District Guide: Bukit Timah

Bukit Timah is part of District 10, and is a vast neighbourhood in the Central region of Singapore. It surrounded by Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok, Clementi, Tanglin and Orchard. It is just 10km away from Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD).

( The KTM station in Bukit Timah draws curious onlookers. Image courtesy of Walter Lim.)

Bukit Timah took its name from the Bukit Timah Hill, which at a mere 164m, is the highest natural point of Singapore. Another feature unique to this area is the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) station, which sees trains travelling between Malaysia’s Johor Bahru and Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar.

It is essentially a residential area, though there is a significantly smaller ratio of HDB flats (Singapore public housing) to private housing options in this area. Condominiums and landed houses are a common sight in Bukit Timah.

Another characteristic is the number of schools (especially well-known ones) that range from primary to tertiary levels. Some of these schools include Raffles Girls’ Primary, Hwa Chong Institution, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and National Junior College. Other schools in nearby areas include Singapore Polytechnic and Singapore Institute of Management.

For instance, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which spans a mere 1.64 sq km area, houses over 840 species of flowering plants and 500 animal species. The nature reserve provides an additional function of recreation: running, hiking and mountain biking are just some of the activities available.

The Rail Mall offers dining choices catering to its largely expat population, including Subway, Blooie’s Roadhouse and Harry’s Bar.

For affordable and great-tasting local and Asian fare, head to the stretch of eating houses along Cheong Chin Nam Road. Boon Tong Kee (a well-known chicken rice brand) and Joo Seng Teochew Porridge are crowd favourites.

The Rail Mall is the place to go. Besides watering holes like Blooie’s, Harry’s and Hooked!, Denise The Wine Shop offers a sizeable collection of wines and spirits. You can also find neighbourhood coffee shops and hawker centres offering beer all around Bukit Timah.

A handful of shopping centres are situated in Bukit Timah. Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, Balmoral Plaza, Beauty World Centre and The Rail Mall are just some of them. However, most of these malls are old and do not provide much ‘retail therapy’. For instance, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre is a haven for domestic help agency haven.

If shopping is what you are looking for, you will need to head out to malls in surrounding neighbourhoods, such as Holland Village, Lot 1 Shoppers’ Mall (Choa Chu Kang) and the new Clementi Mall (Clementi).

Perhaps a reflection of the majority percentage of the Bukit Timah population who are high-income earners, public transportation is not as detailed as other areas.

Buses connect the district to neighbouring vicinities. Besides that, Newton MRT is the only MRT station servicing the vicinity. However, plans have already been made for the construction of Farrer Road and Botanic Gardens MRT stations.

On the other hand, highways and roads that fall in the Bukit Timah are plentiful. At 25km, Bukit Timah Road is the longest stretch of road in Singapore. The district also encompasses the Pan Island Expressway (PIE).

For a resident’s view of living in Bukit Timah, click here.
For expert analysis of the Bukit Timah property market, click here.