Remnants of Singapore’s Lost Roads – Kuala Loyang Road

There are many Malay-named roads or places in Singapore that are named after the island’s natural landscapes, such as bukit (“hill” in Malay), sungei, (“river”) or tanjong (“cape”). But there are not many with the name kuala, which refers to “estuary” in Malay. The definition of an estuary is “the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream”. One of the best known names is, of course, Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

There was, however, one road in Singapore that possessed the name kuala. It was the Kuala Loyang Road, formerly linked to Tampines Road and Upper Changi Road, and was extended to mouth of Sungei Loyang on its other end, where “the tide met the stream”. In the maps of the 1950s, the regions labelled Tampines and Changi are the Pasir Ris New Town and Loyang Industrial Estate today. The network of roads on the eastern side of Kuala Loyang Road, already well-developed six decades back, has become the restricted premises of Selarang Camp and Changi Air Base.

kuala loyang road 1955

Kuala Loyang Road was extended in the late sixties; the original road was stretched all the way to the coastline and was linked to a jetty located between Sungei Loyang and Sungei Selarang. At its midway, a new road, also called Kuala Loyang Road, was branched off to link to Calshot Road.

The seventies saw a series of changes made to the vicinity around Kuala Loyang Road. Private estates known as Bukit Loyang Estate North and South were planned along Tampines Road in the early seventies. In 1978, drainage projects were carried out to convert Sungei Selarang into a canal, while the parcel of land between the river and Kuala Loyang Road was designated as a future industrial estate.

kuala loyang road map 1984

By 1981, a long straight main road had been constructed, cutting through both Tampines Road and Kuala Loyang Road, resulting in an interesting scenario where two Kuala Loyang Roads existed, one kilometre away from each other. As the housing and industrial estates developed in the vicinity, the long main road would go on to become an important road in the northeastern side of Singapore. It was named Loyang Avenue.

Kampong (Sungei) Loyang and Yan Kit Village were the larger villages in the vicinity. The former was located near to the mouth of Sungei Loyang, and had existed until the late eighties before it was torn down. At its former site now stands Aloha Loyang Resort and the row of condominiums at Jalan Loyang Besar. Yan Kit Village, previously situated at the southern end of Kuala Loyang Road, was also demolished in the late eighties.

development of pasir ris and loyang 1980s

Near the junction of Kuala Loyang Road and Tampines Road used to exist a Tanah Merah Besar Malay School. It was also where the former Ministry of Culture organised free movies in the sixties for the residents living in the villages nearby.

A clinic was set up beside the school in the seventies, but by the early nineties, the school premises was converted into a camp site (later renamed as an adventure centre) for the Ministry of Education (MOE) after the school ceased its operation.

kuala loyang road

As for Kuala Loyang Road, it was reduced to a short secondary road as an access to the MOE adventure centre by the mid-nineties. The road was expunged after the premises closed down in mid-2000s. Its street signage had been removed, and it was no longer listed in the official maps.

kuala loyang road2

kuala loyang road4

kuala loyang road5

Published: 14 June 2015

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29 Responses to Remnants of Singapore’s Lost Roads – Kuala Loyang Road

  1. Dennis Gordon says:

    I once did sentry guard duty with the NCC at the Kuala Loyang Road sometime in 1976/77. Saw the picture with the barricade pole, now that was about where I did my sentry duty. Was a school camp outing . (Where is Air Gemuror anyway?) Had a photo of me with my NNC friend at Air Gemuror.

    • Dr N Y Ho says:

      There is still a road off River Valley Road named Jalan Kuala between River Valley Close and Kim Seng Road. It is a cul-de-sac with Yong An Park to its west and the old Morningside Hotel to its east and leads to the River Valley Primary School. It does not lead to The Singap[ore River, so there is no estuary to speak of.

      As for Ayer Germuroh (the old actual spelling of the area) , it is now reclaimed land. It used to be a Malay Kampong/settlement there with its own mosque as well as a Malay SchoolIt was served by a road runnig parallel to the coastline leading from the previous private road called Wing Loong Road which connected with Upper Changi Road at the 11 milestone vicinity. Wing Loong was named after the father of the well-known High Street tailor shop of the same name, Ng Sen Choy, who was the father-in-law of the late Justice F A Chua. Ng has a bungalow at the bend od the Wing Loong Road as it turned eastwards at the end of that stretch leading from the main Upper Changi Road. After passing the Malay settlement, Wing Loong Road joined up with Tanah Merah Besar Road at its junction with Nicoll Drive which contined eastwards to Chani Point near the previous Telok Paku. Singapore’s first Chief Minister (1955-1956), Daivid Saul Marshall used to stay at a bungalow situated between the Malay settlement and the Tanah Merah Besar Road end of Wing Loong Road. Tanah Merah Besar Road joined Upper Changi Road next to the former Changi Prison to Wing LoongRoad/Nicoll Drive.

