This underground bunker, located below Fort Canning, was the original site of the British Malaya Command Headquarters during World War II. It is most historically significant for its role in the Japanese invasion, for it was inside the Battle Box that the upper echelon of the Singapore military decided to surrender to the invading Japanese army.
After the surrender on February 15, 1942, the Battle Box was closed and sealed. It lay dormant for decades, completely forgotten, until it was rediscovered in 1988. After some refurbishment, the site was opened as a living history museum for tourists.
Today, the Battle Box is an amazing attraction, specially of interest to anyone who has a fascination with Singaporean military history or World War II. The guided tour is an interactive experience that takes the visitor through the events of February 15 and lets you really feel what the day of surrender must have been like. Animatronic vignettes of 24 life-sized soldiers, combined with high-quality audio and visual displays help recreate those events for tourists, who are given a World War II “security pass” and treated as recruits. The tour guide, acting the part of an orderly, completes the encounter.
After reliving the surrender to the Japanese, visitors can indulge in a light snack or meal at The Café, just outside and down the steps. You can also pick up souvenirs in the military-themed gift shop or rest and relax, taking in the allure of the bona fide military surroundings.
The Battle Box is located at 51 Canning Rise in Fort Canning, which can easily be reached by MRT via Dhoby Ghaut Station. After exiting the station, walk up the hill past Park Mall towards Fort Canning. The bunker is open to visitors 10 am – 6 pm daily, with the last entrance at 5 pm. Entrance prices are SGD$8 for adults, but are subject to change.