Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

If you are looking for another part of Singapore's wilder side to explore then the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve might be the place for you.  Situated in the far north west of Singapore it is a bit of a trek (if you don't have a car) but well worth the effort!  To get there by public transport we took the MRT to Kranji and then a bus outside the station (number 925) which dropped us off right outside the reserve.  The bus runs in a loop so you can then get the same bus back to the MRT station.  Apparently the bus only runs past the reserve on Sundays and public holidays, the rest of the time the closest it gets is Kranji Reservoir car park and then it's a fifteen minute walk to the reserve from there.  Luckily we chose to go on a Sunday so were pretty much able to travel door to door!

On arrival there is a little visitors area with some information about the reserve and the type of wildlife you might be lucky enough to spot, including crocodiles!  I'd heard stories about crocodiles in Singapore but I didn't really know where they were.  Sadly (or perhaps fortunately depending on your view point) we didn't spot any crocodiles on our visit.  Maybe an excuse to return again for future crocodile spotting!

Once you cross over the main bridge into the reserve you have a number of routes you can choose to follow.  These vary in distance/time so you can choose whatever suits you best.  The paths through the reserve are well laid out and easy to follow and compared to places like MacRitchie Reservoir the reserve is a lot quieter (even on a Sunday) so is great for wildlife spotting.  It actually seemed really remote in places and I wondered how they check there is no one still in the reserve when it closes at night.  I definitely would not want to get stuck in there after hours!  There are bird observation hides dotted around the reserve for quiet observation as well as screens to watch the birds etc. without being seen yourself.  The hides have information about the types of wildlife you are likely to see as well.  In addition there is also a tower hide which you can climb to get some great views of the reserve and beyond as well as observe the birds from a different angle.

Although we didn't see any crocodiles we saw plenty of monitor lizards throughout the whole reserve.  We also saw plenty of birds although all from a reasonable distance so I'm afraid I don't know exactly what they were.  At one point we saw a school of silver fish which appeared to be jumping out of the water.  I later learnt they were called Tropical Silverside, thanks to one of the information boards I mentioned before.  The information provided said that they are often seen, as we saw them, in large groups near the water surface and when disturbed will synchronously leap out of the water.  I don't think we disturbed them as we were too far away so I'd love to know what did.  In addition the walk around the reserve also allowed us to see Malaysia at numerous points just across the water.

After following one of the walks around and finishing again back at the visitor centre we decided to then go on the mangrove boardwalk.  This is only a thirty minute walk so after a refreshing (and cooling drink) this seemed like a very sensible choice.  The mangrove walk is designed to let you walk right through the mangroves without getting your feet wet.  Whilst walking here we saw multiple mudskipper's and tree-climbing crabs.  If you look at my final photo in this post you can see both of these.  It isn't the greatest photo but hopefully you can make them out!

The Sungei Buloh wetland reserve is definitely somewhere to visit if you want the chance to get close to some of the nature in Singapore.  The walks are well laid out and with the hides and screens dotted around it is very well designed for the purpose of observing all that is there.  In addition and perhaps because it is quite a journey to get to, it is wonderfully peaceful even at the weekend, especially in comparison to other parts of Singapore designed for nature spotting and walking.  Definitely well worth making the journey!

I liked this advice on making the most of your visit taken from the leaflet we picked up at the visitors centre.

Take nothing but photographs,
Leave nothing but footprints.

Wise words indeed.

Mudskipper and Tree-climbing crab


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