Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to the remaining and only substantial area of primary rainforest left in Singapore. The 164 ha reserve is merely 12 km from the bustling city and includes Singapore’s highest hill at 163.63 metres.
By virtue of its location on the equatorial belt, Bukit Timah has one of the richest and most diverse ecological systems in the world. Visitors will see an astonishing variety of plant, animal and insect life, typical of a humid equatorial climate.
The forest in Bukit Timah has never been extensively cleared for cultivation and is considered primary because there has been no bleak in forest cover in most areas. The forest is typical of lowland evergreen forest, characterized by the presence of Seraya trees (Shorea curtisii) and Shorea macroptera. These are normally found on ridgea above 250 metres in the Main Range of Malay Peninsula, but occur at 20 metres in coastal forest.
The dominant tree family is the Dipterocarpaceae of the hardwood timber such as Shorea, Dipterocarpus, Vatica and Hopea. They can reach up to 80 metres in height and are supported by shallow root systems.
Bukit Timah has a long bird list and collection of wild mammals. The Long-tailed Macaques gather in groups, foliage the treetops or welcoming visitors in front of the Visitors’ Centre. Plaintive and Slender Squirrel are plentiful, while keen observers may spot the flying lemurs.
Birds are often heard than seen. The most conspicuous is the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, the noisy forest dweller. Other interesting birds include the Asia Fairy-bluebird, Banded Woodpecker, Blue-winged Leafbird, Chestnut billed Malkoha and the Hill Myna. The Hooded Pitta and Orange-headed Thrush are rare winter migratory birds that arrive in Bukit Timah the month of December. The fruiting figs tree at the summit attract hundreds of fruit-eating birds such as green-pigeons, bulbuls, flowerpeckers, barbets, fairy-bluebirds gathering for a grand fiesta. The Majestic White-bellied Fish Eagle is often seen soaring in the sky above the summit.
Dr David Bellamy, an eminent conservationist, pointed out that the number of tree species growing in a mere hectare of the Reserve is more than the total number of tree species in all of North America.
The exploration of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve can begin with an orientation visit at the Visitors’ Centre at the foothill. Our nature guides can also lead you by the Dairy Farm way, or alternate routes up the hill summit. Our company is managing the MOE Dairy Farm Adventure Centre that serves as an ideal base station for the Bukit Timah Eco Explorartion.