Seasoned hikers said that trekking in that area specifically comes with high risks due to wildlife, the vegetation and terrain.
“Since it is geographically situated near hilly grounds, the terrain is fundamentally undulating and sloping, littered with naturally occurring holes in the soil or from the removed foundations of the houses that used to make up the village,” Mr Hidayat said.
“Additionally, since the area is also not maintained, the dangerous spots of the terrain are largely concealed by overgrown vegetation and fallen trees.”
Agreeing, Mr Andrew Kam, another regular hiker who declined to reveal his age, said that the risks of trekking in non-designated trails are high due to the weathering of structures, environmental erosion and no monitoring of tree health, which can affect the safety of hikers.
Mr Howard Yu, who runs a tuition centre and has been hiking for more than 30 years, said that weather also plays a part. He noted that the level of rainfall last week was higher than average.
“Rain can loosen the soil and cause the terrain to be more slippery. It can also weaken the structure of the ruins,” the 49-year-old added.
When TODAY visited the area on Wednesday evening, there were no signs or marked paths that led into the forested area beside Bukit Batok Nature Park.
After entering about 20m deep through a pavement beside The Hillside condominum, traces of what appeared to be ruins of abandoned structures could be seen, with bricks, concrete slabs and broken ceramic pots found on the forest floor.
Along the way, thorny vines, dense vegetation and steep drops presented a challenge for people trekking through the area.
Mr Joven Chiew, 50, the founder of Facebook group Singapore Hikers, said that when the ground becomes unstable, hikers run the chance of getting lost or injured, or worse, not being able to get a mobile signal if they need to call for help.
Some dangers in the undeveloped trail also include potential encounters with wild animals such as wild boar and hornets, he added.
The hikers urged the public to avoid veering off designated hiking trails, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area.
“Even if you are familiar and in groups, always keep a lookout and assess the safety aspects first, …….