Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah is a hill in Singapore which stands at an altitude of 164 metres and is the highest point in the city-state of Singapore. Bukit Timah is located near the centre of the Singapore main island.
The surrounding area is an urban planning area known as Bukit Timah Planning Area under the Urban Redevelopment Authority and is part of the Central Region, and lies 10 kilometres from the city's central business district, the Central Area.
This area is often referred to as Bukit Timah, and is also known as District 10/11/21. The area has a substantial number of bungalows (single family houses and duplexes) as well as condominiums.

Etymology and history
Bukit Timah, which literally means "tin-bearing hill" in Malay, was already identified on the 1828 map by Frankin and Jackson as Bukit Timah. The hill was depicted on the map towards the northwest as two hills at the eastern source of the Kranji River. Since the interior of the island was not fully explored at that time, the location and name of the hill for the map probably came from the Malay community. According to once source, Bukit Timah has nothing to do with tin. The original Malay name for the hill was Bukit Temak, meaning "hill of the temak trees", referring to pokok temak, a tree that grew abundantly on the slopes of the hill. However, to the western ear, Temak in Malay enunciation sounded like Timah, hence Bukit Timah. Some say that timah is an abbreviation of Fatimah, a popular Malay girl's name.
In December 1843, a carriage way road was completed leading up to the hill. A small hut with chairs was constructed for visitors. The hill was viewed then as an "excellent sanatorium", as the air was "cooler and fresher than the plain, producing an agreeable exhilaration of spirits".
Bukit Timah is known as eyam malai (tin hill) in Tamil, being a literal translation of the Malay name. For some, it is synonymous with the Singapore Turf Club, where members and paying visitors flock on race days. This course is closed to the public, unlike the former course (now Farrer Park) where the general public enjoyed watching the king's sport for free.

Bukit Timah Road is one of the earliest roads in Singapore. The 25-km long Bukit Timah Road, the longest road in Singapore, running north and south of the island, takes its name from this hill. The road to Kranji was completed in 1845. Apparently, the area was so infested with tigers that it constituted a serious threat to human life. In 1860, nearly 200 people were reported to have been killed by tigers in and about the gambier and pepper plantations. The first ride on horseback across the island was along Bukit Timah Road in 1840; it took four days and was made by Mr Thomson and Dr Little.
Bukit Timah Road is known as tek kha kang a ki in Hokkien, which means "the side of the stream in the tek kha (or Selegie Road) district". This only refers to the lower end of the Bukit Timah Road. The Wayand Satu and Bukit Timah village parts are differently called. The Hokkiens also refer to Bukit Timah as be chia lo bue, meaning "end of the horse carriage road".
Bukit Timah Road also witnessed the last defensive stand against the invading Japanese army. During World War II, when the British lost Bukit Timah to the Japanese, they knew they had little chance of winning the war as most of their food and supplies were stored there. On 15 February 1942, the head of the Allied forces, Lieutenant General A.E. Percival surrendered to Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita at the Ford Factory in Bukit Timah.
After the Japanese Occupation, the farms and plantations in Bukit Timah gave way to industrial buildings and high-rise flats. In the 1960s and 1970s, Bukit Timah was a major industrial centre. Today, these have been replaced with luxury bungalows, terraces and condominiums, making Bukit Timah Singapore's premier residential district.

The Bukit Timah area is a particularly prominent location with a high land value. The area of Bukit Timah has an extensive flora and forest compared to the parts of Singapore, and contains Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which is partially responsible for its high land value.
It includes educational institutions such as Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), Singapore Chinese Girls' School, Methodist Girls' School, Hwa Chong Institution, National Junior College, Raffles Girls' Primary School, Nanyang Primary School, Nanyang Girls' High School, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School and Saint Joseph's Institution amongst others.
The nearby area houses many bungalows, traditionally expensive in land-scarce Singapore, as well as high rise condominiums. Many expatriates and well heeled Singaporeans tend to stay in this region. The rise in land prices has led to development of new condominiums. For example, the Copthorne Orchid Hotel in Dunearn Road is being redeveloped into condominiums for sale.
This region was later extended and Upper Bukit Timah (District 21) was formed. The Keretapi Tanah Melayu from Malaysia has a passing loop station here along its rail network from Johor Bahru to Tanjong Pagar.
Near the hill is the Bukit Timah Satellite Earth Station as well as several radio broadcasting antennae.

