Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a small 1.64 square kilometre (400 acre) nature reserve near the geographic centre of the city-state of Singapore, located on the slopes of Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore's highest hill standing at a height of 163.63 metres, and parts of the surrounding area. The nature reserve is about 12 kilometres from the Downtown Core, Singapore's central business district.

Together with the neighbouring Central Catchment Nature Reserve, it houses over 840 species of flowering plants and over 500 species of fauna.[1] Today, it is one of the largest patches of primary rainforest left in Singapore. The forest reserve was formally declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park on 18 October 2011.[2][3]

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
TypeNature Reserve
Operated byNational Parks Board
Bukit timah hill
Steps leading to the summit of Bukit Timah.


Bukit timah rock
Rock marking the summit of Bukit Timah hill within the reserve

The name Bukit Timah is borrowed from the tallest hill found in the area of the same name, which is also the tallest geographical location in all of Singapore. Bukit means hill in the Malay language, while Timah means tin . The hill served as a granite quarry for many years, but since the mid-1900s, all operations of which has since been abandoned and converted into recreational areas and even filming locations.


In 1882, Nathaniel Cantley, then Superintendent of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, was commissioned by the Government of the Straits Settlements to prepare a report on the forests of the settlements. On Cantley's recommendation, several forest reserves were created on Singapore island over the next few years. Bukit Timah was one of the first forest reserves established in 1883.

All the reserves were worked for timber with the exception of Bukit Timah Reserve.[4] By 1937, the forest reserves were depleted under economic pressures for development. However, three areas, including the Bukit Timah Reserve, were retained for the protection of flora and fauna under the management of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

In 1951, further protection of the reserves were provided by the enactment of a Nature Reserves Ordinance and the establishment of a Nature Reserves Board for the administration of the reserves, now designated as nature reserves, which total some 28 square kilometres in area.

Today, the nature reserves are set aside for the propagation, protection and preservation of the indigenous flora and fauna of Singapore under the National Parks Act and are managed by the National Parks Board.


Bukit timah quarry may
Quarry visible from the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

The primary activities at Bukit Timah are strolling, running and hiking. There are also smaller groups of people who rock-climb and abseil at the Dairy Farm quarry as well as mountain biking. There are specially-allocated mountain-bike trails around the area and Bukit Timah Mountain Bike (MTB) Trail [5] is located within the Reserve. The 6.5 km MTB trail loop around Bukit Timah Hill and stretched between Hinhinde Park and Dairy Farm Road. The trail represent a tropical rocky terrain with extended technical climbs and difficult descent at short intervals. For MTB Map trail rating, it is largely made up of black diamond sections with intermittent blue square sections. There are also short alternative double black diamond sections.

The Reserve is popular among athletes training for mountain-climbing. There are a number of hiking trails. The blue trail is rated as "easy" and is 0.7 kilometres (0.43 mi) long, ending overlooking Hindhede Quarry.[6][7] The red trail is also rated as "easy" and is 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) long.[6][7] The green trail is rated as "moderate to difficult" and is 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi) long.[6][7] The yellow trail is rated as "difficult" and is 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) long.[6][7] The red, green and yellow trails all end at the hut at the summit of Bukit Timah hill.[7]


Naturalists also treasure Bukit Timah for its variety of plants and animals. Some of the common plants there are the rattan, figs, and macaranga. Two meninjau trees (Gnetum gnemon) stand near the visitor center.[8] 18 different species of dipterocarps live in the reserve, including the seraya (Shorea curtisii) and Dipterocarpus caudatus.[8] Fan palms (Licuala ferruginea), leaf litter plants (Agrostistachys longifolia) thorny rattan and ferns are also common.[8] Fern species include staghorn fern (Platycerium coronarium) and bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus).[8] Lichens and fungus, such as bracket fungus are also found.[8]

Macaque at bukit timah cropped
Crab-eating macaque near the summit of Bukit Timah

Common animals include millipedes, carpenter bees, and many different types of bird, insects and spiders.[8] Common insect species include cicadas and giant forest ants (Camponotus gigas).[8] Common spider species include the golden orb-web spider (Nephila pilipes) and the St Andrew's Cross spider (Arpeggio mangal).[8] The Singapore freshwater crab (Johora singaporensis) is indigenous to Bukit Timah.[8] Reptiles in the reserve include the reticulated python (Python reticulatus), the paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) and the common sun skink (Eutropis multifasciata).[8]

