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“Peaceful, historic, at risk of being torn down.”

Bukit Brown Cemetery
Ranked #31 of 895 things to do in Singapore
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 30 April 2018

This is the biggest Chinese graveyard outside China. With land at a premium, the plan is to remove these graves (possibly to Choa Chu Kang) & build more housing. The plans are already in for a new station; MRT Bukit Brown, so you know the Cemetery's days are numbered. All the more reason to visit. This is where that famous grave with the painted concrete Sikh guardsmen is. No doubt the government will want to preserve that bit of history.
I hopped off the MRT at Caldicott and crossed the street to Olive, Joan & Andrew Streets. This takes 5 minutes. Turn right on Jalan Mashoor and walk past Riding for the Disabled. On the corner of Mashoor & Gymkhana St, on the right, there's a narrow path. This path (1 minute walk) ends right on the Bukit Brown Ring Road. The famous grave with the Sikh guardsmen is about 10 graves to the left on the right side. Take a photo! You can stroll all the way around the Ring Road. Take note of the section of the Cemetery where you left the little path, so you can find it again. If you forget the section number, don't worry; you know it's about 10 graves before the Sikh guardsmen!
This is a fascinating place right off the tourist radar, & before long it will be just a dim memory of the past... so have a look!

3  Thank Jeanette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"buried here"
in 17 reviews
"volunteer guides"
in 5 reviews
"guided tour"
in 12 reviews
"cultural heritage"
in 5 reviews
"wear sturdy shoes"
in 3 reviews
"burial practices"
in 2 reviews
"chinese culture and history"
in 2 reviews
"tours offered"
in 2 reviews
"insect repellent"
in 5 reviews
"fascinating place"
in 4 reviews
"national treasure"
in 2 reviews
"excellent tour"
in 2 reviews
"monitor lizards"
in 3 reviews
"public transport"
in 4 reviews
"tombstones"
in 15 reviews
"pioneers"
in 15 reviews
"ancestors"
in 13 reviews
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4 - 8 of 192 reviews

Reviewed 11 March 2018

I was so lucky to have 2 Chicago Burmese professors ask me to join them for a stroll through the cemetary. I would not have thought to go. But, with them, it was truly a wonderful and amazingly rich experience. The history was incredible and also offered a glimpse into great humor that accompanied those who were laid to rest. I learned so much about the many cultures and history of people who had traveled to Singpore.. even finding a headstone of a sea captain from Portland, Maine! I grew up in Maine -- so I felt a bit of a special, although odd, connection.

Thank Lu T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2018 via mobile

Jane’s Tours never fail to provide something both unique and interesting. Today we were introduced to this fascinating place and one of the Brownie tour guides (who operate a weekly tour of this beautiful site). What I love most about Singapore is that in amongst this amazing architectural modern city are pockets of wonder. Places that are celebrations of diversity, heritage and history of Singapore.
Jane finds guides that are passionate about their specialty and that can delight you with their knowledge and enthusiasm.
I was appalled at the extent of the Sook Ching here in Singapore that some 50,000 able bodied young men of Chinese descent were rounded up and slaughtered during Japans’ occupation. Some of these victims were interned here in mass graves- they dug themselves. Such unimaginable horror and suffering. But here to is also where Qing Ming festival is carried out where families visit and celebrate their ancestors; bringing their favourite foods, lighting tapers and updating their ancestors on the families news. The graves themselves are gorgeous, often guarded with lions, dragons and even Sikh Guards. What can I say - inquisitive minds -come and visit!
Ps if you adore ceramic tile art like me you will love this tour.

Thank Suzanne R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2018 via mobile

Whether you take time to read the sparsely placed placards or not, you will feel a sense of souls and spirits and strength in this old place. Nearly a hundred years old, this cemetery contains gravesites of many interesting and important people as well as dearly loved grandmother's, children and fathers and sons, without whom we would not be able to enjoy the Singapore we know today.
Along with history is the science...the natural science of reclamation of earth as sky, as towering trees reach skyward, only to be anchored by clinging vines and yet lightened by the songs of birds. The darkness, the coolness, the vivid enchantment of this national treasure is tr a must see, and even more than this, a must feel.
Notes: Wear sturdy shoes, be careful of uneven ground. Bug repellent is advised. Watch for monitor lizards in the underbrush and keep an eye out for interesting birds or even the occasional colugo (like a cross between a flying lemurs and a squirrel).

1  Thank thetisqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 January 2018

Was researching on Bukit Brown cemetery online when I came across a free guided tour called "Bukit Brown - an introductory walk in Hills 1 and 3 with Darren (Jan 7, 2018, 4 pm)" which can be booked for on Peatix - and I am glad I went. I am grateful for an afternoon spent on this guided tour offered by Darren and really appreciate how volunteers like him spent time during their weekends sharing what they love about Bukit Brown. The place itself is not too remote; quite accessible by taxi/Grab or by public transport - MRT and bus. Remember to dress appropriately for the trip (be covered in long sleeves and jeans, wear shoes that are appropriate for walking on possibly muddy grounds, bring ponchos/umbrella and insect repellent). Darren is an enthusiastic and engaging story teller, and through the 2 hours walk, he shared with us the tomb architectures of a Hokkien and a Teochew person, how these material culture inform us of the family relations, the signs of wealth on tombs decorated with Peranakan tiles, the reason for Sikh guards sculptures on the tombs of certain eminent pioneers of Singapore, the lives and legacies of those buried within the hills of Bukit Brown and how investigating their stories have been, in part, tracing and mapping the Chinese disapora across the world. Particularly interesting was the inscription of the death date on these tombs and how they reflect events of historical significance in Singapore's past - from British colonial rule, the Nanyang Chinese's perception of being part of China and the period of the Japanese Occupation. In these stories, time and power are entwined. In fact, while Bukit Brown may be the final resting ground for the deceased from different Chinese clans, it is not merely a "Chinese" heritage site but rather reflects interracial dynamics of the past that was always present in Singapore - unspoken ties between people that is most visible in personal histories and everyday interactions rather than in official narratives. For instance, we learnt about how Bukit Brown was first constructed based on the British's concept of burying their dead, and how applying these ideas to creating the urban layout of a cemetery had been unpopular with the Chinese, who had different burial practices. Such intercultural negotiations are stories that are rarely found in official texts, but live on in the stories people tell from generation to generation. Lesser known, quiet and peaceful, nested in Bukit Brown are stories that continue to live on in street names, buildings and organisations found in Singapore, and is worthwhile going for a visit to learn more.

4  Thank brendasg2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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