Day-tripping Singapore: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Our first Sunday in Singapore, rest day! After the first few days of busy life admin, we decided to use this free day to escape the high rises and visit the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

The reserve is only 12km from the city centre, but is home to a whole host of wildlife. Stretching across 163 hectares (slightly larger than Hyde Park), this is one of the few areas of primary rainforest remaining in the country. It also has Singapore’s highest hill, standing at 163 metres (did they plan to match the hectarage with the height?!).

Getting sweaty

There are a number of routes to take through the reserve, and the friendly people at the visitor centre will help you choose.

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Trail map, from nparks.gov.sg

 

We chose the green Route 3, marked moderate, and set off. It had rained in the morning, and the now shining sun was making the ground steam. It was literally like being in a sauna and pouring water on the coals!

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Watching out for snakes on the path!

 

The reserve is luscious, the paths surrounded by thick greenery. It’s easy to forget your so close to the urban jungle.

Back in England we walked a lot, but in the heat and humidity of Singapore, within minutes we were drenched in sweat. Several times we were passed by older gents out for a run, obviously glutton for punishment in a mostly flat country.

It didn’t take long to reach the summit, just a few hundred tortuous stairs! We arrived, shiny faced, to see macaque monkeys jumping in and out of the trees.

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The summit, where monkeys play in the trees and men fitter than us do push-ups

 

Back down to the visitor centre and a quick stroll takes you to the Hindhede Nature Park, home to the majestic Hindhede Quarry. This used to be a granite quarry, and is named after Danish civil engineer Jens Hindhede.

It’s a lovely spot, where fish and terrapins swim around. A bench makes it the perfect place to bring a picnic, something we’ll definitely do in the future.

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Hindhede Quarry, a calming spot to end your walk at

 

Wildlife spotting

My phone camera is not up to taking wildlife photos worthy of posting, so I’ve borrowed a few snaps to show what we spotted on our walk:

  • Stork-billed Kingfisher – the biggest Kingfisher in Singapore and classed as an ‘uncommon resident’. The bright red bill and blue wings caught our eye as it perched on a branch at the quarry
  • Macaque monkeys – These cheeky monkeys are widely seen throughout Singapore’s parks. We saw them at the summit and in the car park rummaging through a flat bed truck
  • Malayan Colugo – Off of BBC’s Planet Earth ‘Jungle’ episode, the colugo has huge eyes and lives in trees. It has a skin membrane between its limbs, allowing it to glide from tree to tree like a wingsuit flyer. It is apparently an uncommon sight.

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    Stork-billed Kingfisher (from pixabay.com)
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    Macaque (from pixabay.com)
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    Malayan Colugo (from pixabay.com)

    If you’d like to visit Bukit Timah, look at www.nparks.gov.sg for more information and how to get there.

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