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Bukit Timah Hill Guide: Top 5 Things to Do

bukit timah hill
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Bukit Timah Hill is not just another posh district in Singapore, but rather a place where you will find fewer buildings and more of nature’s elements. At 164-meters above sea level, the hill is the highest natural point in Singapore and is known for its nature reserves. Two years after its revamp, it opened to the public for daily visits in October 2016.

Getting up close to the island’s hiking trails is among the most common activities for Bukit Timah Hill visitors. Yet, you will find plenty more things to explore at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Being revamped and close to many smaller parks, you will expect a long day exploring its vast forests.

Indeed, Bukit Timah Hill is the perfect place for a trekking adventure or a serene getaway from urban life. So read through our guide and experience an incredible journey up the hills and slopes of Bukit Timah Nature Reserves.

 

How to Get to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Bukit Timah Hill is conveniently located near the downtown MRT station. From here, you can quickly get to the nature reserve either by metro, bus, taxi, or car. You can get there through four modes of transport:

1. Subway

You can travel by subway from the downtown line to the Beauty World MRT station in approximately 24 minutes. Then from Beauty World, you walk a good 1.6 km or at least 19 minutes to reach the reserves.

2. Bus

Still starting from the downtown line MRT Station, you can walk approximately 530m to the Prudential Tower. From there, you can ride the bus (line 700) to the AFT Dairy Farm Road. At this point, you will again walk approximately 2.5 km. to reach Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

3. Taxi

An easier way to reach the park’s nature reserve is by taxi. Riding a cab, you can quickly get to the Bukit Timah forest reserve in as fast as 15 minutes, but it will cost you around S$14 to S$18, one way.

4. Car

Traveling approximately 15 km, you will also reach the Nature Reserve as fast as 15minutes by car. Note, however, that there are limited car park spaces during the weekends. It is best to commute during these busy days.

 

Getting Ready to Explore Bukit Timah

The Nature Reserve is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Located at the entrance, just behind the car park, you will find the Visitor Centre. Here, you will find an exhibition gallery complete with interactive touchscreens and gallery displays. You will also find vending machines for snacks and drinks here.

Before starting your hike, here are a few essential tips and reminders:

1. No pets allowed

Please don’t bring your pets as they are not allowed inside the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Hindhede Nature Park, or the Visitor Centre.

2. Start Early

The trails may take long hours, and it is best to start early before the weather gets humid. You may also want to use the washrooms before heading on the trek.

3. Stay Safe

The management has set group activities to a maximum of five persons. All visitors must wear their masks except when eating, drinking, or performing strenuous exercises. Always keep a safe distance of at least 1 meter from other individuals. 

Due to high visitorship and traffic, the nature park may sometimes close on weekends and Singapore public holidays. Car parks may also be closed to provide safe social distancing measures. 

Hiking permits to the reserve, the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and the surrounding gardens are also temporarily suspended given the Covid19 situation. 

You may visit this link for more on the latest visitorship and park updates. 

4. Stay Hydrated and Energized

Have a healthy and hearty meal before starting your adventure. You will need the energy to walk and hike the challenging hiking trails. Don’t forget to fill up your water bottles too! The next rest stop could be a few hours away. You should also bring some snacks as you may get hungry and there are no restaurants around the reserve.

5. Wear Proper Gear and Equipment

Wear appropriate and comfortable outdoor clothes. Bring a jacket if the weather is chilly or a waterproof one just in case it is raining. Otherwise, choose breathable clothing materials when the weather is hot or humid. 

Choose supportive shoes that will protect you from sharp or pointy rocks. And finally, bring a reliable backpack that will hold essential things for the trip. 

6. Be Extra Prepared

Insect bites, bugs, unexpected weather changes, and some bruises and bumps are a few things you may encounter in this nature trip. So, come prepared with essential mosquito repellents, sunscreen, umbrellas, and first aid necessities. Bring your phone and a portable charger too!

While there is no possibility of getting lost, amateur climbers should equip themselves with various trail maps for a more leisurely hiking experience.

 

Bukit Timah Scenery

Exploring Bukit Timah Hill

Many turn to nature for a respite from their busy city life in Singapore. Or perhaps from being stuck home after extended lockdowns. Known for its lush greeneries and parks, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has become a favorite walking, hiking, or trekking destination. And since its re-opening, the park offers a better experience of its trails and views.

Let’s find out the fun things to do here in this 163-hectare nature reserve.

1. Walk around and sight-see in the park.

An easy walk around the lush park is one of the fun things to do inside the reserve. If kids or elderlies are tagging along, let them stroll at a leisurely pace inside Hindhede Park. The park has accessible trails and is located just at the foot of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Heading straight into the Hindhede Nature Park, you can enjoy a short trail and find family-friendly paths, a picnic area, and a playground with swings and trampolines. Another highlight of the place is the famous Hindhede Quarry. Kids of all ages can enjoy the majestic view of the quarry while water-watching for terrapins and fishes.

