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The REAL Malaysian ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Home Is Abandoned, But Maybe Not For Long

The REAL Malaysian ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Home Is Abandoned, But Maybe Not For Long

Istana Woodneuk is currently abandoned but featured in many videos by urban explorers for its “haunted” appeal.

Maya Suraya

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In the heart of Singapore rests an abandoned estate that technically sits on Malaysian owned land.

Read More: Did You Know There’s Malaysian Land INSIDE Singapore?

There lies the Istana Woodneuk, an abandoned two-story palace at the former Tyersall Park whose registered owner is the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

If Tyersall Park sounds familiar in recent times it’s because Kevin Kwan, the author of Crazy Rich Asians, was inspired by Istana Woodneuk and made the Young family’s ancestral home located in an area bearing the same name.

Much how fiction gave life to an otherwise derelict place, it seems a rebirth in true form may be happening with the sprawling plot of land is said to be transforming into a multibillion-dollar luxury residential development.

Top: Screen grab of the Young family’s home in Crazy Rich Asians
Bottom: Istana Woodneuk (Credit:

Luxury living next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site  

According to Bloomberg, representatives for the Crown Prince of Johor are in talks with local authorities for permission to develop a cluster of high-end homes on the swathe of jungle next to Singapore’s Botanic Gardens.

Global real estate services provider Savills Plc estimates the project to cost as much as S$4.5 billion (RM23.8 billion) and would be one of the city’s priciest private developments in decades.

30 times the size of the White House

The plot of land measures at 210,875 square-meter (2.3 million square feet) and was a lot larger before the Singapore government acquired some of it to extend the Botanic Gardens.

The underdeveloped area now is currently zoned for “special use of green space” meaning development for other purposes, such as residential or commercial, is restricted.

However, if the luxury homes are constructed, it is likely to draw interest from the region’s ultra-wealthy – aka crazy rich Asians.

Located close to the famous Orchard Road shopping district, other bungalows close to Istana Woodneuk are typically worth $S20 million to $30 million.

Land ownership is a privilege to our neighbours in Singapore with the government owning about 90% of the country. There are currently about 2,500 so-called “good class bungalows” – the local term for a mansion – and they are typically located in prime districts like this.

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