bukit timah nature reserve
the visitor centre

tigers used to roam bukit timah!

a huge diversity of life

wandering among giants

fun for everyone

tall tall trees
strange blossoms

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
164ha with trails through primary rainforest and Singapore's highest hill.
A mere 12km from the city centre is this pristine 164ha rainforest. The Reserve also includes Singapore's highest hill (163m).

Singapore's oldest primary rainforest
The forest was never extensively cleared for cultivation and shelters a vast variety of plants. Bukit Timah was declared by Alfred Russel Wallace to be 'exceedingly productive'. Indeed, species new to science continue to be discovered here, even today!

The Bukit Timah and Central Catchment nature reserves are home to more than 840 flowering plants and over 500 species of animals. These include towering trees, climbing palms (better known as rattans), ferns, orchids, gingers and strange blooms such as the Black or Bat lily. The forest is home to all kinds of animals. The most commonly encountered are the Long-tailed Macaques or monkeys. Please don't feed them as this does them more harm than good. Other special treats are the Flying lemur (Colugo) and squirrels. Forest birds include the Striped tit-babbler, the Fairy bluebird, drongos and bulbuls.

Begin your visit at the outstanding Visitor Centre which has fascinating specimens, displays and photos about this wondrous forest.

The main trails in the Reserve
Route 1 (Red) 45 mins, trail grade: Easy
Route 2 (Blue) 35 mins, trail grade: Easy
Route 3 (Green) 1-2 hours, trail grade: Moderate to difficult
Route 4 (Yellow) 2 hrs, trail grade: Difficult
Kampong Trail (which leads to MacRitchie Reservoir) 1.5 hrs, trail grade: Easy
Check the NParks website for latest status of trails. Trails are sometimes affected by landslides, tree falls or other developments.

Let a guide really show you the forest!
Going on a tour with a volunteer guide is the best way to see and learn more about this special forest. Check the NParks website for the latest information on guided walks.

Other attractions near the Reserve
An abandoned quarry has been developed into the Hindhede Nature Park which is now a picnic and play area for families. Here's a quick look at the Park

Mountain biking trail
Although biking is not permitted within the Reserve, there is a 6km mountain biking trail around the Reserve's boundary which takes about 30min-1hr to complete, trail grade moderate to difficult. Hikers please do not use the biking trail. Bikers are not allowed to ride inside reserves. Some details on Mountain Biking in Singapore; bikers play a role in maintaining this trail, see the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association website.

Rock climbing
At the Reserve boundary, there are also some popular rock climbing sites. More details at Natural Climbing Sites website

History of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah was one of the first reserves established in 1883. All the reserves were worked for timber except for Bukit Timah. In 1951, the reserve was further protected by legislation and is now adminstered by NParks.

The origin of its name is puzzling; 'Timah' means 'tin' in Malay but the area was never a tin-producing one. It was better known to early colonials as a tiger-infested area which few dared to visit. The hill is actually mainly and it was once an active quarrying site in the mid-1900s. Joseph Lai explores this question further.

More tips for visitors
Parking at the Reserve: The Reserve is very popular, so parking can be a nightmare at peak hours especially on weekends. For a hassle free visit, simply park at Beauty World which has an overhead pedestrian crossing leading directly out of the carpark. Don't park illegally along the roadsides, you will surely be fined! The carpark is open from 5.30 am to 7.30 pm daily

Links Media articles about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Field guides and references
  • Guidesheet to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, 2006 more on the RMBR news blog
  • A View from the Summit: The Story of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Shawn Lum and Ilsa Sharp (eds.), 1996
  • A Guide to the Bukit Timah Nature Reseve, BP-Science Centre guidebook, 1985.
  • Singapore Green Map Singapore Environmental Council, 2000.

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