Brewing in Singapore

One man's adventure of brewing beer in Asia.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

I am working on a post for Chinese New Years but it is gonna have to wait. First I have to tell you about today’s bike ride through the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It was fantastic beautiful, the place is filled with creatures and it was a total blast to get off road on the mountain bike. In the mid afternoon I set out from the apartment on a random ride to nowhere in particular. About 10 minutes in I can across Dairy Farm road, a road that I had wanted to live on but there were no near by MRT stations. So, I thought I would ride around and check it out. I was really enjoying the exploration when I came upon a monkey sitting on the side of the road. I pulled over to snap a picture and realized I was on the edge of the Bukit Timah nature reserve. I had read some about it but not made it around to a visit yet. The nature reserve is in the middle of Singapore and it is very large (about 4 miles across and 6 miles long), and it is just one of only two urban primary rainforests in the whole world (the other being in Rio de Janeiro). The Bukit Timah section of the reserve is 164 hectares and is home to more than 840 flowering plants (Black or Bat lily) and over 500 species of animals. The most commonly encountered are the Long-tailed Macaques monkeys, yeah that’s right wild monkey in Singapore, but other more scary thing creep around the forest as well. Monitor lizard (which I have seen in the city), reticulated pythons, I have been told that there even Flying lemurs (Colugo). Forest birds include the Striped tit-babbler, the Fairy bluebird, drongos and bulbuls. On my jaunt through the jungle I saw; a hawk, some sort of blue bird, two different species of monkeys, a bearded Iguana, an albino mina bird, a red squirrel, a half dozen kinds of butterflies, several interesting new (to me) kinds of dragon flies, and an all black wild chicken (chickens are originally from this part of the word – so seeing a wild one was kinda cool). The trails were fairly well maintained. At one point the trail meanders through the jungle and along a little stream, and at another point it moves along the edge of open fields. There are some single track trails and some fairly rough hilly areas, but by and large most of the trails were not too tough. I spent two hours riding around and I didn’t see it all by any means. There is plenty to explore and there are (I have read) far more hiking trails than biking trails. So once you have ridden all the trails for bike you can hoof it into more remote areas. I can’t wait to get back out there. What a fantastic accidental find.

I had such a good time yesterday I went for a ride in the nature reserve again today. This time I was able to see a little more and appreciate more of what I did see. I went out to the end of the one paved road that penetrates into the reserve and found that there is a tree top canopy walk set up about another 30 minute walk in (no bikes allowed). I will have to give that a try another time. And, there were a lot more monkeys. Check my flickr account for several good new pictures.


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