Bukit Timah Nature Reserve holds the tallest hill in Singapore and holds the largest amount of flora and fauna of Singapore.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
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In recent months, I've grown increasingly fond of trekking. Although Singapore's landscape limits the number of trails and trekking locations, there are still decent places to go for a morning of respite with mother nature. Just two weeks back, I took on the Tree Top Walk trail and here are some helpful pointers I thought would be useful for those planning for one.
1) Bring sufficient water. Especially for novice trekkers/adventurers, you never know when you would lose your way and end up spending more time in the forest than you've intended to. Moreover, the sun can be quite merciless sometimes. Adequate hydration is important for healthy cognitive and bodily functions, so drink up! Don't worry about needing to find restrooms on the way because there is one at the Ranger station mid-way, and you would probably be sweating enough to even have excess. I brought 1L for a 3 hour hike, no toilet breaks needed!
2) Have your camera strapped. This advice is for those who fear heights. The bridge is pretty high up and it is quite unstable especially if swayed by people behind who have heavier body mass. Just in case you get wobbly from the height and lose your grip from the sweat, it is safer for your camera to be strapped to your wrist or neck.
3) The bridge itself is not magnificent, other than being pretty photogenic in its length. The view consists mostly of the surrounding trees and natural habitats, so do not expect to see anything of the city skyline. It is though, quite a thrill to be hanging in the middle of the plot of greens. However if the traffic is high, you will find it hard to stop at one spot because the width of the bridge hardly allows for two people to stand side by side.
The trek uphill to the entrance is challenging, especially if you decide to sprint. Do note that the long flight of stairs up and down after the exit can be quite mundane as well. Nonetheless, nothing beats the company of mother nature so do enjoy the tranquility of it!
I visited the place on a school excursion to learn about the different flora and fauna that call Bukit Timah Nature Reserve their home. It's located quite deep in and if I remember correctly, the route in is plagued with many wild monkeys so it was quite scary for me because they were quite bold and they came very near. Just try to avoid eye contact and make your way quickly and don't feed them.
BTNR is a great place for learning because they have a visitor centre where I managed to learn a lot about Singapore's wildlife and plants. The hike up is quite steep and I got out of breath pretty easily but I liked that the place is generally undisturbed and one can really get close to nature. Remember to apply insect repellent so that you won't get unnecessary mosquito bites and the like.
Sadly, I didn't manage to make it to the top because it started to rain and I had to turn back. Do be careful while walking down the steep slope because it gets slippery with rain and some of my friends actually fell down.
The place is also great for jogging and general hiking. However, because there's no cafe or rest area, it's unlikely that I will return for leisure because it is simply too out of the way for me.
Me and a friend were trying to be romantic and we decided to have a picnic here.
He rode here and it was easy to find a spot for his bike, and subsequently we trekked upwards the slope trying to find a nice even ground.
It turned out to be a little harder to find because we went in the late afternoon, intending to catch the skies turn from bright lights to the evening glow But most of the park was covered with trees that made a perfect greenery, but obscured the view. It became apparent we had to trek all the way to the top for our view.
After about 20 minutes, we did manage to find our way up and the view was pretty good, but it was getting darker slowly and we decided to leave because the place was not well-lit enough and we were afraid we wouldn't find the way down.
We ended up picnicing by his bike so I guess it's still a novel day.
My fiancé and I have a new weekly ritual where we take a 4 to 5 hour long hike from my house (near Mac Ritchie) to Bukit Timah nature reserve. I had a great spiritual encounter a while back while I was in the Italian Alpes, fighting to stay alive through the night, alone in the snow. After that, I couldn't stop walking, hiking, and simply being in nature.
Singapore as it is, doesn't have many areas completely untouched by humans. The closest you'll get to an unpolluted environment would be Bukit Timah nature reserve. Contrary to popular belief, Singapore has a vast, if not struggling, variety of fauna. In fact, just a few months ago, in this very nature reserve, I spotted something I could not identify. Turns out that Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the home of the Colugo - a flying mammal, completely in a class of its own. If you do venture out (and perhaps off the trail) into the woods, keep an eye out for snakes, mammals, and perhaps even a powerful spiritual encounter with God.
Been here for a simple trekking experience recently. It's the highest point in Singapore and I guess one of the better places to train for mountain climbing.
The reserve itself has three or four main routes ranging in difficulty (if I remember correctly) and you'll see different sights along each route, so the experienced hiker would want to do them all - it takes around two to three hours? Each trail is marked with plenty of signs for directions so there's no way you can get lost unless you intentionally veer off the track.
