The park Jurong hill park is one of the few old rustic parks in Singapore out of the ordinary, known for its unique geography and architecture offerings and its iconic look-out tower. Let’s take an exploration of the hill top park in Singapore’s industrial west.
On some history, Jurong Hill Park was constructed by JTC Corporation on 1971, a Singapore Statutory board. It sits on a site bordered by Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim and Jurong Pier road which connects to Jurong Island. Notably, the park sits adjacent to the Jurong Bird Park, located on the western slope of Jurong Hill. Also, this natural hill forms the backbone of the Jurong bird park waterfall (Jurong falls). The falls at the time of construction was the world tallest in the park’s Waterfall Aviary.
Moreover, notably, the entrance to the hill park brings you along Jurong Hill road past the Jurong bird park entrance and the now-defunct Jurong crocodile farm which operated in the 90s. Today it is home to a fishing village. Additionally, the Jurong hill park is separated into two distinct parts denoted by its carpark.
Furthermore, it starts out with a lower and smaller carpark which is the entrance to a now-defunct empty shell of an F&B outlet. Also, a Japanese and Indonesian restaurant used to operate here as a long-standing tenant. It was closed since 2014 and been vacant since.
A dignitary Garden of Fame
Moving up to the top of the hill is the highlight and where majority of the park green area reside too. Additionally, here you can find a vast green park filled with trees. An equally large EPS carpark serves the park. Also, a Garden of Fame sign greets you at the park entrance.
Furthermore, within the park is a “Garden of fame”. The park covers 15 hectares at an elevation of 60 meters above sea level. Also, the park is an interesting lot and not quite your oridary park despite looking like one. Here, each of the trees here have a story to tell. Almost each and everyone of them here were planted by either distinguished statesmen, or dignitaries themselves.
Also, the park takes its name for the many trees planted by visiting foreign dignitaries. The dignitaries includes Queen Elizabeth II visited in 1972 who planted some trees too. Other notable nobles include The Duke of Edinburgh, Deng Xiaoping and Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Look-out tower on Jurong Hill
Moreover, the highlight and feature point of the Jurong hill park is the lookout tower. You enter the tower from the park entrance mid-way into the tower spiral path. Turning left goes up and right bring you down the to the bottom basement floor of the tower, a large tiled activity spaces greets you here at the bottom. There are no stairs nor elevators here and the ramp up is wheelchair accessible.
Additionally, it has an architecture vibe seen in typical buildings built in 1970-80s Singapore. These are usually bespoke buildings which are unique for the area they are in. Other similar examples include the Seletar rocket-shaped tower at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, as well as the dragon and pelican concrete playgrounds which dots the HDB heartland of the 70s and 80s Singapore.
A tower in rare brutalist architecture style
The tower exterior is clad hand-laid grey-coloured tiles. Going up and down involves an accessible spiral ramp which snakes clockwise upwards and vice versa. The design is pretty raw and industrial, a rarity in Singapore.
Additionally, the building itself is estimated to be about 4 stories high, though the tower does not have any physically distinct floors to call it. Also, the place is swept and maintained by the contract caretakers. Few were also doing up their rounds clearing up dead leaves and trimming plants on my mid-day visit.
Moreover, the center of the tower sits a large hollow space with a courtyard like open space at the bottom. Also, it is large enough for events and judging by the empty mounting speaker holders it’s relative spot beside a hollowed out building on the basement floor.
Also, it looks like possibly a restaurant and dining area which probably used to host a stage and dining tables. The restaurant are here too links to the lower carpark area which we passed up on our way up too.
View from the tower top
Going up the top of the tower rewards you with a panoramic overlooking views of the Jurong industrial areas as well as the entrance of Jurong Island. Also, still, the view is not exactly the best of views or one of tranquillity, but a rather crowded and busy one with container and petroleum trucks seems whisking around the port and island entrance.
Additionally, you can also see the iconic Jurong island suspension bridge (Jurong pier flyover) which serves as a traffic inlet from the mainland into the island checkpoint entrance. Notably, Jurong island is a non-public accessible industrial island housing mostly petroleum refining refineries, services and factories. Also, the top deck of the tower has a 360-degree viewing deck with an open space in the center of the tower. There is a small storeroom here which could previously used to host and F&B outlet up here.
You could tell a typical tree planting session by the dignitaries at Jurong hill probably ends with a view overlooking of the park over the Jurong Island area. Though I reckon the view is probably not as industrialised then.
All in all, that wraps up our visit to Jurong hill park and tower. Though the park is not the prettiest in terms of size and layout, it is one of a little-known history and a Garden of fame which hosted notable dignitaries, topped with the tower as its crown jewel. A gem in western Singapore.