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7 Hiking Trails You Can Explore Around The Revamped Bukit Timah Nature Reserve


Trekking in Singapore

 

chestnut nature park trail hiking bike park

Beyond the atas bungalows and prestigious schools, Bukit Timah is also Singapore’s #1 place to hike. With the revamped Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the recently-completed Chestnut Nature Park, there is no other place in Singapore with so many parks and trails located within such close proximity of each other.

If you're looking for an adventurous day out, here are 7 hiking trails around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve that you can mix, match and combine together to form your ultimate hiking expedition! 

 

1. Chestnut Nature Park

 

 chestnut nature park northern trail

Spanning a total of 81 hectares, recently opened Chestnut Nature Park is the largest nature park in Singapore. The first in Singapore to have separate mountain biking and hiking trails, here you won’t have to worry about cyclists coming your way around the corners.

The park surrounds the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and acts as a green buffer for the reserve, and is home to several globally threatened species such as Straw-headed Bulbul and the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher.

chestnut nature park southern trail

From the entrance of the park, you have 3 trail options: one southern trail and two northern trails, totaling a distance of 5.6km.

chestnut nature park northern loop giant log hiking

The southern trail starts from Sunbird Hut and is 2.1km long. Running in a loop, the southern trail is known for the granite boulders that dot its path and lalang plants that grow to as tall as you and I.

chestnut nature park bridge

Behind Chestnut Point and near the Pump Track lies the entrance to the 1.5km Nature Trail, which brings you through several picturesque bridges and bustling streams and the soothing and serene tranquility of a walk in nature.

chestnut nature park bike park northern trail 

Finally, there’s also a 2km northern trail opposite Sunbird Hut that contrary to the signage, is NOT a loop.

The trail leads you to Chestnut Bike Park, and carrying on with the path can eventually bring to Zhenghua Nature Park and even Mandai. The trail starts as a concrete and paved road, before quickly turning into cobblestone pavements, a dirt trail under a grove of arched trees, and lastly a clearing - where an observation tower, Chestnut Tower, is still under construction and is slated to be completed by the end of 2017.

Getting there:

By car: Drive along Chestnut Drive towards PUB waterworks and park at the carpark beside Chestnut Point

By bus: Bus numbers 700 or 966. Alight at closest bus stop which is at Block 202, Petir Road. From the bus stop, take an approximately 2km (30mins) walk along Petir Road/Chestnut Ave into Chestnut Nature Park.

Difficulty: Moderate (2 - 3 hrs)

Opening hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

 

2. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

 

bukit timah hill hiking trail visitor centre

With its peak at 163.63 metres above ground, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the closest thing we have to a mountain. And after a 2-year reconstruction effort that cost $14.25 million ended in October last year, her trails are open again for daily visits - this time offering a better experience to the public and more protection for its plants and animals.

 vasque hiking shoe boots inhaler gtx

There's also a refurbished and spanking clean toilet near the visitor centre at the entrance with a washing point for your shoes if they get dirty.

 bukit timah nature reserve map

Source

While most visitors still take the main path from the Visitor Centre up to the summit, we recommend taking South View Path (Demarcated in green) near the base of the hill, for a closer experience with the flora and fauna of the woods as you trek upwards.

bukit timah nature reserve trail cave path

For a bit more exercise, take a detour through Taban Loop. Otherwise, carry on towards Cave Path, where you'll see 2 caves en route. Tough luck adventurers, there’s no cave exploration to be done - for better or worse, both caves are locked shut.

As you go on your way, take a rest along any of 5 rest points in the nature reserve. Each of them has a map detailing exactly where you are, so getting lost is never a worry - as long as you stick to the trail. 

bukit timah hill summit attack path trail hiking

Once you reach Simpang Hut, you’ll have to decide between the longer but gentler main road or  the steep Summit Path to reach the highest point in Singapore. The latter is a 200m staircase, and some say if you scale the entire summit without looking back, your wish will be granted when you reach the top. 

Ok, just kidding. But it is the fastest way up.

bukit timah hill rock hiking trail summit

If you don't take a photo at the summit, have you really climbed Bukit Timah Hill? 

