Book Of Adventure 1: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Posted: January 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                       Stardate: 62537.9 (Jan 14th, 2009)

I’ve decided to open up a book and write about my adventures which takes place in Singapore, my homeland. I mean, not exactly write a book, but to write it inside this blog like I always do =) This involves in exploring the parks and heritages places in Singapore that I have never been. Like the Fort Canning, National Museum of Singapore, The Botanic Gardens and the Chinese Gardens that I have covered and updated in these blog. What’s more, I had dedicated my life to use that opportunity and to study the places that I’m going to visit and learn more from it. I will planned this during my official off days or by taking leave if necessary. Besides that, I really need the time off to spare the thoughts and to ease the mind….

But of course, it doesn’t have to be in mainland all the time, right?

Now, will be my first Book of Adventure. If I knew that I’m going to start this new chapter, I would have started right in the first place when I was exploring Fort Canning somewhere early last year. Oh well, I take it that the four places that I had currently visit was the start of the learning process and the beginning of this new exciting feeling. Hmm……sounds close, doesn’t it? =0

So, on Wednesday the 13th, which I’m off, I decided to take that opportunity and set a course towards Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Before I navigate for my adventure, I begin researching through the internet about the place and had gathered as many information that I could dig up. Located in the Northwest of Singapore, I came to understand through history, that it is the first wetlands reserve to be gazetted here in the year 2002, and its global important as a stop-over point for migratory birds was also recognized by the Wetlands International’s inclusion of the reserve into the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Site Network. The reserve, with an area of 130 hectares, was also listed as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003. Remarkable! Talk about all those titles and awards that the park was named!

And speaking of birds, I came to discover that they are over 212 species of them been recorded through its checklist! How astonishing! Various species of the Kingfisher, Bee-Eater, Hornbill, Woodpecker, Pigeon, Redshank, you named it. Many of them do migrate here to escape the winter season, and that their population here was ever increasing.

But before the park rose into fame, the area was once previously unheard, or seems rather forgotten until it was discovered by members of an avid birdwatchers, the Singapore Branch of the Malayan Nature Society in 1986, and where it had gain prominence when a call was made by them to conserve the area. Most particularly, was its unusually high variety of bird species, which included migratory birds (as been mentioned previously) from as far as Siberia on their way to Australia to escape the winter months. This suggestion was taken up by the government, and a site with an area of 0.87 km² was given the nature park status in 1989. The then Parks & Recreation Department, which was renamed as today’s National Parks Board had successfully developed and managed the nature park along with a team of experts. The most notable names from the team included the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust from the United Kingdom and World Wild Fund for Nature. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was officially opened on 6 December 1993 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

As the years expanded, this unique place has attracted people from all strata of society to support its cause, not only bird lovers. It welcomed its 100,000th visitor in 1994. Then, in 1997, the Park found its corporate sponsor in HSBC, which primarily set up the Sungei Buloh Education Fund in support of its nature outreach programmes. In 1999, Woodlands Secondary School became the first school to adopt the park. Soon followed by Commonwealth Secondary in 2001 and Hillgrove Secondary in 2002. I’ll say, seems like an exciting project for them, don’t you think? =D

November 10, 2001, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan began to announced that Sungei Buloh would be “one of two parks to be gazetted as Nature Reserves.” Then, on Jan 1, 2002, 130-ha of Sungei Buloh was officially gazetted as a nature reserve and renamed as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to better reflect its status. Not to mention, appearing much more prominent and well-developed over the years and the years to come. All but WET! =D

Time: 0815hrs

So, taking the MRT, I will headed off from Bedok, all the way to Krangi, where I will take bus no. 925 as been directed through its website. Almost an hour journey, and music played from my MP3 player helps to shrink away the boredom. Of course, hardly been to Krangi, let along Sungei Buloh. I was a little lost at first when I arrived there, so to better confirm I ask the staff of the Krangi MRT counter service whether bus no.925 is the right bus. Happily been notified what I wanted to know, I was soon hopped into the bus and on my way there.

Nearly 15 minutes, I disembarked from the bus. The weather was scorching, but it didn’t matter. I was close to start off my mission. But first thing first, the photo of the entrance =)

Once that, I make my way in. The entrance starts along this wooden path.


From the visitor center, I obtained a copy of the reserve guide. The reserve admission is free entry, except on Saturdays, Sundays, Public and School Holidays, where you had to paid $1 entry per adult and 50 cents per child, student or senior citizen. There’s a nature gallery at the visitor center, where I began my study.

Here’s the map overview of the reserve and its walking routes, where I shall begin highlighting on them as I share my expedition.

Adjacent to the visitor center was the Mangrove Boardwalk which I had highlight on the map in RED. This is where you will experience a walk through the mangrove without getting your feet wet or muddy, by walking across the wooden path which was approximately 500m from the start. This is where I will make my first move of adventure.

Check out the ceiling from one of the shelters! =D

The estimated walk-about roughly took about 30 mins. Once done, I trace back to the visitor center where I began to explore the rest of this living classroom and its expanded serenity that awaits =)

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As what I’ve studied, there are 3 routes that adjoins within this wetland reserve. From the map shown, Route 1, as I had highlight in PURPLE will therefore be your first start of the tour. Its right after you have crossed the bridge. There, you can either go left or right. So I start off by going right.

