Attap Valley Bunker in Woodlands
With new shopping malls and MRT stations popping up on empty lands ever so often, it’s hard to imagine that abandoned spaces in Singapore still exist. Yet, there are several such WW2 landmarks scattered around the island. So, when this Eastie heard about Woodlands’ hidden Attap Valley Bunker, I thought, “If it’s in the West, I’ll probably never visit IRL.”
As it turns out, even if you don’t mind the trek in the jungle, this remnant from our days as a British colony is currently off-limits to the public. Then what’s the point of writing about it you ask? Well, you can get right to the bunker’s entrance, albeit only on Google Maps. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know a little more about our history.
Attap Valley Bunker was originally known as Magazine No. 4
Back in 2015, the National Heritage Board held Attap Valley Bunker tours of some never-before-seen pre-war and wartime sites. This was to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the battle for Singapore and the 70th anniversary of our country’s subsequent liberation.
It’s giving “doorway to another world” vibes.
Image credit: Li via Google Maps
The Attap Valley Bunker was one of the stops during the tour, and only a select few were led inside this British-made pre-war military installation. Before it gained its much more ominous, cooler-sounding name, it was simply referred to as Magazine No. 4.
So, what was it used for exactly? The bunker was part of a network of 18 bomb-proof underground bunkers across Singapore.
The corridor beyond the main entrance was flooded during the special tours.
Image credit: Roots
These bunkers were originally an integral part of their “Singapore strategy” to protect themselves against the Japanese invasion and served as storage facilities for the British Singapore Naval Base. If you’re wondering how successful this strategy panned out to be, you should have paid more attention in History class. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t successful.
Attap Valley Bunker lies hidden at the bottom of a hill – formerly known as Talbots Hill – where there used to be 6 more similar storage facilities. Unfortunately, only this bunker still stands today.
What was found inside the Attap Valley Bunker?
Magazine No. 16 during WWII (left) and the tour group inside Magazine No. 4 in 2015 (right).
Image adapted from: The Royal Navy, Roots
After trudging through a corridor of ankle-deep murky water, the tour group reached the 300sqm storage area. They found 2 cranes with manufacturing labels dating back all the way to 1937.
Researchers have found that these underground bunkers were most likely used to assemble explosives and detonators to be sent to battleships before WW2. Once the Japanese occupation went underway, their army took over the bunkers to store their own ammunition.
The Attap Valley Bunker’s location on Google Maps.
11 groups in total had the rare opportunity to venture into the bunker back in 2015. As of now, there are no known plans to redevelop the area or open it to the public, and it remains a restricted space. So, don’t expect to see any paranormal investigators prowling around these parts anytime soon.
Learn more about WW2 sites like the Attap Valley Bunker
For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be part of one of the tours in 2015, the closest we can get to viewing the Attap Valley Bunker is via Google Maps. But if you do decide to make the trip to the West, you might still be able to explore some WW2 sites near Woodlands Waterfront Park such as the Marsiling tunnels and bunker.
While we might be better known for iconic buildings like MBS and the ArtScience Museum, it’s nice to know there are still some secrets our island has to offer.
Other WW2 sites in Singapore you can visit:
Cover image adapted from: Li via Google Maps
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