In need of a break from the bustling city life? Seeking for a breath of fresh air? Why not get in touch with a little nature at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve? Hidden in the northwestern corner of Singapore with Johor Bahru, Malaysia in plain sight, this sprawling 202-hectares of mangroves, mudflats, ponds and forests, also known as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve provides sanctuary for all the flora and fauna that have decidedly made this park their home.
A Little History
This nature park was officially opened on 6 December 1993 as Sungei Buloh Nature Park, making it Singapore’s ever first wetland nature reserve. On 1 January 2002, 130 hectares of Sungei Buloh was gazetted as a nature reserve and was being renamed as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Since then, this nature reserve has been designated as a site of international importance for migratory birds and has become Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park.
There are tons of activities that are constantly going on at this nature reserve that are bound to keep nature lovers, or non-nature lovers alike, busy.
If You Love Bird-Watching
Be sure to be here early as the best bird-watching happens early in the morning. Sungei Buloh serves as an important stopover point for many migratory birds, with an impressive number of more than two hundred bird species been recorded over the years. It’s no wonder this place is popular among bird-watching enthusiasts. Look out for resident birds such as the Great Egret, which can be commonly seen island-wide throughout Singapore, or a glimpse of the elusive Stork-billed Kingfisher.
Alternatively, catch sight of migratory birds from September to March and be treated to diverse flocks of birds including passerines (perching birds) and waders (shorebirds) such as the Mongolian Plovers. A little tip: take the Coastal Trail which offers onion-shaped pods along the way that serves as a perfect hideout for bird-watching!
If You Love Nature Photography
Go on one of the several free guided nature walks conducted every weekend at Sungei Buloh to get up close and personal with nature. Remember to register beforehand for these walks as it is based on a first-come, first-served basis and spaces are typically filled up quickly. If you wish to go at your own pace instead, take a stroll along the mangrove boardwalk located near the visitor centre, and weave through the mangroves and mudflats with the help of the wooden stilt structures.
The reserve offers a wide variety of unique wetland flora such as the Mangrove Cannonball Tree or the Mangrove Apple, amongst the stretch of mangrove roots that are clearly visible during low tides.
Spot mangrove wildlife such as the Giant Mudskipper or the Tree-Climbing Crab alongside numerous species of insects and snakes. If you are lucky, you might very well chance upon the friendly family of resident otters! Sungei Buloh is also the only place in Singapore whereby sightings of saltwater crocodiles have been reported, though you are more likely to come across a Malayan Water Monitor Lizard. However, rest assured that there are emergency numbers all over the reserve in the unlikely case you get into a nasty encounter.
If You Wish to Make A Difference
Passionate about nature conservation and wish to share what you know about the unique flora and fauna of Sungei Buloh? Why not volunteer with the Sungei Buloh Volunteers in Reserve Service. Made up of a group of dedicated enthusiasts with a passion for local wildlife, volunteers will have the opportunity to be involved in education programmes, scientific studies as well as tour guiding opportunities. If this sounds like your cup of tea, sign up as a volunteer on the National Parks Board website to get started!
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a great place for anyone of all ages to visit and appreciate the wildlife. With its tranquillity and fresh air, it makes a great day trip away from the rush of the city environment. Just remember to lauder on mosquito repellent, bring lots of water and prepare yourself for an enriching walk with nature!
Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm, Daily
Address: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925