A closer look at home: Marsiling WWII Tunnel

Growing up in Singapore, one often hear laments about how boring this country is. The attractions seem to be overly touristy and there were never many places for adventures. Seeking to balance this mindset and in the spirit of exploration, we at Tripeon are setting out to discover local gems!

This week, we explored a historical tunnel located within Marsiling. Described within the well-researched post by Ms Joy Loh (recommended read), this tunnel/bunker was in essence an underground oil storage facility for the Asiatic Petroleum Company (APC). During and after WWII, it was used to supply fuel to the British Navy. Unfortunately, the depot became unused after the British Naval Base was handed back to Singapore, post independence.

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There are two ways to enter. The north (nearer to the Jetty) which required a lot more bashing (look out for the pipes), and the south (along Marsiling Crescent) where we entered from. While we eventually realise that the bunker wasn’t too far from the main road, the start point can be difficult to spot. We made a huge detour.

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The tunnel entrance was small and we slid down into the bunker. The first thing we noticed, monstrous geckos. Tons of them protecting their nests of eggs against us intrusive giants. Unlike the forest outside, there were no mosquitoes within the bunker and they must be the reason why.

The interior was pitch dark and there was an ominous looking staircase at the end of the walkway. We were apprehensive, it looked straight out from a zombie apocalypse movie. With a courage boosting brotherly roar, we forged forward, armed with nothing but our headlights and the comforting notion that we had each other backs. At the bottom of the staircase, wet orange sludge awaited us. The pipes, while rusty, provided the only slippery walking option for us to explore the various bays ( Note: Geocache is located in Bay #5).

And that’s it, anticlimatic. We laughed at our baseless fears and started making our way back. The supposed palm prints on the walls were likely left behind by previous adventurers who probably held on to the pipes. At the exit, an installed rope made it easier to climb out into the open sun. As a parting tribute, we left our forest bashing weapon behind.

Here are a few recommendations we thought might be useful to future adventurers.

  • Bring mosquito repellent. While the bunker is devoid of mosquitoes, we couldn’t say the same for the forest outside.
  • Wear headlights – the bunker is pitch dark
  • Put your phone into a zip-lock bag – Sure the Iphone is a good light source, the sludge wants it too.
  • Wear old jeans/ old shoes – sludge.

Unfortunately, we are unable to post videos as of yet. Do drop us an comment/ email if you want to check the videos or need more information. We will share about what we know, where we can.


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