History & Origins
Bukit Merah, a reference to the red-coloured lateritic soil found on the hill, translates to 'Red Hill' in Malay, Legend has it that Singapore used to be subjugated by swordfish attacks until a boy named Hang Nadim proposed an ingenious solution to build a wall of sharp banana stems along the coast to trap the swordfish snouts. While his solution solved the problem & garnered great respect from his people, it also attracted the jealousy of King Paduka Sen Maharaja who ordered his execution. People say his blood soaked the soil of the hill where he was killed, giving rise to the red coloured hill.
Bukit Merah is home to an estimated 145,700 HDB residents in 54,423 flats. The area has seen rapid development over the years and now comprises of a mixture of residential neighborhoods, lush green spaces, historic precincts & heritage buildings. 1955 saw the completion of the first phase of residential development in the area, with the government completing twenty one 7 storey HDB blocks, which replaced the attap huts of the area. By the 1960s, the government built more public housing in the area, especially 1 room to 3 room flats.
Transportation & Connectivity
Due to its size of 17 sub zones, Bukit Merah is serviced by 5 current and 3 future MRT stations. These include Labrador Park (CC27), Redhill (EW18), Tiong Bahru (EW17), Havelock (future), Cantonment (future), Keppel (future) HarbourFront (NE1/CC29), Telok Blangah (CC28) and Outram Park.(EW16). Bukit Merah also has its own bus interchange, housing 15 routes: 5, 16, 57, 123, 131, 131M, 132, 139, 153, 167, 176, 198, 272, 273 & 851.
Bukit Merah has 7 Primary schools (Alexandra Primary School, Blangah Rise Primary School, Cantonment Primary School, CHIJ Kellock, Gan Eng Seng Primary School, Radin Mas Primary School, Zhangde Primary School), 4 Secondary Schools (Bukit Merah Secondary School, CHIJ St. Theresa's Convent, Crescent Girls' School, Gan Eng Seng School), 2 tertiary institutions (Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School & PSB Academy) and 3 international campuses (APSN Tanglin School, ISS International School, Shelton College International).
There are 6 shopping malls in Bukit Merah: Alexandra Retail Centre, Vivocity, Queensway Shopping Center, IKEA Alexandra, Anchorpoint Shopping Center & Tiong Bahru Plaza. The largest of these is Vivocity, which is designed by internationally acclaimed Japanese architect Toyo Ito, the man behind the renowned Sendai Mediatheque in Japan. The mall, which opened in 2006 boasts 365 shops & services spread across 140,000 square meters.
The Bukit Chermin Boardwalk within Labrador Park gives you a beautiful view of land and sea
Image credit: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/mygreenspace/issue-34-vol-3-2017/lifestyle/people-and-places/wanderlust-sg-labrador-nature-and-coastal-walk
Nature lovers will rejoice in Bukit Merah, with over 10 major green trails for all fitness levels worth exploring. From the peaceful serenity of HortPark, to the majestic views offered by the Southern Ridges Treetop Walk and Henderson Waves. With the fresh air at Labrador Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, Berlayer Creek Boardwalk, Marang Trail, Bukit Purmei Hillock Park and Mount Faber Park, nature lovers will be spoilt for choice living in Bukit Merah.
URA Master Plan
The Urban Redevelopment Authority has planned a new park between Alexandra Park Connector and Telok Blangah Hill Park called ‘Alexandra Stream Walk’. The former Henderson Secondary School buildings will also be transformed into new community facilities such as a childcare center, nursing home and urban farms. 4 new MRT stations will also be completed as part of the Thomson-East Coast line and Circle Line 6, due in 2021 and 2025 respectively. SGH is also slated to be expanded to include Outram Medical Campus, which will open by 2023. Other developments planned include a Sentosa north south link and a funicular at Mount Faber.
Did You know?
- Bukit Merah is the 10th most populated planning area in Singapore
- Bukit Merah's fertile red soil was employed to great effect, when it was a district rich in gambier cultivation during British colonial rule
- Rediscover Singapore when you pass by The Interlace, an award-winning condominium along Depot Road. The Interlace clinched the prestigious ‘World Building of the Year’ title at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in 2015.