timah nature reserve
Timah Nature Reserve
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.
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
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
articles about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
guides and references
to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, 2006 more on the RMBR
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,
Green Map Singapore Environmental Council, 2000.