Bukit Timah (aka Bukit Timah Hill), located in central Singapore in the 164 hectare (400 acres) Bukit Timah Nature Preserve, is the highest land point on Singapore. Although you can get higher than Bukit Timah by riding an elevator in many of the buildings in downtown Singapore, coming to the nature preserve will get you away from the city into a primary rainforest where you will be hard pressed to find any hint of civilization. There is a wide range of plants, animals, and insects with over 800 native plant species. Animalsm such as flying lemurs, anteaters, reticulated pythons, and the paradise tree snake are harder to spot. The exception is the long-tailed macaque, a small monkey, that is quite used to human presence. While you are along some of the dirt paths, it will be easy to imagine you are in the old forested Singapore, but when you get to the summit you will quickly be brought to the present as there are some radio towers up there. There is also technical rock climbing in the northern area of the park at Dairy Farm Quarry.
In Singapore, walking in the nature preserve is known as "trekking." The easiest way to understand the short trekking routes to the summit is to get the free Bukit Timah Nature Reserve pamphlet from the Nature Reserve Visitor Center at the trailhead which has a simple topo map with colored routes.
The shortest trekking route to the summit follows what what the park has labeled as the "Red Walking Trail" (YDS class 1). The Red Trail is just over 1 km and follows a paved road heading northwest from the visitor center before turning north, then northwest. Here you will see a stairway called the "Summit Path" which will take you on a direct route to the summit. Continuing along the road, you will pass the summit on the west before turning northeast and then southeast to reach the summit. This is the shortest way up and takes about 15-30 minutes depending on your speed and if you take the "stairs" Summit Path or not.
A more scenic route is the YDS class 1 "Green Walking Trail" which is longer and follows true trails. From the visitor center, follow the main road up the hill before taking a right turn on to the the South View Path which takes you to the South View Hut. Then follow the Cave Path to the Catchment Hut before turning to climber's left on to the Catchmment Path. At the intersection with the Tiup Tiup and Rock Paths, turn to climber's right and take the Tiup Tiup Path northwest and asend to the Rengas Path before heading southeast towards the summit.
Since Bukit Timah is located just north of the equator, it is often very humid. If you are not going back to your hotel right away, you may want to seriously consider bringing a towel and a change of clothes as the Nature Preserve does have showers available.
Dairy Farm Quary - Climbing Crag
Dairy Farm Quarry is located at the very Northern part of the Bukit Timah nature preserve. You can take the same public transportation but continue until you reach the the Dairy Farms Estate area. There is a bus stop about 100 meters before the intersection and the drivers were always willing to let us know where to depart the bus. Use the pedestrian overpass and head to the intersection of Upper Bukit Timah Expressway and Dairy Farm Road. Turn right and head up the road about 200 meters. There are two small asphalt roads, take the one that runs perpendicular to the Dairy Farm Road. The asphalt road eventually turns into a dirt road and narrows a bit. The quarry is between a 1,000 and 1500 meters off the main road. You are surrounded by thick forest and vegatation along the path and it is not wise to venture off the path (big snakes) as one of our climbers found out. As you enter the quarry it is split into two separate formations. The formation on the left has the majority of the sport routes, while the formation on the right is mostly trad. Over Eighty percent of the bolted routes and anchor points had been recently replaced. The majority of the routes are single pitch. There is an enourmous under growth of vegatation along the quarry walls and a few of the routes had an excessive moss build up on the lower portion of the rock.
Section provided by: Rockopotamus.
BY BUS: Busses serving Upper Bukit Timah Road (opposite the Bukit Timah Shopping Center) are 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 184, 852, and 961. From downtown Singapore, you can catch busses 171 or 182 which run along Orchard and Stamford Roads in the colonial district and pass the Newton MRT (subway) station. Get off the bus on Upper Bukit Timah Road at the Courts Mmammoth Super Store, a large blue building that is hard to miss. From here, take a short (approx. 10 min) walk northeast on Hindhede Drive past some high class condos to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Center from where teh trails start.
BY TAXI: The easiest and fastest way to the park is via taxi. From downtown Singapore (intersection of Orchard and Scotts Roads), it costs about 8 Singapore dollars for a cab ride to and from the Nature Preserve. Taxis do not ordinarily stop at the nature preserve so on your way out you should walk out on Hindhede Drive and pick one up on Upper Bukit Timah Road. If you don't have a lot of time to explore, the taxi is the recommended approach.
DAIRY FARM QUARRY (Ref: Rockopotamus ): This rock climbing area is located at the very Northern part of the Bukit Timah nature preserve. You can take the same public transportation but continue until you reach the the Dairy Farms Estate area. There is a bus stop about 100 meters before the intersection and the drivers were always willing to let us know where to depart the bus. Use the pedestrian overpass and head to the intersection of Upper Bukit Timah Expressway and Dairy Farm Road. Turn right and head up the road about 200 meters. There are two small asphalt roads, take the one that runs perpendicular to the Dairy Farm Road. The asphalt road eventually turns into a dirt road and narrows a bit. The quarry is between a 1,000 and 1500 meters off the main road.
This is Singapore and there are many regulations. The following are from the preserve's informational pamphlet.
- Open fires and campmoing are prohibited.
- Leave radios and sound systems behind.
- Do not put up any signs or markers without authorisation.
There are signs all over the park listing even more regulations. A comforting thought is that these signs say "Offenders of any of the above conditions shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both." You probably do not want to be caught breaking any of the regulations or you might just end up being caned on international television.
When To Climb
Camping is not generally necessary.
Use the following for current conditions at Bukit Timah:
- Weather Underground: Singapore, Singapore
- Singapore Nature Reserves Visitor Centre: Tel: 1800-468 5736; Fax: 6 462 0723
Climbing Shops in Singapore
found three shops that cater to climbers and provided the information for this section.
The three shops were all located across from the City Hall MRT station. When departing the City Hall MTR use the North Bridge Road exit. Turn left and walk to the intersection and turn right. The Peninula Plaza shopping mall is located right across the street on the corner. The address is 111 North Bridge Street and there were two shops inside that carried climbing equipment.
- Allsports Equipment (phone # 63377728) was located on the fourth level. They specialized more in the area of climbing and carried the best overall selection of equipment (peltz, black diamond) and shoes ( boreal). They were also the easiest on the wallet. There website address www.allsports.com.sg .
- Outdoor Specialist (phone # 63341818) is located on level two in the same bldg and they carried a little bit of everything. They had good prices on smaller packs and helmets.
- Campers Corner (phone # 63374743) is the third store in the area. Exit the Peninisula Plaza on the North Bride Road and head back towards the City Hall MTR station. Continue to the next intersection with a street light. The intersection is Stamford street and the bldg on the corner of Stamford Street and North Bridge Road in call the Capitol Bldg. There is a fantastic bread store right at this intersection. Campers Corner is located at 11 Stamford Street store # 01-13. As the name implies they specialize in camping and outdoor equipment. They had a great selection of name brand hiking boots that were very reasonably priced. Rock climbing equipment was adequate, but they mainly carried the mad rock line of shoe...The shoe is good for plastic but not too durable as I found out the hard way. There website is www.camperscorner.com.sg The bus stop about 100 feet outside of Campers Corner will take you out to the Bitak Timah Nature Preserve and Dairy Farm Quarry. Best of luck If your ever in Singapore and even if you can't climb the bread store is great!