Bukit Panjang, Malay for ‘long hill’, was a rural settlement area in the early 1990s. Located in the vicinity of the Central North-Western region of Singapore, it comprises a town formerly known as Zheng Hua and the Chua Chu Kang town. Bukit Panjang occupies 490 hectares of land with almost half occupied for residency. The Bukit Timah Hill is located in the area, and is Singapore’s first and largest nature reserve. As Singapore’s natural foliage is slowly dwindling, this Nature Reserve is protected to preserve the flora and fauna of the country. Bukit Panjang has many HDB estates, condominiums and landed property.
Bukit Batok got its name from the granite quarry in the early days, the hills had an impression that they were coughing, hence the Malay word ‘Batok’ meaning ‘cough’. The Pan-Island Expressway, Toh Tuck Road, Upper Bukit Timah Road and Bukit Batok Road surround Bukit Batok, where they allow accessibility to other parts of Singapore. A piece of history can be found here: the famous former Ford factory which is the place where the British surrendered to the Japanese during the second World War.
Predominantly populated by Teochew settlers in the early days, Chua Chu Kang got its name from ‘Kang Chu’. ‘Kang’ means river in Hokkien while ‘Chu’ was the clan name of the first headman of the plantations. It was said that the area was infested with tigers in the early 19th century with gambier and paper planted along the river bank. Previously, there were many old attap houses, street hawkers and Chinese kampongs in Choa Chu Kang. Now, it has evolved into a contemporary residential area with copious amenities.
Hillview is the home to four army camps, Bukit Gombak Camp, Bukit Panjang Camp, Hillview Camp and Gombak Base. It is also an upper-class residential neighborhood, with private condominiums which are on freehold lease and a variety of landed property.
In Bukit Panjang, there is a Cold Storage Dairy Farm. Factories and granite quarries can also be found here among other suburban facilities.
There is Lot 1, a suburban shopping mall in Choa Chu Kang near the MRT and Bus Interchange as well as the Chua Chu Kang Park for a change of scenery. A newly built sports complex is located in Chua Chu Kang Town.
At Hillview, there is a nature trail from Bukit Gombak stadium, up to the Guilin ridge and ends at Chu Lin Road. Amid the lush greenery on top of Hillview Hill is the Hillview Mansion. Also known as The Green House, it was rumored to be haunted and has since been demolished.
The Rail Mall is situated opposite Hillview Road and consists of restaurants, a Cold Storage supermarket and other facilities.
Bukit Panjang LRT and Choa Chu Kang MRT in Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok MRT Station and Bus Interchange in Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang MRT and Yew Tee MRT in Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak in Hillview serve district 23. There is an upcoming Hillview MRT Station soon to be built.