Folks who are into nature will love this place, of course, with all the different flora and fauna. First thing I saw when I reached the entrance was a group of monkeys! And again and again throughout my trek. I suppose they are rather common here. There are also some old structures strewn throughout, in particular these couple of old tunnel entrances which seem rather mysterious. Do try to look out for them.
Remember to bring lots of water along as there aren't many water points along the trails, and take many photos. It's not every day you get to immerse yourself in a rainforest setting like this where you can forget about the city.
This is one of the few places that is free and yet offers great entertainment value. I love to come here to hike over the weekends and its never boring with the jungle friends, such as the monkeys, squirrels and beautiful birds. The best time to visit is during early morning hours where the air is fresh and not too warm. Not to mention, the chance of running into people doing "monkey business" is lesser too. It happened to me twice, usually during evening time, we ran into some foreign workers in action and another time was two teenagers. After these incidents, whenever we are walking near suspicious couple, we will start talking to announce our presence.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a great place to go to if you like to explore new places. Because it isn't as huge as other nature reserves such as MacRitchie, I am able to satisfy my exploring fetish with many short forays which diverts from the main path. There are also monkeys, squirrels and other animals that provide visual treats if you are lucky.
However, true exploring lies in the unknown, and I've delved into beaten paths that is off the park map entirely. One time, I happened upon some clearing that looks remotely like a disused path and followed it. This leads me to some broken concrete steps whose climb was cut off by fallen trees at some points. 30 minutes into the trail, I arrived at an old lookout bunker that must have been part of the park's attraction in its gloried past. Now, it just looks dilapidated with traces of moss growing over it, the jungle reclaiming it's own.
Although I didn't get to explore further because the sun was setting fast by then, I got my reward and brought news of my discovery back to a friend who was waiting at the main track. Discovering new lands, huh? As far as playing explorer goes, I guess this is the best we can do in boring ol' Singapore.
Bukit timah nature reserve is a place for hikers, nature lovers and mountain bikers alike. Being a mountain biker, I will review it from our point of view.
Bukit timah is the longest mountain bike trail in singapore, it links up several places like bukit panjang, Mandai road, dairy farm road and bukit timah road. The track difficulty ranges from really technical to just flowy. I really enjoy bukit timah because of its natural surrounding. It's a jungle. There are monkeys, insects, birds, lizards, squirrels and so much more to see there, but please do not feed them. Bukit timah is also a landmark which tourist visit regularly. The track consist of really steep climbs, to rather flat sections and to fast, steep descends. Caution is advised, because anything can happens. Though there are trails segregated to the various hobbyist, like a hiker's trail and biking trail, there have been encounters where both have come into collisions. It's not a nice feeling to knock someone down when your enjoying your ride.
All in all, it's a beautiful track to ride at. Do not forget your helmet, water bottles, safety guards, informing your friends and most importantly, please do not litter.
I liked the sound of nature. It is the sound of leaves rustling, insects chirping and birds singing. But if you go to Bukit Timah Reserve, sometimes you will hear "noise" from MP3 players or phones.
Some people are very generous and they like to share so instead of bringing a pair of headphones and listening to the "noise" themselves, they played the music from their speakers. The worse part is these people are not using good speakers so the sound that came out is no longer music to my ears.
If it is possible at all, the park rangers should tell these people in a friendly manner that they should not be so generous to share their music. If all else fails, they can remind these people that they need copyrights to broadcast music in public.
It's not as high as you may think; in fact, it is relatively simple to get to the top, especially if you take the direct route, which is essentially just a long steep slope. It does take a bit of effort to walk up the slope, since it's quite steep, but as long as you're wearing track shoes and have some friends to make things more interesting along the way, you'll be there in no time.
Or you can choose to take the longer, mosquito-infected, but infinitely more interesting route. It is literally a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of city life. Walking through the forest, you'll forget about the time, and slowly appreciate the scenary as the chirping of crickets accompany you on your walk. Nature buffs should ready your cameras, since there's a variety of plants and animals such as the monitor lizard (who seems unperturbed by people). I challenged my friends to see who can get to the top quickest, and there's a sense of satisfaction in arriving at the top that taking the direct route can't give you. From the top, you can see the sea/lake/river (sorry, I don't take geography) and Malaysia on the other side.
Just bring a light haversack filled with bottles of water and arm yourself with mosquito repellant or patches.