Must Visit

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

4.5 / 5 0 votes

Weather:

Ideal Time: 1 - 3 hours

Timings:

Nature Reserve: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Exhibition Hall: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM,
Carpark: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Entry Fee:

No Entry Fee
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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore Overview

Home to around 40% of the native flora and fauna of Singapore, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is one of the two ASEAN Heritage Parks in Singapore, part of the regional network that forms the range of the representative ecosystems of ASEAN. This 400-acre natural wonderland, considered one of the largest remaining rainforests of the country, is found on Bukit Timah Hill, the tallest hill of Singapore.

Established in 1883 as a forest reserve, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the perfect place for tourists to see the natural ecology of a humid, equatorial region such as Singapore, with its pristine charm preserved and maintained by the authorities. The Shorea Curtisii trees, one of the oldest trees in Singapore, are believed to have existed here for more than 400 years. 18 species of the Dipterocarps, the tallest hardwood trees of the rainforest, can be found within the area. There is an ecological bridge that links this nature reserve with the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, built to encourage the expansion of the habitat and species count of the indigenous wildlife of both reserves. Together, these eco-spaces are home to about 840 species of flowering plants and over 500 species of animals. Apart from marvelling at the wonders of this ecological gold mine, one can also partake in activities such as hiking and mountain biking. One day nature camps for children are organised here to help them understand and appreciate the natural heritage of Singapore.

More on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve


The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre is an amazing place to understand the ecology and the native biodiversity of the natural reserve. The exhibition hall on the second floor of the centre includes information and interactive touchscreens of the forest ecology, the plant specimens and tree spotting displays. The main draw of the centre is the majestic display of two Sumatran tiger replicas, a tribute to the magnificent creatures that walked the area of the reserve. Two Meninjau trees stand outside this informations galore. The visitor centre was upgraded in 2014, during the period of renovations and enhancements in the reserve.

At the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, there are various walking trails that take you across the area, classified by the varying levels of difficulty. The Bukit Timah Mountain Bike Trail is a 6.5 km loop, stretched around Bukit Timah Hill between Hinhinde Park and Dairy Farm Road, made up of rocky terrain which could be rather challenging. Hiking and rock climbing are also popular activities undertaken at the reserve. However, groups of 30 or more will need to apply for a permit prior to the visit if they wish to participate in these trails. The park also offers nature appreciation walks led by experts free of cost, though the schedule of these walks is subject to change. A one-day Nature Keeper camp is organised for children, where the importance of conservation and preservation of the natural surroundings and biodiversity is taught and encouraged in the youth.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a hotbed for biodiversity. Many millipedes, carpenter bees, cicadas, great-racket tailed drongos and crab-eating macaques can be seen loitering around the vast area. The extremely rare Singapore Freshwater Crab and the Red-Cheeked Flying Squirrel are endemic species to this region. One can also spot rare species of the animal kingdom such as the Forest Praying Mantis, the Red-Crowned Barbet, and the Malayan Colugo. The combined area of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Natural Reserve have been identified as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International, as it supports the survival of the straw-headed bulbuls and brown-chested jungle flycatchers.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to more than 800 species of plants. The common plants one will see are the rattan, figs, fan palms, ferns and macaranga. As it is one of the largest rainforests of Singapore, one will come across rare trees such as the Shorea Curtisii (seraya) and the Dipterocarpus Caudatus (keruing). The incredibly rare Mock Durian is found here, which resembles the edible durian fruit despite being inedible. Apart from these trees, one can also find lichens and fungi spread across the area, evidence of the rich biodiversity found in this eco-space.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was established in 1883 as a forest reserve on the recommendation of Nathaniel Cantley, making it one of the first forest reserves of Singapore. There were many tigers at the hill, but they became extinct by 1930 due to the clearing of the forest and hunting activities. The Bukit Timah Hill was also used as a granite quarry for many years until the granite supply was exhausted. In 1937, only three forest reserves were retained, as the other reserves had been depleted. These reserves, including the Bukit Timah Reserve, were converted to protected areas for flora and fauna, managed by the management of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. They were granted the status of Nature Reserve in 1951. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2011. The Eco-Link that connects the reserve with adjacent the Central Catchment Natural Reserve was completed in 2013. From 2014 to 2016, access to the reserve was limited as the National Parks Board carried out repair and restoration work of the slopes, trails and the forests.

At the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, there are various walking trails that take you across the area, classified by the varying levels of difficulty. The Bukit Timah Mountain Bike Trail is a 6.5 km loop, stretched around Bukit Timah Hill between Hinhinde Park and Dairy Farm Road, made up of rocky terrain which could be rather challenging. Hiking and rock climbing are also popular activities undertaken at the reserve. However, groups of 30 or more will need to apply for a permit prior to the visit if they wish to participate in these trails. The park also offers nature appreciation walks led by experts free of cost, though the schedule of these walks is subject to change. A one-day Nature Keeper camp is organised for children, where the importance of conservation and preservation of the natural surroundings and biodiversity is taught and encouraged in the youth.

  • Overnight parking is not permitted.
  • Alternative parking may be found at Cheong Chin Nam Road, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, Beauty World Shopping Centre.
  • Pets are not allowed at the Nature Reserve.
  • Hiking permits are not issued on days of high visitorship, which usually happen on the weekends.
  • It is advised not to visit the nature reserve and forested areas during stormy weather, as there is a high risk of trees and branches falling.
  • If confronted by the monkeys, do not make eye contact or show your teeth, as these actions can be mistaken as a sign of aggression. Look down and walk at least 1.5 metres away from them. Do not eat in the presence of the monkeys.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is located at Bukit Timah Hill, found at the end of Hindhede Drive. One can take a bus to the Upper Bukit Timah Road or the Jalan Anak Bukit Road, located around 2 km from the entrance of the reserve. Those choosing to use the MRT can get off at the Beauty World MRT station and exit through the A Exit. Alternatively, one could also hire a taxi to reach the reserve.

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