Updated: Dec 1, 2020
I usually go hiking on Bukit Timah Hill on weekends as a form of regular exercise and to keep my leg muscles in shape since I walk a lot when travelling overseas.
In this post, I will run through the 7Km hiking route that I worked out to make a full circuit around Bukit Timah Hill, covering most of the paths on the hill and with as little overlapping as possible. Since it is also for training the legs, I planned it in such a way that the route will always be going uphill on the steepest slopes. That is the kind of challenges that I set for myself.
* 7Km is approximated using flat-distance measurement on Google Map. The actual distance may be longer. Before you scare yourself that 7Km sounds like a long distance, it took me just 1.5 hours to complete it without stopping to rest.
Read this before you go:
Points to Note when Trekking at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (updated with COVID-19 precautionary measures.)
It will be easier to open the map in Google Map app and continue to read this post. All points are marked on the map for easy reference. Locations of the up-going steps are also indicated with a "stair" symbol.
I will use Beauty World MRT Station as the starting point since it is an easy-to-locate landmark for most people.
Start: Get to Beauty World Station on the Downtown Line and exit the station via Exit B. Follow the route above to Bukit Timah Hill. Since you will be starting the walk here, consider this as the starting point.
Point 1. 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. There is a trail leading to Hindhere Nature Park at one corner. If you wish to stroll through Hindhede Nature Park, take a left-turn at the carpark entrance and walk towards a little staircase by the trees.
Enter the park and keep turning left until you reach the Look Out Point at Hindhede Quarry. Enjoy the scenery. After the quarry, continue on the path and keep to left-turning paths until you are at the visitor centre. This will complete a loop around the park.
🚩 You can opt to skip Hindhede Nature Park and head to the visitor centre.
Point 2: At the Visitor Centre, get ready for the uphill hike. The restrooms are opposite the visitor centre across the tarmac path. When ready, take the tarmac path up the hill — the path is known as Hindhere Drive, but I will call it the "main path" for short.
Experience the thrill of hiking up a steep 40° inclined slope. This stretch is good for training leg muscles. You will come to Kruing Hut on top of the ramp. Continue on the main path towards the summit.
Point 3. At the junction next to Simpang Hut, turn right and you will see a flight of steps leading uphill about 60 metres further ahead.
Point 4: Take the flight of steps to the summit. This will be your first long flight of uphill steps. The main path will also lead you to the summit, but it is too easy. Anyway, you will use it on the way down later, so take the steps.
Note: This flight of steps is currently one-way — going UP only — as a COVID-19 precautionary measure.
Point 5. At the summit, take a short break, catch your breath and do some stretching exercises. This spot is only 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, this is the highest point for summit-goers. The real essence of hiking in Bukit Timah Hill lies in the nature trails off the main path.
Point 6. Leaving the summit, take the main path. At the first junction, go down Rengas Path. The hillside trek begins here.
Point 7. At the bottom of Rengas Path, take the right fork to Diary Farm Loop. It is a single long trail all the way to Diary Farm Hut. There are multiple short uphills and downhills along this trail but is rather easy to walk.
Point 8. At Diary Farm Hut about 900 metres later, turn left and walk through the hut to get onto the trail behind it.
🚩 To go to Diary Farm Nature Park, turn right to exit Bukit Timah Hill and then turn left. To visit the restroom, turn right also and right again to Wallace Education Centre. (The centre is currently under renovation but the restrooms are opened to public.)
Point 9. After crossing a small bridge, you will come to another flight of uphill steps. This is the beginning of the longest and steepest flight of steps in Bukit Timah Hill. Catch your breath and walk up slowly. Try not to stop or you will feel that it is going to take forever to reach the top.
At the top of the newly-constructed steel steps, turn around and awe at the steepness of this slope.
At the top of the steps is North View Hut, take a break and catch the breath again. Then continue on the path till the next junction.
Point 10. At the raised platform, turn right to Jungle Fall Path. If it rains or for some reasons you decided to skip Jungle Fall Path, continue straight and you will be back at Point 7, then climb the steps up Rengas Path to the main path.
Note: Jungle Fall Path can turn muddy during or after a rain.
Point 11. After passing a tiny waterfall, you will come to the start of the third longest flight of uphill steps. Some of the steps here are about a foot high. Hope your legs will not be wobbling at this point. Up the steps and follow the path all the way to the main path.
Point 12. On the main road, turn right and follow it downhill. It will be easy walking from here. You will pass Point 4, the first flight of steps to the summit, and Point 3 at Simpang Hut. Keep left and continue walking till you reach the next junction about 80 metres away.
Point 13. Take a left turn to Catchment Path. Walk along the path, ignore the closed Rock Path due to hazards of falling trees. Continue walking till the next junction.
Point 14. At the junction, turn right to Cave Path. Follow the single-trail path that leads downhill and towards South View Path.
🚩 To go to MacRitchie Reservoir from Bukit Timah Hill, continue on Catchment Path till you exit the trees.
Point 15. With all the downhill trek since the start of Catchment Path, it will come to a point where the trail will have to go uphill again. And this will be the forth stretch of long uphill steps, but shorter than the previous three at Point 4, 9 and 11. The steps are smaller and easier to climb too — except that it's near the end of the hike.
Follow the path and continue to South View Path near South View Hut.
Point 16. At the next junction, ignore Kruing Path that leads uphill to the main path. Continue straight.
Point 17. Turn left to Taban Path, which has been reworked recently. It will be an additional 300 metres or so with one long flights of steps that leads mostly downhill.
🚩 If you are tired, skip Taban Path and head straight to Point 18, passing a large heritage tree.
Point 18. At this junction, go straight ahead to the main path and then left to the visitor centre. If you have chosen to skip Taban Path at Point 17, you will also arrive at this junction, turn right.
Back at the visitor centre, wash down and follow the route to Beauty World Centre for lunch. Beauty World MRT Station is just beside the shopping centre. My 7Km route ends here.
Congratulations! You will have conquered 4 long flights of uphill steps. Using iPackTravel app's "Map My Trail" function or the standalone iPT MapTrail app, you can map your hiking trail with health data for steps count, number of flights climbed and walked distance. My steps count is 11,215 and the total distance covered is around 7.8Km with 59 flights climbed.
Hope you will enjoy the hike and the challenges!
Try the 10Km route: