Etymology and history
Also known as Xiao Guilin among the locals, the Little Guilin looks similar to that of Guilin in China – a granite rock sitting within a lake. It was originally a disused granite quarry. In fact, the name "Bukit Batok" has been suggested to be derived from the noise made by the blasting in the granite quarry that now form the natural surroundings of Little Guilin.
Together with Bukit Batok Town Park and the neighbouring Bukit Batok Nature Park, it occupies 77 ha of land in the planning area of Bukit Batok. It encompasses Bukit Gombak, Hong Kah, Brickworks, Hillview, and also Bukit Batok itself. Before being designated as a park, in 1984, the Housing and Development Board had originally intended to fill the quarry up and build a road on it. However, it was converted to a pond instead when it was realized that the existing quarry had rugged granite outcrops and a contrasting backdrop of green hills that gave it a pleasant look. Soon, the surrounding areas were also beautified and made accessible by placing granite blocks on the retaining walls and adding footpaths, lights and seating.
In 1996, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) conceptualised the Development Plan Guide for Yishun and Bukit Batok, which proposed the use of the surrounding parks to enhance the residential landscape for the area. It also proposed links between the Town Park and Nature Parks, and eventually linking them via park connectors to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Sungei Pandan.
The Little Guilin Park has a narrow strip of land and occupies 42 ha, well-landscaped and provided with footpaths. This park is popular with shutterbugs and wedding couples, and is lit from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am.
It is located in Bukit Gombak, at Bukit Batok East Avenue 5, and is a 5 minutes walk from Bukit Gombak MRT Station. Besides being used for exercise and walks, the town park has also been used as a stage for Chinese opera, dance and music performances such as the Heroine of the Water Margin. The park has also been suggested as an alternative destination for tourists wishing to see a different side of Singapore.
Bukit Gombak Trail
Part of the Little Guilin Park, the Bukit Gombak Trail was created through the national Parks Board's Adopt-A-Park Scheme with the former Sembawang-Hong Kah Community Development Council and Bukit Gombak Community Club Youth Executive committee in 1999. It was a nature walk through the park, with directional signposts located at several points. According to the National Parks Board, these lookout points offered magnificent aerial perspectives of the lake and a bird's eye view of the surrounding estate. In 2007, following landslides, the National Parks Board permanently closed the trail.
- "Bukit Batok Town Park". National Library Board. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- "Little Guilin Park". SINGAPORESIGHTS. Archived from the original on 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- "National Parks Board". National Parks Board. Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- "Bukit Gombak Trail closed for public safety". [AsiaOne]. Retrieved 2009-03-13.