Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – Clean Air Quiet Sanctuary
Singapore is modern, the life here fast-paced and the transformation from a trading post of the East India Company in 1819 to a spectacular 21st century city-state is always a marvel to behold.
But very few know that in the deepest recesses, Singapore has reserved a 3,043 hectare piece of land for paradise. With an official height of 538 feet, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the highest point in the country.
Clinging to its slopes are Singapore’s last vestiges of hope. Established as a reserve in 1883, no logging since then has ever taken place here. Left undisturbed, it is now home to rich biodiversity.
This is a Tropical Rainforest Reserve
This is a precious enclave of primary rainforest. The trek here would feel like journeying in Singapore before Sir Stamford Raffles arrived, when much of the island was covered with lowland, tropical forest.With 500 species of animals and over 840 flowering plants, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is, simply put, a microcosm of nature at its best. There are palms, lianas, fig trees, rattans, vines, and epiphytes.
To top it all, dipterocarps rise straight and cylindrical with little taper for hundreds of feet, ending in a huge spreading crown.
Dead leaves form a large mass of wet, rotting vegetation which provides a niche for hanging ferns. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some colorful blooms. Keep your eyes peeled for the flying lemurs holding onto trees. Some forest species are easy to spot including shrews and squirrels. You may well find them sitting on the roof of your car. Admission is free. The experience is priceless.
The Reserve is Great for Physical Activities
Clean air. Quiet sanctuary. This reserve is a great place to engage in physical activities. At Bukit Timah, you can choose to stroll, run or hike. For an easy hiking trail, take the blue trail which is 0.7 kilometers long, ending with a glorious view of Hindhede Quarry.
You may not expect this in a forest with thick vegetation, but there’s actually a lake imposing itself up ahead. The pit, remains of the old Hindhede Quarry, trapped rainwater, thus forming an inland lake.
An equally easy trail is the red trail which runs for 1.2 kilometers. The green trail, 1.9 kilometers long, can be a bit challenging. But the more adventurous type would probably enjoy the 1.8 kilometer yellow trail. The reserve is also popular among athletes training for mountain-climbing.
The tour is family-friendly, and the tours and trails offer perfect opportunities for an exciting day-long thrill. To get to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, alight at Jurong East MRT interchange.
Transfer to the middle platform to get to Bukit Batok MRT. Then take bus 173 bound for Bukit Timah at Bukit Batok bus terminal.
Pay Attention to the Rules
Remember that this is a nature reserve, and certain rules restrict activities to protect the biodiversity.
You are expected not to litter or feed the animals. A permit is needed for hiking groups with more than 30 members. During stormy weather, hiking is not allowed because strong winds may cause branches to fall.
Another interesting reminder while exploring the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is to not bare your teeth when approached by a monkey, as this is a sign of aggression and that’s the last thing you want from a wild animal.