A hike up Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Sunday, September 07, 2014

If you have not been to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) or can't even remember when you last set foot there, it's time to visit the nature reserve before it closes to the public on 15 Sept 2014. You still have one more week to catch a scenic walk up to the Summit! The nature reserve will be closed to the public in two phases. The first phase will last for six months for the National Parks Board to carry out stabilisation work of the slopes. After which, the Main Road Trail leading to the Summit will be re-opened to visitors during the weekends. The rest of the nature reserve will be closed for about 18 months for other restorative works to be carried out on the trails and forests. We can also expect a new visitor centre at the foot of the BTNR.

I was happy that Ch's classmate and his dad were able to join our church's Brothers@Walk program to enjoy a Saturday morning walk at the BTNR. We walked along the Dairy Farm loop which was north of the hill. Some parts of the trail were muddy as it rained heavily the day before, and there were many parts with long flights of steps that challenged our physical endurance. I was half-hoping to have a more toned butt and thighs after that step-up workout but it gave me aching muscles for two days instead. The children were much better than many of the adults! The boys, including L, were in front of us most of the time and they didn't even look tired after we reached the Summit. Ch caught up with them eventually and also had commendable performance in conquering all the steps, some of which required more than two hands and a trekking pod to stabilise herself. 

Briefing before the hike

Step by step to the Summit!

When we reached the Summit, one of the well-known residents of the BTNR snatched a pack of biscuits from T's bag. The action was swift and deft, and got the children very excited. A few of the adults started shouting to warn the kids to stay away from the monkey. It got very bold and even went to ransack an unattended plastic bag left on the bench by one of our church friends! After that small adventure, a group photo with the iconic rock at the Summit was taken before we proceeded down the hill.     

The hike could have been at a slower pace for those who are less physical, so that we could catch our breaths and chat along the way. Also, I had a natural instinct to focus on the forest floor to prevent myself from slipping, and missed out on the majestic view of the tall trees and the fauna above me. Nonetheless, I was rewarded with the smaller details of the forest. There were many rubber seed capsules that had already split open and were strewn all around, tiny yellow fungi with their hyphae sticking up to say hello to their visitors, lots of lichens and bracket fungus, thick carpets of moss on the rocks and plenty of smaller plants. 

This beautiful nature reserve is famous for the dipterocarp forest that is found on this hill as such a forest type usually occurs much higher above sea-level. It also contains at least 40% of the fauna and flora of Singapore even though the land area is less than 1% of the country's area. It is also a home to a very rare species of crab - the Singapore Freshwater Crab - that can only be found locally. While walking down the trail, I saw some of the badly eroded slopes that have been cordoned off. This extensive restorative work is indeed much needed to preserve the primary rainforest in our urban jungle. 

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by Simply Lambchops

Looking forward to a restored BTNR in 2016!

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  1. Wow~, you managed to capture so many animals in action! Due to the distance, we only been there once. Hope to revisit BNTR when it reopens in 2016.

    1. This was also a first for my kids! They enjoyed themselves and I'm sure we will revisit again when they open again!


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