Hindhede Dr, Singapore
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Before the days of Stamford Raffles and commercialisation, much of Singapore was covered in lowland tropical rainforest. More than 90% of the original vegetation was cleared for logging and cultivation during the 19th century, but the rainforest at Bukit Timah remained relatively undisturbed, and is now managed by the National Parks Board.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has one of the most diverse ecological systems in the world – besides 840 flowering plant and 500 animal species, it also contains more tree species in one hectare than in the whole of North America! In addition to being an ecological hotspot, Bukit Timah is also home to Singapore's highest hill, which peaks at 163.63 metres.
Four colour-coded walking trails lead you into the reserve, with two of these – yellow and red – leading to the 'summit'. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk for long-tailed macaques and squirrels, and you may also spot lizards, snakes, butterflies, beetles and spiders along the way. It's worth taking the time to read up on the native flora and fauna of the reserve in the exhibition in the Visitor Centre before you set off on your walk.