      As a scout I used to camp at crown land in Ayer Germuroh in the mid 1950s just further up the road from the Malay settlement. There were also some holiday chalets for government servants to rent for their holidays there.

    • SM says:

      I attended a NCC camp in Loyang Camp in 1979. I remember taking a night walk towards the sea and we rested on the beach watching the night view. That stretch of beach has definitely been reclaimed for housing. Do you know where was that camp in today’s map?

      • PJ Yap says:

        35th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers (35SCE)
        35SCE is the battalion specialised in military bridging. Consisting of three companies, the battalion provides the transportation means in the form of float bridges, rafts and assault boats for the projection of combat troops and vehicles across rivers and water obstacles to facilitate troop movement.

        Established in 1969, the 35th Battalion Singapore Combat Engineers was first called 35 CEB, based at Loyang Camp with ten officers and 30 NCOs. In 1971, the battalion relocated to its current base at Seletar Camp.

      • Nai Yin Ho says:

        Official spelling in the 1950s was Ayer Gemuroh which was a Malay kampong then with some civil service holiday bungalows then as well lying in the middle part of the road that joined Wing Loong Road, then a private road, to Tanah Merah Road further east. When they started building the Changi Airport in 1975, all were cleared and some land reclaimed from the sea fronting it as well. Therefore it is no longer in existence since then.

  2. Dr N Y Ho says:

    Therev was also another road that bore the “kuala” word, namely Jalan Kuala Simpang, in the Sembawang Area. It was near the old 12th milestone Sembawang Road, on the same side as Jalan Chencharu and Bah Soon Bah Road but further up north, even more northerly than the former Chye Kay Village which had the former Chye Kay Road branching off from Sembawang Road on the same side and Jalan Lengkok Sembawang opposite it a little further up Sembawang Road.Jalan Ulu Sembawang is slightly more northerly still. Jalan Kuala Simpang was a cul-de-sac ending between the former Sungei Simpang Kiri to its north and Sungei Khatib Bongsu to its south. Of course all those villages there were demolished when Yishun New Town was developed in the 1980s. My wife used to teach for a short while in the former Lee Cheng Chinese School in Chye Kay Village there.

  3. Dr N Y Ho says:

    I remember that the late Mr C K Tang used to have a holiday villa near the end of Kuala Loyang Road that faced the Straits of Johore (the former spelling for the present Johor) in the 1950s/1960s before redevelopment there wiped it out from the map. We also camped there as scouts in the 2nd half of the 1950s when I was at secondary school.

  4. Emmanuel says:

    Where is the place now

  5. Dr N Y Ho says:

    Now the place is replaced by the Loyang Industrial Park.which all the roads there beginning with the word Loyang, west of Sungei Selarang.

    • Emmanuel says:

      OK thank you

    • William R. says:

      No, actually the road can be found beside the shell petrol station at the junction of Loyang Avenue and New Loyang Link. Only a short section is left.

      • Dr N Y Ho says:

        Kuala Loyang Road is not listed in the latest edition of the Street Directory. At best it is the portion not incorporated into the roads built since and left alone as a remnant for the time being until it is used for future development.

  6. Bernard M says:

    Can I pick up on the comment that ‘in the late sixties the original Kuala Loyang Road was stretched all the way to the coastline and was linked to a jetty located between Sungei Loyang and Sungei Selarang’. I surmise this was to serve the new Offshore Supply Base.

    Worth remembering that this jetty (which was 1,300 ft/396 metres long) was in fact part of the (British) Royal Navy Boom Defence Depot, Loyang, which was built in the late 1930s and closed in March 1969. The Depot was 49 acres/20 Ha in area, and had its own internal railway system to move around the heavy buoys, hawsers and salvage equipment. Very little information regarding this Depot seems to have survived.

    After the Royal Navy departed the site was redeveloped as a supply base for offshore oil exploration. It has been completely re-built over the years and it is very unlikely that anything of the original Depot still exists. It is now the TOLL Offshore Supply Base.

