Visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to spot wild crocodiles, bird watch, and explore mangrove forests
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is one of those places we love to visit multiple times – there’s no way of getting bored! It is a spot that I also frequently recommend to friends and family who pass through town, as it is a jewel of an ecosystem. In the 19th century, mangroves were found all along the coastline of Singapore, but were cleared for industry and housing. Today, forests of mangroves can only be found on offshore islands and nature reserves.
Nature & Wildlife at Sungei Buloh
Of the 70 species of mangrove found in the world, 31 can be found in Singapore, and 27 in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve alone. These diverse species are home to a plethora of insects, amphibians, fishes, birds, and mammals. My preschooler and I, have taken to birdwatching upon moving to Singapore, and we have spotted exotic migratory birds like whimbrels, plovers, resident herons and sunbirds here.
According to NParks, there have been an amazing 231 species of migratory birds recorded at Sungei Buloh. If you’ve got older kids, or are trying to introduce your little ones to the magic of bird watching, this is absolutely the place to go! Click here to see the full migratory birds checklist, and consider following the Singapore Bird Group on Facebook — they’ve even got their own app to help you when you’re out in the field!
On our most recent visit, we saw mudskippers, bizarre fish whose eyes protrude from the water and “skip” along the mudflats, and even managed to follow, from afar, an estuarine crocodile from sea to inland. In all our visits, we have yet to catch sight of a Malayan water monitor lizard, which can grow up to 6 feet long, or a smooth-coated otter, which are widespread along the Johor Straits. Soon, we hope!
Download: Free Nature Play Scavenger Hunt
Visiting Sungei Buloh with Kids
Sungei Buloh has several walking trails, including Route 1 (3 kilometers), Route 2 (5 kilometers, and includes the longest boardwalk), and Route 3 (7 kilometers). The 500-meter long Mangrove Boardwalk, which winds its way through the mangrove trees, is just perfect for my daughter who can hike a little over a mile comfortably before asking to be carried. The Boardwalk is also stroller- and wheelchair-friendly.
Route 1 is also suitable for young children, as it’s a level gravel trail. Dotted throughout Sungei Buloh you will also find a variety of observations pods, which provide the perfect opportunity to spot wildlife, whether at birds-eye-view, or at a safe distance from crocodiles down below! Note that most of these are accessed via stairs, however, and therefore aren’t stroller-friendly.
Plan Your Sungei Buloh Visit
Getting There: Sungei Buloh is easily accessible by car, with three carparks off Kranji Way located near the Visitor Centre, and another carpark off Neo Tiew Crescent near the Wetland Centre. A bus stop, located outside the entrance on Kranji Way, is served by Bus No. 925.
How much: Free!
Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 7pm
Tips: Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, an umbrella, a water bottle, and a packed lunch if you plan to walk the longer trails.
Volunteers lead free guided nature walks every Saturday from 9:30-11am (except on public holidays and the eves of public holidays). Each walk is also limited to a maximum of 20 people and registration is required.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Kranji Way entrance: 60 Kranji Way, Singapore 739453. Neo Tiew entrance: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925, email [email protected] or Tel: (+65) 6794 1401, www.nparks.gov.sg