Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve - Climbing Up the Hill with Mom and Dad [Singapore]

As a true blue Singaporean who has lived in the small city state her entire life (save for a few long haul overseas vacations), my mom has never actually stepped into the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. 

Hence, i took advantage of the long weekend last week to bring both parents for an early morning trek! As with most posts labelled under "Singapore Attractions", be prepared for an avalanche of pictures!


The first sight of activity came from the native residents of the nature reserve; the long tailed macaques. Most of you might have heard of the many complaints by nearby residents of rogue, aggressive monkeys although i wish to add that humans are the intruders, not the macaques and residents should be fully aware of the fact that they would be living next to the nature reserve when they purchased the property. 

In the first place, the government should not have even allowed the building of houses in an area so close to the nature reserve's entrance! *exasperated* Having said that, many visitors have exacerbated by the problem by feeding the monkeys. So, please DO NOT FEED them! If my advice doesn't affect you, do note that there's a hefty fine for feeding the monkeys. 

Start of our trek after walking past the beautiful landed bungalows i know i would never get a chance to buy. Realistically, i would prefer a condominium apartment over a landed property anytime; scared of snakes lah. 

Plaque explaining that Bukit Timah was a battle site in World War 2. Anyone can still remember the first entry point by the Japanese? I recently blogged about it! 

Question: why is there a roadsign for "no horn"? I initially thought it was for the service vehicles of National Parks which oversees the reserve but the answer has a more historical touch; the sign was used before the 70s when private cars were still allowed on this very road that leads to the summit! 

In view of the health and safety of native plants and animals, dogs are barred from entering the nature reserves. You may click the above picture to understand the reasons behind the ruling. 

History time! "Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the first forest reserve in Singapore established for nature conservation in 1883. It was also officially declared as Singapore’s second ASEAN Heritage Park on 18 October 2011" - taken from National Parks website. 

Now, i am an animal rather than a plant lover. So, despite knowing there are over 840 species of plants in the nature reserve, i couldn't tell one tree from the other. Many a time, the only exclamation we could give was "wah... so tall"!!!

Three alternative trails are available for those who would like to take in more sights, sound and smell. I have yet to explore them as i am just too lazy!!!

Along the main trail we took, there were a total of three sheltered huts with the first one known as Kuring Hut. We didn't stop to rest as the adrenaline to reach the summit as soon as possible was still very much active.

Basking in the morning sun!

Spiders working hard to maintain their webs for trapping unknowing preys! Darn, i think my lens need some expensive maintenance too; notice those orb-like stuff on the photograph?

Gigantic cut trunks lining the route.

Granite (pronounced as gra-neet and not gra-nite) is in abundance in the area and like Pulau Ubin, there were quite a number of operating quarries surrounding Bukit Timah.

Towering tree again - "wah... so tall"!

Now that Halloween is coming, my mind has come up with a devious plan; shall masquerade as a Chinese vampire and sit on the above bench at around 8pm. Bet i can solicit a lot of unwanted screams!

Mom and dad checking out the shrubs and trees. Once again, the topics were on whether those plants have been seen before in their kampong days and their edibility. 

A Y-junction on the main route - since it was only 200 meters along the quarry road, we figured it might just be worth the effort to catch the beautiful view of Hinhede Quarry.

Another question - what was the purpose for using a coiled wire? Guess most of you would have gotten the answer; the tree is not dead and will continue to grow its girth! Having a normal wire will eventually result in breakage.

Note - at the end of quarry road is the cliff edge! Beware and hold on tight to your hyperactive kids! I sent an email to National Parks about the red-white barrier tape on the sign since it compromised the message without serving any useful purpose. 

The partially-blocked helicopter view of Hinhede Quarry. 

I was going to suggest that those trees be chopped to take advantage of the scenery but i have to hold my tongue; this is a nature reserve for goodness sake!

That threatening red signboard of a soldier shooting an unarmed person is unnerving for an adventurous individual! I am speaking for myself of course.

It houses two communication towers (collectively known as TAS VHF station) that many can see from afar on main roads around Bukit Timah (Bukit means hill by the way). 

The parents' photo; i am in the picture too! That monkey in the "do not feed the monkeys" sign refers to me as i was borne in the year of the mischievous monkey!

Back to the Y-junction where we come to our second sheltered hut; Simpang Hut.

'To Summit' path is a shorter route but i know my mom far too well; she does not take too kindly to steps. A challenge to her face might just do the trick though!

This tree was the tallest one i saw in Bukit Timah; the way the branches stretched out gave it a very majestic aura. I wonder if i can see it from upper bukit timah road. 

Reaching the summit after almost an hour climb! 

Hut on the summit known simply as "Summit Hut"! At 163.63 meters tall, this spot is Singapore's highest natural point (not really a big deal since the tallest building in Singapore is 280 meters tall). 

Besides the hut are two smaller communication towers and an abandoned building. 

If you ask me, i am assuming that the warning sign was taken off and i am free to enter the vicinity should it be unlocked. Look closer and you would also notice that there was no lock to the blue door. 

Summit Hut would be the popular rest stop for everyone so you might not be able to secure an available seat. Feel free to use the grass! At the very least, you can be assured that there would be no dog poo.

C'mon, if you really love Singapore, you would not commit vandalism! 

Yet again a couple picture before we made our way down the hill. 

Love this photograph - sunlight streaming through the forest canopy bathing the three men although they appeared a bit blurry. Hope that Nikon D7100 would be sold at a much cheaper price in the upcoming COMEX 2013.

Terrain on the main trail is quite comfortable for any able person with the exception of one section where the gradient is very steep! See that guy in red; he's the famous Chef Eric! 

There's a way to combat the danger of falling while walking down the steep slope; walk backwards! Do note that you don't really have eyes behind your head so please keep in mind other trekkers who are hiking up Bukit Timah.

As with any nature spot, please leave nothing but your footprints. 


Map of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
As above. 

It's a pain in the ass! The car park was full on the two weekends i was there! 

You may try to reach the reserve earlier and also consider parking by the roadside along Bukit Drive (towards The Raintree condominium). Be considerate; park but don't BLOCK the road! 


  1. Good Picture! but where is the cave???

    1. thanks! didn't attempt to find the caves as i didn't take the nature trail.

      Maybe i should explore them soon!

  2. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Hi, may I know how to get in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve from Woodland checkpoint? Thanks!

    1. Hallo!

      You may take bus number 170 and drop at the bus stop opposite Beauty World Centre @ Jalan Anak Bukit (Bus Stop Code: 42109).

      Upon alighting, turn left and walk back towards Hindhede Road (there is a Church of Singapore at its entrance). Walk up Hindhede Road and you would see the Visitors Centre of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.