After all, you need to show your friend how #fitspo you are for all your efforts, and the iconic rock at the top of the summit is a photospot not to be missed. 

Getting there:

By car: Park at the carpark along Hindhede Drive at the Visitor Center. *Note that the public is encouraged to take public transport because of limited carpark spaces, especially on weekends

By bus/ train: Bus numbers 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 184, 852, 961. Take bus to Upper Bukit Timah Road, alight opposite the Bukit Timah Shopping Center and Beauty World Center.

By MRT: Take Downtown Line MRT and alight at Beauty World station. From there it's approx. ten minutes walk along Hindhede Drive to the Visitor Center.

Difficulty: Moderate (2 hrs)

Opening hours: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

For more information, click here.

 

3. Kampong Trail

 

bukit timah nature reserve kampong trail durian loop

Kampong trail is probably the one trail in this list that you probably haven’t heard of before. Made up of several smaller trails, the trail can bring you from the base of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to Chestnut Nature Park and even all the way to MacRitchie (16.5km) - if you're super fit.

 kampong trail map bukit timah nature reserve

Source

Starting on Hindhede Drive, the first trail you’ll take is the peaceful and lush Pandan Trail between Mondrian and Angsana Condominiums that’ll bring you to Rifle Range Road. 

 bukit timah nature reserve kampong trail rifle range

From there, follow along Rifle Range Trail and then Nangka Trail to reach a fork in the path, both of which are part of the aptly-named Durian Loop. Don’t get your hopes up too high though, because even during durian season, regulars will have already choped their favourite harvesting spots.

From there, you can either head over to MacRitchie or back onto Belukar Track in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. But if you’ve decided you've had enough, there’s always the option of getting a cab back since you’ll be on the main road.

Getting there:

By car: Park at the carpark along Hindhede Drive at the Visitor Center. *Note that the public is encouraged to take public transport because of limited carpark spaces, especially on weekends

By bus: Bus numbers 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 184, 852, 961. Take bus to Upper Bukit Timah Road, alight opposite the Bukit Timah Shopping Center and Beauty World Center. 

By MRT: Take Downtown Line and alight at Beauty World station. From there it's approx. ten minutes walk along Hindhede Drive.

Find the trail to your right between Mondrian and Angsana

Difficulty: Hard (3 - 4 hrs) Terrain is mostly flat save for some small hills. Some paved trails, but also muddy tracks and some road walking.

Opening hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

 

4. Hindhede Nature Park

 

hindhede nature park bukit timah nature reserve

When you think of hiking trails on Bukit Timah Hill, the super steep slope up to the summit is probably the first thing on your mind. But if you have little ones tagging along, it is highly unlikely they’ll find equal pleasure in climbing endless flights of stairs as you.

Near the carpark at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve lies the lesser known and more family friendly Hindhede Nature Park. With easy trails and well-defined footpaths, both the young and old can join you on your adventure. 

hindhede nature park vasque hiking shoes

hindhede quarry bukit timah nature reserve

Playgrounds, complete with swings and trampolines and even a mini-zipline are also present in the park, ensuring your kids loads of fun while you take a stroll and enjoy the scenic view of Hindhede Quarry, all within minutes walk from the carpark.

Getting there:

By car: Park at the carpark along Hindhede Drive at the Visitor Center. *Note that the public is encouraged to take public transport because of limited carpark spaces, especially on weekends

By bus/train: Bus numbers 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 184, 852, 961. Take bus to Upper Bukit Timah Road, alight opposite the Bukit Timah Shopping Center and Beauty World Center. 

Or take Downtown Line MRT and alight at Beauty World MRT station. From there it's approx. ten minutes walk along Hindhede Drive to the Visitor Center.

