This Istana Woodneuk Guide was created by TheSmartLocal and first published here.
Hidden in the mass of vegetation between Holland Road and Tyersall Avenue lies Istana Woodneuk, an abandoned mansion once belonging to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. The mansion is said to have been built in the late 19th century for the Sultan’s fourth wife, Sultana Khadijah.
Before she died in this house in 1904, the Sultana sold the property to Sultan Abu Bakar’s son, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar. He rebuilt Istana Woodneuk in the 1930s for his Scottish born wife Helen Bartholomew. Subsequently, the house has also been used as Generals’ headquarters and a military hospital.
Istana Woodneuk has endured the test of time, nature and human brutality. The mansion was subject to the bombing of the Japanese in 1942, killing approximately 700 medics and patients, and was ferociously attacked by a fire circa 2006 which burned down its glorious blue roof.
It is important to note that Istana Woodneuk is not Istana Tyersall, another grand mansion of Sultan Abu Bakar’s not too far away from Woodneuk. Tyersall house sported a blood-red roof instead of blue, and it has since been razed to the ground.
With its rough past, it’s a wonder that Istana Woodneuk is still standing today – and pretty stably at it. If you’re craving for some thrill and want to tingle your ghost-senses, this hauntingly magnificent mansion is a great place to explore.
Take any bus that goes to the bus-stop opposite Peirce Road. Some of these buses can be taken from Holland Village and Clementi MRT.
A dark air of horror and mystery hangs over the compound, and you can’t help but entertain every fear-filled thought that something grim must have taken place here.
A solitary chair was placed in the middle of the stairway, facing a large spray-painted Illuminati symbol.
We were thrilled to spot this root-infested tub, and we would’ve spent more time photographing it if we didn’t notice the hornet’s nest right above our heads.
Do remember to be very careful when exploring the compound. This place is filled with hornets and wasps, which were way scarier to me than the abandoned house itself.
Although extremely beautiful, the forest is one savage place. Be sure to arm yourselves with insect repellent. Even though we coated ourselves with insect repellent, the mosquitoes were still relentless. Imagine what it would be like without it!
Also, when exploring the mansion, tread very carefully. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for hornets’ nests and crumbly areas. Don’t venture where you feel the structures are unstable.
If you ever plan on visiting this place, do have respect for all that is around you. Keep the trail and the jungle pristine as it is by leaving behind only your footprints, and try to appreciate the richness of this mansion’s past.
Update: There are reports that Istana Woodneuk has been cordoned off as of April 2015.
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