Bukit Timah Road

Bukit Timah Road (Chinese: 武吉知马路; Malay: Jalan Bukit Timah) is a major road in Singapore extending from the city centre to Woodlands Road on the way to Johor Bahru in Malaysia. The road has a distance of 25km, which is one of the longest roads in Singapore, and the road takes its name from the hill. En route, it passes through the areas of Little India, Newton Road, Farrer Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bukit Timah.
Bukit Timah Road splits into two roads at Newton Circus, the west-bound Bukit Timah Road and east-bound Dunearn Road, both of which straddle a canal along their entire lengths. Bukit Timah Road begins at the junction with Rochor Canal Road, Serangoon Road and Selegie Road just south of Tekka Centre as Bukit Timah Road, follows a canal in a northwest direction up to its junction with Clementi Road where it continues northwards as Upper Bukit Timah Road (武吉知马路上段) until the junction with Bukit Panjang Road and Choa Chu Kang Road near the Ten Mile Junction shopping mall as Woodlands Road. The road passes through the Bukit Timah Planning Area. Buildings named after the road are Bukit Timah Plaza and Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.

The road was built in 1845 and the area was infested with tigers that it was a serious threat to humans. The first horseback ride in the island was along Bukit Timah in 1840, which took four days and was made by Mr Thomson and Dr. Little. In 1860, about 200 were killed by the tigers in and about the gambier and pepper plantations. The road was also the last defensive stand against the Japanese army in 1942. The British surrendered to the Japanese at the Old Ford Motor Factory at Upper Bukit Timah Road. A canal was built in later years between Dunearn Road and Bukit Timah Road to solve the flooding problem in the area. In the 1990s, a tunnel and a flyover was constructed namely the Bukit Timah Underpass and the Wayang Satu Flyover. The Newton Flyover exists since the 1970s which goes over the junction of Newton Circus.

Bukit Timah Road westbound towards Bukit Timah, near the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Bukit Timah Road is known as tek kha kang a ki in Hokkien, which means "the side of the stream in tek kha (Selegie Road) district". This only refers to the eastern end of the road. The Wayang Satu (Whitley) and Bukit Timah village were differently called. They also referred the road as bee chia lo bue, meaning the "end of the horse carriage road".

Attraction & Historical Sites

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
A mere 12km from the city centre is this pristine 164ha rainforest. The Reserve also includes Singapore's highest hill (163m).

Singapore's oldest primary rainforest
The forest was never extensively cleared for cultivation and shelters a vast variety of plants. Bukit Timah was declared by Alfred Russel Wallace to be 'exceedingly productive'. Indeed, species new to science continue to be discovered here, even today!

The Bukit Timah and Central Catchment nature reserves are home to more than 840 flowering plants and over 500 species of animals. These include towering trees, climbing palms (better known as rattans), ferns, orchids, gingers and strange blooms such as the Black or Bat lily. The forest is home to all kinds of animals. The most commonly encountered are the Long-tailed Macaques or monkeys. Please don't feed them as this does them more harm than good. Other special treats are the Flying lemur (Colugo) and squirrels. Forest birds include the Striped tit-babbler, the Fairy bluebird, drongos and bulbuls.

Begin your visit at the outstanding Visitor Centre which has fascinating specimens, displays and photos about this wondrous forest.

The main trails in the Reserve
Route 1 (Red) 45 mins, trail grade: Easy
Route 2 (Blue) 35 mins, trail grade: Easy
Route 3 (Green) 1-2 hours, trail grade: Moderate to difficult
Route 4 (Yellow) 2 hrs, trail grade: Difficult
Kampong Trail (which leads to MacRitchie Reservoir) 1.5 hrs, trail grade: Easy

Check the NParks website for latest status of trails. Trails are sometimes affected by landslides, tree falls or other developments.