The greater racket-tailed drongo is one of the most common birds at Bukit Timah (Dicrurus paradiseus).[8] The drongos often follow monkeys through the forest and eat insects that are exposed by the monkeys' actions.[8] Other bird species include the Asian fairy bluebird (Irena puella), the red-crowned barbet (Megalaima rafflesii) and the common emerald dove (Chalcophaps indica).[8] Bukit Timah is one of only two places in Singapore where the red-crowned barbet is found, the other being the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.[8] The reserve, along with the adjacent Central Catchment Nature Reserve, has been identified by BirdLife International as the Central Forest Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports populations of vulnerable straw-headed bulbuls and brown-chested jungle flycatchers.[9]

The crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), a species of monkey, is common in the reserve.[8] The monkeys also enter the area surrounding the park and are common enough that there are concerns that interactions with people will alter their behaviour.[6] Feeding the monkeys is prohibited, and visitors are urged to avoid staring at, baring teeth at or otherwise disturbing or threatening the monkeys.[6][8] Monkeys are not the only mammals in the park. Other mammals include the Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica), Malayan colugo (Galeopterus variegatus), plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) and slender squirrel (Sundasciurus tenuis).[8] The colugos, which are generally nocturnal, can sometimes be seen clinging to trees during the day.[8] Bukit Timah is the only place in Singapore where the red-cheeked flying squirrel (Hylopetes spadiceus) is found.[8]

The banded leaf monkey (Presbytis femoralis) was once found in Bukit Timah but the last individual from the Bukit Timah population died in 1987.[10]


In 2011 the National Parks Board and the Land Transport Authority announced a plan to construct an ecological corridor, the Eco-Link@BKE, at the Bukit Timah Expressway to connect Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with the nearby Central Catchment Nature Reserve.[11] Construction was completed in late 2013.[12] The Eco-Link is an hourglass shaped bridge passing over the expressway, permitting wildlife to pass between the two reserves.[11] Trees and shrubs native to Singapore are planted along the bridge, which provide food for the animals.[12][13] The reserves had been separated since the expressway was built.[11] After monitoring its effectiveness for a few years, the National Parks Board intends to consider opening the bridge to the public for guided walks.[11][14]

Enhancements of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

For public safety, public access to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) was limited for about two years from 15 September 2014 as the National Parks Board carried out repair and restoration works to the slopes, trails and forests in the reserve. The National Parks Board also used the opportunity to upgrade its over 20-year-old visitor centre at the foot of BTNR.

The enhancement was completed on 22 October 2015. The visitor centre offers a wealth of information and have interactive exhibits to keep kids engaged.[15] More information on the enhancements can be found on the National Parks Board website.

See also


  1. ^ "Bukit Timah Nature Reserve" (visitors' guide). National Parks Board. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Bukit Timah Nature Reserve declared ASEAN Heritage Park". Channel NewsAsia. 19 October 2011.
  3. ^ "President endorses ASEAN Heritage Park". AsiaOne. 19 October 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Bukit Timah Nature Reserve" (article). National Parks. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Bukit Timah Nature Reserve". National Parks Board. Retrieved 2016-05-08.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Bukit Timah Nature Reserve". Singapore National Parks Board. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Bukhit Timah Nature Reserve Map". Singapore National Parks Board. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "A Guide to Bukit Timah Nature Resreve Trail" (PDF). Singapore National Parks Board. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Central Forest". Important Bird Areas factsheet. BirdLife International. 2014. Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Hope remains for last monkeys". Singapore Press Holdings. 8 April 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d "Construction Starts for Southeast Asia's First Ecological Corridor. Eco-Link@BKE to Link Two Nature Reserves Across the Expressway". Singapore National Parks Board. 30 July 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  12. ^ a b Poh, I. (5 October 2013). "Start of 'greening' phase of first-of-its-kind $16 million eco-bridge". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
  13. ^ "Southeast Asia's First Biological Corridor across the BKE". Land Transport Authority. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Eco-Link@BKE: Safe passage for creatures over busy highway". The Straits Times. The Straits Times. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  15. ^ C, Caleen. "Up the Hill and Down the Caves at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve". Kids and Parenting. Retrieved 15 December 2016.

