By Nessa Anwar
Explore landscapes of ancient other worlds in this InstaScram feature. We ride the Triumph Street Twin to the movie-worthy settings of Xiao Guilin and Chinese Garden, discovering their history and cultural influences on the landscape.
Xiao Guilin is known for a number of things, from being the site of filming period dramas, to being a relaxing place for tourists and locals alike, and for its sensational backdrops.
The towns of Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak were originally home to more than 20 quarry sites until the early 1990s. Presently, the most famous former quarry amongst them is the picturesque Xiao Guilin - or Little Guilin. Known back in the day as the Gammon Quarry, Xiao Guilin earned its name from the protruding tips that mirrored its namesake of the majestic karst cliffs in Guilin, China.
As the quarry sites involved dangerous acts of explosive detonations, there were no residences or even main roads around the area, a far cry from the bustling neighbourhood it is today. Pictures of the area in the past were a lot less scenic. But the history of the quarries that speak of rock formations that date back more than 250 million years, remain relevant to our ecology today.
This episode doesn’t only feature a rider’s perspective, but also a panoramic, bird’s-eye view of Singapore’s exquisite Chinese Garden, or Yu Hwa Yuan, the biggest Chinese Garden outside of China.
Opened in 1975, the Jurong Town Corporation built the Garden on one of three islands, which were created when the Jurong River underwent a damming process.
This ethereal oasis inspires all who walk through its calm surroundings, attracting joggers, cyclists, photographers and especially romantic couples taking a stroll. Explore a Bonsai Garden,10-metre high bronze statues and even 100-year-old pomegranate trees.
Architectural influences from the classical northern Chinese imperial dynasty are represented here and feature sculptures heavily influenced from that era. The 7-storey pagoda mirrors the Linggu Temple Pagoda in Nanjing. The four pavilions were inspired by the style of pavilions in Northern China, and the “White Rainbow Bridge”, that links the Chinese Garden to the Japanese Garden, is styled after the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing. The long white bridge was also featured as the finishing line of the Amazing Race Asia Season 2. Watch the InstaScram episode to find out more.
And if you’re looking to take a respite from the walking, the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum, which was added to the gardens in 2002, allows you to experience a collection of a variety of reptiles and they even allow feeding.