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Ultimate Guide To Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore [2024]

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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore

Best Guide To Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore
Best Guide To Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore

Situated in the center of Singapore, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) is a piece of one of the biggest and the most picturesque nature reserves within Singapore Island.

Now the forest’s green canopy 10 meters above the flat tropical paradise canyon of city’s jungle life appears as a magical different world, contrasting the noise, fuss and concrete jungle of City of Singapore. It remains one of the densest forest on the Island.

Although it is a secondary rainforest, thanks to beneficial climate conditions, it still boasts extremely high number of various biotopes and species.

Nature lovers can take a break from exploring the things to do in Singapore and find everything they seek here. BTNR is a well-known place for recreation trips, and even if you don’t have much hiking or climbing experience, you can just enjoy your stroll.

Brief Overview of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

(Credit: Nparks)
(Credit: Nparks)

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the only 163-hectare remnant of Singapore’s ancient, primary rainforest situated atop the highest natural feature here at Bukit Timah Hill (1,636 ft; 163.63 m), home to the country’s biodiversity and its living heritage.

Importance and Uniqueness of the Reserve

(Credit: Nparks)
(Credit: Nparks)

Unlike other landscapes where the botanical composition is largely defined by human intervention – old-growth secondary forest swamped with aliens, thinly veiled plantations, and such – it is rare to find a place like Bukit Timah, with an ancient rainforest that has been preserved since 1883, a pathway to return the island to an original jungle state.

Quick Facts

(Credit: Afar)
(Credit: Afar)
  • Location: Bukit Timah, Singapore
  • Size: 163 ha
  • Highest Point: Bukit Timah Hill (163.63 meters)

History and Background

(Credit: Conde Nast Traveler)

Establishment of the Reserve in 1883

Today, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve stands as a testament to the diversity of the place; one of the oldest forest reserves on the island.

Key Historical Milestones

  • 1883: Establishment of the reserve.
  • 1930s: Introduction of walking trails.
  • 1990s: Extensive restoration projects.
  • 2011: Recognized as an ASEAN Heritage Park.

ASEAN Heritage Park Recognition in 2011

In 2011, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve became an ASEAN Heritage Park – one of about 20 protected areas across the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that ‘demonstrate high conservation value’ of unique biodiversity, and were selected through merit to foster networking and collaboration in nature conservation in the region.

Flora and Fauna

(Credit: Nparks)

Overview of Biodiversity

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, for example, is the most species-rich gallery forest on Earth, with 500 species of animals and more than 840 species of flowering plants.

Key Plant Species

  • Seraya (Shorea curtisii)
  • Keruing (Dipterocarpus)

Notable Animal Species

  • Malayan pangolin
  • Sunda slow loris
  • Common palm civet

Visitor Information

(Credit: Singapore Tourism Board)
(Credit: Singapore Tourism Board)

Opening Hours and Entry Fees

A visit to the reserve is possible every day from 7am to 7pm, and it is free of charge, although donations are most welcome to support conservation activities.

How to Get There

  • Public Transport: Buses 67, 75, 170, 171, 184, 852, and 961 from town center.
  • Driving: By main expressways such as Pan Island Expressway (PIE) and Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE).
  • Parking: Spacious parking space is available for visitors.

Activities and Attractions

(Credit: Thrillophilia)
(Credit: Thrillophilia)

Exhibition Hall at Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre offers educational exhibits about the reserve’s history, flora, and fauna.

Hiking Trails

  • Red Trail: The longest and most challenging.
  • Green Trail: A moderate trail for seasoned hikers.
  • Yellow Trail: Suitable for beginners and families.

Cycling

The hillside Bukit Timah mountain bike trail (6.5 km loop) is a long climb to the point of exhaustion for many.

Guided Tours

  • Eco-Link@BKE Bridge Tours: Learn about this unique wildlife corridor.
  • Rail Corridor (Central) Tours: Explore the historical rail corridor.

Other Attractions

(Credit: The Straits Times)

Hindhede Nature Park

Adjacent to the reserve, this park offers a more relaxed environment with scenic quarry views.

Dairy Farm Nature Park

Connected by trails, it provides another option for extended exploration.

Singapore Quarry

A serene spot for bird-watching and photography.

Connecting to Other Parks

  • MacRitchie Reservoir Nature Park
  • Chestnut Nature Park

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore

You can’t get much closer to the jungle on this island-state than a walk around the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, at the heart of the city.

No other Singapore attraction boasts such an enormous diversity of animal and plant life, such vestigial stretches of ancient rainforest, such superb walking trails, an exhibition hall at its Visitor Centre, or so many crazed mountain bikers.

It is this city’s lung, and Singapore’s unique commitment to green space. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Check out some of our other related articles and guides below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have any questions about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore, you can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore below:

What are the main attractions within the reserve?

There are the Exhibition Hall, several walking trails, and tours of Eco-Link@BKE and the Rail Corridor.

Are there guided tours available?

Yes. There are eco-tours in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve guided by the friendly rangers on the Eco-Link@BKE Bridge Tours and Rail Corridor (Central) Tours. Other private guided tours are available by arrangement with the Visitor Centre.

What should I bring when visiting the reserve?

First of all are comfortable clothes as well as shoes. Secondly is taking much water as the route seems to be very far. Thirdly, it is always good to have repellents for insects as well as the sunscreen and a hat. They will come in handy during the sun. Apart from recreational groups, when in the forest one must not forget about the camcorder aiming for rich scenery. Moreover, shooting animals will obviously be a great opportunity to catch some exotic photos.

Can I camp at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve?

You are not allowed to camp anywhere in our largest nature reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (see photo above), so as not to threaten its ecosystem. But don’t despair: you can camp – at East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park and West Coast Park. You do have to apply for a permit, however. Also feel free to check out our do’s and don’ts on the National Parks Board’s website.

Rachel Tan avatar

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I'm currently the editor at FunEmpire Media. I've over 8 years of experience in the media industry discovering the best local businesses, places and things to do. From lifestyle, entertainment, food, travel, education and more, I strive to curate the very best in Singapore. Singapore.

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