History of Bukit Timah
The area is synonymous with the hill – the highest in Singapore – of the same name. Opinion is divided on whether the peak, which first appeared by name in Franklin and Jackson’s 1828 map of the island, is an actual translation from the Malay word for tin hill, or a corruption of the temak trees that covered its slopes.
Bukit Timah Road, the longest on the island at 25km long, dissects the region and was completed in 1845. Two years earlier, a road was built to the top of the hill, where the supposedly cooler, fresher air drew in visitors from across the burgeoning nation. Later, when the rail corridor was created, running from Johor Bahru to Tanjong Pagar, a small station was built at Bukit Timah.
The area has not seen the large influx of public housing projects that have characterised other areas, and as a result it features mainly established private housing estates with landed properties such as bungalows, which are home to well-off locals and a large number of expats.
What’s in Bukit Timah
A large part of Holland Village lies within Bukit Timah’s boundary. The area is a popular destination with a huge range of dining options. The main stretch becomes pedestrianised every evening, turning the streets into one large buzzing beer garden.
The Bukit Timah Race Course was a prominent feature up until its closure in 1999. Horse lovers’ loss is everybody else’s gain though, as the renovated The Grandstand is home to restaurants, retail outlets and a Giant supermarket.
The region is well served by the MRT network and boasts a number of highly regarded schools, including several international ones, in keeping with its demographic.
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Bukit Timah in the next 10 years
Holland Village is being redeveloped or rather extended with the addition of several mixed-use developments, creating a seamless transition from Lorong Liput, while still keeping the area’s unique feel and look. A new road will also divert vehicular traffic away from the streets.
The Downtown Line 2 will be completed, with two more stations just south of Bukit Timah opening up transport options further in the area, while also easing traffic flow.
Work on the Rail Corridor, or Greenway, will continue, as the route of the former rail track transforms into a cross island walking, jogging and cycling track.
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Bukit Timah has always been popular with expatriate tenants due to its proximity to the city centre and the availability of various lifestyle amenities such as restaurants, cafes and bars. As such, rental prices remain elevated compared to other parts of Singapore. The area’s status as a luxury residential enclave with numerous high-end condominiums and landed properties also means it attracts many wealthy buyers and investors. As a result, property prices are generally higher.