Durian Picking, Singapore – A Much Forgotten Joy from the Past

Durians, the king of fruits, are native to the tropical climate of South East Asia, mainly Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The price of $20-$50 per kilogramme, depending on the species of the fruit. Despite the price, the joy of having creamy flesh savouring in your mouth makes durian lovers crave for the thorny fruit.

durian picking, singapore

Durian picking, Singapore

As Singapore used to be a fishing village in the early 19th century, most kampong folks grew tropical trees in their backyard as hobbies. While very few rural areas remain in this cosmopolitan city-state, we can still find an abundance of durian trees remaining in this concrete jungle. Durian season typically lasts from June to September, depending on weather conditions. During this period, “Durian hunters” gather to relive the thrill of the past, trekking into the darkness of the forest in the wee hours of the morning. At  times, hunters have to wait 5-6 hours for a single durian to drop before they are savoured.

wild durians

“Once you tasted wild and organic durian, you will never want to eat durians that can be bought on the streets”

Durian Picking, Singapore

In Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, this 1.64 square kilometre boasts the biggest natural landscape in Singapore. We entered the Nature Reserve from the Southern Entrance, where it is accessible from Rifle Range Road. This side of the Nature Reserve is home to many tropical fruits like rambutan, jackfruit and of course, durian. These tall trees have long branches. Leaves are narrow and pointed, silvery or coppery scales on the underside and arranged alternately. “Identify the tree and you can see the hanging fruit,” is the advice given to me while I try to spot a durian camouflaged with the surroundings.

durian tree

Can you spot the durians thats camouflaged?

We walked a trail named “durian loop” and no prizes for guessing, it is a nature escapade surrounded by durian trees. Once we enter the loop, a strong and sweet fragrance (or overpowering and revolting smell, depending on which side are you on) greeted us. You can find many durians on the vegetation floor with some having signs of being eaten by monkeys. We were lucky to hear a durian freshly dropped from its branches as it made its way through the rustling of the leaves followed by a loud thud. The thrill that most durian hunters seek is not just in picking wild, organic fruit but rather, the chase of locating the king when you hear it land on mother earth. It also brought reminiscence of their carefree and simple life that they used to lead in the kampong.

Durian loop Singapore

Durian loop Singapore

Other Durian Picking Areas in Singapore

Many other areas where durian trees thrive include Bukit Batok, Mandai, Thomson and Punggol. These are places where kampong settlers used to inhabit, and now, some of these areas have been redeveloped to either residential or industrial areas. A durian picking Singapore tour will take 4 to 5 hours and with a bit of luck and the right season, you will be rewarded with the king of fruits, its thick, full-bodied creamy and mild sweet tasting flesh savouring in your mouth.

There are numerous other unique attractions in Singapore. Take a look now, for more nature travel ideas that are uniquely Singapore. You can book a local guide from to take you to one of these journies!