British YouTuber explores creepy Istana Woodneuk in S'pore, says he didn't mean to trespass

The overgrown vegetation around the former palace adds an extra eeriness to the place.

Julia Yeo | September 28, 2020, 07:52 PM

An abandoned two-storey palace located at the former Tyersall Park near Botanic Gardens, Istana Woodneuk is a private land owned by the State of Johor.

YouTuber visits Istana Woodneuk

In a video uploaded on Sep. 26 by YouTuber Richard Hazeldine of Asia Hikelopedia, he gave viewers a tour of the former residence of Johorean royalty.

While it is estimated to have a commercial value of S$4.7 billion, the land is zoned for "special use of green space", meaning that development for other purposes, such as residential or commercial, is restricted.

The former palace has not been lived in for decades, and has mostly fallen into ruin, particularly after a major fire that broke out in 2006, causing the blue-tiled roof to cave in.

As Hazeldine explored the vicinity, it became clear that the property has been largely taken over by wild vegetation, with trees and walls creeping all over the exterior of the building.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YouTube

The overgrown plantation around the mansion added an extra eeriness to the place.

While much of the land is unrecognisable from its its former glory days, some of the structures are still intact, such as the entrance of what could be the mansion, looking like a driveway.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

However, the inside has clearly not been maintained at all, with trash and debris littered all over.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

The interior of the palace has been heavily vandalised by mischievous visitors over the years.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

Haunting rumours

Over the years, rumours of the former palace being haunted have been rife, resulting in graffiti alluding to that.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

There are also less savoury graffiti, as shown in Hazeldine's video, such as satanic images, adding to the abandoned palace's creepy vibes.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

Overgrown greenery

While the place has not been maintained since decades ago, some of the overgrown woods in the palace have also created picturesque scenery that are rarely found anywhere else in Singapore.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

History of Istana Woodneuk

According to Hazeldine, the land still belongs to the Johor Royal Family, or at least partly.

The palace was built in the late 19th century for the then-Sultan's fourth wife, Sultana Khadijah.

One of the Sultan's sons, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, took over after her death in 1904 and rebuilt it around 1935 as a gift to his Scottish-born wife, Sultana Helen.

Here's what the former palace looked like back then:

Photo via

Some of the iconic blue tiles of the building can still be found at the ruins, as shown by Hazeldine in the video.

Screenshot via Asia Hikelopedia/YT

Update on YouTube video

Hazeldine subsequently posted an update on his YouTube video's description saying he did not mean to trespass:

**UPDATE**: Since posting this video it has been brought to my attention that I was possibly trespassing. If this is the case then I apologise unreservedly. It wasn't my intention. So please bear this in mind if you decide to visit this site, and that you do so at your own risk!

As he had a face mask on in later parts of the video, it is likely that Hazeldine visited the premises sometime during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reference to Crazy Rich Asians

A Bloomberg article in 2019 shone the spotlight on the property's price and claimed that the site inspired one of the settings in the Crazy Rich Asians story.

The 210,875m² plot of land with a two-storey palatial mansion is reminiscent of the setting of the sprawling ancestral home of the fictitious Young family set within Singapore's Tyersall Park.

However, as it is considered private property, access to the building was discouraged with signs put up at the informal entrance in 2015 informing trespassers that they will be arrested for unauthorised access.

via @GemsHaziq Twitter

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Top image via Asia Hikelopedia/YouTube,