Parking at the Reserve: The Reserve is very popular, so parking can be a nightmare at peak hours especially on weekends. For a hassle free visit, simply park at Beauty World which has an overhead pedestrian crossing leading directly out of the carpark. Don't park illegally along the roadsides, you will surely be fined! The carpark is open from 5.30 am to 7.30 pm daily

Let a guide really show you the forest!
Going on a tour with a volunteer guide is the best way to see and learn more about this special forest. There is a free monthly guided walk of the South View trail.
Other attractions near the Reserve
An abandoned quarry has been developed into the Hindhede Nature Park which is now a picnic and play area for families. Here's a quick look at the Park

Mountain biking trail
Although biking is not permitted within the Reserve, there is a 6km mountain biking trail around the Reserve's boundary which takes about 30min-1hr to complete, trail grade moderate to difficult. Hikers please do not use the biking trail. Bikers are not allowed to ride inside reserves. Some details on Mountain Biking in Singapore; bikers play a role in maintaining this trail, see the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association website.

Rock climbing
At the Reserve boundary, there are also some popular rock climbing sites. More details at Natural Climbing Sites website

History of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah was one of the first reserves established in 1883. All the reserves were worked for timber except for Bukit Timah. In 1951, the reserve was further protected by legislation and is now adminstered by NParks.

The origin of its name is puzzling; 'Timah' means 'tin' in Malay but the area was never a tin-producing one. It was better known to early colonials as a tiger-infested area which few dared to visit. The hill is actually mainly and it was once an active quarrying site in the mid-1900s.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve- MacRitchie
Before the early 19th century, most of the island was covered in lowland, dipterocarp, primary forest. Between 1820 and 1870, a substantial portion of virgin forest was cleared to develop the island as an important trading post. Prior to this, many Chinese planters had also worked the land for timber and the cultivation of crops like gambier, pepper and rubber. By 1886, only 10% of the original forest cover remained.

The development of MacRitchie Reservoir (then known as the Impounding Reservoir) in 1868 brought the forest devastation around the area to a halt. The forest around the reservoir was protected as a water catchment reserve. The forests surrounding the other two reservoirs, Peirce and Seletar, were also protected when these reservoirs were developed later.

Over 100 ha of primary forest still flourish in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve today, particularly around MacRitchie. Rubber trees, remnants of the plantations there in the 19th century, can still be seen along the fringes around MacRitchie.

You'll find boardwalks skirting the edge of the scenic MacRitchie Reservoir and walking trails through the forest. They range in distances from 3 km to 11 km, allowing nature lovers to experience as much or even as little of the nature reserves as they like. Interpretative signboards along the boardwalks reveal the mysteries of nature and allow for a self-guided tour along the fringes of the MacRitchie forest.

Nature Trivia
Do you know that chestnut trees can be found right here in our forest? Look out for the majestic Castanopsis schefferiana along the boardwalk at MacRitchie

Central Catchment Nature Reserve- Upper and Lower Peirce
Peirce Reservoir, originally named the Kalang River Reservoir, is Singapore's second reservoir. It was impounded across the lower reaches of the Kalang River in 1910. Following the development of Peirce Reservoir, the forest surrounding the reservoir was protected as a water catchment reserve. Much of this forest along the northern shore of what is now known as Upper Peirce used to be thriving gambier and pepper plantations in the late 19th century.

In 1922, Kalang River Reservoir was renamed Peirce Reservoir in commendation of the services of Mr Robert Peirce, who was the municipal engineer of Singapore from 1901-1916. In 1975, a major water supply project to develop new water resources was undertaken to support Singapore's rapid housing and industrialisation programmes. A dam was constructed at the upper reaches of the Peirce Reservoir, forming the Upper Peirce and Lower Peirce reservoirs.

Lower Peirce and Upper Peirce reservoir parks are idyllic spots for a quiet picnic, or simply to relax and enjoy the parks' tranquil beauty, away form the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Lower Peirce Trail is a 900m boardwalk that takes you through mature secondary forest. This forest forms part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and covers an area of about 2,000 hectares. Many of the trees you see around you are over a hundred years old. These trees were once cleared for the cultivation of rubber in the 1930s. Natural regeneration over the years has seen some of the original forest species recolonising, but it would take hundreds of years for the richness of a primary forest to form again.

Interpretative signboards along the boardwalk reveal the mysteries of nature and allow for a self-guided tour along the fringes of the Lower Peirce forest.

