Updated: Dec 14, 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 trekking routes are suitable for locals and overseas travellers to get the most fulfilment out of a single visit to the nature reserve.
The summit on Bukit Timah Hill is only 163 metres above sea level and can be reached easily in about 15 minutes using the main path. It is just a resting point, so there is no sense of achievement to aim for it. The main objectives for going to Bukit Timah Hill are the hiking and checking out the wild floras and faunas.
The secondary objective is to have a more challenging workout in the nature at a walking pace. Trekking on Bukit Timah Hill is recommended for fit travellers as there are quite a number of uphill and downhill flights of steps. If you have not been exercising regularly, take it as an opportunity to have some workout. It will be a matter of perseverance and pushing yourself a little. If the going gets too tough, just find the way to the main path.
After reading this post, get more details on the 7Km or 10Km trek and tune your expectations. Try not to give up when the toughest part is just about to be over.
Points to Note
Do take note of these important points to make your visit to the nature reserve more enjoyable.
🚨 COVID-19 Precautions
#1 Always maintain a safe distance of 1 metres from others.
#2 If you are going in a group, keep to a group size of 5. Preferably, the group of 5 should be close family members or those in close regular contacts. Do not form a group with strangers or those acquaintances whom you have not met since the start of the pandemic.
#3 When wearing a mask, it may be difficult to breathe while hiking. Naturally, most hikers will take their masks off when on the trails. In such cases, avoid talking to others. Or put your mask on before talking to others.
#4 There are measures in place to control the number of people inside Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, or any parks in Singapore. Once the allowed quota is breached, entry to the nature reserve will be temporarily closed for about 2-3 hours — depending on the situations — to allow those inside the park to complete their visits and disperse. You will be able to enter the park after the restriction is lifted.
Before heading to any parks, check this website for any updates:
Keep to Designated Paths
1. Do not walk on closed paths with "No Entry" signs. Conservation efforts are going on to grow trees on the paths to prevent soil erosion. But many seedlings were killed by trespassers. Some hillside paths are prone to falling trees due to soil erosion, caused by heavy rains in recent months, and are closed off for safety. If you like nature, protect it.
From NParks website: "Entering or leaving any part of the nature park which is not a designated trail is an offence under the (Singapore) Parks and Trees Regulations which carries a penalty of a fine of up to $2,000."
2. Do stay on designated paths as there may be snakes (some venomous) and big ants that really bite in the bushes. For pregnant women and people with medical conditions, do stay on the main path, which is accessible by ambulance, and avoid going onto the hillside trails. Due to the large number of steps, a medical team may take longer to reach and fetch any unwell person to the ambulance and then to a hospital, thus, delaying critical treatments.
Plan Your Visit
3. For travellers, keep your itinerary to Singapore loose and visit the nature reserve on a day with fine weather. Do check the weather forecast again on the very day. Other than long and heavy rains during the mid-year and end-year monsoon seasons, sunny or light afternoon drizzles are considered good-enough weather. Rains usually will not last very long outside the monsoons.
4. Bring along a cap for hot sunny day and a foldable umbrella or raincoat in case it rains.
5. Try to start early, between 7am to 8:30am, as the afternoon sun can be burning hot outside the monsoon seasons. Do take precautions against heat stroke and drink lots of water.
6. For long distance trek, you might want to standby some snack bars as you won't be able to get any of them in the forests. There are drinks and snack vending machines in the Visitor Centre. If you bring any food into the forests, make sure to put them inside your bag. Keep them out of sights of the animals, especially the monkeys. Feeding wild animals is a serious offence and carries heavy fines.
7. Do wear proper walking shoes. High heels, platform shoes and slippers are not recommended even for just a short walk up to the summit using the main path. Although the main path is the easiest to walk up the hill, the steepest part is still about 40° inclined.
8. The distance of 7Km and 10Km are approximations based on Google Map. Do get your steps and flights-climbed tracker app ready, or use iOS Health app, to measure your pace at your own time. You can also use iPackTravel (iOS only) to map your trail and extract the step counts, flights climbed and walking distance from the Health app. (See some sample screenshots in the 7km and 10km posts).
9. If the suggested routes do not suit your preference, do modify them so you can have lesser uphill climbs or simply go in opposition directions from those suggested by us. We do like punishments — erh... I mean challenges!
The Suggested Routes
The 7Km hill-loop trek will exclude Dairy Farm Nature Park and cover only Bukit Timah Hill and Hindhede Nature Park. This trail is not exactly similar to the 10Km trek as they may go in opposing directions on some paths. Lastly, the 7Km trek may be more strenuous than the 10Km trek with more uphill climbs, but the latter has longer distance to cover. Whichever the case, the calories burned for the 7Km-loop should be close to that for the 10Km-trek.
7Km Hill Loop Trek:
Or just hiking:
10Km Full Circuit Trek:
Conquer 10Km in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (with sightseeing)
Or just hiking: