Experience nature in its pristine form at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which is a mere 12 km from the bustling city centre. By virtue of Singapore’s location on the equatorial belt, the reserve has one of the richest and most diverse ecological systems. Visitors will see an astonishing variety of plant, animal and insect life, typical of a humid equatorial climate.
This 163-ha reserve includes Singapore’s highest hill, Bukit Timah Hill, which stands at 163 m and retains one of the few areas of primary rainforest in the country. The forest on the hill has been a botanical collection ground for more than a century, and the first known specimens of many species of Malayan plants have been obtained here.
Home to around 40% of our nation’s (native) flora and fauna, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has been a favourite spot for those looking to get close to nature. Some of these flora and fauna species include the Shorea curtisii, Red Dhup (Parishia insignis), Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) and Malayan Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus).
Established in 1883, Bukit Timah Forest Reserve was one of the first forest reserves to be created in Singapore, as recommended by Nathaniel Cantley, the then Superintendent of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. In 1882, Cantley was commissioned by the government of the Straits Settlements to prepare a report on the forests of the settlements. In his report, he recommended for several forest reserves to be created on the island, which were established over the next few years.
However, all the reserves, except for Bukit Timah Forest Reserve, were worked for timber. By 1937, most of these reserves had been depleted due to economic development. Thankfully, Bukit Timah Forest Reserve was retained for the protection of its flora and fauna under the management of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
In 1951, the reserves were further protected through the enactment of a Nature Reserves Ordinance and the establishment of a Nature Reserves Board to manage the reserves.
The Bukit Timah and Central Catchment areas were later declared as Nature Reserves in 1990. Today, the nature reserves are gazetted for the propagation, protection and preservation of Singapore’s indigenous flora and fauna under the Parks and Trees Act 2005.
More about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
The Reserve was reopened in October 2016 following the completion of restoration works carried out from September 2014 to October 2016. You can visit the Reserve and journey back in time to the days before Sir Stamford Raffles arrived as you trek among the original vegetation and undisturbed tropical forest. Push yourself to the limits as you climb Singapore’s tallest hill on trails that wind through pockets of hill dipterocarp forest, not found anywhere else on the island.
Learn about the treasure trove of native biodiversity within the Reserve through interactive displays of forest ecology and plant specimens at the Exhibition Hall, located on the second floor of the Visitor Centre.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was officially declared an ASEAN Heritage Park on 18 October 2011. Together with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, it is now part of a prestigious regional network of 35 protected areas, forming the complete spectrum of representative ecosystems in ASEAN Member States.
Nature Reserve Information
How to get there
By bus: 67, 75, 170, 171, 184, 852, 961
Alight at Jalan Anak Bukit Road, opposite Beauty World Centre (Bus stop ID: 42109), or
Alight at Upper Bukit Timah Road, opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (Bus stop ID: 42091)
By MRT: Alight at Beauty World MRT Station, take Exit A
Nature Reserve Opening Hours
7am to 7pm daily (entering or remaining in the nature reserve after 7pm is not allowed)
Exhibition Hall Opening Hours
8am to 5.30pm daily
Carpark Opening Hours
7am to 7pm daily (No overnight parking)
[Alternative parking is available at Cheong Chin Nam Road, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Beauty World Shopping Centre.]
- Wheelchair accessible to Visitor Centre
- No pets allowed in Nature Reserve
Smoke-free (all nature reserves)
For public safety, please do not enter the nature reserve and forested areas during stormy weather, as such inclement weather may cause trees and branches to fall. Do note that when planning to go outdoors, you may dial 65427788 for weather forecast.