Long Ya Men - Atlas Obscura

Long Ya Men

A replica of the lost rock cliff that was once significant in Singapore's maritime history. 


Long Ya Men, or Dragon’s Teeth Gate, was a craggy granite outcrop that once stood at the gateway to Keppel Harbour in Singapore, near the present site of Labrador Park. Known locally by the Malays as Batu Berlayer (“sailing rock”), it served as navigational aids to ancient mariners sailing around this narrow channel, along with another rock on the opposite side.

In the 14th century, the outcrops were recorded by the traveler Wang Dayuan in his travelogue Daoyi Zhilüe. During that time, there was a large settlement in the area that was prone to pirate attacks. It is also said that the rocks assisted Zheng He, a Chinese explorer who navigated around Singapore during his seven voyages to the west. 

The more prominent of the two outcrops was known as “Lot’s Wife” to the British sailors, referring to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Unfortunately, both were blown up in 1848 by Straits Settlements surveyor John Thomson in order to widen the entrance to the new harbor.

In 2005, a 19-foot (6-meter tall) stone replica of Long Ya Men was built near its original site to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s maiden voyage. It was originally designed to replace the nearby Berlayer Beacon, but in the end, the replica was placed a few feet away from it instead, due to the Singapore Heritage Society’s objection that the beacon itself was a heritage site.

In partnership with KAYAK

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