddy to explore the hidden gem that is Singapore's Pearl's Hill City Park!