On the other hand, if you come on a kid-free trip, you can head straight to Bukit Timah Summit.

2. Explore the caves.

You can also ascend and descend Bukit Timah Nature Reserve via its Cave Paths. However, this could be a strenuous option as you’ll be trekking more uneven dirt and rock paths. 

The cave path has boardwalks that will lead you to two caves that the Japanese have used to store ammunition during WWII. Yet, you won’t be able to see what is beneath these caves as its metal gates are locked. The caves are 50 meters apart from each other and are completely dark.

The first cave measures about 2 meters in width and height, while the second is longer and is rumored to be a hiding spot for Japanese treasures. You will also find interesting old tombs marked red when heading through the cave path. 

Finishing the path, you will hike along the Catchment Path and take the Kruing Path for a trek back.

3. Discover various flora and fauna in the Bukit Timah Hill Visitor Centre

The Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is a great place to start discovering the many species you may see inside the park. 

Bukit Timah is home to a diverse ecology of 500 fauna and 800 flora species; children will enjoy a display preview inside the Visitor Centre.

Moreover, a Sumatran tiger replica at the center of the exhibit hall will surely catch everyone’s attention. 

And with touchscreen technology featuring wildlife and botanic facts, trivia, and games, children engage interactively. Spotting trees, fruits, seeds, animal footprints are a few of the exciting activities your kids will get to enjoy.

4. Hike to the Bukit Timah Hill Summit.

Entry to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is via Hindhede Drive, just a few minutes off Upper Bukit Timah Road. The hike may last 30 minutes and is reasonably safe considering the renovations made. Safety features you’ll find include rope handrails, boardwalks, and non-slip surfaces.

5. Entering the Summit

From the car park, you may head past the Visitor Centre and choose from three trail options:

  • Red (Easy) – Following the main path and is about 1.3 km.
  • Green (Moderate) – Taking the cave path and is approximately 1.8 km.
  • Yellow (Difficult) – Hiking through the Dairy Farm Loop and is about 2 km.

Expect some challenging and steep slopes in the green and yellow riding trails.

Most visitors choose to head up the paved road of the main path, a steep 40° slope. Ascending the tarmac stretch will lead you to the Kruing Hut. Here you can take a short rest as you prepare for more trekking. 

As you reach Simpang Hut, turn right, and you will see a set of steep stairs called the Summit Path. Note, however, that you are only allowed to ascend through this flight as a Covid19 precautionary measure.

If you don’t want to take these flights, follow the main path and experience a gentler and friendlier route to the summit.

Another path to choose is to take on the South View Path for a more leisurely hike to the summit. But if you are up for steeper and more challenging trails, you can detour the Taban Loop and head towards the Dairy Farm Loop. 

Upon reaching the highest point and the summit stone marker, many would take a picture as a souvenir of this great accomplishment. You can find rest points and maps as you go your way. You’ll also experience a variety of birds, flowers, tall trees, squirrels, and monkeys along the way. 

Bukit Timah Birds-Eyed View

6. Leaving the Summit

You may mix and match some trail paths while escaping Bukit Timah Hill’s Summit. Yet, a popular option for going down the hills is through the Rengas Path. This single trail leads to the Dairy Farm Hut. 

From here, you will walk through the trail behind it until you reach the Dairy Farm Nature Park. You will find more uphill steps from this point. Going uphill from the top of the steps, you will get to a resting point at the North View Hut. 

Enjoy some waterfall views and wildlife animals along the way while you trace your steps back to the end of the hike. 

Bukit Timah is not just home to its fabulous nature reserves but to Singapore’s rich culture. So after a fulfilling trek, you may want to drop by the quaint area around Upper Bukit Timah Road. 

Here, you will find the Beauty World Centre and the Bukit Timah Market Centre. Both will give you a taste of Bukit Timah’s history through excellent traditional food finds and rich local and colonial heritage backgrounds. 

7. Bike on Bukit Timah’s riding trails. 

Located in the heart of the Central Catchment Reserve, biking enthusiasts will enjoy a 6.5 km riding trail. Bikers can start anywhere from the Hindhede drive or the Dairy Farm road. As a friendly advice, the tracks are not for amateur bikers as some of the portions of the trail can be technical.

The gateway trails offer bikers an engaging and lung-busting experience. So expect tricky and rocky downhill rides, tunnels, and narrow paths. So, for adventure seekers, head-on, and be prepared for some challenging obstacles that demand stamina and strength!

 

Closing

In Bukit Timah, you will find many new and exciting things to see and do around the neighborhood. So, plan your escape now and discover hidden gems, photo-worthy discoveries, and lots of nature stroll around this lush town of Singapore.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bukit Timah’s ambient and natural environment is one of its unique features.
  • While it is known for its rich nature and diverse ecology, it is also equally known for its rich cultural heritage.
  • Offering a refined lifestyle, you will genuinely find work-life balance at Bukit Timah.

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