The Tanglin Brunei Hostel or Asrama Kerajaan Brunei di Singapura (AKBS), although largely unknown even to most locals, has a rich history as a residence for Bruneian students studying in Singapore. The hostel, now in a dilapidated state, was built in 1958 to accommodate the increasing number of students from Brunei that were sent for schooling abroad. This was common in the 1950s as Brunei was facing economic struggles and difficulties in setting up its own former education system. Initially, only students from the Islamic stream were sent to Singapore, but later, English and Malay stream students also joined.
The hostel provided facilities such as meals, laundry, textbooks, and allowances for the students it housed, making their lives convenient during their life abroad. For many, it would have been their first time living alone and traveling away from their families in Brunei, with limited communication compared to what is available today.
Despite initial challenges, the students quickly adapted to hostel life and created happy memories. Sports, especially football, were popular among the students, and national events were celebrated at the hostel, fostering a sense of Bruneian heritage. With the development of elite secondary schools in Brunei by 1983, the need for sending students to Singapore diminished, leading to the closure of the hostel. Today, the abandoned Tanglin Brunei Hostel stands as a reminder of its proud history as a residence that catered towards Bruneian students.
The AKBS is a must-visit because it is a hidden gem, located in the very unsuspecting, posh neighborhood of Tanglin, yet its haunting Colonial style will haunt you with the deep admiration for where present-day Bruneian politicians once lived. Visitors to the Brunei Hostel have reported strange experiences and feelings, although nothing violent or sinister.
It is believed that the abandoned place holds more historical significance and memories than actual paranormal activity. With that being said, you are only able to see the hostel legally from the outside as it remains a private property of the Brunei Consulate. You can be assured that to look at it from the outside alone is enough to deeply admire the life that the buildings once contained.
Know Before You Go
Trespassing the location can result in serious fines - it is advised that you see the building from the outside.