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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020



  Bukit Batok Nature Park  
    ... a 200-million year oasis  


Singapore's granite core is exposed in the face
 of this long-abandoned quarry. The outcrop is of lower to mid Triassic age i.e. around
200 million years old. 


The Bukit Batok Nature Park lies on the outskirts of one of Singapore's newest housing estates, Bukit Batok New Town. It is a small, peaceful park developed on an abandoned quarry site where the quiet visitor should be able to see some of the local wildlife which has adapted to an urban / parkland environment. In the evening the park is popular with joggers.

Geological Background

Geologically, the core of Singapore comprises a granite complex, called the Bukit Timah Granite, which was emplaced (i.e. crystallised from magma underground) in the lower to mid Triassic roughly 200 million years ago. In more central parts of Singapore, including Bukit Batok and Bukit Timah, this granite was exposed during the last century by quarrying. Typically, the excavated area in front of a quarry face will fill up with rainwater. In Bukit Batok this feature has been preserved as a tranquil lake, providing a home to native wildlife.

The tranquil waters of Bukit Batok Nature Park - a peaceful oasis in the heart of one of Singapore's newest housing estates.  

Park Description

The park covers an area of 36 hectares, at least half of which is young Secondary Forest. These forested areas have started to regenerate from former settled areas, where rubber and fruit trees, such as Jackfruit and Rambutan, once stood. There are a number of forest paths winding through these areas, some of which lead to vantage points looking out over the quarry lake. The remainder of the park is planted with ornamental trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers including various species of the exotic Heliconia. The path from the main entrance leads directly to the "Pond Plaza" - a tongue of land extending into the lake where the visitor can rest awhile. 


The exotic red and yellow bloom of Heliconia sp.


What To Look Out For

The quarry lake is home to various shy fish species, however the most obvious inhabitants of the lake are the freshwater turtles, including the Red-eared Terrapin Trachemys scripta elegans, an introduced species common in Singapore's ornamental lakes and ponds easily identified by the red stripe behind each eye. The Malayan Box Terrapin Cuora amboinensis may also be seen; this native species is characterised by a pair of yellow stripes on each side of its long head and neck. 

A White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus patrols the margins of the old quarry lake   

In the margin of the lake lives the White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus, a common species of ornamental ponds.  Bird watchers should also be able to see examples of the brightly coloured tropical species which have adapted to parkland and urban areas of Singapore. These include the Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis - unmistakable in its bright yellow plumage, the Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris - identified by its bright blue plumage and white breast and collar, and high in the trees towards the top of the quarry face the Blue-tailed Bee Eater Merops philippinus, a common winter visitor. These species, though common, should be appreciated for their bright, tropical colours which add a vibrant touch of colour to Singapore's parks and gardens.


A common species, the Changeable Lizard Calotes versicolor can easily be found in the park.


In the Secondary Forest keep an eye out for examples of Singapore's common reptiles including the various gecko species, and the Changeable Lizard Calotes versicolor so called because at various times the lizard may appear brown or green. In the breeding season the male of the species has a startling bright red throat and orange shoulders. Less common is the Green Crested Lizard Bronchocela cristatella, a likeable species with a bright green skin and large inquisitive eyes. This species, once more numerous, appears to have given way to the Changeable Lizard over the last 20 years.

Squirrels are common too, including the Plantain Squirrel Callosciurus notatus, which may be seen feeding on fruiting trees.

Local History

For those with an interest in World War II history the park has a memorial plaque identifying the site where Japanese soldiers built a shrine at the top of Bukit Batok to commemorate their dead. This is close to the television transmission towers which now dominate the summit.  

Visitor Facilities

The park is ideal for those less mobile or for families wishing to take their children on a nature walk. Paths are well made and clearly marked, and there are many park benches and rain shelters. Drinking fountains have also been installed, and public toilets are available. There are "fitness stations" where the active can perform their exercise routines, and there is a small playground for young children. A spacious car park is also available.