Bukit Timah is an area in Singapore and a hill in that area. Bukit Timah is located near the centre of the Singapore main island. The hill stands at an altitude of 163.63 metres (537 ft.) and is the highest point in the city-state of Singapore. The surrounding area is an urban planning area known as Bukit Timah Planning Area under the Urban Redevelopment Authority and is part of the Central Region, and lies 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city's central business district, the Central Area. This area is often referred to as Bukit Timah, and is also known as District 11.
Bukit Timah is considered the most expensive district in Singapore. Many high-profile personalities, expatriates and professionals reside in this posh district with houses, designer villas, bungalows and high-end condominiums.
Etymology and history of Bukit Timah Hill
Bukit Timah, which literally means "tin hill" in Malay, was already identified on the 1828 map by Frankin and Jackson as Bukit Timah. The hill was depicted on the map towards the northwest as two hills at the eastern source of the Kranji River.
Since the interior of the island was not fully explored at that time, the location and name of the hill for the map probably came from the Malay community. According to one source, Bukit Timah has nothing to do with tin. The original Malay name for the hill was Bukit Temak, meaning "hill of the temak trees", referring to pokok temak, a tree that grew abundantly on the slopes of the hill. However, to the western ear, Temak in Malay enunciation sounded like Timah, hence Bukit Timah. Some say that timah is an abbreviation of Fatimah, a popular Malay girl's name.
In December 1843, a carriage way road was completed leading up to the hill. A small hut with chairs was constructed for visitors. The hill was viewed then as an "excellent sanatorium", as the air was "cooler and fresher than the plain, producing an agreeable exhilaration of spirits".
Bukit Timah is known as eyam malai (tin hill) in Tamil, being a literal translation of the Malay name. For some, it is synonymous with the Singapore Turf Club, where members and paying visitors flock on race days. This course is closed to the public, unlike the former course (now Farrer Park) where the general public enjoyed watching the king's sport for free.
The Bukit Timah area is a particularly prominent location with a high land value. The area of Bukit Timah has an extensive flora and fauna compared to other parts of Singapore, and contains Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which is partially responsible for its high land value. The nature reserve was established in 1883. The Bukit Timah Race Course, a thoroughbred horse racing facility, was opened in 1933 and operated until 1999.
The area includes educational institutions such as Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), Singapore Chinese Girls' School, Methodist Girls' School, Hwa Chong Institution, National Junior College, Raffles Girls' Primary School, Nanyang Primary School, Nanyang Girls' High School, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School, Saint Joseph's Institution and Ngee Ann Polytechnic amongst others.