Coordinates: 1°21′10″N 103°46′42″E / 1.35278°N 103.77833°E

External links

Abundisporus sclerosetosus

Abundisporus sclerosetosus is a species of bracket fungus in the family Polyporaceae that was described as new to science in 2000. It causes white rot on large decaying trunks of Shorea. A. sclerosetosus is found in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore. Fruit bodies of the fungus have light brown to dark reddish-brown caps with a cream to yellowish margin. Its spores are usually ellipsoid, markedly thick-walled, and measure 3.0–3.7 by 2.2–2.6 µm. A distinguishing microscopic characteristic of this fungus is the finger- or bristle-like hyphae in the trama of the tubes. The authors characterize the hyphal system as trimitic, but with reservations.

Agrostistachys indica

Agrostistachys indica is a species of plant in the family Euphorbiaceae, known in Singapore as the leaf litter plant. The species is widespread across much of Southeast Asia as well as New Guinea, India, and Sri Lanka.Agrostistachys indica is common in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Its common name comes from the fact that leaf litter that falls from nearby trees often collects at the base of the plant, at the point where the leaves meet the stem.

Biosphere reserves in Singapore

The Singaporean government has established some five biosphere reserves in Singapore. There are namely: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Chek Jawa, Labrador Nature Reserve, and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Bukit Timah (disambiguation)

Bukit Timah, is an area located within the Central Region of Singapore.

The term can be applied to several things associated with the area:

Bukit Timah Hill, the area's namesake hill and the highest elevation point in Singapore

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the nature reserve that surrounds the hill

Bukit Timah Expressway, an expressway that passes through Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah Road, a road that runs through the area

Bukit Timah MRT Line, a future MRT line

Bukit Timah Railway Station, a former railway station located along the Railway Corridor

Bukit Timah Race Course, a race course in Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah Primary School, a primary school in Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah Satellite Earth Station, a telecommunication station located in Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah Monkey Man, a cryptid said to inhabit the Bukit Timah forest

Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency, a political constituency that serves Bukit Timah

Battle of Bukit Timah, a battle fought during the Battle of Singapore

Bukit Timah Hill


| elevation_m = 178

| elevation_ref =

| prominence_m = 163.63

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| map_caption =

| label_position =

| listing = Country highest point

| translation = "Tin-bearing hill"

| language = Malay

| location = Singapore

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| map = Singapore

| coordinates = 1°21′16.85″N 103°46′34.95″E

| range_coordinates =

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| topo =

| type = Mountain

| age =

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| easiest_route =


Bukit Timah Hill is a hill located within the planning area of Bukit Panjang in Singapore. The hill stands at an altitude of 163.63 metres (537 ft.) above ground level and 178 metres (583 ft.) above sea level, making it the highest natural point in the city-state.The weather at the peak of Bukit Timah Hill is cooler than the rest of Singapore. The average temperature range at Bukit Timah Hill is 22–34 °C (72–93 °F).

The average annual daily mean temperature at the peak is 26.8°C (80.2°F). The coolest month is December, where the average monthly daily mean is 25.7°C (78.3°F). The warmest month is May, where the average monthly daily mean is 27.7°C (81.9°F).

Bukit Timah Monkey Man

The Bukit Timah Monkey Man, commonly abbreviated as BTM or BTMM, is a cryptid said to inhabit Singapore, chiefly in the forested Bukit Timah region. The creature is often cited as a forest-dwelling hominid or primate, and is also accounted for as being immortal; however, its exact identity remains unknown, and its existence disputed. Documentation of the BTM is sparse and scattered; the creature is largely considered a product of local folklore. Karl Shuker, a leading cryptozoologist, however, has featured the BTM at length in his book Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007).Alleged sightings of the animal are rare. Records come mainly from Malay folklore, accounts from Japanese soldiers in World War II, and occasional unconfirmed reports from local residents. The first claimed sighting is said to have occurred in about 1805; the most recent was in 2007. The BTM is said to be hominid-like, greyish in colour, and between one and two metres (3 to 6 feet) in height, with a bipedal gait. All sightings have been centred upon the Bukit Timah region, which gives rise to the cryptid's name.If the creature truly existed, its living habitat would be markedly small. The Bukit Timah rainforest, its habitation, is 164 hectares (410 acres) in area, amounting to approximately 1.6 square kilometres (0.62 sq mi), and the area is frequented by visitors and park watchers. Additionally, the area is wholly enclosed by urban settlements, being just 12 kilometres from the city centre, which would likely increase detection by humans. Some experts believe claims of the BTM to be a case of mistaken identity; that the observations were probably that of large crab-eating macaques, a monkey species common to the area. Reports are also often dismissed as mass hysteria.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

