Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Singapore Reviews
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Jul 10, 2007
Visiting Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is valuable since it's one of the few places left to experience (somewhat) Singapore's unsoiled flora & fauna. The hiking trails are well-maintained, but be warned: no feeding the monkeys! Yes, there are monkeys (macaques), and there's hefty fines for feeding them, not to mention it's reportedly not healthy for the monkeys to indulge in either.
One of my first trips in Singapore was to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I remembered seeing it in a guide book somewhere, and I wanted to see some nature, but I didn't do any more research than finding out how to get there. I ended up missing two bus stops and decided to walk back. It ended up being longer than I anticipated, and fortunately I met up with a friendly couple from Australia who offered to give me a ride (yes, I know, it's dangerous).
I wandered through some houses and crossed the street in the direction of the park. I did a double take at what I originally thought was a gray cat, but was in fact a macaque. There were dozens of them, and I had no idea they lived in Singapore or that I would come into contact with them.
I spent a good while observing them and taking photos, being careful not to aggravate them because I know they can become aggressive, though they were obviously accustomed to being around humans.
I'd ended up in Hindhede Nature Park, an abandoned quarry that was turned into a playground for families and monkeys alike.
I seem to recall some kind of gym or club, a little grocery/tourist store, and a Visitor's Center detailing the history of Singapore and the park, which I found interesting. I also picked up a map at the information center, but didn't need to use it.
The trails from this end were mostly uphill. I'd definitely recommend bringing a few liters of water just in case, given the somewhat strenuous exercise and the humidity.
I saw a few different kinds of large lizards, some sort of fast chipmunk-like creatures, an abundance of butterflies, and I could have sworn I saw some sort of flying rodent but those are supposedly rare, so I can't be sure. Anyway, I got some photos of the other ones.
I'd recommend hiking from MacRitchie Reservoir to Bukit Timah since the trails intersect, or vice versa, if you have a few hours to spare, are reasonably fit, and have the inclination. Otherwise, visiting the monkeys or meandering through one or two of several trails allows a glimpse of Singapore's natural wonders without using too much energy.
Packing a light meal and making a picnic might be a good idea as well, though watch your belongings, since the macaques sometimes have sticky fingers and can be very quick!.
The main trails in the Reserve:
Route 1 (Red) 45 mins, trail grade: Easy
Route 2 (Blue) 35 mins, trail grade: Easy
Route 3 (Green) 1-2 hours, trail grade: Moderate to difficult
Route 4 (Yellow) 2 hrs, trail grade: Difficult
Kampong Trail 1.5 hrs, trail grade: Easy (leads to MacRitchie Reservoir)
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May 01, 2007
I had always wanted to visit the Bukit Timah Nature, partly because it's slightly embarassing when my overseas clientele and friends ask for comments about the place. Couldn't tell them how I've been too lazy to be hiking.
We almost missed it again today. Had a late night out yesterday (as usual). My best friend Jo called at 3 to ask if we could postpone the trip and I said 'NO! I've had it planned for 2 weeks and we need to go!'
We went... me excited and fresh. Jo had her doubts about how fun it would be. As we arrived at the visitor centre, there were 4 different routes to choose from. Being amateurs, we chose the 2nd route. It took us 20 minutes to reach the summit of the 163m. hill. My feet was warmed up.. never had an uphill walk in quite awhile.
Along the way, huge amounts of rainforests sheltered us from the humidity. There were lots of interesting trees. ALthough I had to admit I was constantly looking at the ground trying my best not to fall into a mudpool.
As we headed down, I saw an interesting jungle trail that looked like it might lead us to the entrance in no time. I was pretty wrong. Awfully wrong. It was the beginning of the real hike.. So real that Jo almost wanted me to call for an ambulance. =)
I thought it was pretty fun.. although I feel an aching body now. We walked through neverending flights of steep steps, hopped from rock to rock to avoid the mud, and eventually had to live with the mud and just hope that we were not sliding down the forests.. although Jo had a slight scare on one of those unfortunates slides.
I never felt that wet since my high school days. What lasted for 30 minutes ended in 2 hours, as we finally found our way back to the entrance. I'm glad they had shoe-cleaning facilities. I was pretty sure no cab would like to fetch 2 slumpy bad-smelling girls.
I'm glad I did it.. It was one of the very few healthy activities that I've done over the past month.. I was too busy eating, drinking, and gobbling into ice-cream. Hopefully this detox session's impact would last me through a week =)