Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Planning a visit to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve 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 10Km Full Circuit Trek with points of interests. Do check out the 7Km Hill Loop 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 in the reserve and not so much into sightseeing, check out this post instead:
The primary objective of the 10Km Full Circuit Trek is to discover more about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The routes will bring you to places of interest in and around the reserve, 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 strengths.
Read this before you go:
Let's Get Started
The proposed 10Km Full Circuit Trek for Bukit Timah Nature Reserve includes Dairy Farm Nature Park, Hindhede Nature Park and Bukit Timah Hill.
1. Get to The Rail Mall. Hillview MRT Station is the nearest stop along the Downtown Line. There are some eating places in The Rail Mall where you can have breakfast before starting the hike.
If you have not tried Indian food before, visit Springleaf Prata Place (go pass Coffee Bean, cross the carpark and its in another block of The Rail Mall) to try their crispy roti prata and varieties. There are other eating places as well, such as Subway, EAT for noodles and Toast Box for a variety of local fares and traditional coffee. Have a good breakfast, you have a long walk ahead.
Alternatively, you can start from Beauty World MRT Station and end the 10Km trek back at that station. But, since we suggested the 7Km trek to start from Beauty World Station, we set Hillview Station as the starting point for this trek for different experience.
2. If you are eating at Springleaf Prata Place, you will see a railway bridge across Upper Bukit Timah Road, just outside the shop. That will be your starting point. The railway bridge is a memento of the historical Singapore-Malaysia railway line that used to start from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (closed for redevelopment until 2025) to Kuala Lumpur. The old-days train line, with the metal rails removed, is now the green corridor that connects several parks in Singapore.
3. Do not cross the bridge. Follow the green corridor towards Bukit Timah Hill. It should be around 2Km to the next point. Enjoy the scenery and look for wild floras and faunas along the way. It is a good warm-up walk to prepare the legs for the uphill trek later. And look out for bikers.
4. When you see another segment of a railway track before you, that is where you will exit the corridor for Bukit Timah Hill. Follow a path on your left down to the road below and head straight along the road, without turning. Ask around if in doubt.
5. 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, keep left and you will reach Hindhede Quarry.
6. At the look-out hut, check out the scenery, the fishes, the terrapins and the birds too. See more photos.
7. Leaving Hindhede Quarry, turn left again at every junction or follow the signposts to the Visitor Centre. You will notice that Hindhede Nature Park is a big playground for kids. Hindhede Nature Park is a buffer zone between the nature reserve and the residential area at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill.
8. 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 plants and 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 refill water too, the next rest point will be couple of hours away. Get some snacks if you like.
9. Instead of following the main road up the hill, turn right at the first junction to South View Path. There are lesser things to see on the main road and the hillside paths are much more challenging — going up and down the hillsides. 10 metres into the trail, turn left. If you want a longer walking trail, go straight into Taban Path, it is a loop and you will be back to South View Path some 300 metres later. Going into Taban Path from this direction will lead you through an additional long flight of uphill steps. Think about it as you will have a long way ahead.
10. On South View Path (skipping Taban Path), you will come to a big tree (common name: kayu pontianak). From this point onward, follow the trail and keep walking straight without turning left or right. Check out interesting floras as you walk and also listen for animals that may be loitering nearby. Between the big tree and next junction to Kruing Path, look up the tall trees and search for Malayan colugos. These "flying lemurs" can be anywhere but the tall trees and sparser tree branches around South View Path make it easier to spot them.