Marang Cemetery at Mount Faber

Given its proximity to Keppel Harbour, it’s hardly astonishing that the area around Mount Faber is home to many historical sites. While society’s elite might have lived it up at Keppel House and frolicked in Keppel Hill Reservoir back in the day, the hill’s also where some of Singapore’s earliest residents were laid to rest. Here’s more about the now-closed Marang Cemetery, located a stone’s throw away.

200-year-old graves dating back to 1866

Nestled amongst the dense jungle undergrowth at the foot of Mount Faber, Marang Cemetery is home to roughly 200 graves. But lest you wonder if this was the next stop for those who chionged too hard at Keppel House, no, it is not.

Kampong Marang, in its prime.
Image credit: National Archives of Singapore.

Instead, those who called this their final resting place were often distinguished folk – indeed, a former Justice of Peace and more than a few prominent businessmen are interred here. In fact, the earliest grave found here dates back to 1866, and belongs to the founder of nearby Kampong Marang. Not only did the erstwhile village lend its name to the cemetery, it used to be co-located with the graveyard too, till a fire razed the village back in the 1980s.

A view of the graveyard, when it was still incorporated with the land of the living.
Image credit: National Archives of Singapore.

The graves were only re-discovered in 2008, when local grave researcher Sarafian Salleh stumbled upon the cemetery while on a training run. Having dug deeper into the history of the area, the identities of the graveyard’s inhabitants were finally unearthed when former villagers of Kampong Marang provided him with the names of their relatives buried here.

What to know before visiting Marang Cemetery?

Marang Cemetery is located right next to the start of Marang Trail.
Image credit: @nrhtdytz via Instagram

Ever since the relocation of the villagers 30 years ago, Mother Nature has reclaimed whatever’s left of the abandoned settlement. The ground here is known to be uneven and overgrown with moss, with fallen headstones making for tripping hazards, so tread lightly around these parts.

Many grave markers have since fallen, so do watch where you’re walking.
Image adapted from @nrhtdytz via Instagram

Since Marang Cemetery is a Muslim burial ground, it might be best to dress more conservatively, should a day out to the graveyard be in order. Heavy duty mosquito repellent patches or sprays are also must-brings, since any visitors to the abandoned graves essentially means buffet time for these pesky critters.

Getting to Marang Cemetery

Image credit: @mintyinsg via Instagram

Marang Cemetery hides in plain sight. It’s rather similar to hiking to Keppel Hill Reservoir, given that both start from Harbourfront MRT exit A. But instead of making a left after exiting the station, make a right instead, and walk along Telok Blangah Road for about 3 minutes till you see Marang Road on your left.

After turning in, follow the road till you see the trailhead of the Southern Ridges’ Marang Trail. But instead of making the arduous climb up, take the zebra crossing on the right and ascend the short flight of stairs, where you’ll be greeted by many little grave markers sticking out. Some of these are draped in cloth too, similar to those at Keramat Bukit Kasita.

Pop by the abandoned Marang Cemetery

Located in the shadow of Mount Faber, Marang Cemetery’s various things to many people – an ancestral burial ground for former villagers, an intriguing find to researchers looking to learn more about Singapore’s early days, or just a TIL for frequent visitors to our site. It’s also proof that our little island hides plenty more secrets, all awaiting discovery, further laying the oft-heard “Singapore is boring” complaint to rest.

Getting there: 3-minute walk from Harbourfront Station Exit A
Address: 45 Marang Road, Singapore 099280

For more hidden gems:

Cover image adapted from: @mintyinsg, @nrhtdytz via Instagram

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