Our very first foray into the 18-hectare Fort Canning Park consisted of an impromptu midnight stroll through the iconic hilltop landmark from the Dhoby Ghaut end right over to the Clarke Quay section of the Singapore River. We were utterly enchanted by the park that night – the elevated vantage point gave us a chance to truly enjoy the spectacular view of the city’s twinkling lights in the distance. There’s something magical about exploring unfamiliar territory while being fully surrounded by nature and looking down into a maze of brightly lit buildings. We knew we absolutely had to return to this place in the daytime, just to see if it would be just as beautiful. And of course, that was exactly what we did the next day.
Originally known as Bukit Larangan, or “Forbidden Hill” in Malay, the hill has been a local landmark since Singapore’s earliest recorded history due to its strategic location as the highest elevated point within walking distance to the civic district. It has been the exclusive address of several of the nation’s rulers and colonial leaders dating right back to the 14th century.
In 1859, increased security concerns led to the hill taking on a military role with the building of a fort, named Fort Canning after Viscount Charles John Canning, who was then Governor-General and first Viceroy of India. Many key historic events have taken place on the hill, including the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese by Lieutenant General Percival during World War II in 1942.
In 1981, the hill was renamed Fort Canning Park with the planting of a fruit tree by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Today, the park serves as an important green lung for Singapore’s downtown city area, overlooking Orchard Road in the heart of the Central Area that forms the Central Business District. The lush backdrop and sprawling lawns have also made Fort Canning a hub for cultural and artistic creativity. It acts as a prominent venue for many recreational activities and celebrations, playing host to theatre productions and music festivals throughout the year.
13 thoughts on “The Beauty & History of Fort Canning Park, Singapore”
Hello! Your pictures are amazing!! What camera are you using?
Thank you! I used a Nikon D3200 for the pictures in this post, mostly with my 35mm f/1.8G prime lens and the more versatile 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G lens for the wide angle shots.
Excellent blog entry, I enjoyed reading it very much. Your images are beautiful…Well Done !
Thank you! Always happy to share. Glad you dropped by, Jason! :)
Your pictures are stunning. Those trees! I was in Singapore last year on a 12 hour layover. Posts like this remind me that I have ample reason to visit again (I barely scratched the surface)!
Yes! The trees in Singapore are insane! Humongous and ridiculously green and leafy! Fort Canning Park is one of those places that tourists (and even locals) don’t really visit because they only think of Singapore as a crowded city sprawling with concrete, good for nothing but shopping, shopping and more shopping. No one thinks to visit the parks, which is a real shame because there really is a lot of hidden nature in Singapore, not to mention a lot of effort goes into making the parks look fabulous!
Next time I go to Singapore, I will be sure to check out its parks. Honestly, last time was just a bit of a whirlwind- I visited during the Lunar New Year, so I had dinner with my friend’s family, then went around checking out the Marina Bay Sands/Waterfront, Kinokuniya, all those sorts of attractions. Maybe next time I’ll stay for a few days! :D
Carrying insect repellent and/or sun block cream, in addition to a brolly or poncho, tends to help in such aforementioned atmospheres. The “temperamental” weather in Singapore often catches people off-guard – even the locals!
Great photos and write up, by the way!
What a cool post & a cool lovely garden aka park! I loved strolling there with you from my stool! x