Old Upper Thomson Road is full of stories. It leads to a now-abandoned village, was once part of the Singapore Grand Prix circuit, and may have a resident ghost or two.
The road was once connected to Lor Pelta and Jalan Belang, lanes that led to Hainan Village. Although Hainan Village is abandoned, remnants of the community can still be found through Thomson Nature Park, specifically through the Rambutan Trail. The village, known as a kampong in Southeast Asia, was built during the 1960s for residential housing, rambutan plantations, factories, warehouses, and fish ponds for breeding purposes.
From 1961 to 1973, the Thomson Road circuit hosted the Singapore Grand Prix and other car and motorcycle races. One of the most difficult parts of the course was a V-shaped turn called “Devil’s Bend” that tested drivers’ limits. While other parts of the circuit had their challenges, none could compare to Devil’s Bend. It was not only a difficult turn, but a dangerous one—over 11 years of races, it led to the deaths of seven drivers. Eventually, due to its hazardous nature, the Grand Prix circuit was canceled. It was renewed on a different circuit in 2008.
Although it is no longer affiliated with the Grand Prix, the road remains in use today. Due to its death toll, Devil’s Bend, fittingly named, is considered a haunted road. There have been numerous ghost sightings, the most notorious being a young lady dressed in white who would call for a taxi. Taxi drivers said that after dropping this ominous figure at her location, she would pay with hell money. (In many East Asian cultures, hell money is paper printed to look like bank notes that is burned so that loved ones have currency to use in the afterlife.)
While Old Upper Thomson Road carries the legacy of its dangerous past, it now borders Thomson Nature Park, making it a popular lane for cyclists, pedestrians, fans of Singapore’s history.