Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
177 Hindhede Dr
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a large area of primeval tropical forest, a remainder of the huge green mass that once covered almost the whole surface area of Singapore island just two centuries ago. It is located within the city limits, just 12 kilometers away from its business center. Founded in 1883, the Bukit Timah was one of the first forest reserves to be created in modern Singapore, while today it stands as one of the most famous and frequently visited places in the city-state.
The reserve was named after the almost 164-meter-high hill, Bukit Timah, which is situated on its territory and is in fact Singapore’s highest natural point. Its name actually means ‘hill covered with tin’ in Malay and was originally pronounced as Bukit "Temah", which meant ‘hill covered with Temah trees’. However, when western civilization finally came to the island, local pronunciation was twisted, meaning that ‘Temah’ turned into ‘Timah.’ Furthermore, during World War II, the Japanese occupied Singapore and made the hill their strategic point.
Despite the fact that the asphalted walkways, paved stairs and recreation spots make the Bukit Timah Reserve look more like a park nowadays; it is still one of the largest areas of the primeval tropical forest in Singapore and strikes with the eye with an amazingly diverse array of plants, animals and insects.
Over 800 species of tropical trees and plants grow on reserve’s territory, which covers some 163 hectares, more flora than on the whole North American continent! Bukit Timah is also home to many animal species, who can live here in their natural environments. In particular, a large population of long-tailed macaques, lemurs and reticulated pythons lives here. Giant butterflies and a whole host of exotic birds (flamingos, toucans, hummingbirds and the like) live near the artificial lake in reserve’s center.
Four pedestrian paths (of different length and difficulty level) and as a bicycle route are laid across the reserve’s territory in order to make the trip through the tropical forest as comfortable as possible. It is better not to leave the paths at all, as this is a real forest, the inhabitants of which are not always cuddly and harmless. It is impossible to get lost in the Bukit Timah however: there are maps that help to guests to locate and orientate themselves at every point. In addition, there are also several special recreation spots. Given the high humidity, high temperature and the trip’s duration, it is recommended to take a bottle of drinking water with you.
Important! It is strictly forbidden to feed the wild monkeys on reserve’s territory. Signposts, installed all around Bukit Timah, remind guests of this.