Tucked away among the skyscrapers of Singapore’s urban jungle is Kampong Lorong Buangkok – the only surviving traditional village in this modern city-state of 5.7 million people.
The “Kampong”, the Malay word for village, consists of 26 single-story wooden houses that were once ubiquitous in Singapore. After the borders were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, visitors on site experienced a boom.
Most of the kampongs disappeared during Singapore’s rush to urbanize, but when they got stuck at home, locals like 48-year-old Jenn Lee, a day vendor, craved a bit of nostalgia to share with her son.
“I think it’s good that he knows there is something like that there, not just overseas like Malaysia, Thailand or the Philippines,” said Lee.
The Singapore authorities have campaigned to support local tourism and given citizens cash vouchers for stays.
Tour operators claim that there is plenty to explore in the country of just 724 square kilometers (280 square miles).
Kyanta Yap, a guide on Let’s Go Tour: Singapore, said her weekend visits to Kampong, which cost S $ 200 ($ 147) for a group of up to three people or S $ 250 for four to five people, had been almost since September booked up .
“We’re trying to reinvent ourselves, so we’re trying to bring out most of the industry with local tourism packages,” Yap said.
Tourists have the chance to wander the kampong, learn how to use a traditional coal-fired iron, and talk to residents about what they grow in their gardens.
“At first … we felt very uncomfortable with tourists starting to look at us,” said Nassim, 52, who now enjoys showing tourists around his garden.
The village also offers some of the lowest rents in normally expensive Singapore. A landlord said some individual Kampong rooms cost only S $ 6.50 a month.
The average rent for a government-subsidized three-bedroom apartment in Hougang, where the Kampong is located, was S $ 1,650 earlier this year. Renting a room costs around S $ 500, according to websites.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)