The Central Catchment Nature Reserve (Chinese: 中央集水区自然保护区; Malay: Hutan Simpanan Kawasan Tadahan Air Tengah; Tamil: மத்திய நீர்ப்பிடிப்பு இயற்கை ரிசர்வ்) is the largest nature reserve in Singapore, occupying 2880 hectares Forming a large green lung in the geographical centre of the city, it houses several recreational sites, including the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari and the River Safari, as well as several newer facilities built to encourage public appreciation of the reserve, such as the HSBC TreeTop Walk. The reserve sits within the boundaries of the Central Water Catchment.

It is one of the four gazetted nature reserves in Singapore. The other three are the Labrador Nature Reserve which was gazetted since 1 January 2002, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. All four nature reserves along with the parks are protected under the Parks & Trees Act 2005.

The nature reserve acts as a catchment area for the surrounding reservoirs. The country's main reservoirs – MacRitchie, Upper Seletar, Upper Peirce and Lower Peirce are located within the reserve.Most forests in the CCNR were cleared for logging and cultivation unlike Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which remain relatively undisturbed. The CCNR now consists of a mixture of young and mature secondary forests with virgin primary forest surrounding the reservoirs.

Dairy Farm Nature Park

Dairy Farm Nature Park is a 63 hectare nature park located at 100 Dairy Farm Road, Upper Bukit Timah in Singapore.


Eco-Link@BKE is an ecological bridge in Singapore which connects the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The Eco-Link is 62 metres (203 ft) long and crosses over the Bukit Timah Expressway. The bridge is shaped like an hourglass and at its narrowest point the Eco-Link is 50 metres (160 ft) wide. The Eco-Link is the first structure of its kind in Southeast Asia. The Eco-Link@BKE is intended to aid in wildlife conservation efforts in Singapore.

Fauna of Singapore

Singapore has about 65 species of mammals, 390 species of birds, 110 species of reptiles, 30 species of amphibians, more than 300 butterfly species, 127 dragonfly species and over 2,000 recorded species of marine wildlife.The Central Catchment Nature Reserve and the nearby Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are the stronghold of the remaining forest animals on the mainland. These enclose the only remnants of primary forest on the island. The former includes four reservoirs (MacRitchie, Upper Peirce, Lower Peirce, Upper Seletar). The northeastern offshore islands of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong are also rich in wildlife.

Other areas of note are Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Pulau Semakau, etc.

Hindhede Nature Park

Hindhede Nature Park is a park located next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, in Singapore. A short trail leads into the park starting from the visitor centre and looping to the Hindhede Quarry 90 metres away. Animals that can be found in the park include the Banded Woodpecker, Clouded Monitor Lizard, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Plaintain Squirrel.

Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency

Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency (Chinese: 荷兰-武吉知马集选区; Malay: Kawasan Undi Perwakilan Berkumpulan Holland-Bukit Timah; Tamil: ஹோலண்ட்-புக்கிட் தீமா குழுத்தொகுதி) is a four-member Group Representation Constituency located in the central, western and northern areas of Singapore. The Group Representation Constituency has received two contests since 2011, which is the former presidential candidate and now the SingFirst secretary-general Tan Jee Say in 2011 and the current SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan in 2015 who was being sued for defamation, both of which were contested under Singapore Democratic Party.

Originally known as the Holland-Bukit Panjang Group Representation Constituency, it was renamed to its present name due to the Bukit Panjang ward of the GRC being carved out to form a Single Member Constituency, in return the Bukit Timah Single Member Constituency was absorbed. A large portion of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC is made up of jungle and nature reserve, namely the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Water Catchment.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC is led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Minister of State Sim Ann.

