Singapore is a very urbanised country, with most of the population living in high density HDB (Housing Development Board) apartments. There is a huge amount of development going on at the moment, with two new casinos being built, primarily to draw tourists, and new condominiums going up everywhere as the expat population booms.

So it is refreshing to see that there are still some pristine pockets of forest for tourists, locals and expats to enjoy.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was established in 1883, making it one of Singapore's oldest reserves. Dr David Bellamy is said to have observed that there are more tree species growing in a mere hectare of the Reserve than there are in the whole of North America.

The varieties of Flora and fauna in the reserve are quite astonishing, although many of the large native animals, including the tiger are now extinct.


During our visit we spotted a squirrel (quite common in Singapore), some very large spiders, butterflies, a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, and some scary looking inch-long Giant Forest Ants. My husband also disturbed a snake sunning itself on the path, but couldn't be sure what it was.


If you are visiting with children, be aware that there are a lot of very steep steps in places which can be challenging for the best of us. The first hill to climb is probably the steepest, and we arrived when lots of people were leaving (11am-ish), all walking backwards down the steep slope. The kids thought they looked very funny, but of course had to do the same on our decent (it's actually better for the knees to descend this way).

We hiked up to the Summit Hut (the highest point in Singapore), expecting a great view over Singapore, of which there is none, but a good walk non the less.

Pick up a map from the Visitor Centre on arrival and you can't go wrong. We found the most beautiful part of the walk after taking the North View Path to the North View Hut and then along the Seraya Loop. There were very few people on this track, and apart from the odd helicopter overhead, you can really feel as if you are in dense jungle.

There is also a cycling track through the forest which I think would be extremely challenging and not for the faint hearted.

So take it slowly with the children and they will love looking for wildlife. Remember to take water, insect repellent, and decent walking shoes, and you're set. Hats aren't really necessary as you are under the tree canopy for most of the walk.



Visitor Centre open daily from 8.30am to 6.00pm
Tel: 1800-468 5736


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