Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is one of the few remaining places in Singapore where we can enjoy hiking through a thick lush primary tropical rainforest, and boast about climbing up to the highest peak in Singapore.
Standing at a modest 163-metres, Bukit Timah Hill may be no mountain, but climbing up its steep slopes will definitely give our calves a good workout and leave us gasping for breath.
A huge car park is conveniently located beside the trailhead and is chargeable by the minute. On weekends, the car park fills up fast by early morning, so it is probably a good idea to ditch the car and hoof it there.
There are several approaches to reach the summit. Most people prefer to charge up the spacious Main Road, a paved path that leads all the way to the peak.
Those hankering for more intimate encounters with the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest could choose the South View Path, a side trail that branches off from the Main Road into the deep dark forest.
If we choose to go down this path together, we’ll have to be prepared to weather the ups and downs…
…for better or for worse…
…and withstand whatever trials and tribulations that come our way.
As we journey onward together, the very encouraging resident wildlife will cheer us on…
…point us in the right direction…
…and show us the treasures that are hidden in the forest.
If we get tired along the way, we just need to stop for a while…
…and enjoy the little things in life.
We might sometimes be tempted to take shortcuts, but we’ll constantly be reminded to stick to the path.
All too soon we’ll realise that the way is short and the journey transient.
Before we know it we’re thrown back onto the Main Road and faced with a tough decision – to continue along the steep slope of the Main Road or take the long long stairway up to our final destination.
Whichever path we choose, at the end we can be proud to say that we did it!
Don’t expect to be rewarded with a view at the summit. All we’ll get to see are trees, trees and thick, dense trees.
At the crossroads at Simpang Hut, there is another side trail called the Quarry Trail. If we peer hard enough through the dense foliage, we might be able to catch a glimpse of the Hindhede Quarry.
A better way to enjoy the quarry view is to hike right up to it. The trailhead to Hindhede Quarry is at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill, behind the Visitor’s Centre.
From there, it is an easy hike along a boardwalk that leads us once again into the forest.
Along the way, there are playgrounds for the kids, picnic benches, fitness stations, and a little zip-line for the tiny adventurers.
We might even bump into a very well-camouflaged Malayan Colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) who likes to stay still and pretend that he is part of the tree trunk, all the while thinking that we can’t see him. With his special wing-like apparatus called a patagium, he is able to glide from tree to tree like a parachute.
At the end of the short hike, we will be rewarded with a lovely view of Hindhede Quarry…
…and the surprisingly clear waters of the quarry lake, where various kinds of aquatic animals live together in harmony.
There must be an abundance of fish in the quarry pool, because kingfishers of all kinds can be seen flying in and out of the water with fish in their mouths, such as the Common Kingfisher, the White-throated Kingfisher, the Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)…
…and even the very rarely seen Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting).
The quarry pool is also a good place for other fish-loving birds to hang out, like the Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)…
…and the Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus ichthyaetus).
The Hindhede Quarry is a definitely great place to kick back, relax and be one with nature.