Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Planning a visit to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, or just Bukit Timah Hill, in Singapore? How about combining a nature exploration, education, and some history of Singapore with a workout session?
We have suggested routes for a 10Km Full Circuit Trek and a 7Km Hill Loop Trek in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with all above objectives in mind. These treks are suitable for locals and overseas travellers to get the most fulfillment out of a single visit to the nature reserve.
In this post, we will run through the route for the 7Km Hill Loop Trek. Do check out the 10Km Full Circuit Trek too as some routes may overlap and some are planned in opposite directions for different trekking experience.
If you are interested only in hiking on the hill and not so much into sightseeing, check out this post instead:
The primary objective of the 7Km trek is to discover more about Bukit Timah Hill. The trekking route will bring you to places of interest in and around the hill, explore the rain forests and see wild floras and faunas with as little overlapping on same paths as possible. But, do modify them to suit your own needs.
Read this before you go:
Let's Get Started
1. Get to Beauty World MRT Station on the Downtown Line and exit the station using Exit B. Follow the route to Bukit Timah Hill. A couple of restaurants along Cheong Chin Nam Road may have already opened for business in the morning, you can have breakfast there.
For more budget options, go to the food centre on the top floor of Beauty World Centre (use Exit A). After breakfast, use the overhead bridge on the same level as the food centre to get to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The route is also shown on the map.
2. Just before reaching the foot of Bukit Timah Hill, you will pass under a railway bridge with a short remnant of a railway track from the historical Singapore-Malaysia railway line. You can check it out or wait until after the trek.
3. You will come to the car park for Bukit Timah Hill. The Visitor Centre for Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is just behind the car park. Instead of heading straight towards the Visitor Center, turn left and walk towards Hindhede Nature Park. Enter the park and keep left until you reach Hindhede Quarry.
4. At the look-out hut for Hindhede Quarry. Check out the scenery, the fishes, the terrapins and the birds too.
5. Leaving the quarry, turn left at every junction or follow the signposts to the Visitor Centre. You will notice that Hindhede Nature Park is a big playground for kids. At the Visitor Centre, check out the exhibits and get a rough idea of what to expect in the nature reserve (except tigers, they are history). Read about animals that are truly native to Singapore and hopefully you can spot them while trekking.
The uphill trek to Bukit Timah Summit will start on the main road (tarmac path) beside the Visitor Centre. And do go to the washroom here and get some water too, the next rest point will be couple of hours away. Get some snacks if you like.
6. Follow the main road up the hill and experience the thrill of hiking up a steep 40° inclined slope. Try searching for Malayan colugos on tall tree trunks on both sides of the path at the same time. These "flying lemurs" can be anywhere but the tall trees and sparser tree branches beside the main road make it easier to spot them.
7. Walk on the main road until you reach Simpang Hut, turn right, head straight to a flight of steps that lead to the summit. This will be your first flight of uphill steps. The main road will also lead you to the summit, but it is too easy and you will use it on the way down later, so take the steps. This is also the only flight of steps that has smaller steps on the left side (when going up), use it to make the climb easier.
8. At the summit, take a break. You will only be 163.63 metres above sea level, so it's not something to wow about. Most visitors will go "That's it! This is the summit?". Yup, that's the highest point. You will not regret going up that last flight of steps.
9. Leaving the summit, take the main road. At the first junction, go down Rengas Path and turn right to Diary Farm Loop. Look for more wild floras and faunas along the way. See if you can see some monkeys, squirrels, wild boars and birds.
10. Walk along Diary Farm Loop trail until you hit Diary Farm Hut, turn right to Diary Farm Nature Park. A short distance later, you will reach another tarmac road, turn right again to Wallace Education Centre. There are more exhibits in there about the nature reserve since its discovery in the 19th century and the floras and faunas discovered in time chronological order. There is also a restroom and water cooler for refill.
If you are into birds photography, the area around Wallace Education Centre is a natural habitat for many species of birds. It's a hot spot for many bird watchers.
11. If you are interested to explore Wallace Trail opposite Wallace Education Centre, you may do so. There are more floras here to discover. However, do apply insect repellent, you are going into the woods. Find out more about Alfred Wallace, a Welsh naturalist and biologist, and his relationship with the nature reserve, especially his love for durians. See if you can identify the durian trees (hint: its leave has two colours: shiny bright green topside, dull pale green underneath).
12. Retrace back to Diary Farm Hut and continue on Diary Farm Loop, cross a small bridge along the way and you will come to another flight of uphill steps. This is the narrowest and steepest flight of steps in Bukit Timah Hill. Catch your breath and walk up slowly. Don't stop or you will feel that it's going to take forever to reach the top.