The 6ha Upper Peirce Reservoir Park overlooks the scenic Upper Peirce Reservoir and is an ideal spot for a family picnic or quiet reflection. It has recently been redeveloped to provide additional car park lots, a new toilet block and shelters.

Nature Trivia
Do you know that nearly 25% of the world's pharmaceutical products come from tropical rainforests? In Southeast Asia, traditional healers are able to recognise and use around 6,500 plants that have medicinal properties

Singapore Botanic Gardens
Sir Stamford Raffles established the first Botanic Gardens in Singapore in 1822 along the slopes of Fort Canning Hill. With Nathaniel Wallich as the first superintendent of the gardens, plants indigenous to Singapore were cultivated and their suitability as cash crops evaluated. This government effort saw the closure of the experimental gardens in 1829. A public effort followed between 1836 to 1846 which saw a seven acre plot at the foot of Fort Canning Hill being cultivated. Only in 1859 were the grounds at Tanglin, where currently the Botanic Gardens stand, given for the development of a public garden.

Early History
The first Botanic Gardens, initiated by Raffles, was located on the slopes of Government Hill (now known as Fort Canning Hill). Its purpose then was the experimental cultivation of plants, such as nutmeg and clove, to evaluate their economic value and suitability as cash crops. It occupied 58 acres and was supervised by Nathanial Wallich (Dr), a Danish surgeon and naturalist who had previously been the Superintendent of the Royal Gardens in Calcutta. However, it proved to be too expensive to upkeep and was abandoned in June 1829.

Public Effort
On 24 May 1836, the Agricultural and Horticultural Society was formed and one of its initial action was to call for the government of that day to encourage agriculture and its development. This appeal led to a grant of seven acres of land around the foot of Fort Canning Hill. However, by 1846, the society became defunct.

At Tanglin
The present Botanic Gardens, located in Tanglin district, was set-up by a revived Agri-Horticultural Society in 1859. The 23-ha plot was acquired from Hoo Ah Kay (Whampoa), an influential businessman. Lawrence Niven, a supervisor of an adjoining nutmeg plantation was enlisted to develop the area into a pleasure garden. Roads, terraces and a bandstand were constructed in the Gardens. Almost the entire original layout designed 142 years ago remains today. The Gardens expanded with the acquisition of additional surrounding land. A zoo was added to attract more visitors. The role of the Gardens then was mostly recreational. Growing financial difficulties finally forced the management of the Botanic Gardens to be handed over to the Colonial Government In 1874.

The Gardens assumed a more scientific and economic role with the appointment of Kew-trained botanists and horticulturists as administrators of the grounds. Under their directorships, the Botanic Gardens was again tasked with the study of new plant species for commercial exploitation; and also with hybridising experimentation, especially with orchids. Thus, the Gardens became well known for introducing and promoting many plants of economic value to Southeast Asia, especially the Para rubber tree by Henry Ridley, the father of the region's rubber industry; and the hybrid orchid.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the role of the Gardens was geared more towards satisfying the recreational needs of Singaporeans. Many of the Gardens' amenities and visitor attractions were improved while under care of the Parks and Recreation Department.

On June 1990, the Singapore Botanic Gardens came under the management of the National Parks Board. A Redevelopment Master Plan was drawn up to provide new and improved public amenities, research infrastructure and training facilities. It was to be carried out in three phases spanning 1990 to 2005. Today, the Gardens house over 2,700 species and hybrids, a collection of 650,000 specimens of dried and pressed plants and a comprehensive 22,000-volume library. This makes it one of the most important centres for plant taxonomic and biodiversity research in the region, apart from a recreational and educational attraction for local and international visitors alike.

Bukit Timah Saddle Club
BTSC was established in 1951 by the public, supported by Singapore Turf Club. Run by members, our primary aim is to ensure horse riding is affordable & accessible to everyone in Singapore.
Our riding section with 23 club owned horses & ponies, was established by Captain Tabbits in the 1970s to making riding available for those without horses of their own. Captain Tabbits, with his wife, founded the Equestrian Federation of Singapore with whom BTSC retains a strong relationship - came up with the name for our original riding arena - Heaven.

We have added Paradise and Terra to Heaven to our facilities which also include access to the beautiful countryside surrounding our premises, offering our members a unique non-school riding environment - often shared with Singapore's wildlife.

