Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Weather :

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

Time Required : 2 - 3 hours

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

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. 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 the Bukit Timah 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 at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to help them understand and appreciate the natural heritage of Singapore.

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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Hike

The Bukit Timah hiking trails are perfect for exploring the wilderness at a leisurely pace. There are six major paths that hikers of varying skill can follow.
  • The Red trail (1.2 kilometres) and Blue trail (1 kilometre) are the easiest, with paved roads and a slight incline.
  • The Green trail (1.9 kilometres) is moderately difficult, with rocky paths and a steeper incline.
  • Adrenaline junkies looking for a quick workout can opt for the Yellow trail - the most difficult - with a length of 1.8 kilometres and a winding path.
  • The Red, Yellow, and Green trails end at the summit of the hill, while the Blue trail ends near the quarry. Note that two other difficult trails - the Rock Path and Kampong Trail - are closed for renovation until May 2020.
Boasting of great biodiversity, the hiking trails cover animal hotspots, including places frequented by crab-eating macaques, sunbirds, Asian fairy bluebirds, emerald doves, red-crowned barbets, paradise tree snakes, plantain squirrels, banded leaf monkeys, carpenter bees, butterflies, and racket-tailed drongos. 

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Hiking Along Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Source)

Visitor Centre

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 Bukit Timah Visitor Centre was upgraded in 2014, during the period of renovations and enhancements in the reserve.

Bukit Timah Mountain Biking Trail

The Bukit Timah Mountain Biking Trail is the oldest in Singapore, first opened in 1997. Extending over a 7-kilometre mountain stretch around abandoned granite quarries and lush forests, this trail is ranked as moderately difficult with a range of steep slopes, uneven surfaces, rock gardens, climbs, and narrow tracks. While amateurs are discouraged from biking here, this trail is a great test of skill and endurance for experienced bikers looking for adventure. The gorgeous vegetation and summit views at Singapore’s highest hill are well-worth the exhilarating ride to the top. Keep in mind that pets, loud music, and littering are not allowed on the trail.

Wildlife

Animals
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.

Monkeys at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Monkeys - The most commonly spotted animals at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Source)

Plants
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.

Tips

  • Pets are not allowed at the Nature Reserve.
  • 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 park 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.

How To Reach Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

The Reserve is located at the foothills of Bukit Timah Hill, near Downtown Core.

Bus: The following buses ply to Bukit Timah. Get down at Jalan Anak Bukit Road opposite Beauty World Centre, or Upper Bukit Timah Road opposite the Shopping Centre, and follow the signs to the entrance of the Nature Reserve.
67, 75, 170, 171, 184, 852, 961

MRT: Take the Downtown Line and alight at Beauty World MRT Station. Take Exit A and follow the signs to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The entrance is a 10-minute walk away.

Car and Taxi: Taxi services begin at SGD 5 and take visitors right to the entrance of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Parking is available at the entrance from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Alternate parking is available at Cheong Chin Nam Road, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, and Beauty World Shopping Centre for prices beginning at SGD 0.60.

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