Difficulty: Very Easy (30 mins)

Opening hours: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

 

5. Green Corridor

 

green corridor trekking dog walking bukit timah

Officially known as the Rail Corridor, this railway track turned nature trail is a popular spot for trekkers, mountain bikers and people looking to take step photos.

green corridor rail corridor trekking photospot

green corridor rail corridor

Stretching from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in the CBD all the way to Woodlands Checkpoint, the 24km stretch of land was Malaysia’s up until 30 June 2011 when the last train left Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

green corridor trail opening and closing map infographic

For those looking to go on a BMT-style 24km route march here, prepare to be disappointed.
Parts of the Green Corridor closed to lay the groundwork for Murnane Pipeline Project, including the iconic Bukit Timah Station, as authorities plan to finally seal it off this quarter to lay water pipes to CBD.

But after the rain, comes the rainbow. Once the pipeline project is completed plans will be put in place to transform the Green Corridor into Singapore’s very own version of the world acclaimed High Line - except 10 times longer.

But even then, there’s still wonder to be found in the trail's current rustic and dilapidated charm . For now, the whole stretch north of the PIE is still available, so there’s no excuse not to strap on your shoes and take a walk down what is both history and greenery. 

Getting there:

For The Rail Mall access point: Bus numbers 67, 75, 170, 171, 178, 178. You can also park at the carpark at The Rail Mall.

For King Albert Park (KAP) access point: Bus numbers 66, 67, 74, 77, 151, 154, 157, 170,171, 174, 852, 961, 970. KAP MRT station is 5 mins walk from Green Corridor access point

Difficulty: Moderate (1-2 hrs) - Walking from Truss Bridge at Rail Mall to Bukit Timah Railway Station

Read more about Rail Corridor’s history, sights and access points here.

 

6. Dairy Farm Nature Park

 

Often neglected compared to its neighbouring Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the trails in Dairy Farm are arguably prettier than its more popular neighbour.

While safety concerns are paramount, with each concrete slab of step and piece of boardwalk added to Taban Loop and Cave Path in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, bits of the original beauty of nature is lost. 

This is not the case for most parts of Wallace Trail in Dairy Farm Nature Park, with its rugged and muddy terrain providing an easy yet legit jungle trekking experience.

elephant fern totoro wallace trail

dairy farm wallace trail abandoned house

Nature geeks will have a field day along Wallace Trail. The flora changes with every few steps you take and species range from ornamental flowers like Heliconias and Arrowheads to fruit trees bearing sea apples and bananas. You can also find giant Elephant Ear leaves straight out of Totoro!

Even the abandoned house along the trail seemed like it was slowly becoming part of its surrounding nature as well.

dairy farm trail steps summit bukit timah nature reserve

Dairy Farm is also home meanest flight of stairs in all of Bukit Timah (and possibly Singapore), as Dairy Farm Loop offers an alternative way up to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill. If you’re not panting halfway up the trail, you’re not human.

singapore quarry dairy farm nature reserve

Source: @mohmad_tahar

On the other end of Dairy Farm Nature Park lies its main attraction: the majestic Singapore Quarry. 

It’s the one and only natural rock climbing spot in Singapore. But even if climbing isn’t your thing, the short trek is worth every bit of the scenery from the spacious viewing deck.

Getting there:

By car: Take the Bukit Timah Expressway (towards Woodlands) and turn left at Exit 2. Travel along Dairy Farm Road and look out for the sign that says “Dairy Farm Nature Park”. Turn left into Carpark B. From Bukit Timah Road, keep left onto Upper Bukit Timah Road. After about 3km, turn right into Dairy Farm Road. Make a U-turn at the Bukit Timah Expressway junction and turn left into Carpark B.

By Bus: Buses 700, 700A, and 966. Alight at the bus stop along Petir Road between Chestnut Avenue and Dairy Farm Road.

Difficulty: Moderate (2 - 3hrs)

Wallace Trail: 40mins

Dairy Farm Loop: 1.5hrs

Dairy Farm Path: 1.5hrs

For more information, click here.

 

7. Zhenghua Nature Park

 

zhenghua nature park bukit panjang heartlands hiking

Though located close to the heartlands and with a name that may sound like your normal neighbourhood park, sections of this linear 2.5km trail is anything but your conventional park.

zhenghua nature park outfield jungle trail hiking

Walking along Belukar Loop towards the south of the park brought back terrifying wonderful memories of my NS days. In fact, it felt more like I was trekking in the jungles of Serimbun instead of being sandwiched between BKE and some condos in Bukit Panjang. 