Memories at Old Ford Factory
The old Ford Motor Factory building has its place in time because it was here on 15 February 1942 that Lt.-Gen. A. E. Percival, Commander of the British Forces in Singapore, surrendered to the Japanese Army. On 16 February 1942, Singapore was renamed Syonan-To (Light of the South), which ushered in three years and eight months of Japanese rule in Singapore.

The National Archives of Singapore, an institution of the National Heritage Board, has restored this gazetted national monument and now unveils Memories at Old Ford Factory, a permanent gallery featuring the exhibition ‘Syonan Years: Singapore Under Japanese Rule, 1942-1945’. Memories at Old Ford Factory was officially opened by the Minister for Defence Mr Teo Chee Hean on 16 February 2006.

Re-open the doors and awaken the many memories which have been tied to this art deco-styled building. Journey with the many faces who lend a voice to these bittersweet but important memories which are lessons for the future.

The Exhibition Gallery
The exhibition, ‘Syonan Years: Singapore Under Japanese Rule, 1942-1945’ is the main highlight of the visit. Learn about the background of World War II in Malaya and how people lived during the Occupation. At the end, come away with the lessons learnt from one of the greatest conflicts of the twentieth century.

After walking up the historic surrender pathway - hailed as the “ceremonial route that the British Forces took on the day of the surrender” - to the main building, visitors will enter the exhibition gallery through a tunnel, which gives them a sense of the anxiety the people experienced during the days leading up to the British surrender.

Begin the journey to the many memories at the historic Board Room where the signing of the surrender took place on 15 February 1942. Go back in time and imagine what it would have been like to be with Lt.-Gen. Percival and Lt.-Gen. Yamashita Tomoyuki, Commander of the Japanese 25th Army. This is also the first stop to the rest of the exhibition.

Spend time to ponder the many stories of the people who lived in Syonan-To. Share their many experiences and memories. Many of these archival photographs, oral history interviews, maps and artefacts from the National Archives of Singapore are being showcased for the first time.

Schools, Colleges, Polytechnics, Universities

Primary Schools
Raffles Girls' Primary School
Singapore Chinese Girls' Primary School
Methodist Girls' School (Primary)
Nanyang Primary School
St. Margeret's Primary School
Bukit Timah Primary School
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)
Henry Park Primary School
Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School

Secondary Schools
Nanyang Girls' High School
Methodist Girls' School (Secondary)
Anglo-Chinese School (ACS)
Saint Joseph's Institution (SJI)
Chinese High School
Singapore Chinese Girls' School
Saint Margeret's Secondary School

International Schools
Canadian International School
Dutch School (Hollandse School)
Swiss School Association
White Lodge Early Learning Centre

Junior Colleges
Catholic Junior College
Hwa Chong Institution
National Junior College

Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Singapore Polytechnic

National University of Singapore (NUS)
SIM University

Shopping Malls, Hawker Centers, Shops & Eateries

Shopping Malls/SuperMarkets

Balmoral Plaza
271 Bukit Timah Road (S)259708

Chancery Court
Blk 36H Dunearn Road #01-44 S(309433)

Serene Centre
10 Jalan Serene (S) 258748

Coronation Shopping Plaza
587 Bukit Timah Road (S)269707

Guthrie House
1 Fifth Ave (S) 268802

Giant Turf City
200 Turf Club Road (S) 287994

King Albert Park
2 King Albert Park (S) 598283

Bukit Timah Plaza
1 Jalan Anak Bukit (S)588996

Beauty World Plaza
140 Upper Bukit Timah Road (S)588176

Beauty World Centre
140 Upper Bukit Timah Road (S)588176

Bukit Timah Shopping Centre
170 Upper Bukit Timah Road (S)588179

The Rail Mall
380 Upper Bukit Timah Road (S)678040

Hawker Centers

Newton Food Centre
500 Clemenceau Avenue North (S) 229495

Adam Food Centre
2 Adam Road (S) 289876

Bukit Timah Market Hawker Centre
116 Upper Bukit Timah Road (S) 588172

Empress Road Block 7 Market And Food Centre
7 Empress Road (S) 260007

Cluster of Shops & Eateires

Cheong Chin Nam Road

Greenwood Avenue

Sixth Avenue

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