    Returning to the subject of Kuala Loyang Road, it is interesting to note that the original (1930s) road from the Boom Defence Depot southwards to Tampines Road was over higher ground a little to the west of where of where Kuala Loyang Road was later build. This higher ground appears to have been removed – perhaps to fill in the nearby large swamp where the Sungei Selarang previously meandered?

    Best wishes

  7. Norman says:

    Is it beside the Shell Loyang Avenue/New Loyang Link?

  8. Len M. Kassim Brunkalla says:

    My wife, Sa’mah, is from Kampong Loyang…194 Jalan Loyang Besar. She left there in 1981. The rest of her family was there until 1985 or ’86, when the government flattened the village.

  9. Arthur Howard says:

    I served at the Royal Navy Boom Defence Depot at Loyang from 1966 to 1967. I was the Radio Operator for the 3 Boom Defence Ships and a Tug. I was accompanied by my wife and 2 children we lived in a lovely Bungalow on the base. I believe that on the way to the Base was a Kampong on the left hand side and the Steward from Hms Barbain lived there I believe his name was Lim. He invited me to his house in the Kampong where I met his Family. I have many happy memories of Loyang and its people. I also have a number of photographs of the local crew of Hms Barbain

  10. PJ Yap says:

    I understand that houses around Mariam, Jln Batalong, Jln Chelagi, Loyang are named as Bukit Loyang Estate under the postal code. Anyone has information or old photos of Bukit Loyang Estate? I am trying to compile a historical/heritage information of Bukit Loyang Estate with photo montage of this estate.

  11. Maggie Read says:

    I lived in bungalow number 4 at the Boom Defence Depot from 1967 to March 1969. At the closure we were invited to a barbecue by the Santa Fe Oil company who took over the base. Often wonder what happened to the beautiful houses built on stilts. Maggie Read daughter of Lt David Wakefield RN.

    • Arthur Howard says:

      Hi Maggie,
      I lived at No 8 Bungalow at Loyang. I was the Leading Radio Operator for all the Boom Defence Vessels and the Ocean Going Tug. I did not know your Father as I think I had returned home before he was based at Loyang I believe he was an Engineer Officer.
      I remember Commander Gordon Base Commander , Lieutenant Tissington First Lieutenant of the Base and Captain of HMS Barmond and the Ocean Going Tug whose name I cannot remember, Lieutenant Tweed the Base Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Commander Hunt the Captain of HMS Barbain his relief was Lieutenant Commander Canter, Lieutenant Punton the First Lieutenant HMS Barbain, Lieutenant Commander Atkinson the Captain od HMS Barfoil, Lieutenant Lines the First Lieutenant HMS Barfoil, CERA Polly HMS Barbain. CERA Beer HMS Barfoil, a Chief Mech for HMS Barmonde and Ocean Going Tug (Cannot remember his name).
      Loyang was a fantastic place to be based and I truly enjoyed my time there.

    • prathip says:

      Hello, I was 7 years and lived at BDO from 1966 to 1968. My father, Chandroth, worked as a Physicians Assistant at the Sick Bay. We lived at the first building next to the main entrance sentry point. We frequent at the Jetty and jump into huge ships! Loved it.

      • Arthur Howard says:

        I served at BDO from 1966 to 1967. I was the Radio Operator for all the ships. I lived with my family at No 8. It was a lovely bungalow. I really enjoyed my time at BDO

  12. Rapheal Azrin says:

    Lived in that area..and schooled at the Tanah Merah Besar Malay School (Sekolah Melayu Tanah Merah Besar SMTMB)…. and those memrants are what is all left.

    I always ask the soldiers for the dog biscuits..cos always hungry after school…. now my kids uniform at waterway pri is a rememberance of me and the SMTMB school uniform

  13. Ima says:

    Rahimah Binte Abdul Rahim
    I stayed at Kuala Loyang Road in a kampong house since born. (1970 – 1983)
    Missed my kampong so much. Can i know, why they asked a
    us to move out from there and yet nothing has been done to the land till present???

  14. Dr N Y Ho says:

    It is usual for the government to acquire land which it intends to use in future. The occupants had to vacate the land but after they had left, their former residence’s land were left vacant for an extended period of time. Even in the case of HDB flats, it adopted the same practice. In Toa Payoh Housing Estates’s Kim Keat Avenue, 3 blocks of 1-room rental apartments (Blocks 196, 197 &198 were demolished in the early 1990s but the land was left vacant and development on it was only started sometime in the late 2010s. The government does what it likes.

  15. Passed by and it seems like there are some development works ongoing for Kuala Loyang Road.

  16. The Kuala Loyang Road remnant was no more…

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