Licuala ferruginea

Licuala ferruginea is a species of palm tree from the genus Licuala. It is found in Singapore, including in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It is also found in Peninsular Malaysia. It is a small palm with a short stem. It has between 10 and 13 leaflets. The central leaflet is the longest and can grow to up to one meter long. The flowers have hairy ovaries. The fruits are pink when young and black when mature.

List of amphibians of Singapore

There are about 30 species of amphibians in Singapore. Amphibians are aquatic vertebrates. They need water to survive. They include frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and caecilians. But Singapore does not have newts and salamanders.The most common amphibians one is likely to encounter are the Asian toad and banded bullfrog. Some species are common in forested areas, like the black-eyed litter frog

List of reptiles of Singapore

There are about 110 species of reptiles in Singapore. Most of them are small or rarely seen. But there are a few which are large or prominent. The largest reptiles which can be found in Singapore are the Estuarine Crocodile and the Reticulated Python. The ones most commonly seen in urban areas are the house geckos (typically called house lizard by the lay-person) and the Changeable Lizard. The introduced Changeable Lizard has pushed the local Green Crested Lizard into forested areas.

In gardens and parks, one can often see Common Sun Skinks, the introduced Red-eared Sliders and Flying Lizards.

Water Monitors are common in rivers and mangrove. One other monitor that can be found in Singapore is the Clouded Monitor, which is a forest species. It is smaller than the Malayan Water Monitor, has slit nostrils and is paler in colour. In 2008, the Dumeril's Monitor was rediscovered in the swamp forest of Singapore. This goes to show that there can still be surprises in the forests of Singapore.

Equatorial Spitting Cobras can still be found in desolated urban areas of Singapore. The bigger King Cobra is much rarer. The closely related Banded Krait sometimes show up as road kills. There are also 2 coral snake and 9 sea snake species.

Pelopidas assamensis

Pelopidas assamensis, the great swift, is a butterfly belonging to the family Hesperiidae. It was found in the Mandai area of Singapore. The caterpillar was found in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve feeding on a bamboo plant.


Rotastruma is a small genus of arboreal ants in the subfamily Myrmicinae. Its two species are known from the Oriental region: the type species Rotastruma recava is known from the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore, and Rotastruma stenoceps is known from Guangdong, China.Little is known about the genus, and like most other arboreal ants, their biology remains unknown. However, they seem to have affinities with Paratopula and Romblonella.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (Chinese: 双溪布洛湿地保护区) is a nature reserve in the northwest area of Singapore. It is the first wetlands reserve to be gazetted in Singapore (2002), and its global importance as a stop-over point for migratory birds was recognised by the inclusion of the reserve into the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Site Network. The reserve, with an area of 130 hectares, was listed as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003.

Wildlife of Singapore

The wildlife of Singapore is surprisingly diverse despite its rapid urbanisation. The majority of fauna that still remains on the island exists in various nature reserves such as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.In 1819, when a British trading post was first established on the island, Singapore was still nearly entirely covered in rainforests. During that time it still contained flora shared with the Malay Peninsula, but the biodiversity of the fauna was even then relatively low. Following the establishment of the trading post, rapid deforestation began due to crop cultivation. Deforestation of Singapore was largely completed by the 20th century. By some estimates, there has been a loss of 95% of the natural habitats of Singapore over the course of the past 183 years. Due to the deforestation of Singapore, over twenty species of freshwater fish and 100 species of bird as well as a number of mammals have gone locally extinct.[1] A 2003 estimate has put the amount of extinct species as over 28%.In modern times, over half of the naturally occurring fauna and flora in Singapore is present only in nature reserves, which comprise only 0.25% of Singapore's land area. Estimates made in 2003 have said that the rapid habitat destruction will culminate in a loss of 13-42% of populations in all of Southeast Asia.

To combat these problems, the Singaporean government has made the Singapore Green Plan in 1992 and the new Singapore Green Plan in 2012 to continue it. The plan aims to keep tabs on the unstable populations of fauna and flora, to place new nature parks, and to connect existing parks. In addition, there are plans to set up a "National Biodiversity Reference Centre" (now known as the National Biodiversity Centre). The last goal has been reached in 2006 when the centre was founded (it also accomplished the establishment of two new nature reserves in 2002). Since its foundation it has been formulating various specific initiatives including attempts to conserve the hornbill and the rare dragonfly Indothemis limbata.

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