ROUTE 1:

Approximately a 3km trail, is where visitors will be greeted by the tranquility and the serenity of the mangrove habitat. Those observation hides dotted along the trails is best served as a purpose to study the surrounding and to spot the birds behind those peep-holes. They actually remind me of bunkers. A solid, fortified structure that served as a protected shelter for the troopers inside, while returning fire against their enemies through those hides. And those platforms, which kind of like a jetty had presented to you the scenic look-out point view of the sea, as well as the view of Johor, Malaysia. By then, the weather had cooled down and the wind here was just everlasting! The smell of nature here was just too unique! =D

I took a 10 – 15 min break at one of those Main Hides after nearly an hour of exploration. There, I ate some of the sandwiches that I had packed from home and which I had spared some for my lunch break.

I resume my expedition. Trekking along the dirt path until I came across the Aerie, which resemblances of the Birdwatch Tower found in the Mangrove Swamp within Pasir Ris Park. So I headed right to the top, to catch the breathtaking view from up there.

I made my way down and continue trekking. This side of the route had a number of photographers, mainly nature lovers which I believe so, taking every inch of the place and also note down what they had discovered in their notepad. Some, even had laptops with them. Such enthusiastic explorers, don’t you think?

I think, if I ever wanted to come here again in the future, I will bring my laptop too. Let’s say, I came across a rare bird. Based on its description and features, I can catalog it through the reserve checklist of their species! Sounds like an ideal purpose if you are really serious into it =)

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ROUTE 2:

Approximately 5km, this was known to be the reserve’s largest boardwalk through its Mangrove Arboretum. As highlighted in GREEN, I set my senses to get more intrigued by the nature here. The route here seems opened, and there’s even trails that leads deeper, and which wasn’t shown on the map. However, a sign had been erected there on each of them, spelling out big: NO ENTRY. Well, better not take the risk. Despite the feeling inside had urge me to take a peak…


I came across this T-junction, been circle on the map. I followed the right turn, where there’s the Prawn Pond within about a hundred yards.


Up ahead, came another appearance of the Birdwatch Tower. This lone one was called, the Tower Hide. Made out of iron, it does looked like one of those defensive tower. I mean, from the way I see it (And why does some of the structures here reminds me of those that were used in the army!??).

I continued my journey. Seems surprised to notice that this side of the route had been fence up that stretches by a mile!

Probably there’s a good reason as to why this purpose is served. Most likely to prevent……..something that most of us concerns the most?

Its a big round walk before I’m back to where I started. I pass the Tower Hide, the Prawn Pond and journey the rest of the way by going to the left side from the particular T-junction. See the map attached below:

Its one hell of a walk actually. But this is what trekking is supposed to be right? If these seems more than a stretch, I might as well try those route on Pulau Ubin. Haha! =D

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ROUTE 3:

Approximately a 7km trail, it seems that the inhabitants of these freshwater habitat will awaits our visit. The trail cuts off as a T-junction from Route 2, as been highlighted in ORANGE. A straight down the path till you reached the Main Hide where it has the observation view of the Freshwater Ponds.

Seems absolutely quiet down here. Nothing like a walk in a park to clear the troubled away as you embrace nature and its awareness. They do had their call, and such as it is as due to the importance of this wetland to be preserve by the authorities.

I spend there about 5 to 10 mins before trek back to Route 2, an continued the rest of my journey. I’m now moving along the wooden path which lies across the Mangrove Arboretum as been highlighted in YELLOW from the map attached below:

Down here, its where I spend a lot of time searching for any Mudskipper or those Tree-Climbing Crab. Its kind of hard to looked out for those mudskippers, since they were blend with the mud here; unless they started moving. There’s even a snake, slittering across the mud. The more I study the mangrove, the more interested I’ve become. As much as I did, I would never regret coming here. Recent places like the Botanics, Fort Canning and the Chinese Garden that I have been had led me to realize how exciting nature can be. Its not just by observing and taking photographs, but to breathe in the awareness and opened up those senses to mother nature. The inhabitants here were just as interesting as their habitat. Once in a while, you will see a squirrel scurried across the grass before climbing up a tree. If you are fast enough before it disappeared, you can get a shot or dozens more kept in your camera =)


Along the way, I came across this Outdoor Classroom. It reminds me of nostagia times, in those days where kampongs were many. There’s tables and benches, even a platform been set up. I wonder, is there a class been conducted here? If there is, what topic would the students learn? About the importants of the wetlands? Quite like, as this is what the place is all about.

Next to it, a plantation growth is taking place. Well, the educational theme here sure makes an excellent prudent discovery to its unique plants as well as the animals here =)


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From where I was, I continued the rest of Route 1, as indicated by the arrow shown on the map. Trekking my way back, back to the main bridge, till I reached the visitor center. There, I went for my toilet break.

This remarkable, unique design was located next to the toilet.

Once done, I proceed to the center’s cafeteria, where I ordered a single scoop of chocolate. Thought of craving for one, as to delight its sweetness.

I spend a few more minutes roaming in the center’s nature gallery before I exit the premises. By then, the time is already 1320hrs, as I had recorded.

The entire trip to Sungei Buloh was all worth it and happy to say that I had managed to completed the entire routes. I’m glad I had taken this opportunity to step into the wetland and would probably want to venture here again in the future. And I hoped I can bring a friend to tag along for that another round. That way, it will be a lot more fun as we can study more about the place, share ideas as we record them down.

In my conclusion, I applaud the team of the National Parks Board who had committed to the conservation of this wetland through its prudent management, research, as well as education. It is well dedicated, as it helps to conserve and protect our living resources in our natural environment =)

KUDOS!!

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Comments
  1. Jackson says:

    I feel more people require to read this, incredibly beneficial info.

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