It was another public holiday in Singapore and we wanted to go explore the wetland reserves – Sungei Buloh located north-west of Kranji by the Johor Strait. This 130-hectare mangrove forest boasting of rich flora and fauna is Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park since 2003. I had always read about the exotic Mangrove vegetation of Sundarbans in India; however could never find an opportunity to explore it. So I thought why not make a half day trip to the one located just next doors?
How to reach :It is better to make a half day trip to the wetland reserve on a public holiday as the bus takes you right into the Reserve main entrance from Kranji MRT.
Wetland Ponds Trail :1.5 KM
This place is an ecological gem right in the north-west of the concrete jungle of Singapore. There are many ways to get around the Mangrove wetlands. However we first chose the pond route embracing two wetland ponds which gives a good introduction to the Reserve. The trail starts from the main bridge on the Sungei Buloh Besar which leads you straight into the island in the middle of the wetland ponds and finally to the Arial hide from where you can have a 360 degree panoramic view of the wetland ponds extending until the Johor strait.
There are several observation platforms located intermittently along the trail. Right next to the main bridge we found a giant Malayan Water monitor lizard sunbathing. We did spot exotic mudskippers which were cheeky land fish trying to pop out of the little mud puddles every now and then. The lovely white heron birds waited motionlessly in flocks to feed on their favorite worms and fish. As you walk further down you can see another island formed by mangrove tree roots. The breathing prop roots specific to the mangroves is amazing to the first timers. We also got quite lucky to see a baby crocodile in a little distance from us in the marsh areas. Everyone crowded to get their best shot and I bet the croco felt like being attacked by paparazzi. As we walked down the trail, suddenly my friend noticed a green krait in one of the tree branches. Honestly I chickened out a bit and hence wasn’t much interested in clicking pics of the slithering snake.
Mangrove Boardwalk: 500 mtrs
This is a short lovely walk along the inter tidal areas which brings you closer to the mangrove trees and the buffer area between the sea and the land. We also took a break in one of the observation station to enjoy our little snacks we got along with us. This shelter was beautifully decorated with mangrove inspired artwork from the commonwealth secondary school students. We observed several mud lobsters and it seems they are responsible for the volcano shaped hills that are seen on the mangrove grounds through their constant digging. The mangrove stingrays are pretty weird fish with a motor like fin at the end of their body. Adding to your knowledge the mangrove trees are also full of tree hugging crabs clinging along the barks.
We were pretty much done exploring the reserve in almost 1.5 hours and we definitely craved for more. So we decided to further walk down the mid canopy walk -> coastal boardwalk -> forest trail (2KMS) finally leading us to visitor center
Mid Canopy walk: 120 mtrs
An understory of a secondary forest through an elevated boardwalk. A monkey somehow got attracted to my sunglasses and turned on his attack mode. I was freaked out and grabbed the hands of both the guys and ran as far as I could. Later they really made so much fun of my girly reaction.
A narrow walk along the coastline of Kranji waterfront providing sceanic view of the ocean backwaters. There are several pods and eagle points which are raised platforms dispersed along the trail which provides an unobstructed view of the wetland reserve. Finally we also took a walk into the mudflats making our way through the balancing ropeway bridge.
To wind up, If you have not been to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve yet, make this a ‘must-do’ in your bucket list and whenever you have at least half a day to spare head straight up north to explore this little heaven tucked in a totally outlandish habitat.