The trek is worth it though - we came across a flatland that reminded us of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. See if you can spot it when you're there!

dairy farm zhenghua nature park trail hiking

Moreover, Zhenghua Nature Park connects Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to Chestnut Nature Park. So if you’re looking to conquer both in one hike, you can take this trail.

Getting there:

By car: Park at the carpark along Hindhede Drive at the Visitor Center. *Note that the public is encouraged to take public transport because of limited carpark spaces, especially on weekends

By bus/train: approx 10mins walk from Pending or Bangkit LRT station, depending on which part of the linear trail you want to enter

Difficulty: Difficulty: Easy (40 mins)

For more information, click here.

 

Hiking: a good break from the office life

 

chestnut nature park hiking zhenghua bukit timah

Most Singaporeans live in a fast-paced and high stress environment, and it doesn’t help that most jobs nowadays are 9-6, with us sitting on our asses all day.

From skyscrapers, deadlines and traffic jams, to an OTOT walk in a tranquil rainforest, hiking is the perfect contrast to our everyday lives in many ways. There’s even scientific proof that hiking is good for your mental health.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just someone looking to get a break from bustle of city life, with 7 trails to play around with all in one place, get a different workout with every visit you make.

 

Get the right hiking equipment 

 

chestnut nature park trail hiking bike park

Before embarking on a trail in Singapore’s favourite trekking spot, water bottles and insect repellents are must-brings. Pit stops are few and far between and trust me, you would hate to end up as an all-you-can-eat buffet for the commando mozzies of Bukit Timah. Even more importantly, make sure you don the proper gear to hike in comfort.

As any hiker would attest, half the journey is in the preparation. Shoes are by far the most crucial piece of equipment you’ll be bringing along. Vasque, a brand from Red Wing Shoe Company, focuses on outdoor footwear that improves performance by ensuring quality best suited for different terrains.

breeze III vasque hiking shoes chestnut nature park goretex leather

As someone who has had his left ankle used and abused thanks to football, I cannot stress how easy it is for me to re-sprain that same ankle. For people like me, the ankle support, having a firm grip on wet surfaces or rugged trails  and protection given by hiking shoes offers a sense of trust no matter how uneven or undulating the terrain.

These are some of the shoes we used that helped protect our feet from the terrain:

Breeze III Mid GTX (Men’s 7190) - Hiking

Breeze III Mid GTX (Women’s 7191) - Hiking

TALUS Trek UltraDry (Men’s 7426) - Hiking

Inhaler II GTX (Men’s 7334) - Performance Hiking

Inhaler II GTX (Men’s 7336) - Performance Hiking

Inhaler II GTX (Women’s 7337) - Performance Hiking

If there’re any two things worth investing in, they are your bed and your shoes - for you’re always ever in one or the other. For hiking, take into consideration the shoes’ breathability (especially when hiking in warmer climate), traction, feet stability and ankle support your footwear will offer you, and you’re already on your way to a smoother journey.

 

Getting your first pair of Vasque shoes

 

chestnut nature park vasque performance hiking shoes boots singapore

Along with a collection of other brands, you can find these shoes from Vasque’s retail store, Leeden Classic at Orchard Gateway.

See Vasque's full catalogue here!

Leeden Classic

Address: 277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway #04-17, Singapore 238858 

Telephone: 6337 0088

Opening hours: 10.30am - 10.00pm daily

Selected Vasque footwear is also available at these retailers:

X- Boundaries

Address: 238 Thomson Road #03-59/60 Velocity @ Novena Square Singapore 308673

Adventure 21

6 Eu Tong Street , #03-55, The Central Singapore 059817

Sports Affinity 

1 Queensway, #02-08, #02-43F, #01-32 Queensway Shopping Centre, Singapore 149053

Outdoor Life

Wheelock Place 501 Orchard Road #02-18, Singapore 238880

Outdoor Life

Plaza Singapura 68 Orchard Road #04-18B/30/31, Singapore 238839


This post was brought to you by Vasque Singapore.

 

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